‘Freedom Ride’ kicks off at Plaza de Pilar June 12 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 11:06

All roads lead to Plaza del Pilar on June 12, 7:00 a.m. as thousands of cyclists and advocates raise the flag of freedom on Independence Day for the Freedom Ride to stop human trafficking and end modern day slavery.    Coordinated Freedom Rides will also be held in Iloilo (June 12, 7am Jaro Belfry), Dumaguete (June 11, 4pm Silliman University Church) and Metro Manila (June 12, 7am, Eastwood City).

“We believe that while it is important to celebrate our freedom from colonial rule, it is also important for us to realize that many Filipinos are still enslaved. We want to celebrate our 115th year of independence by continuing the fight for the freedom of others,” Noel Cabangon, Dakila Vice President, said.

The Freedom Ride is part of the Stop Look Listen campaign of Dakila against human trafficking. The Stop Look Listen campaign kicked off last March 9 with a Freedom Ride held in McKinley Hill, Taguig City participated by around 1,000 cyclists. The bike ride was aimed to popularize the 1343 Anti Trafficking Hotline. In Zamboanga City, close to 250 cyclists participated in the first-ever advocacy bike ride campaign to be held in the city.  The Freedom Ride was also held in different provinces known as trafficking hotspots of the country: Iloilo City (April 20), and Dumaguete City (May 5). This paved way to the biggest bike rides ever organized in Panay Island (500), Dumaguete City (400) and Zamboanga (250).

Kiko Miranda, Freedom Ride Zamboanga Project Coordinator and an instructor at Ateneo de Zamboanga University, adds, “Human trafficking is a very sensitive issue here in Zamboanga City.  However, most of us Zamboanguenos are not aware that illegal trade of people is happening within our city.  Women, worst even children and men, are being pushed to prostitution and forced labor every day.  We hope that through the Stop Look Listen campaign of Dakila, we give voice to the victims of this violation of human rights.  We also hope that more Zamboanguenos will have the courage to speak up for our fellow Zamboanguenos who are being oppressed every single day.  Stand up for injustice and intolerance.”

Every year around 300,000 to 400,000 Filipinos fall prey to human trafficking in their own country and abroad.

“The cycling community has become involved in this campaign against human trafficking. And we see more and more people who are now becoming interested to become an advocate and a Freedom Warrior. People from different sectors—government, non-government, youth—have been challenged to heed the call to continuously fight for freedom,” Nityalila Saulo, cyclist, musician and advocate, said.

“Anyone can be a Freedom Warrior. By educating ourselves and sharing what we have learned to others, we can help save at least one person from enslavement,” Saulo added.

The Freedom Ride is part of the Project Freedom Campaign of Dakila in partnership with the Manila Fixed Gear, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Department of Justice Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) and the Presidential Anti Organized Crime Commission.  Local partners are Zamboanga Bikers101, Project Banig Zamboanga, International Order of Demolay - James Wilson Chapter, and MTV EXIT - Zamboanga.

For more information about the Freedom Rides and the campaign, visit http://dakila.org.ph/projectfreedom.