‘Run for the Farmers’

FOLLOWING its effort of helping local farmers who were affected by the plummeting prices of palay, a farm tourism destination in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is organizing a run-for a-cause, the proceeds of which will be used to buy palay above farmgate prices and giving the rice back to them.

Dubbed “Takbo para sa mga Magsasaka” (Run for the Farmers), the five-kilometer run also aims to raise funds to help a non-government organization and a farmers’ group in Palawan.

“This is for the farmers all over the Philippines. We have been running for other causes but we haven’t had one for our farmers who have toiled so much so we can put food on their tables,” said Hope Alas, tourism officer of Yamang Bukid.

The event coincides with Yamang Bukid Farm’s 5th Agros Farmers’ Festival which will be held in Barangay Bacungan on September 28.

Proceeds generated will go to the Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technology and a farmers’ association in the southern town of Narra, Palawan’s rice granary where palay farmgate prices have plunged to as low as P7 per kilo.

The tourism farm destination, which has been supportive of advocacies for sustainable agriculture, will make the fun run an annual event.

The 42-hectare farm in Barangay Bacungan has been known for employing former illegal loggers as farm workers, teaching them sustainable agriculture and environmental protection and conservation.

The run will start from the Bacungan proper, traversing an uphill paved road which ends at the Yamang Bukid Farm’s welcome marker in Purok Candes III.

Organizers said each ticket costs P350 – inclusive of a singlet and race bib.

The race which seeks to enlist at least 1,000 runners will not be exclusive to Bacungan and Puerto Princesa City residents only. Other individuals who love to help the farmers are also encouraged to buy tickets and the organizers will find someone else to run in their behalf.

“They can send their registration fees to Yamang Bukid through wire or money transfer or other means,” said Alas.

The City Council, where Alas sought an audience for the advocacy campaign, vowed to support the initiative.

It was learned that during a break in the Council’s session, Alas even shed tears while appealing for assistance and compassion for the farmers, where several individuals inside the legislative hall also turned emotional, with a woman even weeping openly and asking the farm’s executive assistant Mauin Bumanlag how she can buy tickets.

At that time, City Councilor Jimmy Carbonell bought some P10,000 worth of tickets.

Alas hoped the event will snowball into “something big” and further raise awareness regarding the sorry state of Filipino farmers.

The event will also be participated in by Yamang Bukid farmer-employees, with “farmers helping their fellow farmers.”

“We started as a place to help former tree poachers become farmers and environment protectors. We want to do something more than that,” she said.

For registration and ticket inquiries, runners and partners may call mobile phone numbers 09072377258 or 09675443928 or email [email protected]. ([email protected]/PN)

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