600 Footballers Played Against
Corruption in Freedom Cup
“The Freedom Cup raised our awareness on the ‘i
am free from corruption’ advocacy. As players,
we were able to appreciate freedom more. And we had fun through
football. It was an excellent tournament!,” exclaimed Malditas
team captain Marielle Benitez, whose team participated in the
Freedom Cup at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman,
Quezon City on 22 April 2012.
Malditas is the Philippine National Women’s Football Team.
They were the guest team at the Freedom Cup and they were given
recognition as Ambassadors of Freedom through Football. More than
50 teams with 600 players participated in the tournament, most
of whom wore ‘i am free from corruption’ jerseys during
the tournament – including the Malditas.
The winning teams were:
10 and Under
Rotary Club of
The Freedom Cup was organized to promote “freedom from
corruption” by highlighting a core value in football
which is “Fair Play.” As one of the most popular sports
mantra around the world, “Fair Play”
espouses equal opportunities and winning without cheating; respect
for others—opponents, teammates, officials; and respect for
the rules of the sport. At the same time, football inculcates the
importance of teamwork, which is what the Philippines needs to eradicate
corruption. “If you talk about addressing corruption, it indeed
requires teamwork from all stakeholders - people in government to
lead by example, to be role models; people in civil society to be
vanguards to watch over public servants, and people in media to
be open and report things, and people in academe and students to
see how society is run and get to learn lessons of today that may
hopefully be applied in the future. So addressing corruption requires
teamwork in the same way that football does,” explained First
District of Cavite Representative Jun Abaya who
is also a father to three young avid football players.
Abaya and other Liberal Party congressmen provided support for the
Freedom Cup. Prominent commercial brands also sponsored the events
such as Puma which served as Special Product Sponsor; Shakeys Pizza
and Enervon as Major Sponsors; Boot Camp Football Store, Futbol
Atbp as Field Sponsors; Globe Pre-Paid as Minor Sponsor; Summit
Water, Manila Water and Soyami as Water and Nourishment Sponsors;
and Balls Channel as Media Partner. The Quezon City Government also
sent tents, medics and ambulance in support of the tournament.
The event was an occasion for government agencies and NGOs to promote
their own advocacies. “I particularly find relevant that your
slogan is i am free. The next question after that is: If you are
free then what do you do with your freedom? You vote. It’s
a perfect match of these two concepts of freedom and democracy,”
said Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Director
James Jimenez. COMELEC was among the organizations that set up booths
at the Freedom Cup. They requested visitors to sign a pledge: I
will vote in 2013, which is the Philippines mid-term elections.
Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) with ‘Child
Talk’, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and
Ethical Leadership, World Youth Alliance, Kabataang Liberal, and
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats also had well attended
presentations in their booths. The number of football players and
spectators at the UP Track & Field Oval was said to have reached
around 1,000 people and was covered on television by major channels
GMA7 and TV5.
“Football is a beautiful game where the ball is flowing freely.
It’s a matter of choices that you make on the field. This
is why football is about freedom because you take your own decisions
and you are responsible for your actions. Our campaign for freedom
is not just about countries being free, it’s about freedom
that you experience yourselves in your daily lives,”
said Jules Maaten, Country Director of Friedrich Naumann Foundation
for Freedom (FNF), a German political foundation. The Freedom Cup
is part of FNF’s campaign It’s All About Freedom
that promotes freedom by engaging the public in events that appeal
to their interest.
The Freedom Cup was co-organized by FNF, UP
National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG)
and Football Philippines
Magazine. “The NCRFA and PFF fully support the Freedom
Cup and the ideals it espouses. The organizers could not have chosen
a better place than UP which deeply advocates freedom,” remarked
Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Secretary-General and concurrent
National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) President Atty.