ADVOCACY RIDE. Bikers from southern Negros arrive at the Himamaylan City Hall grounds after completing the 7th Tour of the Fireflies advocacy ride on Tuesday (June 21, 2022). This year’s biking event is themed “Environmental Conservation for Food Productivity” in line with the observance of the 30th Provincial Environment Month this June. (Photo courtesy of the Negros Occidental Provincial Environment Management Office)

BACOLOD CITY – About 600 bikers in southern Negros joined the “Tour of the Fireflies” held in Himamaylan City on Tuesday to raise environmental conservation awareness in line with the observance of the 30th Provincial Environment Month this June.

Now on its seventh edition, this year’s biking event is themed “Environmental Conservation for Food Productivity”.

“We’re very happy the riders are very supportive, not only those from Himamaylan but also the rest of the fifth district of the province,” Mayor Raymund Tongson said.

This is the third consecutive year that the southern Negros city has hosted the advocacy ride together with the Provincial Environment Management Office.

Thousands of bikers had participated in the previous years but Tongson said they limited the number of participants this time to control the movement of people and follow the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health protocols.

The riders, who also came from the municipalities of La Castellana, Isabela, Binalbagan, Hinigaran, and Moises Padilla, traveled either the short route of 58 km. or the long route of 94 km.

In Negros Occidental, the advocacy ride promotes clean air, road sharing, and road discipline.

Fireflies are considered indicators of the health of the environment, particularly clean air, but most of them can now only be found in upland areas because of increased light pollution in human habitats.

In January last year, about 1,000 bikers joined the 6th Tour of the Fireflies, which paid tribute to the Negrense front-liners in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

When Himamaylan City first hosted the event in 2019, almost 4,000 bikers from various cities and provinces in the Visayas, traversed the 78-km. route from Bacolod to Himamaylan. (PNA)