Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Mindanao traders set eye on sports

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 5, 2011) - Baseball, or at least its Filipino adaptation dubbed as “bulilit” baseball, will highlight the planned sports revival in Zamboanga Peninsula as key business leaders discuss the need to bring back the glory of Philippine baseball.

Edwin Capili, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) vice president for Mindanao, said he is set to embark on a sports development program especially on little baseball.

His interest, he said, was heightened when the topic was brought up with US Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr. during the recent business conference in Pagadian City.

The US envoy was the keynote speaker of the 20th Mindanao Business Conference organized by PCCI in Pagadian City last month. Thomas expressed his interest on baseball and sports development in the region, according to Capili.

“That is why I am buoyed with the prospect of a private sector-led initiative to revive public interest on sports more especially with little league baseball,” capili said.

To start the undertaking, the Dipolog City-based businessman is keen on making it as part of his company’s social responsibility program. “Just to start the ball rolling, of course, there is a need to tie up with other civic organizations and local government units in the region who have similar program or interests,” Capili, who owns a food retail chain Chip’N Lechon Manok and several business ventures, said.

He said the Philippine Jaycees Senate has an existing sports development program that focuses also on baseball. The sports development program of the Philippine Jaycees is headed by Hector Navasero, known for his advocacy for the revival of baseball as a sport in the country.

Baseball was once a popular sport in the Philippines. The likes of Boy Codiñera, Raul Saberon, Rudy Lugay, Ely Baradas were the names that were widely followed during the 1960s and 1970s.

In a phone interview, Navasero confirmed that a program the supports the development of baseball in the country is ongoing.

“We have several activities ongoing like the one scheduled in Jolo this month,” Navasero, who also heads the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA), said.

The local government of Jolo in Sulu province, he said, is set to host a baseball tournament with support from the Philippine Jaycees this month. To redeem Philippine baseball is necessary after years of absence in the national consciousness, the PABA chief intimated.

“We are now looking into the possibility of developing our own baseball like the one I started in Laguna,” he said.

The Bulilit Baseball in Los Banos town in Laguna province, which the PABA chief organized, is active during summer.

Navasero said he welcomes the opportunity to further the cause of little league baseball with some “same-minded people like Capili” in Zamboanga Peninsula.

“Our choice for baseball is no stranger for us in the region,” Capili said as he cited Zamboanga City’s national fame because of the sport.

The Little League Baseball website shows Zamboanga City is among the 49 chartered members in the country. “We have a very close affinity with the sport that is why we should start reviving public interest in it,” he said. (Antonio Manaytay)

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