February 19, 2021
As schools and organized sports are largely at a standstill because of global efforts to contain COVID-19, Japan's professional baseball team Yomiuri Giants and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched last week a virtual training for youth athletes in Mindanao.
The activity was held with the Department of Education Davao City, Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education - Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Bangsamoro Sports Commission, Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku, and Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School.
Yomiuri Giants is one of the oldest professional baseball teams based in Tokyo and has won in about 22 Japan series championships. This is the second year that Japan's Yomiuri Giants and JICA co-organized a baseball training, although training this year was conducted via Zoom. Around 10 schools and about 250 students joined the virtual training along with their coaches and parents. While most of the participants came from the Davao region, there were also participants from BARMM and Region 12.
"The activity complements our peace building efforts in Mindanao, assuring our counterparts of JICA's support in their COVID-19 recovery. Further, the pandemic has forced students to study through remote learning. This is also particularly hard for student athletes so hopefully, the virtual training with Yomiuri Giants will help them remain connected with other people while extending their ability to learn skills from a professional baseball team," said JICA Chief Representative AZUKIZAWA Eigo.
As part of the activity, JICA Philippine Office also held an online program on good personal hygiene habits such as washing of hands to prevent community spread of the disease.
JICA's support in sports and development supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) areas such as social inclusion and empowerment of youth, women, individuals and communities. JICA is also part of the steering committee of Japan's Sports for Tomorrow, a joint program of the public and private sectors to promote the value of sports and Olympic and Paralympic Movement to people worldwide.
In Mindanao, JICA actively supports peace and development efforts including capacity building, community development, good governance, infrastructure building, and industry development.