• Giving back thru football

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    ROMY P. MARIÑAS

    ROMY P. MARIÑAS

    Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is now practiced even by concerned groups that remotely resemble multinational corporations, or MNCs, the first business enterprises to partner for the most part with marginalized communities in many parts of the world to prove that they have a “conscience.”

    One such group is the Asian Football Confederation Social Responsibility Commission, the governing body for the “beautiful game” in the region, which effects its own brand of CSR through (what else?) but futbol.

    A fairly recent creation of the confederation, the commission this year showed that it cares through the AFC Village, a housing project for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda that left more than 6,000 dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced in November 2013.

    The project in Tacloban City (Leyte), which bore the brunt of the typhoon’s fury, does not stop in the more than two-dozen houses built in the village.

    In a tie-up with the AFC Social Responsibility Commission, One Word Play Project, or OWPP, which “believes in the importance of play for kids in deprived areas,” donated ultra durable footballs to poor children who call the AFC Village home.

    The village does have a football pitch, also thanks to the Pedrosa family that had donated it, apart from the land itself where the houses of the beneficiaries stand.

    In the past three years, OWPP has given away for free 1.5 million ultra durable footballs to as many and mostly young recipients, with 430,000 distributed in Asia alone.

    And in the past two years, it has donated 169, 000 such footballs to the 47 members of the Asian Football Confederation.

    Among the local companies that consider giving back—through football—are Alaska, Meralco, Globe Telecom, LBC and DHL.

    Alaska hold the Alaska Football Cup, regarded as the country’s biggest event for children of various ages.

    In its 20th edition that concluded recently at the Alabang Country Club grounds last week, 410 teams and more than 6,000 football players took part.

    Meralco gives CSR a kick thru One Meralco Foundation, the power firm’s social development arm, which together with Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club, teamed up with the Philippine Marine Corps in Football for Peace, a sports initiative focused on “developing and honing football skills and instilling values of discipline, camaraderie, teamwork and sportsmanship.”

    Globe Telecom’s grassroots push for finding young football talents is spearheaded by Chieffy Caligdong, a member of the Philippine national football team—the Azkals—who has retired after serving flag and country admirably.

    LBC pays it forward by making club football in the country more popular, fielding its Kaya Football Club in the United Football League, the country’s top-tier tournament sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation.

    DHL was a major sponsor of Field of Hope Football Games, which was recently organized by the non-profit Futkal Inc. that aims to promote education and development among the youth through football.

    The initiative was specifically meant to help children recover from the trauma of experiencing Yolanda.

    Once derided as “window dressing” and “attempt to preempt role of governments as a watchdog over powerful MNCs,” Corporate Social Responsibility—at least when given real meaning through football—seemed to have gained acceptance as a real effort on the part of corporates and non-corporates alike to make a difference in the lives of future Azkals.

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