‘Sports against extremism’
Lauding the Philippine Sports Commission’s efforts of going closer to the grassroots, United Nation Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive Irakli Khodeli said sports can be an effective tool in the government’s fight against extremism.
“PSC chairman (Butch) Ramirez is promoting it (sports) to counter extremists and violence and promote positive things, for us that’s remarkable and we want to make other countries in the region to pay attention and learn from the Philippines,”said Khodeli, head of Social and Human Sciences unit of Unesco’s Indonesia office in Jakarta.
Khodeli spoke before youth delegates from Southeast Asia, including from the Philippines represented by the juniors athletes from the Muay Thai Association of the Philippines during the first day of the Sports and the SGGs Youth Workshop at the Philspors Arena in Pasig City.
The three-day affair, organized by the Unesco and Philippine Sports Institute under training director Marc Velasco, is laying the groundworks for the implementation of the Kazan Action Plan, an international sports policy framework and a series of actions crafted during a sports summit in Russia last July.
“The Philippines is at the forefront of applying the Kazan action plan, this is not to mitigate what other countries are doing in sport but the type of attention that I find in the Philippines for sport and the power of sport.”
This plan is also directly aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by UNESCO that seeks “to maximize the impact of sport at the community level,” something that Chairman Ramirez has been striving to spread across the country, through grassroots sports development.
“I believe that sports will be the answer to poverty in the Philippines. It is for this reason that the PSC values the Filipino children. We believe that sports will bring a better future for our country,” said Ramirez in his opening statement.
Unesco took interest in the PSC and PSI’s Children’s Games when it was held for the first time in Davao in May this year where participants were culled from groups different faiths like Muslims, Christians and Lumads (indigenous) and played sports under one roof.
“We are the first one to do this and they (Unesco) want to do it also in other countries and we have seen interests in other countries which want to put up something like this. We are the pilot and we’re trying to set up the bar.”
The three-day event hopes to finally come up with a more refined national policy that can be used as a model by other countries.International representatives from the Asia Development Bank and Right to Play were also in the event that will last until Friday.