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.
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…”