At night, the war room was a big pressure cooker, everyone was working so fast.
SILANG, Cavite – In time for the 2013 mid-term elections, MovePH, Rappler's citizen journalism arm, held a focus group discussion (FGD) and the 13th leg of its “Social Media for Social Change” chat series. The events were hosted by the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) in Silang, Cavite on Thursday, February 28.
Cavite, a populous province with about 1.6 million registered voters, is expected to “make noise,” given the intense rivalry between gubernatorial candidates Juanito “Jonvic” Remulla and Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi.
During the RTD that preceded #MoveCavite, one of the issues raised by both students and teachers alike was the bitter competition among 4 political families – the Lacsons, the Remullas, the Malicsis, and the Revillas.
They noted that the province is notorious for election-related violence. Participants in the discussion also expressed dismay and fear over persistent vote-buying and seemingly “mis-educated” voters.
Social media as a political tool
Participants in the FGD also tackled the role of social media in the campaign.
Politicians actively use social media, “revolutionizing communication between politicians and the voters,” Anthony Esguerra, president of the Philippine League of Development Communication (Phildevcom) said.
While other participants seemed resigned to the fact that politics in Cavite will not change, Esguerra said he believes that social media can be a platform to effect change in the political landscape of Cavite.
This was further tackled during the “Social Media for Social Change” event in the afternoon that carried the theme, “Safeguarding the People’s Vote.”
Rappler CEO and executive editor, Maria Ressa headlined the afternoon event with her keynote address, “The Power of Social Media.” This was followed by presentations from storytellers composed of Rappler veteran journalists and reporters who engaged the audience to encourage them to participate in discussing socially-relevant issues and take a stand.
Veteran journalist and Rappler's citizen journalism director Chay Hofileña discussed how citizen journalists could alter election culture.
Rappler reporter Natashya Gutierrez shared the fun and challenge of multimedia reporting.
Rappler social media head Michael Josh Villanueva discussed how social media can be used in pushing for clean and honest elections.
Patricia Evangelista, Rappler multimedia reporter, talked about the importance of telling compelling stories. – Rappler.com