The Children’s Games, which was revived in Davao City last May at a time when the attack on Marawi City erupted, sparked the interest of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to forge a partnership with the Philippine Sports Com-mission (PSC) and the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) in making the Sports for Peace program an effective and powerful tool not just for values formation but also as a strong vehicle for development and peace.
The Children’s Games attracted over 1,000 Mus-lim, Christian and Lumad children 12 years old and below who are students of public elementary schools and out-of-school youth from some 20 of the city’s 180 barangays.
Unesco cited the Phi-lippines as the first to implement a program that meets major themes and objectives of an agreement that has yet to be signed when PSC Chair William “Butch” Ramirez presents the Children’s Games to the 6th International Confe-rence of Ministers and Senior Officials Respon-sible for Physical Education and Sport in Kazan, Russia next week.
Ramirez, who was invited to the conference, was elated by the interest and attention of Unesco on the Children’s Games. Speaking before some 50 PSI coordinators all over the country in a two-day meeting at the PhilSports Complex Audio-Visual Room in Pasig City, he reiterated PSC and PSI’s direction on grassroots sports development.
“The children is our focus, they are the real gold and not ones in the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games nor the Olympics because they are the future leaders and peacemakers of the country. When children play, humanity celebrates,” the PSC chief said.
PSI national training director Marc Edward Velasco and deputy training director Henry Daut, who is in charge of grassroots sports, met with Unesco consultant Caroline Baxter Tresise here Thursday. The latter was upbeat about working together with PSC and PSI on the project as they lead grass-roots initiatives among out-of-school children in the country.
Velasco said, “We are the first government unit around the world to partner with Unesco. We are very excited about this endea-vor.”
He also said that while there are other Children’s Games initiated by non-government units (NGOs) in other countries, only Philippines has a Children’s Games program initiated by a government agency through the PSC. PSI