Sakdal Laya: Unity Convoy Sparks Awareness

Image by Joy D.

PRACT x FCPh Rides Out for Health, Truth, and Freedom

When the voices of the people are silenced and censored, some might lose hope and believe they are alone. When oppressive measures are used without legal or scientific bases – causing harm, damage, or death – many will intuitively seek others who share their sentiments. And then, something incredible happens – a tribe is born, and the strength in their truth and conviction is fortified. The fear and fear-mongering that has plagued and controlled us for the past two years, begins to lose its grip. Crowd formation starts to overpower mass hypnosis, and we all begin to see clearer and speak louder.

This is not a movement against vaccines – rather, this is a call for compassion for the vaccine-injured; for the freedom to choose, for the right to privacy, travel, work, and education; for the autonomy of not only our bodies, but also our businesses and economy; and for the acknowledgement that these vaccines are experimental, and that there are safer treatments for the disease in all stages of infection. Our goal is to open peaceful dialogue with one another. We have been divided and silent for too long.

Image by Marchen M.

This is what we accomplished last Friday in our Unity Convoy (PRACT x FCPh), where a group of kind and brave people came together to channel their frustrations in an effective way; to be seen and heard. The convoy participants, from all walks of life, of different political inclinations, faiths and religions, made a unified stand on their common values – health, truth, and freedom. The movement was inspired by the truckers of Canada and the demonstrations around the world, who are exercising our human rights.


Do You Hear The People Sing?

The Philippine Resistance Against Covid Tyranny (PRACT) began their first caravan last February 17, which gave courage to many of us behind the screens. Last Friday, we joined them for a unity convoy with riders from around NCR plus. But even before then, many groups had already been holding prayer rallies around the country – in Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Capiz, Palawan, Metro Manila, and other provinces with concerned citizens. In a truly remarkable turn of events, this weekend saw several freedom convoys and caravans happen independently, yet simultaneously, around the archipelago (more about this soon!)

When our voices grew louder, many more listened. This movement is very much an educational one, where we are reminded of our rights, our laws, and our ability to understand logic and science even without a degree.

Watch the FCPh livestreams here: facebook.com/pg/freedomconvoyph/videos
Watch the PRACT livestreams here: facebook.com/pg/covidcalltohumanity/videos
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With over 600 registrations on the main FCPh list, and 100+ signups for the Feb 25 Unity Convoy, we initially struggled with organizing the groupings, logistics, routes, program, and security. We were overwhelmed with the amount of responses and your willingness to support and join the cause.

We had around 24 cars, 17 motorbikes, and 8 cyclists. Those who didn’t have a car would ride with those who had space in theirs – turning strangers into friends, while following health protocols. One of the participants, a senior citizen who came alone with her car, asked if anyone was from Makati City. She shared, “I thought I was the only one left in Makati who isn’t vaccinated!”

Image by Red Hood Photography

We split into two groups: one coming from the north (Commission on Human Rights, Quezon City) and one from the south (Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City). Banners and tarpaulins were placed on our vehicles, bikes, and shirts. These read legal and scientific facts, short statements about our stance, and reminders of our rights.

Watch: rider’s documentation below:
Video by Marchen M.

[Folders and playlists are currently being updated]


Seen, Heard, and Supported

The convoy began its roll-out at around 8AM, and immediately we were drawing attention. We honked in unison, gave out smiles and waves and salutes. With our Philippine flag at the front of the convoy, many onlookers and motorists may have mistaken us for a political campaign; but as they did their double-take, they realized what we were riding for and offered their thumbs-ups, cheers, waves, and the signature warm smile of our people. As we headed towards the stations of TV5, GMA 7, and ABS-CBN which were on the other side of the metro, our group drove past the EDSA People Power Monument where other programs were scheduled. Police presence was significant, but non-aggressive. As we passed the venue, we honked louder and waved bigger, turning heads of those in the crowd. Looking confused and curious, some rushed closer to capture our convoy with their cameras, many waving back – including our law enforcers!


Image by Red Hood Photography
Image by Direk Dennis

By 11AM, we were circling the TV networks, stopping to get down from our vehicles to form a line of solidarity as we spoke, prayed, sang, and stretched our legs. Eventually, a TV crew from GMA Channel 7 chased us down for an interview. Shortly after, a news team from ABS-CBN also came out to hear our statements. Another news outlet, QC News Today, went on a livestream coverage of the impassioned pleas of Nanay Gemma and other participants (watch it [HERE]).

We observed that the reporters and cameramen were genuinely curious, slowly opening up as they shared their experiences of colleagues being barred from reporting to work, or admitting that they were oblivious to the amount of Filipinos standing up against the mandates. One of the crew even muttered shyly under his breath: “napilitan din ako.” (I was also coerced).

