An international marathon challenge that aims to promote national unity is scheduled to be held beginning this September 10 at Barangay La Union in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
The major sporting event offers not only big cash prizes for winning teams but also development projects for the town, city, or barangay that they represent. It is organized by Camboayon Sports Events Management (CSEM) in partnership with various sponsors including Du Ek Sam Marketing, Inc., Summit Mineral Water, and the Tanjay City local government. CSEM handled the hugely-successful “Run After The Smugglers” fun run of the Bureau of Customs last March 25.
This ambitious project was spearheaded by Mr. Joenel Pogoy, a former captain of the Philippine Air Force who is now an agent for the Bureau of Customs. In an interview with The Filipino Scribe, Pogoy outlined his objectives in organizing this international marathon.
“Binuo ko ang ‘Laban ng Lahi’ unang una ay upang makatulong mai-angat ang imahe ng mahal nating Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng high-prize sports competition (I organized ‘Laban ng Lahi,’ a high-prize sports competition, I want to further enhance the image of our beloved Phillipines),” Pogoy said.
“Pangalawa ay maipunla sa puso at damdamin ng bawat Pilipino mayaman man o mahirap, may natapos sa pag-aaral o wala, matanda man o bata, may kapansanan man o wala ang buto ng tunay na pagmamahal sa bayan o iyong matatawag nating nationalism in its truest sense (“I want to instill in each Filipinos’ hearts and minds nationalism in its truest sense, regardless of their economic or social status, educational attainment, physical ability, etc.),” he added.
Recalling how Filipinos get united whenever now-Senator Manny Pacquiao has a fight, Pogoy stressed that the marathon aims to bring people together. “Ikatlo, kailangang maipakita natin sa buong mundo ang pagkakaisa ng ating mamamayan (We need to show the world our unity as a people),” he said. He lamented that a lot of Filipinos think of themselves primarily based on the province or region where they belong instead of being just Filipinos.
Pogoy added that the marathon can also serves as an opportunity for aspiring runners especially those living in the provinces. “Gusto kong mabigyan ng pagkakataon na makapag-pakitang gilas yung mga nangangarap na maging professional runner lalo yung mga nasa probinsya,” he said, pointing out that famous runners Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros came from the countryside.
Pogoy then went on to explain that participating teams can use the marathon as an opportunity to promote the tourism and business potential of whatever province, city, or town that they are representing. “Gusto nating mabigyan ng sapat na atensyon ang pagpromote sa mga malalayong sulok na probinsya ng bansa natin (This marathon can hopefully help in promoting even the most remote towns of our country),” the organizer said.
And to put more emphasis on the theme of unity and inclusiveness, the former Air Force captain highlighted that anyone and everyone can participate in the event. “Lahat ng sektor ng ating bayan ay hinihikayat nating sumalo dito. Mga pulis at sundalo ng Pilipinas maski ang mga nasa ibang bansa, yung mga rebeldeng sumasali na sa usaping pangkapayapaan, mga kababaihan, at pati na ang mga LGBT ay pwede rito (All sectors can join here. We already have teams from the police and the military. Now we’d like to have runners from progressive groups. All-women and all-LGBT running teams are also welcome),” Pogoy said.
As mentioned earlier, another thing that sets apart this international marathon from the rest is the fact that it also intends to provide livelihood projects for as much as 2000 households living in communities that all teams represent.
“Isa sa napakagandang premyong ibibigay namin ay yung ‘Itikan Love Project‘,” Pogoy said, reiterating that the initiative can be a significant help in fighting the social problems of hunger and poverty. (More details will be posted on the mechanics of the marathon and the accompanying raffle contest. – TFS)
(Interested parties may send their queries to[email protected]. Please visit the Facebook page of Camboayon Sports Events Management for more details and the latest updates.)