Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Chairman and President of Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, led the opening of the ASEAN Arnis Expo at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
An initiative of the Philippine Sports Commission in partnership with PEKAF, the expo is an avenue for the Philippines to promote Arnis among ASEAN member states. It was developed in accordance with the activities of the nation as indicated in the ASEAN Five-Year Work Plan on Sports (2016–2020).
Zubiri, who authored and sponsored Republic Act 9850, an Act Declaring Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport, welcomed the opportunity to meet and engage with the sports delegates from Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Three of these nations—Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam—are set to compete along with the Philippines in the Arnis events of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) to be held in December 2019.
In preparation for the SEA Games, Zubiri also participated in the SEA Games – Team Philippines Chef de Mission Meeting. Held on the same day, the meeting gathered officials from participating National Sports Associations (NSAs) to update on the country’s preparations for the 30th SEA Games and to thresh-out the problems of the different NSAs. Addressing the need for an emergency medical response team, Zubiri committed to request for ambulance units and volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross, of which he is Vice Chairman.
He expressed his confidence and support for PSC Chairman and Team Philippines Chef de Mission William “Butch” Ramirez and urged other NSAs to work together to achieve the common goal of being overall champions in the SEA Games.