I am compelled to write this piece, if only to document our ongoing struggle to make citizen engagement in the Philippines a NORMAL part of participatory governance. It is a constant uphill battle that is often tiring, makes me question why I even want to go on with a thankless job (oh, I do not even draw any salary so it is not a job!), and just go on with my peaceful apolitical life as it used to be before 2009.
I am one of the “14 bloggers” the Palace accredited to cover the 50th anniversary of the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The better phrase to describe us actually is “citizen advocates”. With me were Noemi Dado and Sonnie Santos from Blogwatch and an independent blogger-advocate, Tess Termulo, who is a practicing doctor in a government hospital. I cannot speak for the other bloggers who are not part of my usual circle of bloggers.
A Rappler article by Pia Ranada dated August 7, 2017, “ASEAN accreditation granted to 14 bloggers – Andanar”, contained statements which, in the absence of any qualification, makes me assume they were directed at all 14 of us who covered the recent ASEAN events from August 2-8. I will respond to each of Ms. Ranada’s statements below but first, I would like to say that not all bloggers are citizen advocates like me; conversely, not all citizen advocates are bloggers. I just happen to be all this rolled into one, including being a social media practitioner.
Most people who invest in financial products and buy insurance are in any of three stages in life: 1) starting to build a financial nest at the start of one’s career 2) growing wealth as one moves up in his career and has a family by then, and 3) preparing ahead for one’s senior years when the propensity to grow wealth starts diminishing and health-related expenses go up.
The three life stages and their needs
If you are one of these types of investors, you are in a good place. But…did you know that there is still a fourth life stage and yet, so many Filipinos miss out on preparing amply for it and it has a huge tax impact on the heirs? Here’s something to think about…
I may be biased but let me put this out here at the onset: ALL MOMS ARE INFLUENCERS.
My son graduated today from Ateneo. He is the last of my kids to do so.
I attended the Baccalaureate Mass this morning. Unlike the past graduations of my kids, the program for the Baccalaureate already includes the Commencement Address. In past graduations I attended, two different commencement speakers spoke on the 2 graduation days.
Batch 2017’s Commencement Speaker was Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, an Atenean herself. In his introductory remarks, Ateneo President Fr. Jett Villarin, S.J. told us that Chief Justice Sereno was his classmate in Philo 103.
Chief Justice Sereno said that she already had a prepared speech that, in her words, was “more lighthearted and general”. But with martial law being declared in Mindanao, she discarded that speech and made this one. I am glad she did. It was powerful, moving, and inspiring!
I came across this definition of an advocate on the Facebook wall of Dr. Antonio Dans. It’s a pretty good description. I think I will expound on this in a future post.
ADVOCACY is (according to wikipedia) – “an organized collection of people who seek to influence political decisions and policy, without seeking election to public office… it is a network of interconnected organisations and projects which seek to benefit people who are in difficulty.”
But what are advocates?
1. Advocates have no political ambition (by definition) – they work at the front lines;
2. They have no power (but they have FB);
3. They do not trade values in exchange for favors;
4. They take sides on issues – not the people behind them;
5. They argue to uncover the truth – not to win the argument;
6. They aren’t paid, but they’re able to dream;
7. They don’t get any credit… but they have endless opportunities to photobomb policy-makers.
Advocates need policy-makers to get things done.
But policymakers need advocates to dream.
(Reposted with permission)
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
Source: Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/aZhtTP)
I’ve been a citizen advocate since 2009 as a co-founder of Blogwatch, a small group of concerned citizen bloggers who are trying to make a difference in society and government. You can find my articles at blogwatch.ph (archives) and blogwatch.tv (current).