As far as I can remember, this is my first time to join this yearly road race whose advocacy is to protect the environment. Basically, this is the yearly road race that promotes the improvement and cleaning of the Pasig River which started in 1999. This road race is sponsored by the ABS-CBN Foundation.
I decided to join this race last Wednesday as my “diagnostic test” run to evaluate my speed after finishing my “adventure run” from Caloocan City to Baguio City on the 2nd week of this month. I realized it is my first time to run a 10K road race in Luneta-Roxas Boulevard area since I started this blog. My previous races in Luneta-Roxas area were part of full Marathon races that I’ve joined in the past.
Having arrived at the Luneta area very early (one hour before the scheduled starting time), I had my warm-up and stretching with a plan to run at my best effort for this race. I was able to brief the members of my elite team and then proceeded to the starting area. I was surprised to see a lot of runners for the 10K, 5K and 3K races. I heard that there were 8,000 runners who registered for this event. I was able to meet also other runners like Sir Amado aka Reinier 6666, members of the takbo.ph, and “newbie” runners who are expecting me to conduct their Corporate Running Lecture and Clinic in the coming days.
A simple program was conducted before the start of the race with no less than the Vice-President Noli De Castro as the highest government official promoting this race. Ms Gina Lopez, President of the ABS-CBN Foundation, was also there to grace the occassion. Well, it was a running event where the “stars” of the said network were also in attendance. Piolo Pascual, Jake Cuenca, Maricar Reyes, Enchong Dee, Nina Corpuz, Ariel Oreta, Cory Quirino, and Winnie Cordero were there to participate in the event. Piolo Pascual ran the 10K race; Jake Cuenca ran the 5K race; and the rest joined the 3K run.
After some short speeches from the VIPs of the ABS-CBN, warm-up/stretching exercises, and briefing from Mr Rudy Biscocho, the race started at least 3 minutes before the scheduled time. You expect an early or a punctual start of the race if Mr Rudy Biscocho is the Race Director of a running event.
As the gun was fired (actually, a sound effect of an explosion), I immediately placed myself infront and tried to find an ample space among the front runners. After one kilometer, I glanced at my GF 305 and it registered an average pace of 4:47 mpk. It was a good start and an early pace before I started to perspire. I tried to maintain my pace and never glanced at my watch until I reached the halfway/turn-around. Few meters away from the turn-around point, my watch registered a time of 24:18 minutes and again tried to increase my pace.
As soon as I reached the 5K Race turn-around (2.5K from the Finish Line), the road became full of runners & walkers. Moreso, when I reached the 3K Race turn-around point, more runners would fill the road that I had to look for a way or space to overtake these slower runners. The presence of the slower runners and walkers in the lesser distance races made my average pace slower.
I finished the 10K race in 47:37 minutes based from my GF 305 (unofficial time). The following were the kilometer splits for the 10K race: 4:47/4:30/4:39/4:40/4:51/4:50/4:57/4:56/4:53/4:46. The distance was measured accurately at 10K with my GF 305. My average pace was 4:45 mpk with an average heart rate of 168 beats per minute.
I am satisfied with my performance with this race. I know I could be faster if I put more time with my speed-endurance workouts. From the result time, my average pace per mile is 7:40 minutes. With progressive training and additional time for my supplementary weight training, I will be focused to qualify for this year’s MILO Marathon Eliminations on July 4, 2010. My finish time at the Century Tuna Half-Marathon of 1:47:51 hours and my time in this race are already good references for my training program in my next Marathon Race.
Alley Quisay of the Elite Team Bald Runner won as Champion in the Hall of Fame Special Award for winning and defending his title as the winner in last year’s 10K Race with a time of 32:13 minutes in the Men’s Division. Jujet De Asis and Frank Indapan of Elite Team Bald Runner won the 1st & 2nd Place in the 10K Race. They received their awards and prizes from Vice-President Noli De Castro.
The road race was orderly conducted with part of the Roxas Boulevard closed from any vehicle and all the basic amenities/support for the runners were available. Instead of the water being served in cups, bottled water was available and given to all the runners in every Water Station which was located every 2.5 kilometers.
