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Philippine delegation joins the 2023 World Police and Fire Games in Winnipeg

by Lucille Nolasco-Garrido


The athletes march to Canada Life for the opening ceremonies.
Ray Argulla, President of Bulacan Association and one of the local welcome organizers (in red shorts) marches with the Filipino athletes

On Friday, July 28, the 2023 World Police and Fire Games officially opened in Winnipeg.

Among the delegates to the Olympic-style event are members and officers of the Philippine National Police.

The 70-strong contingent joined the short parade from RBC Convention Centre to Canada Life Centre for the opening ceremony.

Team Philippines is led by Lt. Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia, who is currently the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, the second highest position in the 227,000-strong police force.

The Philippine contingent will be participating in about 11 events during the 10-day games, including basketball, volleyball, badminton, karate, and darts.

Day one saw the PNP’s Team Pilipinas Puso win their first volleyball game against Team Calgary, 2-0.

“Their players might be much bigger than us, but we persevered and won!”said team captain, Police Master Sergeant Kristine Fritz Ramos. She will also compete in basketball and karate.

This is Ramos’ third WPFG. She first joined the games held in Chengdu, China in 2019 and then in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2022. But this year is special, she said. During an interview with Lucille Nolasco-Garrido on Afternoon Pasada on 92.7 FM CKJS, Ramos said this is the first time they were warmly welcomed by the Filipino community where the games are being held. From the warm welcome by kababayans at the airport, help with transportation, accommodation, and other assistance, they are very grateful for the support.

Winnipegger Kenneth Salazar is among the WPFG volunteers who has been welcoming delegates at the airport and providing them transportation and other support. Salazar also initiated a community effort to hold a testimonial welcome dinner for all the PNP members and officers at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba on July 31.

“If we can welcome visiting artists from the Philippines, why not our police and our frontliners?” Salazar said.

Around 8,500 athletes are expected to participate in 63 athletic events. The Olympic-style games is considered the largest ever sporting event to be held in Manitoba and will run from July 28-August 6, 2023.

Photo credits: Ray Forbes Argulla and Lucille Nolasco-Garrido