Sunday, March 21, 2010

GOAL! (The Deloitte Street Child World Cup)

By Siesta-friendly

We’ve previously discussed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We now write to help promote the rights of street children under the UNCRC by way of the Street Child World Cup.

The organizers of the Deloitte Street Child World Cup (DSCWC), comprising various NGOs and volunteer groups, have scored a big one.  The DSCWC is the 1st international soccer competition for street children.

The competition began March 15 and ends on March 22, 2010 in Durban, South Africa.  It is not a coincidence that the World Cup will be held in July 2010 also in South Africa.

Games are played indoors (think futsal) with seven-a-side (instead of the regular 11).  The rules require at least 1 girl to be on the field during the entire game.  And when a girl scores, it’s 2 points.

The SCWC is open to street children between 14-16 years old.  Besides the Philippines, Brazil, India, Nicaragua, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine Vietnam and the UK have also fielded teams to the DSCWC.


Apart from scoring points on the pitch, the project is aimed at scoring points on behalf of street children around the world.

“The Deloitte Street Child World Cup will place street children centre stage, celebrating their potential and providing a platform for them to talk about the issues that matter most to them. Through a process led by the children themselves, the Deloitte Street Child World Cup will formulate a global Street Child Manifesto, and launch a campaign calling for street children’s rights to a full, healthy, dignified life, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), are upheld.”[1]


But regardless of the outcome and even before the games began, the lives of the particpants have already significantly changed -

Wanda Msani, 14, South Africa: "After my parents separated, my father started drinking all the time ... When he got drunk, he would beat me up so badly he wouldn't stop. I knew I had to run away.

“When people walk past us, they look at us like we are dogs. They look down on us like we are not even people, just because we eat from bins," he says, his eyes burning with anger.  "They will see that we can be something."[2]

Nosipho Mabaso, 16, and only girl in the South African team: "When I play football I forget about the bad things in my life... Before I moved to the street no-one had ever tried to force me to sleep with them, but since coming here I know what that is like, it is very scary ... I don't want this life any more. I want to go back home and go back to school... The tournament is the first step to my new life".[3]

Roberto Orlandez, 15, Philippines:  Having grown up pinside a truck yard, Roberto earlier dreamed of becoming a truck driver. And then he learned how to play football.  “When I learned to play, and I got good at it, my dreams changed, they got bigger,” said Roberto. “I don’t want to be a truck driver anymore... When you live in a place like this, you should really have the courage to dream. It’s important to aim for something, because if you don’t, you’ll never leave this place. You’ll be stuck here for the rest of your life. You will amount to nothing”.

Tinikling vs Samba

The RP team has done good so far.  They were formed from a pool of candidates from the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children Village, Nayon ng Kabataan, Manila Boys Town Complex, Philippine Christian Foundation, Gawad Kalinga, The Tondo Futkaleros, Football Club of Leveriza and Muntinlupa United FC.[4]

It may have helped that before leaving for the games, the players were given lessons in Tinikling because on March 18, 2010, a miracle happened: a Philippine team beat a Brazilian team in soccer!

We extend our congratulations and well wishes not only to our team but to all the players, mentors, coaches, volunteers, participants, and organizers of the Deloitte Street Child World Cup! 

[1]  "About." Deloitte Street Child World Cup . Deloitte Street Child World Cup , n.d. Web. 19 Mar 2010. .
[2]  Fihlani, P. "Street children aim for World Cup victory ." BBC News. BBC, 15 Mar 2010. Web. 19 Mar 2010. .
[3]  Supra.
[4]  Olivares, Rick. "From the streets with no names." Business Mirror. Business Mirror Online Space, 22 Feb 2010. Web. 20 Mar 2010. .


Monday, March 15, 2010

Best films of 2009

By Siesta-friendly

The US film award season has passed and has given us time to reflect on some domestic films that depict local happenings and personalities.  Below are synopses of said films.  There being a thin line between fantasy and reality in this country we cannot say whether any or all of the films were actually released at all.  Or even made for that matter.

