iVote, iWatch: Citizens Engaging and Watching Government for a Better Philippines

Eights months before the Philippines elects its 16th president, an active group of netizens are gearing up for a comprehensive coverage of another important chapter in the nation’s history.

Blog Watch (www.blogwatch.ph), a citizen’s initiative project that makes use of social networks and multimedia platforms, and The Philippine Online Chronicles (www.thepoc.net), a pioneering online media network and news curator, announced today the start of its 2016 presidential elections coverage as well as #juanvote—a network of netizens that utilize technology in order to expose electoral fraud and violence, and to document the entire election process.

The partnership was announced during a media forum entitled “iVote, iWatch: Citizens Engaging and Watching Government for a Better Philippines” held at the Commune Café in Polaris St., Makati. The event gathered both members of the print media as well as the growing online network of bloggers, news aggregators, social media personalities, and other non-traditional sources of news.

iVote, iWatch: Citizens Engaging and Watching Government for a Better Philippines

A Platform for Citizen Media

During the program, Blog Watch, represented by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Jane Uymatiao, discussed the important role of their group which is composed of 16-year-old to 60-plus-something citizen advocates, independent-minded bloggers, and social media users. These are people who use the power of the pen and its collective voice, as well as the individual online voices of its members, to continue pushing for social change, and to serve as nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog and collective conscience for transparence and good governance.

Blog Watch aims to promote proactive and constructive citizen engagement by netizens on cyberspace and offline with all stakeholders working for a better Philippines. Its members use various social media networking sites and multimedia platforms to convey these stories through news articles, opinion editorials, photos, videos, podcasts, and social media engagement.

Among the projects Blog Watch has collaborated on are #juanvote—Filipino netizens for honest, orderly, and peaceful elections and #epalwatch—a shame campaign against grandstanding, self-promoting “epal” public officials.

In 2010, #juanvote became the first social media coverage by citizens on election day and that was only the beginning. It continued for the May 2013 elections and will deliver again for the 2016 national elections.

Why iVote, iWatch?

We want our leaders to be accountable and hold them to their promises. iVote, iWatch seeks to encourage all Filipinos to go beyond just voting wisely. We must watch. Who do we watch? All of those we elected in office, as well as the people appointed to head different government agencies. It is our civic duty to be participative in nation-building as well as in being a check and balance to those in power.

Blog Watch is not affiliated with any political group or party and does its best to remain nonpartisan by publishing, to the fullest extent possible, all sides of an issue. For transparency, Blog Watchers are obliged to disclose in their profiles any close affiliations with a politician, high government official, or political party.

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