25 September 2013

Building Peace through Sports - Oxfam's Football Festival '#iScore4Peace' in the Bangsamoro

Davao City, Philippines (September 21, 2013) 548 kids, from 57 youth-based communities, pulled  out  their  game face, gears  and passion on as they all came together to join Oxfam in the Philippines' "#iScore4Peace in the Bangsamoro: A Grassroots Children Football Festival, in celebration of the International Day of Peace," held at the Tionko Field and Grounds.
The young participants whose ages range from 6-14 years old, came from orphanages, center for abused girls, urban poor communities, public schools and some neighbouring municipalities of Davao City.  There were also teams composed of Muslims, including an all-women Muslim team who played in the girls’ division.
Hyenas Football Club (Hyenas FC), who joined the most number of divisions (5 out of 7) during the friendly football competition, is a football club initiated by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) as pre-emptive measures against youth crime or juvenile delinquency. Almost half of the composition of the club is comprised of out-of-school youths while the other half is composed of children from public schools.  In an interview, Hyenas FC assistant coach Rex Rodriguez, divulged that the team-building efforts have become really close to the children’s heart as they have all jumped from one obstacle to the other - from acquiring regular practice space for the children to parents' and CIDG staff contributing for tournament transportation, out of their own pockets.  All these challenges, however, didn't hamper their passion for the game.   

Meanwhile, Zonta FC, comprising Muslim players from all 7 Islam tribes in Davao, was convened in 1990 by Mr. Melvin Mon.  He said that the #iScore4Peace in the Bangsamoro football competition taught all players to play for cooperation, teamwork and much needed tolerance. 

Mintal Interage, led by its coach, Danny Boy Fernandez, a teacher from Mintal Comprehensive High School, is solely composed of children from public schools located in the southern part of Davao City. The football club was formed as a joint community service by the barangay officials and public school teachers in the aforementioned areas.  Black Knights FC, on the other hand, is comprised of public school students from the downtown area of the city. Black Knights is led by Coach Kitoy Canton.  

"When children play football, there is no religion, no tribes, no politics, no war. There is just peace and football” said Mr. Richard "Ebong" Joson, Marketing and Communications Head of the Philippine Football Federation, who graced the event as the football festival's guest of honor. "And through football, the children learn the values of respect, tolerance, unity and brotherhood; values that we all need to honor and exercise to pursue our hope for true and lasting peace. It is for this very reason that is such a privilege to be part of #iScore4Peace in the Bangsamoro and represent the Philippine Football Federation." He added. 

"Football is quite the extraordinary sport, as it has the ability to move people and unite communities by teaching them the sense of community and the values of teamwork, fair play, respect and solidarity while striving for a common goal, both on and off  the pitch.” said Lyca Sarenas of Oxfam in the Philippines. 

Sarenas added, "With #iScore4Peace in the Bangsamoro, we harnessed the power of football and, at the same time, the power of social media, to foster the spirit of Peace Day. This campaign brought together grassroots youth communities, united young people in celebrating peace and, broadened the campaign reach on the Bangsamoro Peace Process to the youth, their guardians and their families."  

The event was also graced by Erwin Protacio, General Secretary of the Davao Football Association.
The #iScore4Peace in the Bangsamoro was organized by Oxfam, an international organization working to build a future free from the injustice of poverty in 94 countries worldwide.
Game results for September 21's #iScore4Peace in the Bangsamoro Football Festival are as follows: 

6 Under Mixed Division  

Champion - Crocs FC 
1st Runner-up - Hyenas FC
2nd Runner-up - Mintal Inter-age

8 Under Mixed Division

Champion - Davao Eagles 
1st Runner-up - Hyenas FC 
2nd Runner-up - Crocs FC 

10 Under Mixed Division 

Champion - Crocs FC 
1st Runner-up - Mintal Inter-age
2nd Runner-up - Black Knights

12 Under Girls Division

Champion - Dragonites
1st Runner-up - Southpoint 
2nd Runner-up - Mabini E/S 

12 Under Boys Division

Champion - Black Knights 
1st Runner-up - Hyenas
2nd Runner-up - AL Navarro E/S

14 Under Girls Division

Champion - Dragonites 
1st Runner-up - Mintal Inter-age 
2nd Runner-up - Indangan FC

14 Under Boys Division

Champion - Mintal Inter-age 
1st Runner-up - Black Knights 
2nd Runner-up - AL Navarro H/S 

OXFAM website

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