By Xianne Arcangel
Members of Alpha Phi Omega stripped off their clothing and ran around a building in the University of the Philippines Diliman to expose what the fraternity’s Grand Chancellor calls “another naked truth” – the slow demise of the country’s rivers.
The Oblation Run, APO’s annual naked run around College of Social Sciences and Philosophy or Palma Hall, this year aimed to draw support for the Save the Philippine Rivers campaign which the fraternity launched together with the Sagip Ilog Pilipinas Movement (SiPM), a non-government organization.
In a statement, APO’s Grand Chancellor Giovanni Bautista said, “We know that the public will be all eyes on this event today, and we want to show them another naked truth—the sorry state of rivers and our water bodies in the country. We hope that Filipinos will be one with us in our cry to save Philippine rivers.”
One of the highlights of the event was the signing of a memorandum of agreement between SiPM and APO. The document detailed APO’s involvement in Save Philippine Rivers projects, including one which aims to clean up the Diliman Creek.
SiPM Executive Director Myrna Jimenez lauded APO’s efforts in setting an example to the youth by uniting for an advocacy.
“[APO members] show that fraternities do not have to be involved in frat wars, that fraternities can be environmentally aware as well,” she said.
The Oblation Run, held on or around Dec. 16 to celebrate the fraternity’s worldwide foundation day, has since evolved into an annual tradition to raise awareness on various issues facing the nation. It started in 1977 as a promotional gimmick to draw viewers to watch a film in UP Theater that was banned by then President Ferdinand Marcos due to its critical content.
The event was named after the Oblation statue, UP’s most iconic symbol showing a naked man looking upward with outstretched arms.
This year’s Oblation Run fell on the same day as the Lantern Parade, another highlight of UP’s Christmas celebration.