LEGAZPI CITY , Philippines – Albay is making its second attempt to land in the Guinness World Records by forming the largest human “no smoking” sign.
Wearing red, black and white long-sleeved shirts, 13,892 participants formed the “no smoking” sign on the soccer field of the state-run Bicol University (BU) in Legazpi City from 6 to 10 a.m. yesterday.
Joseph Espiritu, who was in charge of preparing for the event, said the “no smoking” sign was formed by government employees, soldiers, police, members of academe, students, and volunteers.
Espiritu, assistant director for operations of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Bicol, said that at least 6,000 participants were assigned to form the red portion of the sign, another 6,000 for the white portion and 1,000 for the black section.
This is not the province’s first attempt at setting a world record. In 2000, Bert Gonzales of Camalig, Albay was acknowledged as “Sili King of the World” by the Guinness World Records for consuming 167 pieces of chili during the 1999 Magayon Festival contest.
Provincial board member Herbert Borja, chairman of the event’s lead convenor, Smoke-Free Albay Network (SFAN), said the human no smoking logo is aimed at raising public awareness against smoking.
“This event is meant to convince more smokers to quit smoking. Albay has that very serious resolve to push for a smoke-free province,” Borja told The STAR.
Citing statistics, Borja said that a 30 percent reduction in smoking would save the province at least P177 million a year.
In an attempt to create a new record, Borja said that they had complied with the requirements of Guinness Records in holding and documenting the event.
“Because we did not avail of the services of the Guinness World Records documentors, we just complied with the guidelines that they gave us so that they would consider our attempt for their evaluation,” Borja said.
At least two Huey helicopters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) flew over the BU grounds to document the event.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda signed during the ‘no-smoking’ logo formation the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the province’s anti-smoking ordinance.
“By making the world’s largest no smoking sign, we hope that other provinces and the rest of the world would join hands in making our place a smoke-free planet for the future generation,” Salceda said.
At least five of Albay’s 18 towns and cities had passed ordinances against smoking. These are Legazpi City, Tabaco City, Ligao City, Daraga and Guinobatan towns.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Guevarra, 84, participated in the event although he is a resident of Donsol town in Sorsogon.
“I consider myself lucky that I was able to join this historic event despite my old age,” Guevarra told The STAR.