A priest and a retired police general are planning to run almost 3,000 kilometers from Luzon to Mindanao in eight months.
Fr. Carmerlo Diola, Dilaab Movement Coordinator, and retired Police Gen. Samson Tucay will run 2,888 kilometers of the Philippine Maharlika Highway which starts from Laoag City in Luzon and ends in Zamboanga City in Mindanao.
Diola and Tucay called the run as “Takbo Maharlika Tungo sa Pagkakaisa” (Maharlika Run for Unity) to encourage Filipinos to live and lead by the basics of prayer, fitness and citizenship.
The run will kick off on the August 8 and will be completed by March next year.
“The purpose of the run is really for the unity of our nation,” said Diola during a press conference at the Dilaab Movement Office in Seminario Mayor of San Carlos in Juan Luna Boulevard Cebu City yesterday.
Diola said he would just be a Tucay’s companion in the run.
Tucay is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy batch 1978 while Diola is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
In his press release, Diola recalled his first meeting with Tucay back in 2004 when Tucay was assigned in Cebu City to plan out a national consultation on narcopolitcs.
“I could still recall my initial mixed feelings upon meeting him one afternoon. After all, I had stereotyped images of police officers and academy graduates,” he said.
They are very close friends.
The two friends along with five support staff will be calling the highway their home for the next eight months.
“We will run for about 10 kilometers a day and will have some lectures on the weekend wherever we stop,” Diola said.
He is also expecting people to join them in the run as they traverse the 2,888 kilometer stretch.
“This is open for everyone and they are free to join us as we travel along, after all, this is for unity.” He added.
As they travel through Mindanao, Diola is confident that nothing could go wrong with their security.
“We have already coordinated with the local government units and if the other side would want, they can run with us as long as they lay down their guns while running,” he said.
Cebu is not part of the route since Maharlika Highway does not pass here.
However, some enthusiasts will also have their own runs here during the period.
Former Fuente Osmeña Police Station Chief Michael Anthony Bastes, who was present at the press conference said he would run in Cebu along with his adopted street children.Correspondent Edison A. delos Angeles