Freedom Ride paves road to human trafficking-free Philippines-A A +A
Friday, March 8, 2013
ALL roads lead to Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig at 7 a.m. of March 9, Saturday, as warriors against human trafficking prepare for the historic Freedom Ride.
Organized by the artist collective, Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, in partnership with Manila Fixed Gear and We FXD and with the support of the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Freedom Ride shall serve as the launch of the Stop, Look, and Listen campaign to intensify efforts to stop human trafficking in the Philippines.
Joining the bike ride are Ambassadors H.E. Ton Boon von Ochssee of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Josef Rychtar of the Czech Embassy, and H.E. Guy Ledoux of the European Union.
Members of the diplomatic community representing the Embassies of France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, United States, New Zealand, European Union and Czech Republic, as well as top officials of Dutch Corporations like Philips Electronics, Seatrade, Control Union Philippines and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum.
According to Dakila Vice President and musician Noel Cabangon, “The support of the diplomatic community is a strong statement that there is a concerted effort of the international community to combat human trafficking and modern day slavery. Through this Freedom Ride, we want to show that our country is one with the world and that we can achieve a human trafficking free Philippines.”
Also participating in the bike tour are officials of the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) to be led by Chief Senior State Prosecutor Jonathan Lledo, Bureau of Immigrations Commissioner Ricardo David, Director Patricia Luna of DSWD and Assistant Secretary Jed Eva III of the Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the President.
Actor Albert Martinez, sports and lifestyle host Reema Chanco, restaurateur Erik Waldie, tour guide and performance artist Carlos Celdran, social entrepreneur Illac Diaz, and Miss Earth Air 2012 Stephany Stefanowitz and Miss Philippines Fire 2012 Thoreen Halvorsen will also be joining the ride.
Musician and cycling enthusiast Nityalila Saulo, who is an advocate of the campaign, said: “As a cyclist, it is important for us to be aware of road signs to help us get to our destinations safely. The Stop, Look, and Listen campaign of Dakila sends an important message to the public that in order to Stop Human Trafficking, we must always be aware of the signs like how cyclists are aware of road signs, to avoid being trafficked and listen to the stories of those who were trafficked and most vulnerable to trafficking so that we may learn from it and contribute on ways to help prevent it.”
Every year, around 300,000 to 400,000 Filipinos fall prey to human trafficking in our own country and abroad. The Philippines is a source for human trafficking. In 2010, the Philippines was in danger of being downgraded to a Tier 3 status in the US Department of State human trafficking index for a poor performance in the fight against human trafficking and for being in the Tier 2-watchlist (a list that included countries having the most number of human trafficking victims and with less government efforts to stop forms of human trafficking) for two consecutive years. This could have caused the withdrawal of some $700 million in non-humanitarian, non-trade related aid including grants from the millennium challenge program.
As a result of intensified efforts, the country’s status was upgraded a notch higher to Tier 2 in 2011 and maintained the status in 2012. Tier 2 countries are those that have shown significant efforts to fight human trafficking but have yet to fully comply with standards set by the United States' Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report.
The Freedom Ride launches the campaign “Stop, Look, and Listen,” which aims to raise public awareness on Human Trafficking and empower citizens to contribute in the fight to stop it.
The Freedom Ride will start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig. Cyclists wearing shirts printed with 1343 Anti-Trafficking hotline shall bike around the cities of Taguig, Manila, Pasay and Makati to spread awareness on human trafficking.
Dakila President, multi-awarded writer, journalist, musician and pop culture icon, Lourd de Veyra said, “Not only are we a country with 10 million of our countrymen working abroad and where disasters, armed conflict and poverty force most of us to find better opportunities and safer living space elsewhere, but also a society where the luster of city life and promise of fast cash continue to attract people from the rural communities. As a result, more people are becoming vulnerable to human trafficking. By using popular culture like bike rides, social media, music and film, Dakila’s campaign aims to contribute in making the public aware of human trafficking and empower them to take action.”
The Freedom Ride is open to the public and will start at the Venice Piazza Fountain Area, McKinley Hill, Taguig. Assembly is at 7 a.m. and ride out is at 7:30 a.m.
For more information, visit http://dakila.org.ph/freedomproject/. (PR)