By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. wants to keep children away from violence and develop new athletes who would bring honor to the country.
The former senator on Monday voiced alarm by reports that some 1.8 million youth in Mindanao were severely affected by the armed conflict in the region.
Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio pledged to ramp up sports programs and other productive activities if their tandem wins in 2022.
"Kawawa ang mga batang ito, kaya nais namin palakasin ang isports sa kanilang lugar (These children are pitiful, that's why we went to strengthen sports [programs] in their area)," said the BBM-Sara UniTeam.
They were reacting to a report by Save the Children Philippines that in 2019, some 1.8 million young people from Mindanao were severely affected by violence.
The report added that many young people were injured and suffered psychological stress as a result of the conflicts, even as many of them learned how to use guns at a very young age.
In a statement, Marcos urged Mindanao's young people "to redirect their attention and be active participants in sports development, physical fitness, social and cultural programs."
He believes that the region can be a rich source of world-class athletes to follow the likes of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, and boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial, who brought honor to the country during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Marcos said that aside from peace and order programs, the government should also launch projects for the youth to help them focus their attention on constructive activities.
"'Yun naman talaga dapat, sports at pag-aaral ang dapat na napagtutuunan nila (That's how it should be, they must pay attention to sports and their studies)," they added.
The tandem also said that it will create a super body exclusively dedicated to boosting grassroots sports programs in Mindanao and the building of sports facilities such as basketball courts, soccer fields and gymnasiums.