It’s been almost a year since I wrote my blog post On Rising Registration Fees. I wrote that post trying to explain the possible reasons why races had raised their prices, and some steps on the runners’ part to minimize the impact of those costs.
Here we are again, facing another fee increase for a certain set of races by one organizer, which may spur another round of fee increases from other organizers. I’m not writing this post to criticize, but to explain why I, as a blogger, a runner, and a citizen of the Philippines, feel the need to address the issue of rising registration fees. And yes, it certainly is an issue if all I hear from runners I encounter on the road is, “Hindi na ako sumasali ng races kasi ang mahal!”
You may say that there’s no need to complain, and all you have to do is simply not register for the expensive races. I have to say right now, I do not agree with this “put up or shut up” mentality. This is hard-earned money we’re talking about spending here, and I think that in a free society there is room for serious yet civil discussion about the cost and quality of goods and services we pay for.
In case you aren’t aware, we do have consumer rights and responsibilities in the Philippines. We have a Bureau of Trade Regulations and Consumer Protection under the Department of Trade and Industry, which operates to protect consumer rights and promote awareness of consumer responsibilities. Check out this PDF pamphlet of your Consumer Rights and Responsibilities published by the DTI.
The pertinent responsibilities of a consumer on which I base my stand are (paraphrasing from the abovementioned pamphlet):
- Critical Awareness: to be more alert and questioning about the use of, and the price and quality of goods and services we use.
- Action: to assert ourselves and act to ensure we get a fair deal. The pamphlet goes on to say in much stronger words, “Remember that as long as we remain passive consumers, we will continue to be exploited.”
- Social Concern: to be aware of the impact of our consumption on other citizens, especially the poor, exploited, disadvantaged, or powerless groups.
As you can see from these responsibilities, I cannot simply sit back and accept the price increase in registration fees; I must ask for the reason behind this. I believe I should speak up, as one of the courses of action to ensure we’re getting a fair deal. I do this because continuing to tolerate rising prices without justification means that the poor or disadvantaged people who want to join a race may eventually (it is happening even now) be priced out of doing so.
I am looking forward to Coach Rio’s promised discussion of the registration fees at the upcoming Run United press conference. (He promised that last year, too, but it didn’t materialize.) I have him on record inviting interested runners and bloggers including myself to send him a personal message for inclusion on the press conference’s guest list.
Meanwhile, I encourage you, dear reader, to continue seeking the best value for your money in the races that you train for and join. There are a number of conscientious race organizers who offer races at affordable prices with part of the registration fee going to charitable causes. Seek them out and give them a chance; they may pleasantly surprise you.