Internet instrumental to successful campaigns in Philippines
Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - January 26, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - On top of earning the reputation as the “selfie capital of the world,” the Philippines has learned to use the Internet as a tool for social good and in pushing for advocacies.

This was highlighted in discussions among Filipino bloggers during the two-day Citizen Media Summit organized by Global Voices in Cebu.

One of the prominent examples cited by bloggers is the role the Internet played in disaster relief campaigns during typhoons. 

Blogger Fleire Castro cited the online advocacy campaign #OneForIligan that bloggers in Iligan City launched as a way to generate relief support for survivors of typhoon Sendong. The initiative gained support from the online community even from abroad.

Consequently, Metro Manila netizens led by bloggers like Tonyo Cruz followed suit and adopted unified hash tags such as #RescuePH and #ReliefPH to collate and collect information, updates, situationers and in-depth discussions during calamities like typhoons.

In Cebu, aside from online relief campaigns for survivors of super typhoon Yolanda, bloggers here have maximized the benefits of the Internet by lobbying for the pullout of a television advertisement of a diaper brand, which depicted the historic “Battle of Mactan” erroneously.

Lapu-Lapu, a Cebuano icon, is considered as the country’s first national hero.

The online petition was initiated by local blogger Ka Bino Guerrero and supported subsequently by another blogger, Ruben Licera  Jr., the founder and president of the Cebu Bloggers Society.

In a recent study, the Philippines topped among countries in terms of Internet usage with 44.2 percent of the country’s 100.8 million population is considering active Internet users. Of this number, 40 million are active on social media, 114.6 million have mobile Internet connection, and 32 million are active on social media via mobile.

The same study, however, found that the country is among the countries with the lowest average Internet connection speeds trailing next to Argentina, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Egypt, South Africa and Malta.

Despite these numbers, too, it was noted during one of the sessions on the controversial Freedom of Information Act why Filipinos continue to fall short in the campaign for an FOI law with but a meager 17,000 signatures generated online and 63,000 signatures offline. (FREEMAN)

BATTLE OF MACTAN BLOGGER FLEIRE CASTRO CEBU BLOGGERS SOCIETY CITIZEN MEDIA SUMMIT FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT GLOBAL VOICES ILIGAN CITY IN CEBU INTERNET KA BINO GUERRERO METRO MANILA
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