Around the University TownThe Starting BlokeHealthy people in the motorcyle capital?

Healthy people in the motorcyle capital?


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“There can be no real development if the people are not healthy,” intones our Gov. Roel Degamo in his first State-of-the-Province address.

Indeed. And the questions are: How do you address the health needs of a people whose homes are located in the Motorcycle Capital of the Philippines? Is it possible to have healthy people living in a potentially unhealthy environment?

While Negrenenses take pride in their Province being the national motorcycle capital of the Philippines, and often cite their success in organizing the “longest motorcycle parada” in 2008 as part of the Buglasan festival, I see no social significance or value in such a status.

Motorcyclists who seldom use their legs for walking are prone to osteoporosis, and the fumes emitted from thousands of motorcycles pollute the air that we breath, making everyone susceptible to respiratory diseases.

I noted that the good Governor’s plan for promoting people’s health focused on curative measures (more hospitals and clinics, but not a single park accessible to residents of Metro Dumaguete where people could go for family picnics, informal play, recreation and relaxation… “a city where there are more hospitals than parks is sick…” a lesson I learned in a graduate recreation course). There are few, if any at all, in the Governor’s SOPA that suggest a response to the wisdom of the adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So where do we start? Let’s start with the babies who need to be vaccinated. While there are free vaccinations in health centers, there are still mothers who have to cough up P1,200 for one of three doses of HIB vaccine, in private clinics. For the children in school, the WHO and the DepEd recommend that school canteens refrain from selling junk food, and the school feeding program should be fully supported and sustained.

For the young people in college í¢â‚¬” and for that matter, everybody — the answer may be found in the Governor’s plan to “review the Negros Oriental Sports Development Program.”

For the past five years, I have been asking what is the NOSDP, if there is any? Who is in-charge? What are the year-round activities? Who are the target participants? And up to now, I am not told, nor see any program that is being implemented with vigor and consistency.

Regular participation by the greatest number in exercise and physical activity such as walking, running, aerobics, ballroom dancing, sports is the basics of a program to promote health and wellness among the residents of Negros Oriental í¢â‚¬” and I see none of these being undertaken in what the Governor says as the NOSDP.

There are models in place that those who are in-charge of the provincial program could replicate. First of all are the fun runs such as the recently-held and successful “Run for your Heart” organized by the Silliman University High School batch 1980. I don’t recall any similar event being staged by the Province.

There is this group of ladies doing aerobics at the bayfront in the mornings. Why can’t the Province organize something similar to this at the stage of the Freedom Park?

There are also senior citizens enthusiastically doing ballroom dancing at the Quezon Park. Why can’t the Province support this activity since ballroom dancing is an excellent exercise, not only for seniors, but for everybody? A regularly-held Saturday night ballroom dancing í¢â‚¬” apil tanan at the Macias Sports & Cultural Center would be a hit for a people who love to dance. Next to walking, ballroom dancing is the best lifetime exercise.

Then there are the Youth@Play sports tournaments of the Institute of Youth Sports for Peace where children and youth can participate in 3-on-3 basketball, volleyball, futsal, and sepak takraw.

Why can’t the Province organize similar leagues using the facilities of the Perdices Field and the big space of the Freedom Park for similar activities? These two facilities should be teeming with children and people indulging in physical activity í¢â‚¬” with the encouragement and support of the Province.

When students in the physical education classes were found to be at health risk because of obesity at such a young age, Foundation University made walking a quarter marathon a requirement for graduation. I am sure students of the other institutions likewise exhibit the same risks í¢â‚¬”hence, the Province could encourage walking as a form of exercise í¢â‚¬” to counteract the potential health risks that the thousands of motorcyclists in our midst are prone to. The more that motorcyclists walk and ride less, this act is contributory to the mitigation of climate change.

We recommend that the Province craft a program to promote and create a “walking culture” in Negros Oriental. Foundation University uses the “Quarter Marathon Wellness Walk” to do this.

In pursuing this objective, our campus hara are assigned the task of promoting the program. For so many years now, our hara, like their counterparts in other institutions, have been selected without assigning them any specific role that binds them to a social contract. Starting this year, and every year thereafter, our FU hara will dedicate themselves to promoting a culture of walking in our locality.

We laud and support Governor Degamo’s campaign for healthy Negrenenses. His health program jives nicely with FU’s institutional vision: “A Healthy People on a Healthy Planet Earth.”

FU HARAs SIGN UP TO A SOCIAL CONTRACT. This year’s Foundation University haras (from left to right) May Flower Caponpon, Emma Renna Marie Buctolan, Manilyn Benedicto, Salamatu Yushawu, Crystal Gayle Nardo, Reina Althea Divinagracia, Raquel Leah Jade Trozzi, commit themselves to promote a walking culture in Negros Oriental to counteract the potential health risks and environmental hazard of the locality being the Motorcycle Capital of the Philippines.

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