What can citizens do to build disaster resilient communities?
LUCBAN, Philippines – Beejay Castillo, a student at Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), used to believe that Facebook and Twitter were a mere source of entertainment. But when he heard the story of how the #MillionPeopleMarch protest started over Facebook, his perspective on social media changed.
"Actually ngayon ko lang nalaman yun..na kapag nag-tweet ka o nag status ka ay maaring makatulong sa iba," Castillo said. (I didn't know tweeting and posting status on Facebook can help others.)
Castillo was one of the nearly 500 participants of the #MoveQuezon workshop organized by SLSU on Saturday, March 1, at the Batis Aramin Hotel in Lucban, Quezon.
Youth and social media
The forum gathered students, teachers, and advocates to discuss how they can build resilient communites and prepare for disasters using technology and social media. It featured speakers from Rappler who talked about how the digital world and journalism are converging to become a potent platform for social change.
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa kicked off the event by discussing how social media is changing the landscape of journalism.
According to Ressa, as digital natives, today's generation is extremely exceptional because of the tools and technology that allow them to connect with their peers all over the world.
The technology available now has also created citizen journalists among netizens and the youth, she stressed.
"Social media is a tool. You can use it for good or bad. Your role is how to responsibly use this tool," Ressa said.
"Things have changed. The government is trying but it's not enough so we have to do it, and you can help. And that is where you have a great role to play," Ressa added.
One way to effectively use this tool, as Pat Evangelista shared, is by telling stories - a way of making sense of the world.
Evangelista shared stories of her experiences while covering Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and the Zamboanga siege.
Social good during disasters
MovePH head Zak Yuson challenged the participants to make use of technology to help build disaster resilient communities.
"Data shows us that we are social media-savvy, but what matters is how we use social media to help building disaster-resilient communities," Yuson added, noting that a third of the population in the Philippines is connected to Facebook.
Yuson said the youth should educate themselves, share the information with others, and collectively act on issues relevant to disaster preparedness.
At the workshop, Rappler introduced Project Agos, an online platform that citizens and local government units can use for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
Through the platform, everyone can take part in sharing information that can ultimately save lives.
Rappler multimedia reporter David Lozada and Filipino poet and author Eros Atalia were also among the speakers.
Missed the #MoveQuezon event? You can revisit the liveblog here: