liveable cities in the Philippines

Everything you need to know: Rappler-QC Tomas Morato virtual public consultation

Pia Ranada

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Everything you need to know: Rappler-QC Tomas Morato virtual public consultation
Let your voice be heard in the discussions about making Tomas Morato Avenue car-free! Here's how to join the virtual sessions.

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler has partnered with the Quezon City Council to gather public insights and measure public sentiment about a proposal to pedestrianize the iconic Tomas Morato Avenue using its app and artificial intelligence.

The proposal stems from a draft ordinance put forth by Quezon City Councilor Irene Belmonte, who represents the city’s Fourth District. Mayor Joy Belmonte supports the collaboration as a way to sound the public on the possibility of declaring more streets in the city as car-free, pedestrianized “people’s streets.”

This series of virtual public consultations will complement in-person consultations conducted by Councilor Belmonte.

Here’s what you need to know (this explainer is available in Filipino here).

Everything you need to know: Rappler-QC Tomas Morato virtual public consultation
How will the virtual consultation work?

The virtual consultations will be composed of four online sessions each lasting one hour and 30 minutes long. Two sessions will be just for residents, employees, workers and business owners in the barangays surrounding Tomas Morato Avenue. The other two sessions will be open to the public.

They will all take place in July or August.

How will the dates and details of the virtual consultation sessions be announced?

All those who want to participate in the sessions, whether Tomas Morato Avenue stakeholders or the public, must join the Tomas Morato Consultation chat room in the Rappler Communities app.

To access the chat room, you must download the app for free, either on App Store or Play Store. QR codes are below. It is also accessible via web version.

You will be asked to register your email, make a password, and create a username. Then tap the Community tab at the bottom, and look for the chat room represented by the icon below.

The dates and times of the sessions will be announced in the chat room. The chat room will also be used as a support space and troubleshooting chat room during the virtual sessions themselves.

What happens in the virtual consultation sessions?

The sessions will take place in Rappler’s aiDialogue platform that participants can access via a link that will be sent to the Tomas Morato Consultation chat room. Participants will be able to log in using the same credentials as what they used to log in to the Rappler Communities app.

The sessions can take up to a hundred participants joining in simultaneously. Participants can join from wherever they are, using mobile phone or laptop, as long as they have good internet speeds.

Participants will be asked five questions about the “People-friendly Tomas Morato Avenue” proposal. Rai, the AI bot moderating the virtual session, will ask one follow-up question per pre-determined question, based on the responses of the participants.

Participants will get a summary of responses after each question, as generated by Rai.

Aside from Rai, Rappler staff will be on standby to provide support during the virtual session.

Participants can use the Tomas Morato Consultation chat room to ask Rappler staff questions or to ask for help during the session.

What language will the virtual consultation sessions be in?

The sessions will be in Filipino for inclusivity purposes. But participants can type using whatever language they are most comfortable with. Rai will be able to understand and translate these responses.

Should I be worried about my privacy? Will my identity be known?

No. All participants will be anonymized during the sessions. You will be given an avatar with a playful animal name. Your fellow participants will not know your identity or see your name. Rappler and Councilor Belmonte’s office signed a data privacy agreement to ensure your data is protected.

How will Rappler and the Quezon City government ensure people without gadgets or internet access participate?

There will be at least one in-person meeting for vendors, tricycle drivers, informal settlers, and others based in Tomas Morato Avenue or nearby streets that will coincide with at least one virtual session. During this in-person meeting, the city will provide gadgets and WiFi for in-person participants. Rappler staff and volunteers will be present to guide the participants while they take part in the virtual session.

Rappler and Quezon City will work together to promote this meeting to communities in and around Tomas Morato Avenue.

What happens after the virtual sessions?

Rappler will publish a report about the results of the virtual consultation. We will present the results formally to the Quezon City Council. Members of the Tomas Morato Consultation chat room will be kept updated about future steps.

How can you help?

The more voices are heard, the better. Spread the word about the virtual public consultation. Share this article. Get others to join the Tomas Morato Consultation chat room.

Be part of this exercise in civic empowerment, transparency, and good governance. See you in the virtual sessions! –

This deliberative technology initiative is part of Make Manila Liveable, a campaign to improve quality of life in Philippine cities, one city at a time. We believe efforts to link ordinary citizens with their government helps make our cities more liveable. To learn more about #MakeManilaLiveable, check this page.

There are other chat rooms in the Rappler Communities app that promotes civic participation. Join the Voter Hotline chat room, which is in partnership with the Commission on Elections. Join the BikeWalkPH chat room to help crowdsource the worst spots for cyclists and pedestrians in the Philippines. Let’s use technology and the power of the people to drive change.

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.