Army hosts Filipino Games in Sultan Kudarat; soldiers played with rebels

Mindanao Peace Process • Thu Dec 21, 2017 09:29 AM  •  1,026   0
By Makabayan Battalion writers
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A Moro rebel prepares to hit his
A Moro rebel prepares to hit his "Shatong" stick during Filipino Games sponsored by 33rd IB in Pres. Quirino, Sultan Kudarat. (33rd IB)
PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Sultan Kudarat — The Philippine Army hosted the traditional Filipino games with various armed groups who fought the government such as the MNLF, the MILF, and the New People’s Army.

The games kicked-off at around 8:00am on December 16, 2017 at the battalion headquarters in this town. Included in the sportsfest were old Filipino children’s games such as ‘Shatong’, ‘Patintero’, ‘Takyan’, ‘Luksong Baka’, and ‘Kadang’.

The 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, the event organizer, also invited the PNP-SAF, BJMP and the LGU of Lutayan town. Mayor Princess Rihan Mangudadatu-Sakaluran, the keynote speaker, opted to play with the Black Team.

Lt Col Harold M. Cabunoc, the Commanding Officer of the 33rd Infantry Battalion, said that he is using sports diplomacy to reach out to all armed groups who once fought the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“These traditional games are the unifying factor among Filipinos. Majority of us here today have played these games regardless of our ethnicity and religion,” said Cabunoc.

Ustadz Gulam Abdullah, a leader of the Moro National Liberation Front’s ‘Dragon Border Command’ was delighted by their inclusion in the games.

“Certainly, this is a welcome development here in Mindanao. We can unite as a people through these games,” he said.

Expanded games

The leaders of the participating teams have proposed the expansion of the games so that more and more combatants can join the event.

“We can probably recommend this to our higher ups in the MILF Central Committee so that this can be our future peacebuilding activity at the 6th Infantry Division headquarters,” said Abdul-Rahim Mollilis, the administrative officer of the MILF’s 109th Base Command.

Mayor Princess Rihan Sakaluran said she had missed playing the childhood games that she once enjoyed in the 90s.

She intends to include the traditional games in the future sportsfest that will be held in her lakeside town.

“These outdoor games are better than the computer games that are popular nowadays. Our children can exercise while interact with friends through these games,”said Mayor Sakaluran, a first-term local chief executive.

Peace efforts

Lt Col Harold Cabunoc believes that peacebuilding must be sustained in armed conflict areas to propagate the good message about peace.

“My efforts here in our area of responsibility is gaining grounds. We have seen the surrender of 80 members of Guerilla Front 73.

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Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, 33rd IB chief, and Lutayan town Mayor Princess Rihan Sakaluran, award cash prizes to over-all champion "Black Team" of Palarong Pinoy. Above photo shows soldiers, rebels prepare for "Kadang-Kadang" competitiion. (33rd IB photos)

Meanwhile, three more high-powered firearms were handed over by former rebels to my unit,” he said.

Cabunoc also received three firearms which were unearthed by the new surrenderors from an arms cache site in the hinterlands of Sultan Kudarat.

The recent recoveries included a Cal 5.56mm M16 Rifle, a Cal 7.62mm M14 Rifle, a 40mm Grenade Launcher, and a lower assembly for M16 Rifle.

The former members of Platoon My Phone are scheduled to received the social benefits and cash incentives from the government through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) that will be awarded to them by the DILG on December 21, 2017.
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