Bikers are going against torrential rain.
Such was the sight in the early morning of August 29 as bikers trooped at the Plaza Mayor to participate in the first Ride for Tobacco-Free Generation (Ride for TFG).
The said advocacy ride was participated by almost a hundred bikers from various groups in Bataan. Led by the City Health Office and the city’s committee on health, Ride for TFG was patterned after Singapore’s successful anti-tobacco programs.
Starting from the Plaza Mayor, the bikers rode to Orion via national road and entered Roman Superhighway through Daan Pare. They proceeded to Orani and began the journey back to Plaza Mayor via national road. The bikers covered a distance more than 40 kilometers.
Two rounds of riding were held on the same day. Adult bikers went first and covered a greater distance, followed by younger bikers who rode around Doña Francisca and Talisay.
While waiting for the riders to reach back Plaza Mayor, health enthusiasts held a dance fitness class at the Plaza Mayor.
Dr. Heng Nung Koong, founder of the Tobacco-Free Generation International, came and participated in the ride. He brought with him 10 students from Raffles Institute, Singapore. The Singaporean delegation will stay in Balanga City until the end of the week.
Coun. Jernie Jett Nisay, chairman of the committee on health, said during the event’s planning that he was able to participate in a similar event in Singapore. He added that Rep. Jose Enrique S. Garcia III thought of imitating the event in Balanga City.
While the event involves bikers, it was neither a typical race nor a marathon. The participants did not compete but merely paraded along the route.
More than the publicity, the ride was an attempt to sustain the success of the city’s anti-tobacco drive.
From 2008 until the first quarter of 2016, the city made great leaps in its campaign against tobacco. It was able to completely eradicate tobacco in government workplaces, a success that other local government units have not yet achieved.
Then, it was able to completely ban tobacco in the proposed University Town area, which actually covers much of Balanga’s busiest district. Now, the city government is planning to bring the total tobacco ban down to the grassroots level.
The most significant of all the city’s health-related achievement was the conferment of the Guinness World Record for the largest dance fitness class in a single venue. Such title was conferred on March 16, when Dr. Koong also awarded Balanga as the first tobacco-free generation city.
However, the city government recognizes that it has to continually advance its tobacco-free advocacy, until all of the millennial generation has rejected tobacco use. By Arli Joshua Atienza