Baguio finds gold mine in contact sports, builds grassroots athletes

By Philippines News agency

After successfully hosting and besting the games at the recently concluded Batang Pinoy 2018, the City of Pines is bent on further strengthening its sports development programs on the grassroots level.

Paul Rillorta, one of Baguio’s sports development officers, said the city government is now crafting a city sports code which will encompass all the city’s policies on sports to fill the needs of the local athletes and the city as a whole.

‘We are just polishing the document and looking at what else we could have missed, to make the sports code encompassing and responsive to the needs of the athletes, coaches, and the city government,’ Rillorta told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in the vernacular on Friday.

The code, he said, will also consolidate provisions of the existing sports ordinances of the city government. The final copy will be ready by December, Rillorta said.

The sports code will include policies on the use of city-owned facilities, incentives, and awards for athletes representing the city in national and international competitions. It will also include the protection and aiding of the athletes and coaches.

‘This will be a useful document in guiding us all on improving grassroots sports and encouraging our youth to go into sports,” Rillorta added.

Rillorta said developing grassroots sports is vital, as this is how international athletes start.

He cited, for instance, mixed martial arts world titlist Eduard Folayang, who used to be a contact sport athletic scholar of the University of the Cordilleras (UC).

The same goes with Divine Wally, also a UC athlete, who has earned a name in World Wushu competitions, and Jordan Dominguez of Saint Louis University, who has earned a gold medal at the Taekwondo Poomsae at the recent Asian Games.

Rillorta boasted of Team Lakay, Baguio’s pride and the Philippines’ top bunch of mixed martial arts athletes.

Formed in 2003 by mixed martial artist Marquez Sangiao of Baguio, Team Lakay is composed of athletes and ordinary youngsters from the highland communities of Baguio who have tried to venture into mixed martial arts and are now making good names for themselves in the international sports arena.

Among them are Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio, Mark Sangiao, Ezra Sangiao, Stephen Loman, Danny Kiyad, Gina Iniong, and Honorio Batario. Rillorta also mentioned Baguio’s first female world boxing titlist, Jujeth Nagaowa, who has fought for world titles for the International Female Boxers Association and the Women’s International Boxing Association.

‘Grassroots sports is where international athletes come from. They start from there and later on conquer world titles,’ the city’s sports development officer said.

Baguio bested 155 provinces in the country and emerged as the top medal hauler in the recently concluded ‘Batang Pinoy,’ hosted by the city and the province of Benguet.

The onslaught of Typhoon Ompong failed to dampen the participants’ fighting spirit, though it moved the youth sports event’s schedule from Sept. 15-21 to Sept. 17-21.

Based on the official medal tally sent by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Sept. 27, Baguio, like in 2017, retained the top spot in this year’s Batang Pinoy with an 85-81-104 (gold-silver-bronze) medal haul.

Cebu City came in second, with 37-40-44 medals, followed by Laguna province (33-13-31), Quezon City (32-17-17), and Pangasinan (22-21-21).

Combative sports like Arnis, Wushu, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo served as the city’s gold mine, producing 18, 13, 11, and 10 gold medals, respectively, and most of the silver and bronze awards.

Judo and wrestling also contributed eight gold medals each.

Baguio also won five golds in pencak silat, four in archery, two each in athletics and boxing, and one each in cycling, karate, swimming, and triathlon.

Cash incentives ready

City Ordinance 20-2016 or the ‘new sports incentives ordinance of the city of Baguio’ provides that athletes representing the city in national competitions are entitled to cash incentives for bringing honor to the city.

‘Gold medalists in every event are entitled to receive PHP10,000, PHP5,000 for the silver medalist, and PHP3,000 for the bronze medalist,’ Rillorta said.

With 85 gold medals, 81 silver, and 104 bronze medals, the city government is ready to release PHP1,567,000 in incentives for the 270 medals won by Baguio athletes during the PSC-run ‘Batang Pinoy.’

‘We are proud of you, our athletes, for giving honor to our city and to all other athletes nationwide, who participated in the sports event for giving your best despite the inconvenience brought by Typhoon Ompong,’ Mayor Mauricio Domogan said at the culmination of the Batang Pinoy 2018.

The PSC also gives cash incentives to local governments that land on the top five spots in the competition. The overall champion will receive PHP3 million. The second to fifth placers will respectively get PHP2.5 million, PHP2 million, PHP1.5 million, and PHP1 million.

More than 2,000 competitors from various localities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were marooned in the school classrooms that served as their billeting centers, when ‘Ompong’ battered the city and the Cordillera region last Sept. 15.

The city government, through its city sports development office, city social welfare development, and others, including private donors, ensured the participants’ safety and convenience during the howler’s onslaught.

City information officer Dexter See said the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has announced that Baguio City will become one of the sports body’s accredited regional sports training centers, following the city’s successful hosting of the 2018 Batang Pinoy national championships.

He said the information was relayed by PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram, who represented PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez during the event’s closing program on Sept. 21.

See said that according to Kiram, the decision was because of the city’s suitability as a venue for the conduct of high-altitude training for the country’s athletes.

See said the national sports body had left PHP18 million worth of sports equipment in hosts Baguio and Benguet for the further training of local athletes for future representation in the local, regional, national, and even international sports competitions.

The PSC has also turned over PHP8 million as the city’s cash reward for landing No. 2 in the Philippine National Games (PNG) in Cebu City in May 2018.

The original cash reward was actually PHP4 million, but President Rodrigo Duterte doubled the PSC incentive, making it PHP8 million.

This article provided by NewsEdge.