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Internet and Philippine elections

Statistics vary on the actual number of internet users in the Philippines. It may range from as low as nine million to a high number of thirty-five million users. This figure is enough to compel politicians to recognize the value of online campaigning. Many candidates who aspire to tap the youth vote are using the internet as a platform for their candidacies.

Inevitable Karma believes internet penetration is not yet that impressive in the Philippines and politicians must still rely on mainstream media. This observation is shared by so many political analysts who insist that internet campaign cannot reach the most number of Filipino voters.

Still, the 2007 midterm election campaign has effectively shown how candidates can increase their chances of winning by maximizing the cyberspace. Candidates have put up their own personal websites, blogs and Friendster accounts (Friendster is the most popular social networking site in the Philippines).

There are various reliable websites and blogs which give updated news and information on candidates, political parties and other election matters. The Pinoy Vote 2007 provides useful links to candidates’ websites. Philippine Eleksiyon 2007 gives a daily report on important election news. Votester asks bloggers to submit election articles; and it conducts an online survey on voters’ preferences. Inquirer offers podcasts of senatorial candidates.

Online campaigning became a necessity for a jailed rebel soldier who is running for Senator. This young soldier has a Friendster blog and his friends have also established an election promotion blog. Check also the blog of his group known as Magdalo.

Tonyo links to an online petition calling for the immediate release of a jailed leftist lawmaker.

Since TV ads are expensive, candidates have begun using You Tube for its affordability and accessibility. Partylist groups representing the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of Philippine society have placed campaign ads in You Tube.

Cyberbaguioboy blogs about this interesting internet campaign of an independent senatorial candidate.

“Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has launched his very own YouTube-based channel, hoping to show people his day-to-day campaign activities. Using MTV-style production, this online “reality show” is dubbed KTubed (as in KikoTubed) on multiply.com. This same video clip is also embedded in KTube, which the creators describe as an online reality series featuring the life of Senatorial Candidate Kiko Pangilinan as he runs for office and of course at home with his family. No scripts, gimmicks, just Senator Kiko on the go.”

Disbar the First Boor is a blog which became prominent (it was featured in primetime TV news) during the start of election campaigning since it seeks to discredit the First Gentleman.

Wiretapped Delusions has a good point:

“How does one regulate political advertising on the internet without bashing heads with Constitutional issues, like freedom of speech. I feel this is just the beginning. But as early as now, one can hear the warhorn sound in the distance…”

On my way home is the blog of a senatorial candidate whose political group, Ang Kapatiran, is very much praised by civil society for raising the issue of morality in Philippine politics.

The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile writes his rules for voting for a partylist representative. Adarna's Attic has a list of top political TV ads.

7 comments

  • Indeed, the way our candidates utilize the flat world is impressive. This is another proof of how we can do so much with so little. And that, sadly, is why it still won’t be enough.

    An election is still a numbers game. While those who use the internet hope that their message is diffused beyond cyberspace, they can’t rely on it. Our mass media audience is an entrenched audience. They have their loyalties — often drawn behind ‘kapamilya’ or ‘kapuso’ lines, or rested on actor’s shoulders — making it a challenge for any alternative media to breakthrough.

    Much less if we talk about the internet because quite simply, they don’t have access. The good news is, the material being published on the internet is indeed very compelling. The examples stated in the article above all contribute to making an educated choice come May. There is no doubt they everyone should take a look. But even with our recommendations, it isn’t guaranteed that they will. Or even with their willingness, it isn’t guaranteed that they can.

    However, I believe that in time it will be a viable source of information for even more people in our country. Bloggers such as us can lead the way by creating a culture that isn’t afraid to critique, collaborate and commend the news and information we receive. Unlike the mass media at large, we have relatively good taste. And with our middle class growing in size, internet access grows with it.

    Building an active blogosphere is still the traditional case of “if you build it, they will come.” And we have it! People often wonder where democracy in the Philippines has gone. I point towards the internet. The flat world has made the terms “free trade” and “free speech” obsolete. What our country needs is an exchange of ideas and solutions, in hopes of bolstering the people who are willing to make those changes make those changes.

    How the internet is being used in this year’s elections makes me excited for 2010. But let’s not get too far ahead now. I just hope that in between now and then, our country as a whole has made strides towards improving our IT infrastructure (no more of this and this please), generating jobs in the high tech industry, and guaranteeing the education our citizenry badly needs.

    Alas. We go back to basics.

  • Thanks for the mention of my Blog Philippine Eleksiyon 2007

  • thanks for the link again! :-) for filipino readers, please vote for Kabataan Party-list!

  • I heard there was talk about local candidates using GrooveNet’s 3D virtual world, There Philippines as a medium to do get their messages accross to GrooveNet’s members. Does anybody know if this is true or not?

    http://www.groovenet.ph

  • Voting is power and Philippines CAN still change. Just STOP selling your voting power to any political candidate. Do your homework. Get to know the candidates before voting. And vote for the RIGHT persons.

  • Pian

    TO ALL
    I know this to be out of place. Please bear with me. I just want to create awareness by choosing the latest topic.
    Do consider Dr. Martin Bautista for the next elections obviously (a senatorial candidate of ‘Ang Kapatiran’ together with Adrian Sison and Zosimo Paredes). He’s a 45-year-old gastroenterologist in the US who came home after 17 years. You can see from his background that he truly means service. For those who find him to be a hypocrite for working abroad, do understand he’s a family man who needs to sustain his family, that he will be able to keep his independence by not relying on public funds to support his family. He helps his countrymen in his capacity but it’s just not enough for there are millions of Filipinos. It’s a good start in Philippine Politics to have him and his party around.
    I urge you to forward/text/inform all your contacts about them. I believe they only lack exposure that’s why I’m doing this. But I can’t do it alone so I’m appealing to everyone’s help. If all will inform their contacts about them and urge them as well to forward, we might hit a million.
    We cannot afford to be indifferent now if we want meaningful change. Otherwise we only have ourselves to blame. BUT TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

  • […] reading blogs. It is not surprising that politicians and political parties are now bringing their campaigns in the internet. But sad to say, there are few elected Filipino politicians who are […]

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