Image by Joy D.
Watch: rider’s livestream of GMA 7‘s interview below:
Video by Yel B.

We do not know if they will air the interviews on their networks – but we are grateful that we were able to speak to the news team and connect with them on a human level. At the very least, the stations have it documented – and we exchanged contact details with some of the reporters.

After this blessing, we continued back southward and stopped at a gas station that was kind enough to allow us to have our lunch outside. The short break gave riders a chance to share food, water, and stories – forging more human connections and a heartfelt bond.

Image by Red Hood Photography
Registration van, south group meet-up point | Image by Joy D.
Image by Joy D.
Image by Red Hood Photography

Eventually, both convoy groups converged at the EDSA People Power Monument in Quezon City, where police, protesters, and campaigners of other movements were still hanging around. We parked our vehicles neatly along the stretch of White Plains avenue, two halves of the convoy complete. The feeling of finally convening was like a reunion of old friends; except many had just met each other in the last few months, on the internet. It was a gathering of law-abiding, kind-hearted people, both vaccinated and not vaccinated. There was solidarity in support of those injured by the inoculation program, restricted from free movement, and/or discriminated against by society at large. While it was the first time many had met in-person, there was already a sense of familiarity – and a sense of family and duty.

The group had prepared for the possibility police confrontation, yet we received many of their support. At the monument, interactions with them were civil, relaxed, and friendly as we exchanged experiences and opinions about health, the pandemic, and the current “new normal.”

Image by Marchen M.
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Read the experiences of our Unity Convoy riders:

Masarap sa pakiramdam yun pag nakita ng mga tao yun convoy at nababasa nila mga messages sa tarp, sumisigaw o pumapalakpak sila at nagta thumbs-up. Parang nakakakita sila ng kakampi, pati mga nakakasabay na motorista marami ang kumakaway. Nakakatuwa din yung pinayagan ang convoy sa gas station para maka kain mga tao.

Ymer

During a long stop (going outside UP), 2 female pedestrians were waving at us from across the street and they were laughing. Seemed strange i did not know how to react. Then one of the girls said, “Akala namin kami lang ang ayaw magpabakuna, ang dami din pala ayaw, hahaha! And the both gave each other a ‘high five’.

After driving around for a long time from QC to Mall of Asia, then back to QC and parked along WhitePlains Ave. beside Camp Aguinaldo, was already quite tired, and it was so darn hot on our side of the road. I wondered how many more minutes I can withstand the heat while wishing we were on the other side of the road where they have lots of trees and shaded areas to relax under. At that point when i was ready to call it a day, and then . . . lo and behold, I heard a familiar honking sound. As I looked to the right, I saw the South Convoy approaching us horns honking wildly and some on blinkers and the group had most of their windows down and they were all waving at us (as if kamag anak sa airport, matagal di nagkita). Wow! The feeling was intense! As the entire convoy passed us to make a U turn, i could not stop imagining how it was with the Canadian truckers. This is what keeps them going. Got goose bumps then and right now as i am writing this. It got me fired up again and was thankful i did not leave a minute earlier. One of those things you know you will remember vividly for the rest of your life

Allan r.
Image by Red Hood Photography

Kami po ng husband ko kahit pagod, masaya po – lalo na nung may mga kumakaway na tao sa pag daan natin. Sadya lang timid mga Pinoy ? Hindi po tayo masyadong showy ng feelings natin, pero I’m sure malaki po naging impluwensiya natin sa mga taong dinaanan natin at sa mga pasahero ng jeep, bus FX, at taxis! Sa uulitin po.

Dolly

Heartwarming response got from roads and streets we convoyed. Hospitable filipino smiles and thumbs up, they realized that they are not alone. We awakened their spirits.

Maybe some of them are forced and coerced by the vx mandates.

We had encountered bystanders, traffic enforcers, lalamove and grab drivers, tricycle drivers, street vendors, security guards of buildings and establisments, crews peeping at us and thumbs up  from the fast food chains. 

Their smiles and support relieved our tired physical bodies (wholeday event), but boosted spirits tho.

Flyering while in the roads, is another success…interested faces are getting and reading our flyers with basic information about their rights as human being, and as citizen of this country Philippines.

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Video by Don M.

Yung tayo ay lumabas na sa QC News today would be considered as a big blessing and first step na masusundan pa yan. Tibayan lang natin ang ating loob…If I may just add, sa lahat o dami ng nasamahan kong event, eto ang pinaka una na sinundan at kinuhanan tyo ng panig ng media. Dati deadma talaga. Kaya laking blessing nito na na document nila at me record na sila…Pray natin ilabas in Gods perfect time!

