Once again, bikers rallied at the Plaza Mayor early morning of August 28 to participate in the second Ride for Tobacco-Free Generation (Ride for TFG). The advocacy ride was participated in by some 1,200 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 Plaza Mayor, the bikers plied the national road to Pilar, entered Roman Superhighway to Orani and journeyed back to Plaza Mayor via national. Distance covered was more than forty one (41) kilometers. Three ride circuits were travelled on the same day. Adult bikers went first and covered a greater distance (41 kms.), followed by the youth for a nineteen (19) – kilometer ride around Balanga-Pilar-Abucay and back, and kids who covered an eight (8) – kilometer distance going around Enrique Garcia, Sr. Avenue (Four Lanes).
Dr. Koong Heng Nung of Tobacco-Free Generation, International, who came with some Singaporean students, was guest speaker for the event. He commended the city government for its steadfast commitment to healthy living through its strong advocacy of keeping the city and its residents free from the harmful effects of tobacco use. The Singaporean delegation will stay in Balanga City until the end of the week to participate in the “Student Leaders’ Forum for TFG Bataan”.
City Mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia, Board Member Noel Valdecanas, members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod and barangay captains also participated with the mayor joining the 19-km ride.
During the event’s planning, Jernie Jett Nisay, city councilor and chairman of the Committee on Health, said the ride aims to expose Bataeños to the reality that tobacco companies are aggressively targeting the millennial generation to become replacement smokers, continuing the cycle of illness and death among smokers and non-smokers alike.
The event was an effort to sustain the success of the city’s anti-tobacco drive. Up to this day, the city has made great leaps in its campaign against tobacco use. It was able to completely eradicate smoking in government workplaces, a success that other local government units have not achieved so far. Now, the city government plans to bring the total tobacco ban down to the grassroots level. By: Cyrus Dela Cruz