DONATION FOR IPs. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) donates over 400 school supplies and other merchandise to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Davao City. PSC Commissioner Charles Maxey assures Monday (April 25, 2022) they will also hand over donations to IPs in Davao del Norte, Cebu, and Benguet. (Photo courtesy of PSC)

DAVAO CITY – In lieu of holding the annual games for the indigenous peoples (IPs), the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) decided instead to donate 450 sets of handcrafted sets of school supplies to the IP communities through this city's Indigenous People's Mandatory Representative (IPMR).

"We cannot compromise the health and safety of our IP students. So instead of pushing through with the program, we are handing out these customized merchandises to help them with their studies," PSC Commissioner Charles Raymond Maxey said in an interview on Monday.

Since 2018, the PSC has organized the IPs Games in cooperation with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

"PSC aims to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage and tradition of our ancestors through organizing indigenous sports and games in different parts of the country," Maxey said.

Through the PSC's initiative, the House of Representatives approved the Philippine Indigenous Games Preservation Act of 2017 or House Bill No. 8626 in December 2018.

The bill’s author, 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-list Representative Salvador Belaro, has stated that the traditional games are the "best avenue for self-expression and promoting peace, harmony, goodwill, and camaraderie among the indigenous peoples."

The PSC donation is composed of 450 pieces of native tinalak backpacks, 200 pieces of abaca shoulder bags, 400 shirts, 200 pieces of bamboo notebooks, 200 pieces of bamboo ballpens, and 200 pieces of customized towels.

Maxey, who hails from Davao City and is a former official of the city's Sports Development Division, also expressed his gratitude to the current leaders of the office for continuing the tribal games, the legacy of PSC chair William "Butch" Ramirez who chaired the Sports Development Division when it was implemented in 2014.

For his part, Councilor Peg-Buyyahon Rodolfo Mande, the local IPMR, said the donated items will be a great help to the youth members of Klata, Matigsalug, and Ovu-Manovu tribes.

"Our 200 scholars and other members of our tribes will surely be happy to receive these donations," Mande said.

Aside from Davao City, Maxey said they will also make donations to the IPs n Talaingod, Davao del Norte; Cebu, and Benguet. (PNA)