BAGUIO CITY—A man died on Sunday in the Baguio leg of a simultaneous nationwide run to celebrate the 18th year of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), police said.
Inspector Viyo Hidalgo, Baguio police spokesperson, said William Pel-ey, a 54-year-old employee of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) here, collapsed at the finish line in Burnham Park during a 5-kilometer race that began at 5 a.m.
Pel-ey died while being taken to Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. Police said he took the place of a relative who signed up for the race.
Magnolia del Rosario, spokesperson of the PhilHealth Cordillera Office, said the agency was investigating the NCIP employee’s death.
The PhilHealth and the Department of Health organized different race courses from 3 km to 18 km, intending to raise money for the health insurance’s mother and child program.
Pel-ey’s death dimmed some of the brighter stories that came out of the Baguio races.
Inmates of the Baguio City jail ran around the prison’s basketball court at 6 a.m. to complete an equivalent of a 3-km course, making them virtual participants of the Baguio race that was joined by 4,140 runners from the government and the private sector.
Forty inmates ran 50 laps to complete the course. Their participation was sponsored by the Germany-based Shoshin Foundation and the Baguio-based real estate developer, Goshen Land. The race held in the jail compound benefited the Helping Hand Healing Hearts Ministry.
A mother and child were also featured in the main race in Burnham Park. One-year-old Alexander James Rancapan crossed the finish line with his mother, Jevelyn, in the 3-km race, making him the Baguio event’s youngest participant.
Lilia Rosa Yatar, 14, and her friend, Cherry Doronila, also 14, are sophomore high school students who sold plastic bags on Saturday to raise the P300 fee for joining the races.
Yatar said they invested in the bags using their P30 allowance and sold their wares until 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Their hard work paid off. Yatar topped the race and received a P3,000 cash prize, while Doronila placed third and got P2,000.
The girls said they had done this before, winning an event in Dagupan City in January.
“We jog every day from the house to our school to save our allowance,” Yatar said. EV Espiritu and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon