Interactive Space

In our day to day life, we are exposed to different ways on how we receive messages, share to others and even share our opinion on the received messages. Our generation has witnessed means of communication developing right before our eyes.

Unlike before—where people write letters with pen on paper and send it via snail-mail, which took at least a week before the message reached the intended receiver—now our messages are sent to its intended receiver almost instantaneously at a click of the mouse.

The Internet has almost everything. You can watch television shows, movies, listen to radio stations from around the globe and read books, academic studies, news and current events.

The web has enabled us to connect with other people on a wider scale through on-line social networking, share ideas and opinions through blogs.It has even become a source of employment to some.

It is very interactive since anyone can give their feedback on any article on the web.

Information highway

The Internet is also our virtual reporter that aggregates reports on current events in the world. It can give us free relevant news from abroad like the “current issues of the people in Mumbai,” or local news like “how Mayor Vicente Emano handled the tropical typhoon Sendong (International codename: Washi).”

It can also be used as your virtual thesaurus, translator, dictionary and encyclopedia. One time, I encountered an unfamiliar word while I was reading a novel. I just typed the word into http://www.google.com and voilà, I can access anything I need to know about the word. Like, how to use it in a sentence and even how to enunciate it.

The web is also a great source of “how-to” tips, like how to write a research paper, solving mathematical equations and all you have to do is surf the vast ocean of the Internet and the answer would most probably be there.

Connecting to the world

Internet has revolutionized how we connect with other people. Connecting through on-line social networks are just a click away these days. Social networking sites can be used to describe community-based web sites, on-line discussion forums, chat rooms and other social spaces on the world wide web.

“A social networking site is the phrase used to describe any web site that enables users to create public profiles within that site and form relationships with other users of the same site who access their profile,” defines Webopedia (https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/social_networking_site.html).

In the Philippines, believably the most popular free social networking site to date is “Facebook” (https://www.facebook.com). According to a web site that monitors on-line social networks, “Social Bakers,” there are some 30,178,020 Facebook users in the country. That is almost a-third of our population of 90 million.

In it, we can discuss in groups, play games, upload pictures, audio and video clips. We can also give notice to our friends about important personal events like birthdays. We can also create a page where we are the message sender, comment on other people’s status messages and through these exchanges we complete cycles of communication.

Hub for multimedia creativity

If you are an independent filmmaker, the Internet is a good place for you to be known. There is a web site called “You Tube” (https://www.youtube.com) where you can upload your videos and show it to other people. Some of those people may like your work but the others will only criticize it. Maybe a film producer will see your work and would be up to fund you in making a big production of your film. Some will just criticize your video but don’t fret, it is part of the process of one’s skill to progress for the better. What’s the point of making a film if you do not welcome feedbacks from other people, be it positive or negative feedbacks?

As an avid fan of movies, in the Internet you can watch movies from the past decades up to the current films today. In it, you can even express what you feel about that particular movie. You can watch it live streaming or just download the movie into your hard drive and watch it all over again that is, if you are worried about your Internet connection to be gone.

Not only movies are found in the Internet but also music. Any song that you like are all in the Internet. It stretches from classical music, folk, blues, jazz, rock, metal, up to the current popular music of today. You can freely download any song that you like, If you are a musician. you can upload your masterpiece into the cyberspace and make a name for yourself. With the Internet, you can either be a listener of music or a musician.

If you are a budding writer, you are always welcomed in the world of blogging. In blogging, it does not really matter if what you write is good , even if it is bad, it will still be published in the cyberspace. The power of blogging is you can write about whatever it is you want and if you go and make blogging as a profession, you can earn from it.

Internet gaming is booming in the cyberspace. There are interactive games in the Internet like “Sims City” (https://www.simcity.com) where you are going to manipulate a digitally formed human into living an ordinary life. On-line games which people, mostly teenagers are hooked up. Since, in it, they can make friends without seeing what they look like and not even knowing their name. In these games, people can socialize and enjoy sharing digital moments with their characters in the game. Warning: Internet gaming is purely addictive.

Last frontier of free expression

You can use any medium you want to use in the world wide web. It is the only space where we can freely express ourselves, which have been threatened into silence through censorship. Its reaches are global and it may offer to be the key to world peace and unity. The Internet gets the most audience share since it it purely interactive.

Let us, then, fight that it stays genuinely free. Let your voices be heard (https://www.google.com/takeaction/). Let us keep the last virtual frontier of expression and critical discourse free!

A Vision for the Future

Documentary filmmaking is like creating a vision for the people in the future to benefit and learn from. The making of a documentary film–immortalizes an event or string of events–which could be useful to future generations. With it, future generations will know what happened and how the event was handled. Thus, lending important insights on future events.

They will be able to come up with intelligent decisions and also be able to formulate storm-proof plans in order to prevent the mistakes of the past.

As Albert Einstein once said, “a man who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat his mistakes in the future.”

When tropical storm ‘Sendong’ (International codename: Washi) reached landfall on the east coast of Mindanao in the afternoon of December 16, in a span of six hours, it poured out 500 mm of rain—that is about eight to 10 inches. It also affected some parts of the towns of Libona and Baungon in Bukidnon province and neighboring cities of Iligan and Gingoog. The tropical storm was a single tragic event that happened in Cagayan de Oro City. It took 1,517 casualties, 737 of whom are dead, 225 injured and 555 still missing—but now feared dead.1

‘Sendong’ was the worst calamity this city has seen in at least a century. Ergo, making a documentary film about the tropical storm and the series of events, political, environmental and economic, can help us in the future. No matter how painful or tragic the event may be, we have to cull lessons from it so that when another storm hit this city, we can deal with it better, collectively.

