If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and I apologise if it hasn’t lived up to its name lately), you know that I’m personally involved in advocating Filipinos here in Perth and surrounding areas to register as an overseas absentee voter. The campaign is a personal one and I do not have direct funding from anybody, so I am using online and offline social networks to disseminate the information (and to some point personal resources such as petrol, paper, inks, phone credits, etc.).
As a communications specialist, I know the importance of “gatekeepers.” Gatekeepers in communications or marketing are important links to your target audiences or clients. I knew their opinion will matter especially in this very important initiative. Some of my identified gatekeepers here include Asian shopkeepers, association leaders, peer group leaders and religious leaders.
I have tried to distribute a paper for Filipinos to sign to express their interest to register for the OAV and recently, I have asked a friend for help in this campaign. I have specifically asked him to show it to their church members. Their religious group is one of the biggest in the Filipino community here and their assistance would be a great boost to this campaign.
However, to my surprise their head minister turned down the request that the paper be passed on within the church. According to my friend, the minister said that there is an “unofficial” directive from Manila that their expat members (or those based outside Manila) do not participate in the coming election as the Philippine election is “chaotic.” My friend was very apologetic that he wasn’t able to help but I said that I do understand and respect their minister’s decision, who, by the way, is already an Australian citizen. I will be vague at this point as I might inadvertently give details that might identify the group.
For now, off to the next target audience and hopefully I’ll be able to reach my goal by end of July.