Dumaguete bikers ride against trafficking and slavery
DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – Some 300 cyclists paved the road to raise awareness against human trafficking in Rizal Boulevard on May 4. The 16-km Freedom Ride is part of DAKILA’s “STOP LOOK LISTEN” campaign against human trafficking and modern day slavery.
The event had the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, DOJ-IACAT, and the Presidential Organized Crime Commission along with local partners: Negros Oriental Bikers Association (NOBA), Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE), Visayan Forum, One Rescue, the Philippine National Police, the Dumaguete Cathedral Credit Cooperative, the Character First Bayawanihan, and the City Governments of Bayawan and Dumaguete
Dumaguete’s cycling community has grown ten fold compared to last year’s count. Although most cyclists joined the ride to tick off another item on their checklist, a lot of them were also there for the advocacy the event carried.
Rovic Caburobias, an engineer of the Bayawan City General Services Department, said “Ni-apil mi para ma-promote ang anti-human trafficking…happy mi nga damo ang ga-participate.” [We joined to promote anti-human trafficking…we’re happy that there are a lot of participants.]
Organizers used the classic rule of stopping, looking, and listening before crossing the street as analogy for combatting human trafficking. The riders were able to connect the pieces of the campaign in terms of the traffic signals they see on a daily basis. They were able to recognize that by being aware of what trafficking is, they are in a better position to be on guard to prevent it from happening.
According to a 2012 US State Department report, up to 27 million people live in slavery around the world.
In the Philippines, human trafficking and forced labor claim hundreds of victims annually. Most affected are overseas Filipino workers; however, human trafficking within the country also exists.
The Philippines has been classified by the US State Department as a Tier 2 country, which means that the Philippine government does not fully comply with anti-trafficking standards set by the US government.
Artists for change
DAKILA, a non-profit organization, aims to bring about social change through the arts. The organization brought together local singer Von Cathlene Panot, dancer John Paul Oira, and radio personality Reynaldo Dote to host the event.
The hosts were able to educate and entertain. They also informed the crowd about the hotlines to call to report modern day slavery and human trafficking.
Just like all bike rides, an orientation was conducted to ensure the safety of the participants while on the road. For this musician-sans-folding bike enthusiast Nityalila Saulo gave the ABCs before riding out and the dos and donts for biking.
Ethnic Musician Nicky Dumapit said in an interview, “Nalipay ko nga daghan ta. Ako lang ginahangyo nga hatagan ug pagtakad ang atong bikers diri sa Dumaguete aron mudaghan pa ta.” [I am happy that there’s a lot of us. I just hope the welfare of the bikers in Dumaguete are given enough attention so that we can flourish.]” – Rappler.com
Therene Quijano is a Rappler Ambassador and a member of Dakila.