Political involvement in the Philippines, especially among younger age groups, has always been a key issue. Over the years, the Focolare Movement has promoted events that encourage active involvement in the democratic process for the building of a more fair just country.
A few days away the from election, on May 12-14, 2016, a Run4Unity event is being held by the young people and teenagers of the Focolare Movement with the stated intention of strengthening ties with society. In the local dialect it is titled “Dula Napud Ta Bai”, which means “Let’s play, friend”, abbreviated “DULA TA Bai”. Joops Miranda, one of the young organizers, writes: “The event is meant to promote awareness of each individual’s ability to become a catalyst of a more united world. It wishes to help strengthen interpersonal relationships and to build new ones. It aims at encouraging dialgogue about current issues amongst young people from different communities, in a setting where they can also have fun! We hope to accomplish this goal through the many sport and recreational activities that will be offered. This underscores our final goal, which is to unite people of different ethnic origins, nationalities and religious beliefs . . . to become a family.”
Where did the idea for Dula Ta Bai come from? Joops explains: “In the summer of 2014, we and some friends were wondering how we could avoid wasting another summer sitting in front of a computer screen, playing on our personal tablet. The initial idea came in this way: we were chatting with each other: Why not spend a whole day (which then became three days) doing different physical activities? Things that could be done together, outside in the open, inviting the local community to join us? Two months later there were 200 of us together from several parts of the Philippines.
Basketball, volleyball, light exercize, football, frisbee and the ever-popular “Amazing Race” are some of the sport events offered at Dula Ta Bai. Then, the event will conclude with an evening programme called “U-Nite”, with music and story sharing.
The young people wondered how they could develop the second event: “The renewal of our way of thinking and doing, also plays a vital part in approaching Jesus’s prayer “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21)” Joop explains. So we left room for the concept of ‘environmental conscience’ (‘Pagkabana Kalikupan’). We’re trying to respond to Pope Francis’s appeal in Laudato Si’ which reminds us of Mother Nature’s cry, and we wanted to help in promoting an itegral ecology. An integral ecology, as the Pope explains, is an ecology that isn’t concentrated only on nature while leaving out humankind and its needs, but rather includes a “human” ecology. Therefore, following this line of thought we hope to convey to the other young people the value of caring for one another (with sport, cultural, musical and artistic activities) and of caring for the environment.”
Maria Chiara De Lorenzo