Congratulations to ABS-CBN Foundation, Mr Rudy Biscocho & staff, and to all the Finishers for a nice and orderly running event.
While massaging my injured calf muscle, I came upon a blog about the history of the Clean & Green Foundation which is the main sponsor of the past 8 editions of the Pasig River Heritage International Marathon. Before coming up with my critique with the last Sunday’s Philippine International Marathon: A Run For The River, I think my readers and those “newbies” in this Marathon Race should know the history of the Clean & Green Foundation that started the Pasig River Marathon Race and its advocacy.
I hope that the ABS-CBN Foundation would be transparent enough to inform the public if they received some assets or funds from the defunct Clean & Green Foundation or open their “books” since the Foundation took the responsibility of cleaning the Pasig River.
THE CLEAN & GREEN FOUNDATION INC. CLOSING DOWN????
On the Labor and Organizational Problems
Presently besetting the Clean & Green Foundation, Incorporated
Prepared by the Clean & Green Foundation Incorporated Employees Union
02 April 2008 In January 1994, the Clean & Green Foundation was created with then first lady Amelita M. Ramos as founder and chairperson. The board of trustees were initially composed of industry leaders and famous persons to be personally close to her. Joining Mrs Ramos in the board were then Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation bigwig Ricardo S. Pascua, Aurora Arnaez of the Social Security System, Jaime Paredes of Apo Hiking Society, Doris Teresa Magsaysay-Ho of Magsaysay Shipping, among others. The board was later to be joined by Angel Ramos-Jones and Ms Boots Anson-Roa. Ms Roa would later resign from the Board. First gentleman Attorney Jose Miguel Arroyo was a one-time honorary chairperson.
In its incorporation papers filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission (Numbered ANO94-000388), the Foundation declared that its first objective is to “Formulate, initiate, undertake, promote, sponsor, assist, finance projects, programs, activities to cleanse, improve, rehabilitate and develop the environment, and to maintain the environment in a clean, healthy and sanitary state.” It also declared that “The Term for which the Foundation is to exist is 50 years…”
The Foundation’s first project was The Orchidarium, a garden in Rizal Park. In an agreement with the National Parks Development Committee, an underdeveloped hectare was loaned at no cost to the organization to develop and operate as an orchid garden. It then became a private garden where visitors have to buy tickets to enter. Functions such as wedding receptions are charged P30,000 for use of the garden. Grants from private companies were used to enhance the garden.
In March 1995, the River Rehabilitation Secretariat of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources gave the Foundation a one million peso seed money to operate Piso Para sa Pasig. PPP was originally a project of the RRS-DENR. Its first objective was to raise fifty million pesos as trust fund for succeeding Pasig River rehabilitation advocacy projects.
Through high profile income-generating projects and activities such as vanity car plates, concerts, grants, collection cans, among others, PPP was able to raise forty million pesos in cash and about ten million pesos worth of donations in kind (oil paintings, Persian rugs, vehicles, free office space, and many others.) The proceeds were deposited into two trust funds (a peso and a dollar fund account) with then Far East Bank and Trust Company and later was transferred to the Bank of Philippine Islands when the latter took over the former. It was originally planned that only their interests and incomes were to be used as operation and project funds of the CGFI.
No doubt, Mrs Ramos’ status as first lady was instrumental in the fund-generating PPP project. Even without being asked, some companies would call up the CGFI office to inform the secretariat that checks were ready for pick up. But it can not be denied that humble Filipinos, school children, common pedestrians, professionals, workers, the faithful in various churches, and many others contributed to the fund through the many ubiquitous donation cans distributed everywhere. They all believed their monies would be properly spent for the rehabilitation of the Pasig River. C&GFI never disabused the public of this belief. Even Foundation employees believed this pitch.
From 1997, when the PPP fund-raising period ended, to 2005, the Foundation indeed spent its incomes, the interests from the funds and parts of the principal amounts to various river rehabilitation advocacy programs. Among these were a Pasig River painting contest, an essay and cartooning contest with student publications, an annual concert, an annual symposium attended by various stakeholders, the Pasig River Heritage Marathon which was first in 2000 and later later became the International Philippine for the Pasig River, among many others.
