IP Games return to Palawan

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PSC commissioner Fritz Gaston

The Philippine Sports Commission, in close coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, will continue its mandate to preserve the country’s cultural and traditional games with the staging of the Indigenous People’s Games this weekend at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Coming off a lengthy break after the pandemic, the IP Games return with nine participating tribes playing in eight disciplines on November 18 and 19.

“We are excited for the return of the IP Games for this year, in line with the PSC’s mandate to bring sports for all sectors of our communities, and continue to preserve, promote and propagate the rich cultural heritage of our IPs as embodied in Republic Act 8371,” said PSC Commissioner Matthew “Fritz” Gaston during the special session of the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports, Inc. ‘Usapang Sports’ on Thursday.

Gaston, who oversees the IP Games project, also thanked the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for assisting the agency in coordinating with the tribe leaders. 

“Nakausap natin ang lahat and after a series of meetings naisaayos natin ang lahat and all systems go for the return of IP Games,” said Gaston.

The nine participating tribes are Molbog, Palaw’an, Tagbanua Central, Tagbanua Tandolanen, Tabuana Calamianen, Batak, Cuyonon, Agutaynen and Cagayanen. They will compete in Pana, Sibat, Supok, Pagbayo sa Palay, Santik, Trumpo and Kadang-Kadang. 

“Currently, we listed 196 tribe members to compete. We expected na madagdagan ito during the Games proper,” Gaston said. He furthered that coordination is also in the works to conduct IP Games in other parts of the country, with a special National Games for them a possibility in the near future.

“Marami tayong IP sa Luzon, andyan ang mga Aetas, Igorot in Ifugao, sa Visayas mga kapatid nating Magyan at mga Manobo. Marami pa. Tukuyin natin at isa-isahin at kung kakayanin natin, magandang ideya yung gumawa tayo ng National Games para sa mga kapatid nating IP,” said Gaston.

“We are also glad that our private partners Pocari Sweat and Milo will provide support for the project. Hopefully, we will be very much ready for the IP Games and have a successful event for our IP communities in Palawan,” he concluded.

In 2018, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts collaborated with the PSC to preserve indigenous sports by creating the IP Games. The first leg of the Games was slated in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on April 27 to 28, that year.