"Running Priest" to Run for Waste-Free Undas

Franciscan priest Fr. Robert Reyes, also known as the “running priest,” will stage a special run to prick the conscience of the nation and prevent the cemeteries from again turning into instant dumpsites this coming “Undas.”

Reyes will lead the “BasuRUN” on October 27 at the Manila North Cemetery in partnership with the watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition to promote a garbage-free observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2.

The event will see Reyes and other collaborators running and picking up the trash at the largest and one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Manila.

Reyes will be joined by environmental and health advocates from the Coalition of Clean Air Advocates, Eco-Marino Organization of the Malabon National High School, EcoWaste Coalition, Our Lady of the Angels Seminary and other sympathizers.

“Our message is simple: ‘ang sementeryo ay dasalan, hindi basurahan.’ The massive ‘Undas’ littering year in, year out is a gross disrespect for the dead and Mother Earth.  We need to kick this filthy littering habit and remember our departed loved ones in an earth-friendly and respectful manner,” said zero waste campaigner Tin Vergara of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Last year, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported collecting 834 tons of mixed garbage from October 27 to November 1 from 21 cemeteries all over the metropolis with the Manila North Cemetery producing 17 tons.

Other big garbage “producers” last year were the Manila South Cemetery in Makati City with 15 tons, San Juan City Public Cemetery with 12 tons and the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City with 11 tons.

Discarded polystyrene food containers, plastic bottles and cups, snack wrappers, soiled papers and flower baskets were among the waste materials collected.

In previous years, the EcoWaste Coalition had staged creative events to shame litterbugs and draw public attention and support for a waste-free ‘Undas,’ including wearing pig masks, dressing as garbage monsters called “Zombasura” and dancing with beauty queens to the beat of Gangnam Style and Zumba.