But breaking from its declared modus operandi, the Foundation used part of the funds to buy two solid waste collecting boats that easily cost 15 million pesos in all. The boats have been turned over the MMDA but is now gathering rust behind Malacañang Palace because the government does not have funds to operate them. The Foundation also spent for the enhancement of Roxas Boulevard in time for the APEC Meeting in the country during President Fidel Ramos’ term. CGFI also spent for the enhancement of at least two bridges spanning the Pasig as part of its Project Bridges that benefitted nine of the existing 13 bridges of the river.
Mainly because corporate sponsorships have dried up after the Ramos administration, money was harder to come by starting from 1998. In 2005, CGFI president Ricardo Pascua said that C&GFI’s may only have another five years if belts were not tightened and expenses far outweigh the income generated. Mrs Ramos then recommended a retiree from International School to join C&GFI as Finance and Administration Manager—Estrella Villegas – primarily, as Mrs Ramos said, “to fix the figures.” Curiously, the “fixer” was allowed to collect more monetary benefits that if computed along with her basic salary are more than what the executive directors received. More employees were also hired to assist Ms Villegas. Their inclusions among the employees were therefore not belt-tightening measures.
In the years 2004 to 2006, CGFI failed to properly report its finances to the SEC and was adjudged “delinquent” by the Commission.
Still, CGFI was losing money from its various projects such as the marathon, The Orchidarium, and the National Ecolabelling Program-Green Choice Philippines-which it is implementing in behalf of the DENR and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mainly through the efforts of former executive director Imelda P. Sarmiento, grants were approved to turn around the organization’s financial bleeding. From Nokia, the Orchidarium was given 5.33 million pesos. From Mitsui Company of Japan, CGFI’s Trees4Life program would receive a total of 18 million pesos—7.8 million pesos of which was already received. From Cemex Corporation, Green Choice received 1.5 million pesos. Around the same amount was separately received from Unilever Philippines and Pride Detergents for Green Choice. Four million was received from Samsung for the marathon. Three hundred thousand pesos was received from Ford Motors for Trees4Life. Another million was received from the DTI for Green Choice and another three million is expected.
In June 2004, Senator Ramon Magsaysay pledged 1.5 million pesos for the Orchidarium from his PDAF. Because the end-beneficiary was an NGO, the fund was coursed through the City Government of Manila. In November 2005, the full amount was given to CGFI. Ms Villegas spent a few hundred thousand pesos to repair leaky roofs at the Orchidarium but majority of the amount was invested in the money market.
In July 2007, Mr Pascua unceremoniously fired Ms Sarmiento as executive director. Ms Sarmiento is contesting the move as illegal dismissal. CGFI offered to settle for practically twice the amount of her original separation pay but Ms Sarmiento turned it down, insisting on a public apology from the board as part of the deal.
In the period between July 2007 to January 2008, Ms Villegas, as officer in charge of the CGFI secretariat caused the dismissal of orchid consultant Jun Golamco, project director Norby Bautista, project director Raymund Villanueva and other rank and file employees, all of whom she perceive to be loyal to Ms Sarmiento. Ms Villegas also threatened to decrease the wages and benefits of the rank and file employees befitting their status as gardeners, security guards and messengers. All of the employees thus threatened were vocally loyal to Ms Sarmiento who believe her dismissal was unjust.
On 3 November 2007 the rank and file employees organized the Clean & Green Foundation Incorporated Employees Association as a reaction to Ms Villegas and Mr Pascua’s decisions regarding their rights and employment. It was promptly federated with the Association of Democratic Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno and registered with the Department of Labor and Employment. The union also promptly asked Mrs Ramos and the rest of the board for a meeting. They were turned down and ignored each time by Mrs Ramos, Ms Ho and Mr Pascua.
On 25 January 2008, dismissed project director Raymund Villanueva filed an illegal dismissal case against Mrs Ramos and Mr Pascua before the National Labor Relations Commission.
