Kindling the Spirit: The BARMMAA 2023 in Cotabato City commences as an athlete ignites the torch on Thursday, May 25, 2023. (Photo by Marhom Ibrahim/BIO)
COTABATO CITY—In a grand display of unity, friendship, and sportsmanship, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Athletic Association (BARMMAA) Meet commenced on May 25, 2023, bringing together athletes from all across the Bangsamoro region.
A vibrant and colorful parade filled the streets of Cotabato City’s Sinsuat Avenue, signifying the official commencement of this prestigious sporting event. Around 11,000 delegates, including athletes, coaches, officials, and enthusiasts from various parts of BARMM, participated in the parade.
BARMMAA, an event highly anticipated by sports enthusiasts, is set to provide a platform for the Bangsamoro youth to showcase their inherent talents in various athletic disciplines, and will serve as a stage to exhibit their prowess in the field of sports.
A wide array of sports will be played across different courts and fields in the city, including archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, boxing, chess, basketball, billiards, football, futsal, paragames, pencak silat, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, wrestling, and wushu.
The Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) took the lead in organizing the 5-day sports activities from May 25 to 29, under the theme: “Sustaining the Gains of Peace and Unity through Sports.”
MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal said the sports and physical education hold significant importance in the Bangsamoro region for three main reasons: promoting the health and well-being of learners, imparting essential life lessons, and fostering an environment conducive to genuine peace and reconciliation.
“The purpose of BARMMAA 2023 is to showcase na magaling ang Bangsamoro, hindi lamang intellectually but also physically—that the Bangsamoro are well recognized in sports and fitness in the future arena in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and in the world,” Iqbal said.
Representatives from 11 divisions participated in the event, including Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur I and II (including Marawi City Division), Basilan (including Lamitan City Division), Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City Division, and Special Geographic Area Division.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim emphasized the commitment of the Bangsamoro Government to support and promote physical education in the region.
“I urge you all to continue to excel in your fields of sports that embody the ideals of Moral Governance, which are founded in the inclusion, equity, and justice,” said Ebrahim.
The city of Cotabato has been granted the esteemed privilege of hosting this year’s BARMMAA tournament.
Mayor Mohammad Ali Matabalao expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and emphasized the city’s readiness to organize a remarkable event.
“Cotabato city is truly honored to be the host of this year BARMMAA, at kahit taon-taong pa na sabihin ng MBHTE na Cotabato City lang [ang host], hangga’t ako pa ang mayor—Minister (Iqbal), please consider Cotabato City as venue,” said Matabalao.
The Mayor also encouraged the participants of BARMMAA 2023 to carry the spirit of competition beyond the tournament.
“Sa inyo na mga kalahok sa BARMMAA 2023, pagkatapos ng kompetisyong ito, sana maging bitbit niyong pabaon—hindi natatapos ang laban sa tunog ng pito, sa hudyat ng batingaw o pagtapak sa finish line, hindi nagtatapos ang inyong laban sa palaro dahil marami pang pagsubok sa tunay na buhay at kalakhang lipunan ang makakaharap niyo,” he said. (Myrna Tepadan/BIO)