PLDT Group, Football for Humanity team up to promote safe spaces for children to play, through sports


 As part of its advocacy to create safe spaces for children both online and offline, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) through the ‘Better Today’ program, have partnered with Football for Humanity (FFH) to empower youth through sports.

Together with MVP Sports Foundation, Smart Sports, FFH, and JCI Manila, ‘Better Today for Kids Playground’ is the culmination of PLDT and Smart’s month-long initiative on mental health in time for the recent World Mental Health Awareness month.

“We believe that sports can become an enabler for strong mental resilience and well-being, which is fundamental to our much broader digital wellness advocacy. This drives us to collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations such as FFH, to generate collective impact and promote a culture of empathy among our communities,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart.

Over fifty (50) children aged seven and above joined a morning of games and football drills with FFH coaches and Azkals Development Team Captain Stephan Shrock at the Ateneo de Manila University football field.

“It’s great, we need more of these events, more awareness, more supporters, more people that promote and organize [football]. I can speak from my own experience; football was my safe space. Whenever I got to play on the green carpet, I felt safe, I felt happy,” shared Shrock.

For FFH vice president and co-founder Belle Tiongco, sports play a vital role in shaping the future of children. “Happy children make happy adults. And happy adults make a country progressive and powerful,” she said.

“Play is a child’s right. Play can transform. Sports command discipline, it commands concentration, and the best thing about sports is that you live in the moment. And Better Today for Kids Playground is totally in sync with what we do: providing safe spaces, giving the children resources, supporting them when they play. It’s a great experience that the children will not forget,” Tiongco added.

Sports for mental health

In line with the advocacy, PLDT and Smart were also invited to speak in a panel organized by the Football for Humanity and Virtual Soccer Schools to speak about the ‘Power Move Project’ and how it could serve as an example for international youth organizations in the United Kingdom.

“We tapped Filipino athletes and even executives in our organization to support the #BetterToday advocacy. PLDT and Smart have always believed that sports can teach our youth important values that enable them to become good citizens of this country,” said Jude H. Turcuato, Head of Sports at PLDT and Smart.

These initiatives emphasize the commitment of PLDT and Smart to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being. For more information, visit