On 9 January 2008, the new executive director, presumably acting in behalf of the board and Ms Villegas, categorically stated that the only way CGFI would be prevented from closing down is for the union to dissolve itself. Various forms of harassments to apply pressure on the union to do just this to no avail, led by the likes of project director June M. Alvarez and others.
On 21 January 2008, Mrs Ramos resigned as chairperson and member of the board.
On 26 February 2008, Mr Pascua informed DOLE of the board’s intention to dissolve CGFI because of Mrs Ramos’ resignation from the Clean and Green Foundation, Inc. Effective date was 31 March 2008.
On 7 March 2008, the union filed a union busting case against the board before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of the DOLE. They believe that the reason cited by Mr Pascua was “in bad faith” and that the real reason was to bust the union. They said that the foundation does not cease to exist with the resignation of a board member. There have been three hearings so far.
On 31 March 2008 the Clean and Green Foundation is already effective close to the public and other transactions.
Outstanding issues: For CGFI to close shop after it learned of the formation of the union and after failing to influence it to dissolve itself is clearly union busting;
The CGFI board of directors are eminent persons in Philippine society while they are violating the most basic rights of humble persons such as clerks, gardeners, drivers, messengers and guards;
CGFI can not just close shop without accounting for the public funds awarded to it by the government, such as the River Rehabilitation Secretation seed money, the Ecolabelling budget from the DTI, the PDAF grant from Senator Magsaysay that it kept in the banks instead of using it.
CGFI must also justify why it is abandoning its Pasig River rehabilitation advocacy when it led millions of Filipinos to believe that their Piso Para sa Pasig was for this cause.
CGFI must account for the hundred million pesos it was able to amass during its 13-year run.
CGFI must face the illegal dismissal labor charges filed against them.
As a result of the 51K “Runabout” with Team Bald Runner and the Hardcore Runners last 08 March 2009, the participants were able to train for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race and at the same time contributed a donation for the ABS-CBN Foundation’s “Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig” for the Rehabilitation of Pasig River.
After posting the details of the 42K “runabout” last Saturday, I expected that at least 30+ participants will be joining the said event. This is the 5th edition of the Hardcore & Power Runner’s adventure in Metro Manila and the last practice long run for the participants of the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race which will be held on 05 April 2009 from Km 00 in Mariveles, Bataan to Km 102 in SanFernando, Pampanga.
Having announced that the assembly time was 4:30AM at the Oblation in UP Diliman Campus, I arrived at the place at 4:10AM and it was followed with the arrival of Sid Vildosola, one of the elite members of Team Bald Runner, who ran all the way from ULTRA, Pasig City to UP. He told me about a car with drunk teen-agers trying to follow him while running along the road fronting the Corinthian Gardens which he didn’t bother to notice or get attention to it.
The number of runners increased as we neared the time of jump-off from our assembly area. Once the ABS-CBN TV crew arrived led by Ms Amor Reyes of the ABS-CBN Foundation, the camera started rolling towards the group of runners as we started to give a briefing to them. I started with the background and purpose of the “runabout” and gave a welcome greeting to those who are new in the said adventure. Jonel’s & Rico’s briefing followed with the description and details of the route and the pre-designated “pit stops” and “assembly areas” for the faster runners to wait for the slower runners. Accounting was done before we finally started the run and we had twenty-nine (29) runners. From 23 runners in our last run adventure, we increased to 29 runners. I was happy to note that the participant on the Bataan 52K “Test Run” were there to join the event. Guys, you are really hardcores and strong “warriors”! There is no doubt that you are ultra runners!
We started the run at 5:23AM and we proceeded towards the Balara area. It was my first time to run in the said area and passed in this upscale subdivision. The average pace was 6:45 to 7:15 minutes per kilometer. It was a “talking” pace and I enjoyed the company of Jay aka Prometheus on the first 5 kilometers. Later, we left the subdivision and were headed towards the Marikina Riverbanks. I remember this place as the running route in last year’s Champion Run which was organized by Coach Rio. From the Marikina Riverbanks, we proceeded to C-5 Highway running on the left side of the road. We had our first “pit stop” at the Petron Gas Station near Brgy Bagong-Ilog, Pasig City. At this point, we had covered 17 kilometers. It took us 15 minutes After 15 minutes to replenish our water & electrolyte drinks and for us to wait for the slower runners to arrive, we were ready again for the continuation of our run. The ABS-CBN TV crew was with us from the Marikina Riverbanks to the C-5 Highway and in our “pit stops”.
