The City Schools Divisions of Zamboanga and Isabela emerged as champions in the recently concluded Regional Sports Fest for the big and small schools division categories, respectively.

The three-day sports competition last September 7-9 in Isabela City, Basilan was participated by teams from the Provincial Schools Divisions of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and from the City Schools Divisions of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, Isabela and Zamboanga. The Department of Education Regional Office has its own team.

A total of 700 players and officials registered for the sports fest.

Program Supervisor Catalina S. Nabi of the Isabela City Schools Division said the different sports events are basketball, volleyball, softball, dart, chess, table tennis, badminton, and tennis. Also included are singing and tango dancing competitions.

In an interview, DepEd-IX Regional Director Walter O. Albos confirmed that only the teaching and non-teaching personnel of the different schools divisions are participants in the sports fest.

“Our aim here is primarily not for winning titles in sports events, but for attaining sound body and mind of our personnel in the Department,” Albos said.

“Our first sports fest was conducted in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. The second one was in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte; and this time, here in Isabela City, Basilan,” Albos recounted.

Almost all of the teacher-athletes revealed that they are “first-timers” in Basilan.

Some of them expressed reservations in coming to Basilan primarily due to the peace and order news stories emanating from the province.

However, “things are quite different when you are in Basilan yourself,” they said.

Elbert Torres, principal of Mate Elementary School in Dulop, Dumingag, Zambonaga del Sur, found Basilan peaceful.

He said he loves joining the sports fest wherever it is held because it is an opportunity to break the monotony of routine work and to see new places.

“Aside from sweating out in the sports, I got the change meet old friends and classmates, and have new friends, too,” Torres, who was also with his public school teacher wife, said.

At the conclusion of the sports fest, runners-up in the big schools division category were Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Sur. In the small schools division category, runners-up were the Pagadian City, DedEd Regional Office, Dapitan City and Dipolog City.

“We are doubly thankful for the City Government of Isabela for their special participation in the sports events, and this for hosting this event itself. In gratitude, all of us who came here will be your ambassadors of will in our respective places,” Albos said.

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