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Empowering the youth through sports

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“In these events, I make sure to
promote the government’s 3-point campaign against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality.”

For as long as we can remember, sports has always played an important role in every society. Aside from strengthening social ties, sports channels the collective energy of the community and harnesses it towards bayanihan and nation-building. As former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once said: “Sports is a universal language. At its best it can bring people together, no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status.”

Engaging in sports is instrumental for youth empowerment through its numerous benefits.

First, it promotes good health and physical fitness as it encourages the youth to keep an active lifestyle. Second, it provides an outlet for the youth to spend their free time and relieve boredom, keeping them away from destructive vices, crime and illegal drugs. Lastly, it instills discipline, hard work and excellence, which prepares the youth to become successful and productive individuals in the future.

President Duterte understands the positive benefits of sports participation. During the opening of the 2018 Philippine National Games (PNG) last May 19 at the Cebu City Sports Center, he urged top sports officials, particularly the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), to promote and strengthen sports programs nationwide. In fact, he has doubled the prizes for the top five performing Local Government Units (LGU) in the National Games to further encourage the development of our athletes.

As his special assistant, I am driven by the same passion for sports development for our countrymen, especially the youth. During the 2018 Palarong Pambasa in Ilocos, I urged our young athletes to continue striving for excellence in sports and stay away from illegal drugs and criminality. I expressed the same sentiments during my visit to the 2018 Philippine National Games in Cebu City where I interacted with some of the athletes and swapped two pairs of sports shoes as part of my program, “Sapatos ni SAP, Tsinelas Ka Swap.”

I also take part in various sports activities of our local governments whenever I am invited.

In these events, I make sure to promote the government’s 3-point campaign against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality. In a May 27 benefit game in Malabon, we entertained people with a showdown of Filipino basketball superstars and homegrown talents. A relief goods distribution and the inspirational program “Bangon Catmon” were also held to help and support the fire victims of Catmon, Malabon City.

Our team, the Malacañang-PSC Kamao, played in the charity basketball league, UNTV Public Servants Cup 2018, where we finished 1st runner up. We donated our winnings to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center–Cancer Ward. I likewise joined the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) to promote the government’s advocacies and local basketball.

The country will also be hosting several events such as the Southeast Asian Games in 2019 and the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023, which only shows the trust given to us by the international sporting community. These events will not just benefit the economy, they also serve to inspire us to continue developing our sports program so that our young athletes can realize their full potential.

And we have only started. The coming months and years will be an exciting time for Philippine sports. The government and all concerned agencies have been working together to prepare our athletes for victory in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Let us support our athletes so the country can finally secure our first-ever gold medal!

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Blast from the past: On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea which started the Korean War. More than a thousand Filipino troops under the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea or PEFTOK arrived later that year as part of the United Nations forces.

When President Duterte and I visited South Korea last June, we gave honor to the many Filipino and other soldiers who died during that war. It is our hope that such violent conflict will not happen again and that the present efforts towards lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula will bear fruit and lead to the upliftment of the lives of its inhabitants and the rest of the peoples of the world.

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