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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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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