A Game for Change – a goodwill match between the German Club Cranes and the Bilibid Puzakals
Enlarge image Excitement and camaraderie filled the Bilibid Sunken Garden in Muntinlupa last January 14, during the football friendly between the German Club Cranes and the New Bilibid Prisons medium security inmates team, the Puzakals.
The match, a joint activity of the German Embassy Manila, the German Club, Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Office of the Solicitor General, was a testament of support of the German community for the rehabilitation programs for the inmates of the New Bilibid Prisons.
For the Puzakals to enjoy the privileges of playing football, they are required to attend college within the facility to improve their education and better their chances when they re-enter society – such is one of the programs of the Bureau of Corrections, in partnership with the Department of Justice.
And the opportunity to play football with the Cranes, and with no less than Coach Michael Weiss as referee can only inspire the squad to do better, as expressed by Bureau of Corrections Director Gaudencio Pangilinan in his opening speech.
Ambassador Heidorn acknowledged the remarks of Director Pangilinan, and lauded the Enlarge image Bureau’s efforts in spearheading the reformation of the inmates, and in turn instilling in them the values of responsibility, leadership, and camaraderie through football.
Assistant Solicitor General Karl Miranda, one of the proponents of the event, then thanked the German institutions that made the goodwill match possible.
The game was preluded by a performance by the cultural group of Bilibid – who danced to their rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, as well as a medley of Filipino pop classics.
Shortly after, the Cranes and Puzakals challenged each other’s football prowess on the field in an hour and a half long match. The Cranes emerged victorious with 2 goals in the 10th and 46th minutes of the game.
“It’s a fun experience…we believe in the Puzakals program, and are happy to be part of their rehabilitation,” expressed Michael Scheile, President of the German Club, after the game. Experience wasn’t the only thing the German Club shared – they had also prepared a hearty German buffet for the inmates.
The German Embassy, the German Club, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation also handed over new uniforms for the Puzakals, which were ecstatically received by the players. The Puzakals, through team captain and former national team player Archie Bueno, expressed their gratitude for their fellowship with the Germans. “It’s 90 minutes of freedom. We’re thankful to the German for giving us an opportunity to play with them. This is an experience we will not forget, and will stay with us even after we finish our sentences here in prison,” said Bueno.