Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. (PNA file photo)

DAVAO CITY -- In a bid to relive the glory years of Southern Philippines producing sporting stars, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will organize the first-ever Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan (MinSuPala) Games.

"We would like to produce sports stars like sprinter Mona Sulaiman of Maguindanao, swimmers Jairula Jaitulla, and Parsons Nabiula of Tawi-Tawi," said MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in a statement Thursday.

Piñol said Badjao-Sama swimmers, Maguindanao sprinters, Manobo long-distance runners, and Tausug spikers will be among the indigenous sports talents who will see action in the MinSuPala Games, set to be held next year in Davao City.

“I believe that Mindanao has a rich reservoir of sports talents which have largely been undiscovered owing mainly to the bias against indigenous athletes”, he added.

The MinDA official described the MinSuPala Games as a first step in the institutional sports development program for the Southern Philippines, aimed at discovering and developing indigenous talents in swimming, track and field, volleyball and other non-contact sports.

He said Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez has pledged support for the MinSuPala Games.

“With the modern sports facilities established by the PSC in Davao City, the dream of producing sports stars from among the different indigenous tribes of the South is not farfetched," Piñol said.

The Games will be held in cooperation with the governors and mayors of Mindanao and Palawan, with each province participating in selected sports disciplines. (PNA)