BARMM cites Muslim kid chess wizard, offers support

By Ali G. Macabalang


The fledgling regional autonomous government through its interim parliament has cited 10-year old Al-Basher “Basty” Buto for consistently bringing honor to the Bangsamoro community and the country as whole in local and global chess competitions, and offered sustainable supports to enhance his rare competence.

The citation came via Resolution No. 356 filed on Tuesday at the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament by lawyer Rasol Mitmug Jr, a compatriot of the prospected youngest Filipino Master in the Meranao tribe, amid reports about the kid’s preparations to represent the country to a 140-nation tourney in Georgia, USA on Dec. 11.

Fellow Parliament Members Laisa Alamia, Suharto Ambolodto, Baintan Adil Ampatuan, Amilbahar Mawallil, Rasul Ismael and Don Mustapha Loong co-authored the resolution, which MP Mitmug crafted and filed in apparent reaction to public clamor for higher authorities recognition of and support to the Buto’s stride in bringing honor to the nation.

MP Mitmug has cited attributions to Buto’s earlier feats in local and international chess competitions heralded since 2017 by prominent mainstream media networks, including the Aljazeera, the defunct ABS-CBN, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, among others.

Buto who has been participating in chess tournaments since the age of five, and already accomplished impressive feats, such as scoring gold in the 13th Asian Schools Chess Championship in China and capturing three individual and two team gold medals for the overall crown in the 8th Asean Age Group Chess Championship in Malaysia in 2017, the resolution said, citing published reports.

He also won a trophy at the National Age Group Chess Championship in Cebu in 2017, added the resolution, a copy of which was shared by the Philippine Muslim Today Wednesday night.

Al-Basher is one of three chess enthusiast-children of Jamellah and Bong Buto, a Meranao couple that hailed from the war-torn Marawi City and nearby Ditsaan-Ramain town in Lanao del Sur. The Buto family is reportedly engaged in small-time trade in Metro Manila and living in Cainta, Rizal.

He received no formal training, other than from his uncle Abdul Rahman Buto, underwent self-harnessing through practicing chess and beating older players at sidewalk games in Quiapo, Manila, Mitmug’s resolution said.

Al-Basher’s feat in China was heralded by the Philippines Sports Writers Association (PSWA) through its members’ respective media outlets, once of which was titled “Greatness from Quiapo sidewalk to China.”

Basty, as the boy is fondly called by his parents, formed part of the Philippine Team to the Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2020 Fide Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid Championships. The team included 15 other Filipino players like International Master (IM) Daniel Quizon, woman international master Kylen Mordido, Jerlyn Mae San Diego and Franiel Magpily, coached by First Asian Grandmaster Eugene Torre, MP Mitmug said in his resolution.

The PSWA reportedly featured Al-Basher’s feats and potentials to global chess prestige, with a hope for recognition by higher government authorities like President Duterte. The stride had initially gained the attention of Filipino boxing legend-turned-Senator Manny Pacquiao, who reportedly awarded the kid wizard cash compliments.

A group of advocates for Bangsamoro Community outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BCBAR) presided by Luzon-based Rasdy D. Magangcong posted in Facebook pages some of Al-Basher’s narrative tributes, which the Philippine Muslim Today followed-uplately with a story that caught attention from BARMM authorities.

BCOBAR member Salman “Ranaw” Ali furnished the PMT with data about Al-Basher’s stride as prospect player-contestant in the age group category of the 140-nation Chess tournament set this coming Dec. 11 in Georgia, USA.

MP Mitmug in his resolution revealed a sort of financial woes preventing Al-Basher’s parents from accompanying their son personally in chess competitions in distant places and abroad.

 “His (Al-Basher’s) father has already admitted to selling their house to support his training and other necessary expenses,” Mitmug said, as he proposed for sustained technical and logistic supports from the BARMM bureaucracy, through the Bangsamoro Youth Commission and the Bangsamoro Sports Commission for the kid’s strides. (AGM)

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