By Joseph Ceriales
NEGROS ORIENTAL -- GAWAD Kalinga of Negros Oriental inspires the youth through SIPAG, "developing grassroots football for the underprivileged''. SIPAG’s mission is to use football as a tool for developing the youth. Thanks to Myra and Kevin Goco, National coordinator of GK SIPAG, who enthuses these young football aspirants.
Today, Fishermen’s GK Village of Bayawan City Negros Oriental, one of the biggest GK village in the Visayas with over 600 families is a proud receipient of SIPAG program. As a testament to the success of SIPAG, Gaudin “Naknak” Maasin, of Fishermen's GK Village, was enrolled as a freshman and varsity soccer player at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. His talent wouldn't go unnoticed by his former coach, Lloyd I. Tenefrancia of Bayawan City Football Club, and of course, Myra and Kevin Goco.
Regular practices and parents' involvement in the program is much embolden. Lolita Maasin, the mother of 'Naknak', now serves as the inspiration of other parents in the village, helping us in the campaign of “No Education No Football” policy of the village and helps encourages the youth to continue their dream with the GK Football vision, to use sports to attract lost and forgotten youth into the program and to transform them into confident adults empowered by faith, patriotism, and the spirit of bayanihan.
A major challenge of the team was their lack of sports equipment. However, these children always believe that God looks upon them. The answer to their prayers came courtesy of "Soccer Aid for Hope", an independent soccer charity project based in Michigan who helps less fortunate groups in the Philippines provided their soccer equipment. Soccer Aid for Hope, founded by Mr. Mark Mangune, provided the childeren with uniforms, bags and cleats. The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Bayawan City also supports the SIPAG program of Fishermen's GK Villlage by providing for their transportation and food when they join friendly matches in the city.
Thru this Football Program, GK continues to develop the youth, teaching them the values of Sportsmanship, Discipline, Hard work and Perseverance, Honesty, Teamwork, Trust, Confidence, Respect and Leadership. To this date, a new breed of heroes and professional competitors will upswing in the soonest time with the help of everyone, “Lets rebuild this nation with much hope for the kids” “BAWAT BATA BAYANI” JC