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House panel OKs bill promoting Pinoy games

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
House panel OKs bill promoting Pinoy games
Karera sa Sako is among nine indigenous Philippine games which a consolidated bill in the House of Representatives seeks to protect and promote in the country.
Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on youth and sports development has approved a consolidated bill that seeks to protect and promote the indigenous games of the country.

Based on a committee report signed by panel chair and Isabela 6th district Rep. Faustino Dy III and committee on appropriations chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co, the measure shall promote nine indigenous Philippine games: bunong braso, ginnuyudan, hilahang lubid, kadang-kadang, karera sa sako, luksong-tinik, patintero, syato and unggoy-unggoyan.

“These include games played by the indigenous communities, usually accompanied by indigenous materials and implements, in observance of indigenous people’s rituals, celebration of cultural festivals, expression of socialization, entertainment and competition,” the report read.

The bill shall mandate the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in coordination with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the local government units (LGUs) to conduct annual regional and national indigenous sports competitions to promote the games.

The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education shall also include indigenous games as part of the curriculum and other appropriate school activities in basic and higher education and in the production of documentaries and other materials.

The bill provides for the inclusion of indigenous games as regular demonstration sports in the Palarong Pambansa and in other national sports events.

Obesity

Amid this development, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa yesterday said children’s disinterest in outdoor games has contributed greatly to the rise of childhood obesity in the country.

Herbosa added that instead of engaging in physical activities, kids nowadays are always in front of their computers playing games or are hooked on other gadgets.

“I’ve been talking to pediatricians, child specialists and (they say) there are two factors (to this childhood obesity): one is that most children now are not into playing outdoor or street games anymore. They are just sitting and playing computer games,” he said in a radio interview.

Apart from the lack of physical activity, the health chief noted that children consume too much sugary drinks and junk food as well as those containing trans fats.

“It is just a good thing that the use of trans fats by food manufacturers is now prohibited, so we are hoping that contents of the fast food we’ve been eating will be modified,” he said.

He added that there are ways to check if a child is obese.

“We have what we call growth pattern especially among children, the most common is the weight and height, or what is called the body mass index (BMI),” the health chief said.

“If you will check on the internet, you just have to type BMI (body mass index) and you will see under what category a child or person falls to be called obese. That is what should be monitored, especially in the case of a growing child,” he added.

The BMI refers to a person’s weight in kilograms or pounds divided by the square of height in meters or feet. A high BMI can indicate high body fatness.

“Our finding is that if a child during childhood was obese, when they reach the age of 30, they can suffer from heart attack, stroke and develop non-communicable diseases,” Herbosa said.

He expressed alarm over too much consumption of junk food and sweetened beverages, especially by children.

“It could lead to diabetes, kidney disease, among other illnesses,” Herbosa said.

He stressed that it would be good to impose excise taxes on particular products that are not beneficial to one’s health.

“I agree to that because the government will also be able to collect funds that can be utilized for social services,” Herbosa said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said the measure could help provide additional funding for the country’s Universal Health Care (UHC) program.

The DOH said it supports any measure that may provide additional money that can significantly help the agency in the implementation of the UHC Act.

At the same time, the DOH said that imposing a health tax or excise tax on unhealthy food and beverages will help reduce the burden of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.

Based on data released by the United Nations Children’s Fund last March, overweight rates among children aged five to 10 years old and 10 to 19 years old increased significantly last year compared with the rates in 2019 – from 10.4 percent to 14 percent and from 10.7 percent to 13 percent, respectively. — Rhodina Villanueva

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