Alay Lakad in Manila, Philippines

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

Around 500,000 participants joined this Sunday’s “Alay Lakad” in Metro Manila organized by the Alay Lakad Foundation Inc. (ALFI) in cooperation with different government agencies, civic and non-governmental organizations to support and finance ALFI’s socioeconomic projects for the country’s out-of-school youth.

Alay Lakad Executive Director Elizabeth Guzman said this year’s theme, “Bawat Hakbang ng Mamamayan, Kapakanan ng Kabataan, “signifies the Foundation’s hope that the entire nation would be aware of the plight of the OSYs and at the same time support this disadvantaged sector of society obtain a better life.”

Guzman said that proceeds of the fund-raising campaign will benefit the out-of-school youth through educational assistance, skills training and livelihood programs.

“We are targeting P1 million for this year fund that will assist more than 70,000 out-of-school youth beneficiaries nationwide,” Guzman added.

Alay Lakad is held every first Sunday of September since 1972.

The 500,000 participants came from different schools, colleges and universities in Metro Manila and also different organizations as well as personnel from different government agencies. The walk culminated with a program at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park.

Guzman said that “Walk 2012″ was supported by top civic organizations, including Junior Chamber International, Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary Clubs, among other groups and organizations.

In celebration of ALFI’s 40th anniversary, a memorandum of agreement was signed between ALFI and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to provide educational assistance worth P100,000 to underprivileged but deserving students.

Guzman said that ALFI has granted four-year scholarship program to 10 students from the PUP beginning this academic year. Each grantee is provided P10,000 per semester as allowance for tuition, books, and miscellaneous expenses.The average grade requirement that grantees must maintain is 2.5.

The institution shall have to submit reports to ALFI toward the end of the semester on the academic performance of the students and summary of expenses incurred for monitoring purposes.

Also this year, the ALFI will provide educational assistance worth P100,000 each to underprivileged but deserving students.

Alay Lakad began in 1972 when the then Department of Social Welfare, now Department of Social Welfare and Development, conceived and initiated the Walk-for-a-Cause project in Metro Manila, in cooperation with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

In 1973, it was launched nationwide by then First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, who was elected honorary chairman.

By that time, the membership of the Alay Lakad had expanded to include the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (now Department of Education), Ministry of Local Government and Community Development (now Department of Interior and Local Government or DILG, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and National Media Production Center (now Philippine Information Agency or PIA) from the government sector.

From the private sector came the JCI Philippines (Philippine Jaycees Inc.), Rotary International, Lions and Kiwanis Clubs, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) and Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC).

The contributions of the Alay Lakad are recognized by its youth beneficiaries, as well as by the government and private individuals and organizations who join the annual Alay Lakad. It is done in its efforts to underscore its role of truly providing the out-of-school youth moral, technical and financial support to enable them to initiate and manage projects for personal development and at the same time contribute to the betterment of their families and communities.

The main activity of Alay Lakad is a yearly Walk-for-a-Cause conducted nationwide. The idea is for civic minded citizens in every city and municipality to join a mass hike-out along prescribed routes. Sponsors are then sought to donate a certain amount, usually P1, for every kilometer covered by a hiker. The funds raised are used to finance socioeconomic projects for the needy out-of-school youth.

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