We cannot change the events from our past but we can mold our future to become better at dealing with events like ‘Sendong.’ Learning from our past, we can be prepared for the storms in the future. In a daily basis, tomorrow will always be different from yesterday. For example, yesterday, you got scolded and missed the short quiz because you came in late in class since you were up all night watching movies, keeping you from sleeping and making you sleepy during class. By evaluating your behavior the day before, you can prevent the mistake from happening again.

As a citizen, I would like to “document” my past experiences through songs. I have learned that, as a form, songs have a way of tackling controversial, painful and rueful mistakes in a non-confrontational or combative way.

Like my father influenced me to the musical talents of The Beatles, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and other musicians who wrote and composed great songs even when I was not born yet, had a great impact in my life—that is why, I, too, will influence the future generations with songs that is going to be relevant, like handling problems and expressing feelings of love, joy, pain, rage, hatred and sorrow. With the combination of words and melodies, people can easily empathize and understand what I want to express.

As one of the survivors of ‘Sendong,’ I would like to recall my past experience of the tropical storm as a lesson for the future generations to learn from. I will show or tell them in the form of a documentary film or a post in my blog what I have been through during and after ‘Sendong.’ Being able to watch or read it, they will learn the what, who, where, why and how of the storm. With it, I can point them to the right direction and assuage their fears with preparedness.

Three days after ‘Sendong’ hit landfall, it was clear that the City Hall was caught unprepared with the most destructive calamity ever to reach the city. While both the regional offices of the environmental office and weather bureau asserted to have informed the local government of the upcoming storm, the City Hall—under City Mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano—were not able to activate the city’s disaster risk reduction management council (CDRRMC). The breaking point that gained the anger of the people was the ditching of at least 79 cadavers, “more than half of them from local funeral homes that could no longer attend to them,” at the city’s landfill.2 With these errors of the local government, they can learn from it and prevent it from happening again.

For me, the best way to give meaning to their deaths is by learning from the tragedy and help in preventing another catastrophe to hit the city through disaster preparedness.

Let’s learn from our pasts. The survival of our future generation depends on the learnings we bespeak.

___________

1Figures cited are based on Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD 10), latest bulletin as of December 21, 2012, posted on their official web site: http://www.dswd.gov.ph/.

2Source: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2011/12/20/outrage-greets-news-of-cadavers-dumped-in-cdo’s-dumpsite/.

SEE?

There are social issues in the Philippines that brings us into disorder but if the transparency of the government would be established, we can easily take down, one by one, all those issues with the government and the public as one. I’m going to tackle three issues that affects everyone, not only in Cagayan de Oro City but the whole country as well. Namely, the issues about the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175), Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) and the government’s transparency and accountability.

For decades, journalists and media advocacy groups have been calling for the decriminalization of libel but RA 10175 stooped and stifled not only the media but also our freedom of expression on the last remaining frontier of genuine democratic space—cyberspace. The Congress, over the past decades, have been acting blind and deaf with the press asking to amend the provisions on libel of the 82-year-old Revised Penal Code. Gladly, the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s (UNHRC) declared on October 2011 that the criminal sanction for libel of the country is “excessive” and violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in which the Philippines is a signatory.1 RA 10175 criminalizes specifically, cyber-crimes. This law, instead of decriminalizing libel, it just made it worse.

With the advancement of technology, we are using the cyberspace often everyday as an outlet of what we want to express. We use the internet to grab information that we want to know. Some of us even earn in cyberspace. Some of us use specifically Facebook, a free social networking website, to form groups for educational purposes and sometimes discuss current issues that everyone is free to express what they want to say but with RA 10175 being implemented, even a simple like on a libelous status on Facebook would mean that you are insubordinate of the crime and can be sued, and worse, maybe imprisoned for 6 months to 12 years depending on the legal basis of libel.

The right to information is the key for the development of the country. FOI is the government’s activities, documents, plans, and the likes, open to the public’s eye. It would eliminate government corruption and pushes genuine democratic space. Since, with the people being able to access information, together with the government, they would arrive at an intelligent and informed decisions that would be the proof of foundation of our democratic values.

The Congress, again, have been blind and deaf for the last two decades since the first FOI Bill was filed. The wanting for the government’s transparency and accountability is still a long way to go since the death of FOI in the 15th Congress. It affects all of us. Not knowing what the government’s plans and with the legislation being under-controlled by powerful individuals, leaving us wandering in the dark without having a say with what they’re going to do, we might as well gouge our eyes out and be robots and do whatever they want.

Transparency, as a principle, is when the government acts visibly and understandably for the people to participate and promote accountability. It is simply not achieved by making information available, it should be managed and published. Accountability means, either public or private officials should be responsible for their actions when their work and their commitment are not met. Transparency and Accountability coexist with each other. It enables the public to have a voice of the issues that involves them and to participate in the decision-making process and affect the development of the country.2

Being able to know what’s going on, helps the public to value information and participate in relevant issues that involves them. If FOI was implemented, transparency, accountability and good governance of the government can be grasped. With the public’s eye able to access information freely, it covers real democratic space. Awareness of the public and its participation of issues that concerns them helps the government into shaping a country to progress.

“RIGHT TO KNOW, RIGHT NOW!”