ONE Meralco Foundation (OMF), which has been supporting the Football for Peace in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) and Basuta since 2012, also backed the 2017 Mindanao Peace Games Football Invitational that kicked off at the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) field in Matina, Davao City on Monday, May 22.
This was the first time that OMF has partnered with MPG whose lead convenor is Noli Ayo, also ADDU's university athletics director.
OMF president Jeffrey Tarayao, in a media interview at Cafe Marco, Marco Polo Davao on Monday, said they were impressed by MPG's strong emphasis on coaching and leadership that he consider as one of the most sustainable solutions to raise the culture of football in the country.
"We aspire for that kind of culture as we have seen how football has impacted the lives of young children. We should be able to continue this kind of program especially that Davao City has become a center of leadership, it must also emanate a sense of concern for sports," Tarayao said, adding that football is a good anti-drug campaign that strikes the heart of individual and transform values of the youth.
OMF is backing football programs in Mindanao although it has no operations in the area.
Ayo said the football invitational is a camp-type tournament where games will be played in the mornings, break during noontime, games resume in the afternoon and side activities will be held in the evening.
All regions in Mindanao are represented with ADDU for Davao Region, Ateneo de Zamboanga for Zamboanga Peninsula, Iligan Medical Center College for Northern Mindanao, Surallah Football Club for Soccsksargen, Father Saturnino Urios University of Butuan for Caraga, and Maguindanao United for Armm.
"We are very happy with this partnership with OMF as its aspirations is very similar to us in MPG with its FC Meralco Manila Sparks team not just developing football but also developing the individual as well-rounded person," Ayo said.
Also joining them during the interview were FC Meralco Manila Sparks team captain James Younghusband, team manager Belay Fernando and coach Aris Caslib and MPG backer Mike Reyes of Team Socceroo FC.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on May 23, 2017.
Latest issues of SunStar Davao also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.