By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Senate honored on Monday members of the Philippine national arnis team (PNAT) for bagging 20 medals in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Senators adopted on December 9 Senate Resolution No. 240 including other related resolutions congratulating and commending the PNAT for their resounding victory in the international sports event.
The arnis team delivered 14 gold, four silver and two bronze medals, becoming the most bemedaled Philippine team in this year’s SEA Games, according to senators.
The gold medals won represented some 10 percent of the total gold medal haul of the Philippines.
“This win sealed our title as the overall champion [of the 30th SEA Games],” Senate President Vicente Sotto.
“There is no doubt that Philippine National Arnis Team will go down in history as the team that brought arnis back to great acclaim on an international stage, 14 years since the sport was last seen at the SEA Games,” Senator Joel Villanueva, who sponsored the resolution, also said in his speech.
Sen. Sonny Angara, one of the authors of the measure, likewise wrote, “The overwhelming success of the PNAT at the 30th SEA Games is an inspiring testament to the level of excellence that Filipino athletes can achieve, with proper government support.”
The lawmakers said the PNAT not only brought honor to the country, but also boosted local and international interest and appreciation for arnis, which is the national sport and martial arts of the Philippines.
Aside from the PNAT, the Senate also recognized one its members, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, for his role in ensuring the success of the team.
The chamber adopted Senate Resolution No. 236, taking into consideration related measures, commending Zubiri.
Zubiri is president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF), the national sports association for arnis. He was also a gold medalist in the Arnis World Championship of the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation in 1989.