Hundreds of cyclists, advocates to ride for freedom on June 12

All roads will lead to Iloilo Provincial Capitol Grounds on June 12, as hundreds of cyclists and advocates raise the flag of freedom on Independence Day to stop human trafficking and promote road sharing.

The Independence Day Freedom Ride is a bike ride event organized by advocate group Dakila, in partnership with Centralian Cruisers Cycling Club (C4) which aims to raise awareness on human trafficking and to promote road sharing in Iloilo with the tour of the six district plazas.

The first Independence Day ride in Iloilo was held on June 12, 2013 and participated by more than 500 cyclists.

“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 117th year of independence by continuing the fight for the freedom of others,”Allyn May Canja, coordinator of Dakila-Iloilo said.

“Human trafficking is a serious problem especially in our country because we offer cheap labor. A lot of times we only see women being trafficked for sexual exploitation but in fact, human trafficking can happen to both men and women and for different reasons other than sexual exploitation, such as forced labor. There are even cases of professionals such as doctors who experienced being trafficked,”Canja added.

Freedom Ride is meanwhile part of the "Stop. Look. Listen" campaign of Dakila to popularize the 1343 Anti-Trafficking Hotline. It was launched in Iloilo on April 20, 2013.

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

“We are enthusiastic about this event because aside from raising awareness on human trafficking, we also get to promote our cause which is road sharing and to transform Iloilo City into a more bike friendly city. We will be riding our bikes for freedom from human trafficking. In a way we feel like we are using our own advocacy, to promote another advocacy.”Biking advocate Daniella Caro said.

The Freedom Ride is part of the Project Freedom Campaign of Dakila, which aims to raise public awareness on Human Trafficking and empower advocates and citizens to become watchdogs in their own communities by driving them into action through grassroots involvement and amplified action through mainstream and digital media.

The Freedom Ride is free and open to the public. This year’s Independence Day Freedom Ride will start at 3:00 p.m. from the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Grounds and will pass through the six plazas representing the six districts of Iloilo City.

The ride will end at Iloilo Provincial Capitol for a short program to commemorate the Independence Day.