Bicolanos from Albay province, numbering 13,892 out of 17,000 registered for the event from all walks of life led by Gov. Joey S. Salceda showed determination in shaping the world’s largest human no smoking sign for the Guinness World Record Friday at Legazpi city’s Bicol University football field.
Braving the heat of the morning sun and amid a festive atmosphere, thousands of highly spirited people from the academe, national government agencies, local government units, private establishments, religious groups and civil society organizations converged as early as 6 a.m., Friday, in two designated assembly points – one at the Albay’s Penaranda Park and the other was in the BU oval grounds.
Salceda personally supervised the province’s attempt to form the world biggest human anti-smoking sign. Related post here:Guinness World Record: Albay’s Largest Human No Smoking Sign!!!
He said he was optimistic that Albay’s endeavor to get the world record for the purpose would officially get the GWR as they have complied with all the requirements set by the world records recognizing body.
The GWR confirmation would depend on the submission of written, photo and video documentation, including the validation of designated witnesses.
The release of the official confirmation, Salceda said, would take two to three weeks from to date.
Based on the present record, the first biggest human no smoking sign was formed by only 250 individuals.
Salceda said the successful outcome of the event would put the province as a record holder for forming the world largest no smoking sign.
“We were privileged to be given an opportunity by the Guinness World Records to prove that we indeed can produce the world’s largest human no smoking sign,” the governor said with enthusiasm.
Salceda, UN global champion on disaster risk reduction for local government unit, said what the Albayanos have done will convey a strong message that “living a tobacco-free life is more healthful these days in any community such as Albay.”
He said the province has survived volcanic eruptions, massive flash floods, lahar flows, earthquakes and super typhoons and has gotten more resilient against all types of natural and man-made disasters.
“This time, we also want to tell the whole world that we can, at the same time, conquer the deadly habit of tobacco smoking in our communities,” Salceda said.
Video men and photographers on board two helicopters provided by the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group 5 documented the historical event. Related post here:Hopefully International Space Station Take Pics of Albay’s Quest for Largest Human No Smoking Rally
An automated counting system was used to validate the number of participants clad in hooded long-sleeved shirts divided into three colors: red, white and black.
These three colors were based on the internationally-recognized no-smoking sign featuring a lighted and smoking cigarette inside a red circle and backlash with a white background.
Salceda said the original plan was for only 13,000 people–7,263 of them to wear white shirts to form the background, 3,605 in red for the circle and backlash and 892, black for the cigarette and smoke images.
“We used the bar-coded identifying system, which is among the acceptable counting methods based on GWR’s guidelines,” he said.
It took the event organizers four hours to fully put in place the 13,892 participants that enthusiastically formed the no smoking sign, occupying the 5,033-square-meter space within the BU football grounds.
Herbert Borja, Sangguniang Panlalawigan board member and Smoke-Free Albay Network chair, said there had been glitches but they were not that serious to hamper the whole event as remedial measures were immediately done.
The event, organized by the province through the Smoke-Free Albay Network, is an advocacy campaign initiated by province against smoking.
It was highlighted by the public signing by Salceda of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Albay Smoke-Free Ordinance, signaling its full implementation in the province. Related post here:DOH-Bicol Warns Public E-Cigarette Contain Harmful Substances
To date, the cities of Legazpi, Ligao, and Tabaco and the towns of Daraga and Guinobatan are in the forefront of implementing and enforcing the local anti-smoking laws.
Salceda stressed that with the signing of the IRR, a province-wide implementation will take effect even in other towns that have not passed a local ordinance against smoking.
The Philippine National Police rerouted the traffic flow along the J. P. Rizal St, a national road network that links the town of Daraga and this city, as early as 4 a.m. Friday.
The event ended at 10:30 a.m.
Though it created a huge traffic jam with hundreds of vehicles stalled along the J. P. Rizal Street for about an hour, everybody went home satisfied and fulfilled. (PNA account of the event by Mar S. Arguelles and Rhaydz Barcia)