Press Release
January 14, 2017

PSC, Zubiri conduct first National Arnis Congress

Arnis organizations formed a national unified organization, with over 270 Grand Masters and Masters from clubs, associations, federations and confederations from all over the country and represnting all major Arnis styles, during the First National Arnis Congress hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission recently.

Senator Zubiri stressed his aim that the Arnis Congress shall have "No jealousy, no discrimination; only support and guidance," as it promotes Arnis here and abroad. The Congress brought together the GMs and Masters representing major styles. Present were Doce Pares, Balintawak, Modern Arnis Tapi Tapi International, Kalis Illustrissimo, Lightning, PekiteTersia, Bakbakan, Abaniko Tres Puntas, Lightning Scientific Arnis, Dekite Tersia, Lameco, Dugukan, Amara Arkanis, Yawyan, Robas Ochotiros, Das Dagooc System, Cacoy Doce Pares, Makap, Tapado, Rapido Realismo Kali, Leskas, Palis Sagasa, Naraphil, Praktikali, Kamao, Buena Mano, Deaap, Sundumog Kali, IMASP, Arnis Gavileño System, Wotbag, among others. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Office of Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 9850 (An Act Declaring Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines) hosted the Arnis Congress which unanimously selected Zubiri as interim president of a 15-man Board whose members shall be announced within 15 days. Zubiri will hold the position from six to 12 months only within which the officials and Board members shall be officially selected democratically.

Among the tasks of the national unified organization are:

drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. A. 9850;

election of officers, members of the Board and Chairman;

creation of a welfare fund;

building a monument at the Rizal Park depicting arnis;

 holding Arnis competitions here and abroad;

supporting intensive Arnis programs in schools and grassroots organizations; and,

setting up a database of practitioners, judges, instructors, coaches and other stakeholders, both living and deceased.

PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez said the PSC will include arnis in the coming South East Asian Games (SEA Games) to be hosted by the Philippines in 2019. Arnis was last included in the SEA Games in 2005. The Department of Education (DepEd) represented by Cesar Abalon, head of the DepEd National Sports Program, stressed that Arnis has been included as a demonstration sport in 2006 at the Palarong Pambansa, the country's school sports program for all schools, public and private. In 2007, Arnis became a regular sport included in all Palaro. The DepEd has crafted its own manuals on coaching and officiating and organized a national Arnis teachers association with chapters in all regions.

Grand Master Rene Tongson said the Philippines has a lot of catching up to do compared with other countries that have already embraced Arnis as a martial art and sport. He said Arnis is employed by various police and military forces notably in Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany that have extensive curricula on arnis and where Filipino Grand Masters trained police and intelligence units. Arnis practitioners are active in 117 countries, including Austria, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Guatemala, Italy, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland, and countries in the Middle East.

Congressman Monsour Del Rosario, Secretary-General of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, expressed his full support to the objectives and activities of the Arnis Congress and announced projects to fully document Arnis history and support its propagation nationwide in partnership with the newly formed national unified organization.

World-renowned GM of Doce Pares Lawyer Dionisio "Diony" Cañete, reiterated that he "will promote Arnis and the Philippines' supremacy in Arnis through the consistent holding of local and international fights" having successfully hosted the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation championship in Cebu early this year.

Arnis demonstrations are regularly held at the Chinese Garden, Rizal Park every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine. Arnis is also known as Eskrima, Kali, Garrote and other names including, but not limited to, Panandata (Tagalog), Pagkalikali (Ibanag), Kabaraon and Kalirongan (Pangasinan), Kaliradman (Bisaya), Didja (Ilocano).

Zubiri, the World Champion in Arnis for 1988-91, said he will "make sure that no one should be left behind, that no student should be disallowed from joining competitions, that no organization, or school, should be discriminated from financial assistance from government or by the unified organization, and that no Grand Master, past or present, will ever be forgotten."

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