Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal: MBHTE prepared for BARMMAA Meet 2023 with the upgrading of CSU Grandstand, sports facilities, including the 400-meter Track-and-Field oblong of the Cotabato National High School (CNHS) now assumed by CSU; renovation of the 25 m x 10 m swimming pool; four comfort rooms, and fences of sports facilities.
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By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — SciTech and Digital News
COTABATO CITY, May 25, 2023 (SDN) — And the competition is on!
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Athletic Association (BARMMAA) Meet 2023 is back!
BARMMAA, first staged in 2020, took a two-year absence due to the global killing machine that is the coronavirus disease that swept the world starting in December 2019 from its origin in Wuhan City, Hubei, China.
With around 4,738 athletes of the 8,132 delegations’ members region-wide the annual event was off to a rousing start, today, Thursday.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, the opening ceremonies’ main guest, lauded the athletes from the five provinces, three cities, and Special Geographic Area (SGA) for their participation.
“I extend my congratulations to all of you. The fact that you are able to represent your division, you are already winners,” the Chief Minister points out, speaking from the stage of the Cotabato State University (CSU) Grandstand, as he looked at the thousands of athletes filling the Open Field in their respective colorful uniforms.
Ebrahim is the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which is now governing the BARMM through the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) on a platform guided by an encompassing principle of Moral Governance.
He encouraged the athletes to always do their best in the competition and post-BARMMAA 2023 and to never stop dreaming big.
BARMMAA aims to showcase the abilities, sportsmanship, and camaraderie of Bangsamoro learners.
The BTA phase started in 2019 and concludes when regular officials of the BARMM shall have been elected in May 2025.
Under the lead of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) headed by Member of Parliament (MP) and Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal, this year’s regional “Palaro” (sporting event) kicked off with a Parade of Athletes that started here from the City Plaza at noon time with the exuberance of youth, undaunted and exuding confidence palpable in the air amid many onlookers lined up on the streets.
It was an overcast sky as ash-colored clouds gathered up in the sky, threatening the opening of five days of sporting competition with a deluge of water from above.
Providential, or just the weather cooperating, taking pity on hundreds of school age children in their resplendent and colorful attire in perpetual motion as they gyrated and danced to the beat of drums, there was no rain.
Perhaps a Mercy from the Greatest Sportsman up there, granting the prayers of the organizers led by the MBHTE, pleading to not rain on the parade.
Fears of a wet parade was justified because strong rains greeted the day, drenching the morning. Prayers were answered, though, as the sky did not tear up again, expect for few drizzles here and there, saving the grand opening of the athletic competition.
So, the Parade of Athletes went on, slowly leaving the City Plaza, climbing Sinsuat Avenue leading up to the Cotabato State University (CSU), a wide expanse of open field awaiting the young sportsmen and sportswomen.
The first time it is being held in Cotabato City, the capital of the Bangsamoro, with the MBHTE’s 11 schools division participating, the sporting event revolves around the theme “Sustaining the gains of peace and unity through sports”,
The athletes will compete, according to MBHTE, in “22 sports … Archery, Arnis, Athletics, Badminton, Baseball, Boxing, Chess, Basketball, Billiards, Football, Futsal, Paragames, Pencak Silat, Sepak Takraw, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling, and Wushu”.
Fondly called IQ, the Bangsamoro education minister, who presides over 60,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel, the Bangsamoro education minister has high hopes for the sporting festivities, as the annual BARMMAA aims for loftier goals.
“We want to see a boxing world champion like Manny Pacquiao, basketball stars in the PBA (Philippine Baskeball Association), volleyball champions in the V-League, chess grandmasters, medal winners at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA), at iba pang magagaling na atleta na mula sa (and other high achieving athletes from the) Bangsamoro,” says Iqbal.
Under the leadership of Iqbal, the Bangsamoro government through the MBHTE has been striving and putting in place several measures to raise the quality of education for the region’s learners. These include the construction of new school buildings to increase classrooms, hiring of new teaching and non-teaching personnel, distribution of education-related IT equipment such as Personal Computers (PCs), Laptops, Tablets, Printers, Projectors; Teachers’ Kits; Learners’ Kits; School Supplies; distribution of armchairs, among others.
BARMM Senior Minister Abunawas “Von Al-Haq” Maslamama was also a key guest at the opening ceremonies. He suggested in his remarks the BARMM needs to explore the creation of sports-related programs that would benefit and support all the athletes of the region.
The city chief executive, Mayor Bruce Matabalao welcomed the various delegations to the city, emphasizing the fight is not over after the whistle, the ringing of the bell, or upon reaching the finish line. “Nawa’y gamitin ninyo ang lahat ng inyong natutunan dito sa pagdaig sa mga hamong inyong hinaharap (I hope that you’ll use the lessons you learned in facing challenges),” the mayor says.
The delegations come from the MBHTE divisions of Maguindanao 1 & 2; SGA-North Cotabato; Basilan; Lamitan City; Tawi-Tawi; Lanao del Sur 1 & 2; Marawi City; and Sulu of MBHTEs 11 Schools Divisions.
The winners will be awarded their medals on May 29, Tuesday, during the Closing Ceremonies.
Hosts of the BARMMAA Meet 2023 are the Schools Division of Cotabato City, Cotabato City Local Government Unit (LGU) and BARMM. (✓)
Update| May 30, 2023
Corrected the number of the participants in the sports competition, including athletes, delegation officials and coaches. Note: The numbers are estimates.