The heat of the sun was becoming a great challenge for every runner as we continued to run along C-5. We ran along the flyovers and the TV crew was waiting on top of the Pasig Bridge along C-5 for more “running shots” with the participants. From C-5, we turned right towards the Heritage Park and went along the Bayani Road and later to Lawton Avenue. The 7-11 Store at the McKinley Hill Commercial Area became our 2nd “pit stop” for more water and electrolyte drinks. At this point, we were able to run a distance of 28 kilometers. After waiting for the other runners, we had our breakfast at McDonald’s and I was able to meet some “friends” who were also having their breakfast. After eating my breakfast, I tried one of the “tips” given by Ben Gaetos of taking salt with Coke. Most of the runners would also take salt as they drink their water. They also placed some ice on their heads with their running cap just to “cool off” the effects of the sun to their bodies.
We resumed our run inside the roads of McKinley Hill and towards the British Embassy and later back to Lawton Avenue. From Lawton, we proceeded to The Fort, passing along Essensa and towards the Serendra area and to the road infront of the International School. I thought we would go directly to Kalayaan Avenue and JP Rizal but the front runners decided to stop in one of the 7-11 Stores for more water and sports drinks. It was already 10:30 AM and the group was starting to run slower.
From the JP Rizal Road, we crossed the Guadalupe Bridge going to Mandaluyong and had another “pit stop” at the Caltex Gas Station for about 5 minutes. From there, we had to compete with the pedestrians on the use of the narrow sidewalks at the crossing Shaw & EDSA and the heat of the sun became hotter as we ran along EDSA fronting the Camp Aguinaldo area. Some of the runners beg off to finish the run since they were able to cover the distance of 42K when we reached the Petron Gas Station at the North Greenhills area. It seems that running along EDSA was the hardest part of the run as we exceeded the 42K distance of our run plus the heat of the sun and pavement was really a big challenge for everybody.
It was a relief when the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner and staff of the ABS-CBN Foundation were waiting for us at the GMA TV area along EDSA and joined us for the last stretch to the office of the ABS-CBN Foundation. After another kilometer or more of running, we finally reached ABS-CBN and we were warmly received by the Deputy Director of ABS-CBN Foundation, Girlie Aragon and her staff together with Amor Reyes and the TV Crew. At this point, my GF 305 registered a distance of 48.4 kilometers. The ABS-CBN Foundation staff prepared cold drinking water, lots of bananas, and cold sliced Valencia Oranges for all the runners. We were able to collect an amount of P 9,047.00 from the participants for our contribution for the Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig Project which was officially received by Ms Girlie Aragon in the presence of all the runners and Elite Team Bald Runner.
After an interview about our “runabout”, the advocacy of Team Bald Runner and the projects this blog with the staff of ABS-CBN Foundation, we resumed our run towards EDSA and turned right along Quezon Avenue until we reached where we started our “runabout”. We were able to run a distance of almost 51 kilometers for about 8 hours on the road to include our “pit stops” and activity at the ABS-CBN Foundation Compound.
I would like to express my thanks to all the runners who joined in this “runabout”, to Girlie Aragon, Amor Reyes, Josow, and the rest of the staff and TV crew who warmly received us during our brief “pit stop” at the ABS-CBN Foundation. We hope that the TV network will continuously cover our running events as we promised to support their “Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig” Project as part of the advocacy of this blog.
At the finish line, Maj Espejo and I awarded the Cerificate of Achievement to all the runners who completed the Bataan 52K “Test Run” held last 22 Feb 2009.Congratulations to all of you!
I am glad that the participants of the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race learned their lessons as a result of our “Test Run” and this final practice run validated whatever problems or concerns they have for the final race.I consider this “runabout” as a success as our runs are starting to support a “cause” for the improvement of the environment.