  1. Avasta
In the land of Pandaka, an impaired politician, thrust into leadership through deceit, has fallen in love with her new home and will fight to the death to remain there.

  1. Blindsided
A horror film about a well-educated little girl made leader of a nation.  The nation is soon shocked when the little girl transforms into a black hole which sucks anything in its path.

  1. Brüsco
Comedy about über assassinista Brüsco Palparan who continuously re-invents himself to prey upon unsuspecting activists.

  1. Confessions of a Shootaholic
A musical about hired guns singing all they can for their freedom.

  1. Glorious Bastards
A group of Philippine soldiers, commonly known as bastards, spread fear throughout the country by abducting, detaining, raping and brutally killing well-meaning citizens while rewarding themselves left and right for jobs well done.

  1. Land of the Lust
Horror flick about a virus known as the Batasan Complex that surrounds the nation’s leaders and turns them into greedy monsters.

  1. Public Enemas
About the last few months of the notorious robbers Mike and Gloria Dillinger who so tormented their victims that the latter want nothing more than to purge them out as soon as possible.

  1. The Hurt Locker
Suspense-thriller about foreign investors who must learn how to deal with a government where everyone is a potential thief and every deal could just blow up in their face.

  1. The Handover
Comedy about that much anticipated moment when a country welcomes a new leader and tries to drink away and forget the past 10 years.

  1. Up in the air
Dramedy (what else could it be?) about a group of people struggling to search for a leader.  Despite their ability to hire and fire at will, the group’s welfare and future remains neither here nor there and still very much up in the air.

  1. Where the Wildest Things Are
About a place where spoiled brats live and release their wildest nature.  The place has many names, often provincial, like Maguindanao.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

UN proclaims Decade of Action for Road Safety

By Siesta-friendly 

At last, world leaders have recognized that road accidents should be of global concern.  Road accidents are practically daily news here.  Often in this country, it seems drivers are slow to change their practice of non-regular vehicle maintenance -wreaking havoc when they lose their brakes or their tires; motorcyclists think traffic laws don’t apply to 2-wheeled vehicles; and pedestrians walk when and where they’re not supposed to.

In 2009, the WHO published its Global Status Report on Road Safety[1] which states that “more than 1.2 million people die on the world’s roads every year, and as many as about 50 million others are injured”, and that “over 90% of the deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries.”

The report also points out the far-reaching effects of road traffic accidents and notes that they “can drive a family into poverty as crash survivors … [who] struggle to cope with the long-term consequences … including the cost of medical care and rehabilitation and all too often funeral expenses and the loss of the family breadwinner.”

On March 2, 2010, the UN General Assembly finally heeded the worldwide call for road safety and adopted the draft resolution Improving Global Road Safety (A/64/L.44/Rev.1).[2]  The resolution proclaims 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. 

Improving Global Road Safety

 Apart from proclaiming the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the resolution also, among others,:[3]

  1. Requests the WHO and the UN regional commissions, in cooperation with other partners in the UN Road Safety Collaboration and other stakeholders, to prepare a Plan of Action of the Decade as a guiding document to support the implementation of its objectives;
  2. Calls upon countries to implement road safety activities, particularly in the areas of road safety management, road infrastructure, vehicle safety, road user behaviour, including distractions in traffic, road safety education and post-crash care, including rehabilitation for people with disabilities;
  3. Invites countries to set their own national road traffic casualty reduction targets to be achieved by the end of the Decade;
  4. Calls for the inclusion of activities to pay attention to the needs of all road users, in particular, the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users in low-income and middle-income countries, through support for appropriate legislation and policy, and infrastructure, and by increasing means of sustainable transport;
  5. Encourages countries, groups and individuals to take action, as appropriate, to discourage distractions in traffic, including texting while driving, which lead to increased morbidity and mortality owing to road crashes;
  6. Encourages countries to continue to strengthen their commitment to road safety, including by observing the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on the third Sunday of November every year.
The UN GA resolution cites the WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety which is worthwhile to tackle.

