CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – More than 400 motorcycle riders from all over Mindanao converged here on Saturday, September 30, to show their support to government forces who are fighting the ISIS-inspired militants in Marawi City.
The bikers are members of the Mindanao Confederation of Big Bike Clubs (MCBBC), whose purpose is to boost the morale of the soldiers who are engaging in urban warfare in the streets of Marawi.
Officially called the “Breakfast Ride,” the Cagayan de Oro event was the continuation of the same activity held last August in Baguio City which was attended by the more than a thousand motorbike enthusiasts from across the country.
Each biker who joined the ride-for-a-cause paid P600 for the registration. Almost 2,000 riders had registered for the event.
Major General Ronnie Evangelista, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Civil Relations Services, said the ride was also aimed to raise the awareness of the public regarding the hardships the uniformed personnel have to go through to eliminate the insurgents in Marawi.
Through “Breakfast Ride,” he said other civilian sectors can initiate their own morale-boosting projects to raise the spirits of the armed forces in Marawi.
Since the Marawi crisis started last May 23, hundreds of soldiers have been brought to the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital (CESH) for treatment.
At present, there are 88 Army personnel who are still recuperating at the CESH.
Staff Sergeant Victor Tumapos, from the 1st Infantry Division’s 55th Infantry Battalion, said he was thankful that the bikers have initiated the Breakfast Ride.
“We thought nobody is there for us, but we are glad that civilians have supported us. I hope they will continue this advocacy and that more bikers will join them,” he said.
Tumapos was deployed in Marawi on May 3, weeks before the conflict started.
He was hit by a splinter from a rocket-propelled grenade on the knee when their platoon was securing an area near a mosque on September 13.
Jondi Lacson, a motorcycle enthusiast and head of a motorcycle dealership in Mindanao, said the MCBBC is planning on producing an indie film that will document the stories of soldiers who are in Marawi.
Part of the proceeds of the Breakfast Ride will be used to finance the production of the film.
Lacson said the film will be about the war in Marawi and will focus on the troops.
“It (film) will also tackle the aftereffects of the war to the soldiers who had fought in Marawi,” he said. (davaotoday.com)