ROTC Games support grassroots sports dev’t

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The first-ever Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Games and the launch of its Visayas leg seeks to strengthen grassroots sports development, said Senator Christopher “Bong” Go during the commencement ceremony of the region’s ROTC games at the Iloilo Sports Complex on Sunday.

“Sa pamamagitan ng (ROTC Games), itinataguyod natin ang pagpapalakas ng ating grassroots sports programs, pagpapaunlad ng ating physical education, at ang paghubog ng mga kabataan na bansa,” Go said in his message delivered by Malasakit@Bayanihan party-list Rep. Antonio Rolando Golez Jr.

Go was the keynote speaker of the event but he was not able to attend due to other commitments in Davao City.

Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Sports, added that he hopes the event will become a symbol of our unity, discipline, and cooperation among Filipinos. He said he will continue pushing for more measures that will empower the grassroots sports landscape.

The senator recently filed Senate Bill No.423 or the proposed Philippine National Games (PNG) Act of 2022, which seeks to give the athletes an equal opportunity of becoming future contenders in international sporting competitions and cement the country’s status as a “Sports Powerhouse in Asia”.

“Lahat ng ito ay nakalinya sa ating pag-engganyo sa kabataan to get into sports, stay away from drugs,” Go continued.

Senator Francis N. Tolentino, honorary chairman of the ROTC Games and a brigadier general in the Army reserve, said the fruition of the event comes from almost a year of hard work and brainstorming with its partner agencies.

The 2023 Philippine ROTC Games was launched at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City in December 2022.

Tolentino said that the ROTC Games “is not just a celebration of sports but a celebration of patriotism, love of country, which is not optional.”

“What you (ROTC cadets) have done preparing for these games should not be considered as an optional requirement of your course, it is not even mandatory, it is voluntary but it blossomed out of your love for your country,” he noted.

Tolentino lauded the strategies and organization of the Visayas leg ROTC Games, emphasizing that they are eyeing to replicate it in the Mindanao and Luzon leg.

“We learned a lot from our Iloilo experience. Gagayahin na lang namin ito… improve na lang namin ito,” he said.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said the ROTC cadets are the local government’s “partners in the business of taking care of this country,” contributing significantly to disaster response, public safety, and the maintenance of peace and order.

“Our ROTC, you are part of our youth sector, you are the future of this country — but we don’t only need you in the future, we want you now,” he added.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, represented by City Councilor Sedfrey Cabaluna, said the ROTC program has long been a cornerstone of fostering leadership, camaraderie, and a profound sense of service coordination.

“The true measure of our victory is how you exemplify the principles and values at the heart of the ROTC program,” he added, reminding the athletes.

The ROTC Games consist of a three-phased competition: recruitment and sports clinics that started in February, followed by regional games slated for August and October, and culminating in the national games in Metro Manila in late October this year.

Delegates from Central, Eastern, and Western Visayas will be competing in different sports events from August 13 to 19, 2023. Sports events include arnis, athletics, basketball, boxing, e-sports, kickboxing (by weight categories), and volleyball.