Cyclists vs human trafficking and slavery
MANILA, Philippines - On Independence Day, cyclists nationwide ride for human rights and freedom.
David Lozada reports.
3,000 cyclists from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao raise the Philippine flag to fight against modern day slavery in the Philippines.
Dakila is a non-governmental organization for modern heroism. Its campaign against human trafficking: Stop, Look, Listen culminate in a Freedom Ride and a Freedom Concert.
More than one thousand freedom fighters bike here in Eastwood City. They join hundreds of cyclists and advocates in Freedom Rides happening simultaneously in trafficking hotspots Iloilo City and Zamboanga City.
Fifty-four year-old Eric Bergara says he biked the whole 30 kilometers despite his diabetes because he believes in the cause.
What you do now will have repercussions in the future. So if we are not responsible for what we’re doing today, our children will get affected. If we don’t spread the word that this is manageable wala, kawawa yung future generations. (If we don’t spread the word that this is manageable, the future generations will suffer.)
Artists and bands include Hidden Nikki, Up Dharma Down, Encounters with Yetti and Radioactive Sago Project among others.
Dakila Vice President and activist-artist Noel Cabangon encourages the participants to become Freedom Warriors.
DAKILA VICE PRESIDENT
Sa araw na ito, ipinagbubunyi natin ang ating kalayaan habang patuloy na ipinaglalaban ang kalayaan ng iba. Nawa, ang bawat pagpadyak natin ay pagpadyak para mailihis ang daan ng bawat Pilipino mula sa kapahamakan patungo sa kaligtasan. (Today, we celebrate our freedom while fighting for the freedom of others. I hope that with our every pedal, we change the direction from danger to safety for every Filipino)
The US State Department Trafficking in Persons report in 2012 says people are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers Manila, Cebu, Angeles and cities in Mindanao.
Zamboanga Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito who heads an anti-trafficking inter-agency body says human trafficking is a social evil that is happening in our midst.
She notes the amendment of Anti-Trafficking Act of 2003 is a significant step.
What we need now is to prepare our law enforcers, our prosecutors, our judges and all our partners to be able to implement this law and maximize its purpose.
Dakila and the inter-agency body promote the Anti-Trafficking hotline 1343.
On Independence Day, the fight against human trafficking becomes all the more imperative reminding us that modern-day slavery is very real.
David Lozada, Rappler, Pasig City. - Rappler.com
Follow David Lozada @iamdavidlozada