BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Tour of the Fireflies was originally dedicated by its founder in 2001 for “those who suffer,” especially patients with blood cancer.
This year, the southern Negros city of Himamaylan hosts once again the Philippine leg of the Tour with a new twist and a new advocacy.
“Due to the COVID pandemic, we want to honor those who are making a difference in present times,” Mayor Raymund Tongson told DNX three days away from the Tour on Sunday, 10 January.
Tongson, the neophyte mayor under whose administration the Tour will take place for a second time, said frontliners in the fight against COVID19 must be honored for their steadfastness to their duties in preventing the spread of a disease that has become a pandemic for almost a year now.
Aside from the usual advocacies of clean air and safer roads, it will be a first this year that frontliners – from doctors to nurses to village health workers – will be among those the ride will be dedicated to.
Another innovation is to the Ride itself that will be split into two divisions – the open and the more grueling advanced division.
As thousands of bikers are expected on Sunday, Tongson stressed they will stick to standard health protocols that include wearing of face masks and appropriate distancing.
Splitting the ride into two divisions will address the problem of riders clumping on the road and the probability of gathering en masse.
The chief executive also said bikers will only pass through the city streets and villages away from the poblacion.