4,375 ran and finished strong at the 5th Freedom Run on September 29, Sunday at the CCP Complex, Pasay City. 45 government agencies, 30 private companies and hundreds of individuals joined the biggest run against corruption in the Philippines at the Liwasang Ullalim in Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, Pasay City.
"We have witnessed so much good governance initiatives and reforms since we've started the Freedom Run in 2011 - and a big part of its success is not only because of the liberal government's "daang matuwid" campaign but because of all of you who live out the statement "I am Free from Corruption" and go the distance each year for better governance," said Friedrich Naumann Foundation Philippines (FNF) Country Director Jules Maaten, following the traditional selfie with thousands of Freedom Runners present.
A significant number of runners in this year's Freedom Run came from the business sector, more specifically, signatories of the Integrity Pledge and members of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines led by Mr. Henry Schumacher. Close to 2,000 runners from the private sector ran in solidarity with government agencies in strengthening the national campaign for the continuance of the "daang matuwid" (straight path). "The business community is steadfast in its commitment to support the national anti-corruption campaign. Members of the Integrity Initiative abide by ethical business practices and uphold integrity in all its business operations," said Henry Schumacher, Integrity Initiative Project Director.
The Freedom runners brought sunshine to the early morning gloomy weather as they actively participate in the pre-race program. Renowned weather reporter, celebrity and FNF Alumnus Kuya Kim Atienza led the runners through a prayer followed by a brief weather forecast. A zumba warm-up prepped the runners in their 10 kilometers and 3 kilometers run at around six o'clock in the morning. Secretary Neric Acosta, the Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection, led the gun start for both running events.
The top 10 finishers of each category resolutely crossed the finish line and received recognition by the German Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Thomas Ossowski. "The German Embassy applauds FNF Philippines' good governance initiative through the Freedom Run," said Ambassador Ossowski.
After completing the race, the runners were welcomed by inspirational music by Noel Cabangon, and 2014 Freedom Song first runner-up, Cielo band. Freedom Run's sponsors - Pizza Hut, Pocari Sweat, Maynilad and Gardenia provided refreshments to the finishers. Further, this event was supported by the King Sue, Toby's Sports, Brooks, Polar, Fitletic, GU, AktivShow and 1DigiMedia.
The Freedom Run is the culminating activity of the Freedom Week 2015 - a week-long celebration of the FNF Southeast and East Asia Region that aims to raise awareness about the value of freedom in people's everyday lives. #FreedomWeek2015 ran from 19th til 27th of September 2015.
Five years, nine locations, ten races, 21,644 freedom runners. Through the years, the Freedom Run has become an occasion to innovate and inspire democratic participation in the fight against corruption. This is part of FNF Philippines "It's All About Freedom Campaign" that translates the complex concept of freedom into everyday language. FNF, a German institution promoting good governance, and the Pasay Youth Development Council of the Pasay City Government, Integrity Initiative, Inc. and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines are the Freedom Run's main organizers and partners.