The Push for a Blogging Association

Blogbastic is on (a very long) hiatus but I am “plurkbastic/twittertastic” in ‘short,’ I am active in microblogging. Microblogging gave a good alternative to a bit time-intensive blogging here at blogbastic (not that I’m complaining, I love writing but I am busy trying to finish my thesis). Microblogs provided me with an avenue where I can post anything about current events here and back home (Got hooked also on instagram lately! You can find my posts here.) However, recent events are provoking me to resurrect Blogbastic! I will roll (hopefully!) those posts in the coming weeks. As I try to slowly blog again (here, that is), I think it is fitting to blog about blogging. This is a way delayed reaction when most of the bloggers are winding down discussing the issue of Willie Revillame, Merci and Marcos’ burial among others (well, old news by the time you read this).

When the buzz about a bloggers association in the Philippines came alive, I decided to just watch the exchanges. After all, I was on blogging “hiatus” anyway and I am really not familiar with all the issues presented. What I know is that the call for a blogging association was reignited when a mainstream journo/columnist revealed that a public relations firm in Manila has a blogger in its roster. The blogger allegedly threatened a restaurant owner of giving it a bad review unless they give in to his/her demand. This incident, as they say, opened a can of worms and gave Pinoy blogging a bad name.

As Ms. Janette explained the vision to have a bloggers association in the Philippines was discussed about two years ago. Who wouldn’t support the idea? There were already groups of bloggers nationwide who formed their local associations anyway. And as pointed out by other bloggers, these bloggers associations are very active that some have regularly sponsored Word Camps and bloggers’ training in their localities or Region. While some associations or informal group persisted some group died naturally. However, I reckon that the purpose of forming a bloc persisted, i.e., promote blogging and support one another technically among others.

Some bloggers had merits in their decision not to join this initiative while others have taken a (very) personal reason not join, which I really pity. I think I have nothing more to add to the issue. If you want to read more, following are some links to some good reads about it as suggested by Jayvee:

I am not aware of any bloggers association here in Australia but I am aware that there was a bloggers’ conference held recently. This is different from the Word Camp of WordPress. My point here is they did not need an association to organise a big event. They were united by the blogosphere. However, the case of the “big bad blogger” should be treated as a red flag for every Pinoy blogger anywhere in the world. We know that one person or group can manipulate laws, regulations, policies or guidelines in the Philippines. So, the idea of a National Bloggers Association might be a good one. I think we need it to protect ourselves and help one if one needs it.

I do question, however, how the “manifesto” was circulated secretly and this does not sit well really to most bloggers, I reckon. While Tonyo explained the move behind this, I think this inadvertently showed that blogging used to be a class A-B activity and the move to ‘circulate’ the manifesto to a ‘chosen few’ implied that those at the C, D or E might muddle the thing. Despite this however, I strongly believe that it is in the best interest of everybody, whether you’re against it or not, to get the ball rolling. As I have pointed out earlier, unless we can trust our lawmakers and/or we are certain that there are laws that can adequately protect bloggers, then certainly we do not need any association that will promote and protect our rights as Pinoy bloggers.

If you agree with me, I believe it is time that you sign up  now. I just did.

Scams of the earth!

I used to work for an international organisation ages ago. In this big organisation, email is one of the most important means of communication in the organisation and the most reliable. The size of organisation that I used to work for meant that its information technology security is one of the best in the world. However, one day a human resource staff forwarded an email. It contained, as usual, recruitment requests from other sister organisations.
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Philippines: The most dangerous place for journos

Australian journalists have a lot to be thankful for. They live in a relatively safe and free environment. The violence that they will, at most, get will probably be a bashing from their news subject. And yet the government will protect them even if they run after government personalities, not for witch-hunting, but to deliver information on the politician’s performance to the public.
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Election here and at home

Last Saturday, the electoral district of Willagee had a by-election after its MP, who was the former State Premier, resigned. The campaign and voting went well despite seemingly unnoticed. The campaign mainly consisted of print ads in community papers and distribution of leaflets in letter boxes of residents. If there was some exchanges between the candidates in media outlets, the topics will mainly be on policy concerns and what they can offer. Voting is also compulsory here in Australia, anyone who fails to vote risk paying a fine. I think the fine is to cover the cost of the materials and preparations allocated for each voter. Voting started from 8:00am to 6:00pm by 7:00pm votes have been counted halfway and before 9:00pm the winner was already known.
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When Journos spill the beans

Journalists are trained to be as objective as possible, however, there are inevitable times when a journalist’s bias or emotion about a story shows. There are cases when a journalist will inevitably show emotion especially if he/she is covering a human tragedy. It is inevitable, sometimes, for journalists, whether broadcast or print, to show some emotions

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OAV registrations concluded

The number of overseas absentee voting (OAV) registrants was unofficially released recently. As expected, there was a low turnout for the OAV registrations. The Department of Foreign Affairs said that overall it fell short of its goal to have 1 million registrants by the end of OAV registrations last 31 August. Reports from GMAnews.tv said that there are over 216,000 OAV registrants worldwide.
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OAV registrations set

With about 18 days to the deadline of registrations for the Overseas Absentee Voting, the Philippine Embassy here in Australia released the schedule of mobile registrations. Mobile registrations are scheduled this month in Darwin, Melbourne and Perth.

Filipinos including those who hold dual citizenship are entitled to register for the OAV. For Filipinos who previously registered as OAV elsewhere, kindly contact the consulate office in your area if you can skip this registration schedule. There are some Pinoys who have expressed doubt in the exercise, however, this is the best that we can do rather than watch as the votes are cast. If there will be any irregularities, I believe there will be some good representations from independent organisations who will be able to deter or at least note of such thing.

Following are the schedule here in Australia:

Darwin, NT

Date and Time: Saturday & Sunday, 15-16 August 2009, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Venue: Philippine Community Centre, Corner of Amy Johnson Ave & Batten Road, Marrara, NT

Melbourne, VIC

Date and Time: Saturday & Sunday, 22-23 August 2009, 10:00am to 5:00pm

Venue: Philippine House, 93 Cowper Street, Footscray, VIC

Perth, WA

Date and Time: Saturday & Sunday, 29-30 August 2009, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Venue: Filipino Australian Club of Perth, Inc., 1 Catherine St., Bedford, WA

The registration in Perth on Saturday will be between 9:00am and 12 noon only while registrations on Sunday will be held from 9:00 am to 5:00pm (with 12-1 lunch break :)).

All registrants are required to bring a photocopy of their Philippine passport or Dual Citizenship ID. More information on OAV can be found here.

Our country’s history has had some tumultuous and momentous episodes. Some of us have been part of those episodes so, I think it is better for us to participate, for better or worse, in our country’s history. Boycotting this important election is just throwing in the towel. Bloggers who don’t blog about an issue do not get any attention that they did so unless they blog about their action. So, I guess it’s the same with us who might be planning to just dump this important exercise and say, “we’re making a statement.” Unless you blog about it, no one will care that you didn’t vote.

No matter how frustrated some of us with the system, it is worth trying, it is worth fighting, it will still be worth our vote, whether the system fails us or not. We are Pinoys, we are known to be resilient, so let’s go out on those dates and register.

Blogbastic