Joy

I am Proud to be part of this convoy! Sarap sa pakiramdam na makita mo mga tao na nagthumbs up sa inyo, mga private cars and motorists na nag honk din sa inyo, mga traffic enforcers na binigyan kayo priority para makalagpas sa traffic light maski naka red pa. Mga kumuha ng videos na nsa private cars at mga passengers ng buses, jeeps, fx, mga nasa taxi. Mga bystanders. I was observing it kasi lalo na nasa unahan kami ng convoy.

Asawa ko po, una nahiya siya sumali. Pero nun magstart na ang convoy at nakita nya madami tayo, na inspire sya, lumakas loob nya. Nawala un hiya nya. Siya pa nagsasabi sa akin magbigay ng flyers. At nun pag uwi namin, hindi na sya nahiya n nakasabit ang aming tarpaulins sa car. Hindi na siya takot na baka ma-bash kami kasi unvaxx kami. Nakita niya kasi reactions ng mga tao sa daan habang dumadaan ang convoy natin. Maraming natuwa.

Anna M.

Prayers For The Victims

We were granted 30 minutes to offer a prayer for the victims of the pandemic, for the country, and especially for who had suffered adverse events from the vaccines. There was a scheduled political campaign after ours, and many of those participants had arrived early. I even saw some relatives there, equally surprised and delighted to see each other – fighting for two different causes yet standing on the same ground. Although, I am not sure how they feel about our convoy, since we mainly chatted about our families. Interestingly though, I noticed them inch closer and closer as Pastor Tejano began the prayer. At least they were able to witness our convoys merge and hear out our calls.

Image by Sinag T.

For the prayer vigil, we swapped the statement banners for photos of the vaccine victims in order to make it clear to everyone, to call on those who continue to turn a blind eye, that these victims are real; and that the sheer number of anecdotes can no longer be ignored nor dismissed. These people who suffered or passed away- too suddenly and too soon – are the driving force of our cause, the fuel that keeps us going even when the tank seems empty.

There is a valid reason for our alarm and urgency, for our appeal to end the censorship, mandates, and discrimination – as people continue to be harmed in horrifying, unjustifiable ways. Human lives lost, are not to be reduced to a mere statistic. We must always remember that where there is risk, there is choice – and our medical doctors and heroic frontliners must remember their oath to “First, do not harm(primum non nocere). Our Constitution and civilization must uphold international human rights, wherein the sanctity of every life and respect for one another must not be compromised.

After the vigil, the convoy hit the road again – this time longer and stronger as both groups formed and held the line. We went on to circle Mall of Asia, and back around heading north again – bringing more awareness to people.

Video by July E.
Image by Joy D.

Convey It Via Convoy

The Unity Convoy for Health, Truth, and Freedom remained very much apolitical with our colors and the messages we conveyed. While the activity took place on February 25, the anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution, there was no politicking nor campaigning for anything other than to point out the illegal and unethical mandates, the discrimination driving division, and the real-world data about the dangers of the novel vaccines. The date of the convoy and the place of convening was strategic – it was a holiday and a long weekend, allowing more riders to join, and ensuring the convoy causes as little traffic as possible (none of the pains of Manila rush hour!)

At the same time, we knew the media would be out covering different stories around the cities, and the press, political campaigners, police, and other demonstrators would be in the EDSA monument. This was a successful way to gain exposure and spread awareness, if only to those who were physically present to see us take peaceful action. We have faith that truth gets around.

Image by Red Hood Photography

We are so honored, grateful, and hopeful to have been part of this amazing experience with our fellow Filipinos. Thank you to all who joined – and to those who couldn’t, we’ll see you soon!

[Folders and playlists are currently being updated]

Watch the FCPh livestreams here: facebook.com/pg/freedomconvoyph/videos
Watch the PRACT livestreams here: facebook.com/pg/covidcalltohumanity/videos


Visit Covid Call To Humanity for more PRACT initiatives and latest news

4 thoughts on “Sakdal Laya: Unity Convoy Sparks Awareness

  1. Marubdob na pagbati sa inyong lahat ! Marami na ang nagigising! Ipagpatuloy ang pakikibaka para sa katotohanan at sa karapatang magpasya sa sariling kalusugan! Wakasan ang panlilinlang, itigil ang sapilitang pagbabakuna !

  2. Amazing, life-changing!!!!!! Thank you for giving us strength and courage to stand ground and speak up. It was such an experience I would not forget. We have to wake up our families and friends to the risks and truth , save our children!!!don’t risk their lives!!

  3. Can I just say what a relief to uncover someone that genuinely knows what they’re talking about on the net. You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to look at this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

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