By Jerry E. Esplanada
"TWO thumbs up."
No less than numbers specialists from three Asian countries have endorsed Davao City as host of next week's 2017 International Teenagers Mathematics Olympiad (ITMO).
Referring to Dr. Sun Wen Hsien, Dr. Pramote Kajornpai and Dr. Elvira, who are from Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia, respectively, Dr. Simon Chua, Mathematics Trainers' Guild Phils. )MTG) chief operating officer and co-founder, said "they all liked Davao" during their recent visit to the Southern Philippines city.
"They're impressed with MTG preparations for the international event," scheduled for November 8 to 12 at the Waterfront Insular and Grand Regal hotels.
During an ocular inspection, "our guests visited, among others, the contest venues, as well as Malagoos Village where a durian candies factory and a native chocolate demonstration unit are based," Chua also said.
The 600-plus ITMO contestants and other delegates from over 20 countries are scheduled to visit these and other tourist attractions during their sightseeing tour of Davao City, hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Young numbers aces from the following countries are expected to take part in this year's ITMO, which was first held in Fuzhou, China in 2003 (when it was still called the Asian Inter-Cities Mathematics Olympiad, or AITMO): Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Brunei Darussalam, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mexico, Nepal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.
Two years ago, Penang, Malaysia hosted the 2015 ITMO.
Dr. Isidro Aguilar, MTG president. said they were "delighted that the 2017 ITMO will be held in President Duterte's hometown."
He thanked the "Davao City government and its residents for their full support to the contest," which he noted "aims to foster friendship among young mathematics enthusiasts in the world, as well as showcase the beauty of Davao City and the famed Filipino hospitality."
A check with the ITMO primer disclosed that the competition aims to "provide young students the opportunity to communicate mathematical ideas and reasoning through competition, present an avenue for mathematical interaction and improve students' thinking skills through games and problem solving."
Pramote, adviser of the Basic Education Commission of the Thai Ministry of Education, expressed confidence that "with MTG organizing this year's ITMO, the contest will surely be a huge success like the other international competitions it conducted in the past." The Philippines had earlier hosted seven international math contests, like the IMCs in Bohol and Iloilo and International Math and Science Olympiad editions in Cavite and Camarines Sur.
MTG is holding the ITMO in coordination with the Department of Education and Department of Science and Technology under the supervision of the International Mathematics Competition Executive Board.
"We're looking forward to a well-organized and coordinated ITMO," said Pramote.
When interviewed, he also cited MTG for its "commitment to promote excellence in math education and training."
At the same time, Pramote hailed Dr. Chua for his "math-related contributions, helping Thailand meet the same worthy goal."