Mt. Province to hold autonomy relay marathon

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Officials in the province has come up with a creative and unique approach to get the attention of the public and campaign for autonomy towards federalism.

Through the “Sports for Autonomy towards Federalism Relay Marathon," seven male participants in each municipality garbed with G-string or “wanes” paired with a T-Shirt printed with “Sport for Autonomy” shall run passing through the route of the 10 municipalities of Mountain Province on March 22 to 27.

The relay marathon will kick-off at Paracelis in March 22, going to Natonin in the morning of March 23 and to Barlig in the afternoon. In the morning of March 24, the runners will continue the relay marathon going to the capital town Bontoc, and to Sadanga in the afternoon. In the morning of March 25, from Sadanga, the participants will run passing through Bontoc going up to Sagada and will continue to run going to Besao in the afternoon. The team will stay for the night in Besao and will proceed to Tadian in the morning of March 26 and then to Bauko in the afternoon of the same day. The team will stay in Bauko in order to rest for the run in the morning of March 27 going to Sabangan and go back to Bontoc in the afternoon of the same day.

Arnaldo Petten of the Provincial Sports Development Office said this innovation to inform and educate the public at the same time to rally support on the quest for regional autonomy was realized with the pronouncement of Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. the provincial government will do its share to ensure the information education campaign (IEC) will reach down to the grassroots.

Thus, this sport activity to be spearheaded by the Provincial Government through its Provincial Sports Development Office (PSDO) in partnership with the Regional Development Council through the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)-Cordillera and in coordination with the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) representatives, PTA officers and members and municipal local government units (MLGUs).

Petten believes there are different ways and means for everyone to get involved and do its share to rally support from the public.

“Every Cordilleran should do their share to campaign for autonomy. Thus, we are inviting male running enthusiasts to register in their respective municipalities and join us,” Petten added.

Petten explained that in every lap, each team will have two regular runners while one will be designated as an alternate runner who is only allowed to substitute a team mate who can no longer continue to run by whatever cause. The collective time of all runners will be computed to determine the fastest team and their rank. The name of the two runners and the alternate runner shall be submitted to the management in every lap.

During the duration of the marathon, all runners, IPs, PTA officers and municipal employees must assemble at every stop- municipality to meet with the respective mayors and conduct a forum on autonomy. The speakers will be from the IEC Provincial Task Force on Autonomy and Federalism of Mountain Province and from the trained speakers coming from the MLGUs.

Provincial Administrator Amador Batay-an, expressed high hopes the new innovations in reaching out to inform the public with regards to the salient features of autonomy will be effective.

Batay-an added the Provincial Government welcomes new creative ideas on how to rally support from the public to campaign on autonomy, thus the conduct of the relay marathon.

Further, he mentioned that this activity will not only campaign for autonomy towards federalism, but also, it will campaign for health and wellness through sports.

Thru the collaborative effort of all stakeholders, the Neda-Cordillera recently approved the proposal of the provincial government to shoulder the meals, t-shirts and flaglets of the participants amounting to P301, 145; the Provincial Government committed to provide the cash prizes amounting to P137,000, three management vehicles, fuel for the ambulance and police car while the municipalities will provide the vehicle, fuel and driver for their respective team and refreshments during meals.

The team- municipality who will be the champion in the relay marathon will receive P25,000 in cash prize. The second place will receive P20,000 while P15,000 will be given for the third place. A consolation prize of P11, 000.00 each will be given to the participating municipality who will not make it to the top three. (Alpine Killa)