I signed the Bloggers for Freedom statement!

Today, you and I enjoy the freedom to write and publish our thoughts and feelings. All my children were born in an age where freedom of expression and the right to communicate are taken for granted. I fear that this freedom is in grave danger if we let it be.

It was not so from 1972 to the 80s when martial law under then Pres. Marcos was in effect. I witnessed the shutting down of ALL media outlets (TV, print, radio) except those that broadcasted news favorable to the sitting administration.

The pressure on Inquirer’s owners to sell their shares, the charges against Rappler (which I see as an overkill by SEC), and the announcement that Interaksyon.com is closing soon…..all these make me very, very uncomfortable and fearful that after mainstream media, bloggers and netizens like you and I will be next.

Spokespersons for the government are trying to assuage us that this is not martial law the Marcosian way — the President has not physically shut down these media outlets, they say. There are legal processes in place, they say. Sure…the strategies are no longer physical. The scare tactics, just like media strategies, have gone digital.

When I was asked if I wanted to sign this statement by bloggers, I willingly did so. Today, along with other bloggers who signed, I am posting this on my blog for my children and grandchildren to see. Long after I am gone, I want them to know that, at least for one moment, I tried to fight to keep the freedom they know INTACT and FREE FROM INTIMIDATION. 

If you are also a blogger or netizen, and the statement below resonates with you, please join us by adding your name to this growing list of signatories via this Google Form.

In your social media posts, please use also the following hashtags:


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DOLE says salesladies will no longer be required to wear high heels!

Have you ever noticed, in some malls that you go to, that the salesladies always wore high heels? Each time I noticed that, I would wonder how they ever got through the day. I know how my feet would hurt a lot in high heels during my corporate days.

Good news for them! The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello signed last August 25, 2017 Department Order (DO) 178 prohibiting employers from requiring their female employees to wear shoes with heels higher than one inch. In addition, if the shoes are an inch high, they should be wedge-type shoes.

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What is all this ado about bloggers at #ASEAN2017?

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.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno gave a powerful commencement speech at the Ateneo de Manila 2017 graduation

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!

SC CJ Sereno

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What is an advocate?

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)


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I am Citizen Jane (@citizenjaneph)

“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).

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