CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City- The elite members of the Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team have pledged support to the upcoming ‘Run for the Heroes’ that is scheduled on Sunday (August 24), by dedicating their run to the fallen heroes of Zamboanga and Basilan.
Lt. Col Harold Cabunoc, the President of the Cherifer Premium-powered team, said that the soldier-athletes want to keep alive the memory of their fellow soldiers who died while fighting the enemies of the state in southern Mindanao.
“My team will put the names of our respective heroes who died in combat in Al-Barka, Basilan in October 2011 and in Zamboanga in September 2013. We will pay homage to these heroes by dedicating every step that we make and every drop of our sweat during the activity,” said Cabunoc, whose team will see action in the prestigious 9th IDBF Club Crews World Championships that will be held in Ravenna, Italy from September 3-7, 2014 .
“I will personally dedicate my run to Cpl Roberto Ricafranca, my fellow sniper and Scout Ranger, who died fighting the lawless elements in Al-Barka Basilan on October 19, 2011. He single-handedly fought the advancing bandits so that his comrades can evacuate the wounded buddies to the rear. I strongly believe that Cpl Ricafranca deserves to receive the Medal for Valor and be considered a hero. To honor him, I will write his name on my race bib,” added Cabunoc.
SSgt Usman Anterola, the Boat Captain and Team Coach, said that he will run to raise awareness about the lives of those who died in battles and keep their spirits alive in our memories.
“We want to honor our fellow soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who are continuously fighting against bandits in the hinterlands. Through their heroism in combat, soldier-athletes like me can continuously pursue our peaceful activities such as sports competitions ,” said Anterola, who had earned 7 world titles in Dragon Boat World Championships since 2007.
Salute to heroes
Michelle Chan, the Marketing Director of the HERO Foundation, is the organizer of the event. She said that her organization will honor every hero whose life was given up for peace and democracy.
“Although there are commemorations and parades and wreath laying at shrines, etc., many of our youth no longer appreciate or know the significance of this day. Hence, HERO Foundation, through its upcoming activities, in cooperationwith the Armed Forces of the Philippines, hopes to draw attention back to the importance of the National Heroes Day, to celebrate, with gratitude, for all our heroes.”
Aside from the ‘Run for the Heroes’ on August 24, the HERO Foundation, Inc. will also hold a free concert entitled ‘Saludo, a concert for heroes 2014’ at the Activity Center of Market!Market! on August 23 (Sat), at 2-9 pm.
Change of date
In the past, the National Heroes’ Day used to be celebrated on the 30th of November, the natal day of Andres Bonifacio. The date of celebration was changed to the fourth Monday of August, to pay tribute to all other known or unknown men and women who sacrificed their lives for the country.
In the military, soldiers who died heroically in combat are generally called the ‘fallen heroes’. Some of these military heroes are currently buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani which is part of the 10k route during the ‘Run for the Heroes’.
How to register
Those who want to join the ‘Run for the Heroes’ can personally go to the registration booths that are set up by the organizers in the following: Phil Army Wellness Center, Fort Bonifacio and BNS, Philippine Navy in Taguig City; Philippine Air Force Gym, Villamor Airbase, Pasay City ; AFP Wellness Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City; or, at the headquarters of HERO Foundation, Inc -- 2/F AFP-GIC Bldg. EDSA cor. Col. B. Serrano Ave. Quezon City
Interested runners can also register through email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0917-822HERO(4376).