GENERAL SANTOS CITY: Boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao staged the 1st Mindanao-wide sports tournament to promote unity and cooperation among local government units in the island.
Pacquiao allocated a P12-million budget from his own pocket to stage the sports event dubbed 1st Manny Pacquiao Mindanao-wide Sports Challenge.
The sports event slated from December 4 to 8 brought in participants even from faraway place like Tawi-Tawi.
The provincial government of Tawi-Tawi, however, sent only a team of chess players due to distance and financial constraint.
Gabby Abdulrachman, Tawi-Tawi team manager, said, “Our team will participate only in chess tournament. Maybe, next year we’ll be sending more players.”
Participants to the events are local government employees except for boxing where the contenders are amateur boxers coming from competing LGUs.
Sarangani Boardmember Elmer De Peralta, Commissioner for Finance, claimed that more than 1200 participants – representing players, sports officials and members of the organizing committee – from nine different LGUs showed up during the kickoff ceremony held here over the weekend.
The nine participating LGUs include Davao Del Sur, Iligan City, Tagum City, General Santos, Tawi-Tawi, Sarangani, Davao City, Cagayan De Oro and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.
Davao City, Cagayan De Oro City and Lutayan town, however, sent just a boxing delegation.
Players will show their prowess in different sports like boxing, kickball, volleyball, basketball, lawn tennis, billiard, table tennis, shooting, dart, scrabble and chess.
This year’s sports challenge will also highlight inter-LGU sports competition among the seven towns in Pacquiao’s home province.
“Out of the seven towns, however, only six joined in the Sarangani inter-LGU sports tournament,” De Peralta said.
Pacquiao said that he conceptualized the Mindanao-wide sports tournament to foster rapport and promote cooperation among local government units.
“My purpose is to promote unity and cooperation among local government units in Mindanao. This is the reason why I spearheaded this sports competition,” Pacquiao said.
To show appreciation to the delegates and to encourage more participation in similar sports event next year, Pacquiao provided a P50,000 cash assistance to every participating LGU.
Delegates will be given free t-shirts, door prizes and souvenir items by the organizer during the culmination and awards ceremony.
On the opening day, cheering contest and festival costume competition were also staged. Winners will be announced during the closing ceremony.