MANILAThe Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) is pushing for sports development, particularly in mixed martial arts (MMA), as a means to improve the lives of poor Filipinos in the urban areas and help prevent youth crime and drug use.
In his speech at the Memorandum of Agreement signing with MMA champion Brandon Vera, PCUP chairman Alvin Feliciano said their partnership with Vera aims to inspire the urban poor into achieving their goals in life through sports with Vera serving as PCUP's ambassador.
"Walang forever na mahirap sa taong nagsusumikap (Those who persevere will not be poor forever)," Feliciano said.
In an interview the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Feliciano lauded Vera's active participation in the agency's program of helping the urban poor and acknowledged the MMA champion's popularity as a factor in enticing the urban poor to actively participate in sports and in PCUP's programs.
"Kilala siyang tao. Sikat siya sa mundo ng sports. Malaking bagay sa amin sa PCUP para makilala ang buong PCUP sa ibaba, sa laylayan ng mga maralitang taga-lungsod. (He's popular in the world of sports. It's a big thing for us to have him as ambassador so the urban poor can know of PCUP's programs)," Feliciano said.
In an interview with the PNA, Vera thanked the Philippine government as he appreciated the PCUP's efforts to present sports as a way to change people's lives.
"You can take a person who's at the bottom of the barrel, the most drug-laden person, the most broken soul, if you show them martial arts and they can fall in love with the disciplines, the process, and the attributes it takes to become a martial artist, it will take over their lives and you can take that person who was a negative and turn them into a positive," Vera said.
Vera also noted that MMA training will help the youth veer away from illegal drugs and poverty as it can give them an inspiration to succeed in life.
"If you have somebody who finds himself loving that lifestyle and understanding that they can get out of where they are, they will stop using/doing all the bad stuff on their own, kasi may pangarap na sila (because they now have dreams), they have another avenue. The reason why people use drugs: they have no ambition, no goals, nothing to look forward to," Vera emphasized.
Vera said despite his hectic schedule as an active MMA champion and an actor, he will make time to travel to different urban poor communities to motivate people on working hard and uplifting their lives through sports. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency