Peace and progress
Athletes from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao compete in Palarong Pambansa for more than just medals.
Devon Wong reports.
No matter where the region, the dreams are the same
MISHA-AN K. FLORES, VOLLEYBALL PLAYER FROM ARMM: I want to play volleyball for the UAAP.
During the games, youth from different regions and backgrounds defy the odds and prove they can overcome their personal obstacles.
But the group from ARMM carries a common burden: overcoming the way people look at them, and their home.
JESSE MAE PACULDO, BADMINTON PLAYER FROM ARMM: We hear others laugh at us just because we are from ARMM and it hurts us. People shouldn't look down on those from ARMM because we're people too.
News about the ARMM are stories of conflict and heartbreak... where oftentimes larger political events overshadow the stories of everyday people.
This year’s theme at Palaro is using sports as a road to peace, and it hits closer to home for the delegation from ARMM.
ARNEL BILL S. LUNA, BADMINTON COACH FROM ARMM: Peace plays an important role. And of course with peace, we can attain development and progress.
Coach Arnel says his athletes have greater challenges than finding proper training facilities. In his five years at Palaro, his teams have never brought back a medal. But he’s proud of all his athletes.
We try to not care because the reason we're here at Palaro is for peace, not to fight. We just forgive them.
ARMM athletes come to Palaro to fight perceptions.
All the athletes proudly representing their regions here at Palaro remind us that it doesn’t matter where you come from; but where you’re going; and to never ever judge based on history, but what could be.
Devon Wong, Rappler, Dumaguete
For more stories on Palarong Pambansa, visit Rappler's Palarong Pambansa 2013 microsite.
- with reports by Beverly Linao/Rappler.com