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PSC inks MOA with Batang Pinoy qualifying hosts

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MANILA — The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has announced the local government units (LGUs), which will host the qualifying rounds of this year’s Batang Pinoy, a national competition for athletes under 15 years old.

The Mindanao qualifying leg will take place in Davao del Norte from February 2 to 9, to be followed by the Visayas qualifying leg in Iloilo City from February 23 to March 2, and the Luzon qualifying leg in Ilagan City, Isabela from March 16 to 23.

More than 8,000 athletes have confirmed their participation in the qualifying legs as of Friday.

PSC Chairman William Ramirez revealed that there was a plan to terminate the Batang Pinoy and just concentrate on the Palarong Pambansa but the move was criticized.

“Sabi nila, ituloy (They say we should push through) so we will continue to hold the Batang Pinoy, which is the heart and soul of the Children’s Games going to the Palarong Pambansa. I am happy that we have not terminated Executive Order No. 44,” Ramirez said in a press conference at the PSC building on Friday.

He later signed a memorandum of agreement with the representatives of the three LGUs.

The Batang Pinoy was established through EO No. 44 which was signed by then President Joseph Estrada on Dec. 2, 1998.

Bacolod City hosted the inaugural staging in 1999.

Last year, the Batang Pinoy National Finals was held in Baguio City.

“We would like to extend our appreciation to the Philippine Sports Commission for considering the city of Ilagan as the host LGU (local government unit) for the Luzon qualifying of the Batang Pinoy. The city government is giving its full support to this tournament,” Ilagan City General Services Office official Ricky Laggui said.

Laggui was accompanied by City Information Officer Paul Bacungan, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president Nicole Balingao and Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) regional director Drolly Carvajal.

Laggui said that aside from the Batang Pinoy qualifying leg, the city will also host the prestigious Philippine Open and the Southeast Asia Youth Championships, which are both organized by PATAFA, and the Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Association (CVRAA).

Also present were Iloilo City sports coordinator Moises Salomon and Davao del Norte sports and youth development department head Giovanni Gulanes.

Being considered to host the Batang Pinoy National Finals are Tagbilaran City in Bohol and Ormoc City.

Meanwhile, Jonjon Fortaleza, head of the Batang Pinoy national secretariat, said all the host LGUs will receive PHP15 million worth of sports equipment. (PNA)