 Global Status Report on Road Safety[4]

The report “is the first broad assessment of the status of road safety in 178 countries, using data drawn from a standardized survey conducted in 2008 and presents a number of key findings:

  • Over 90% of the world’s road fatalities occur in low-income and middle-income countries which have only 48% of the world’s registered vehicles.
  • Almost 50% of road traffic fatalities are pedestrians, cyclists or users of motorized 2-wheelers.
  • Although speed is a major factor in injuries to pedestrians and cyclists, only 29% of countries meet basic criteria for reducing speed in urban areas and less than 10% think that their respective speed limit enforcement is effective.
  • Infrastructure and policy measures that allow road users to walk and cycle together, as well as measures that improve the quality of and access to public transportation, are lacking.
  • Less than 50% of the countries address 5 critical risk factors (drunk-driving, excessive speed, helmet use, seatbelt use and child restraints) and only 15% have comprehensive laws on the same. 
  • Only 49% of countries have a legal blood alcohol concentration limit of less than or equal to the WHO-recommended limit of 0.05 grams per deciliter.
  • Only 40% of countries have a motorcycle helmet law for both rider and passengers.  Only 40% require that helmets meet a set national of international standard.
  • Only 57% of countries require seatbelt use for both front and rear passengers.
  • Only 20% of low-income countries require young children to have appropriate car restraints.
On a positive note, the report states that many of the measures effective at reducing road traffic injuries also have positive effects on health (like reducing exhaust emissions improves respiratory health).

Unfortunately, the studies made show that enforcement scores for all discovered risks (including those above) were generally low.

With its study of the state of road safety around the world, the Report lists recommended Actions for road safety including:

Actions by governments, in the area of policy, legislation and enforcement:
  1. Enact and enforce legislation requiring the use of seat-belts and child restraints, and the wearing of motorcycle helmets and bicycle helmets.
  2. Enact and enforce legislation to prevent alcohol-impaired driving.
  3. Set and enforce appropriate speed limits.
  4. Set and enforce strong and uniform vehicle safety standards.
  5. Ensure that road safety considerations are embedded in environmental and other assessments for new projects and in the evaluation of transport policies and plans.
  6. Establish data collection systems designed to collect and analyse data and use the data to improve safety.
  7. Set appropriate design standards for roads that promote safety for all.
  8. Manage infrastructure to promote safety for all.
  9. Provide efficient, safe and affordable public transport services.
  10.  Encourage walking and the use of bicycles.
Actions by communities, civil society groups and individuals to behave responsibly by:
  1. abiding by the speed limit on roads;
  2. never driving when over the legal alcohol limit;
  3. always wearing a seat-belt and properly restraining children, even on short trips;
  4. wearing a crash helmet when riding a two-wheeler.
Although the Decade of Action for Road Safety is until 2020, let’s not take a decade to impose and/or implement sufficient road safety laws.  As citizens, let us also not wait for the laws to be imposed and/or implemented.  We need only feel a sense of responsibility whenever on the road whether as driver, passenger or pedestrian.  Governments, punish traffic law violators.  Car owners, have regular vehicle check-up and maintenance (with special emphasis on the brakes and tires).  Cyclists, remember the road safety laws apply to you too.  Use your head but not as a brake, wear a helmet. Passengers, remind speeding drivers to be careful, even slow down.  Pedestrians, use designated pedestrian walkways.

Remember: “the life you save may be your own”.

[1]  Global status report on road safety: time for action. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2009 (
[2]  U.N. General Assembly, 64th Sess. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly. 64/255. Improving Global Road Safety (A/RES/64/255) March 2, 2010. Available at: UN Documentation Centre,
[3]   Supra.
[4]   Supra.