On 21 - 23 January 2014, SEATTI and MAVC co-organised an event with EngageMedia called, 'Technology & Open Government, A Collaborative Learning' at the Linden Suites in Ortigas in Metro Manila. This event was attended by representatives from transparency groups, media groups, technology organisations and companies and government agencies from the Philippines.
The main objective of the event was to spark collaborations among the represented groups, organisations, companies and agencies in order to strategically use technology to support open government in the Philippines, as well as to build an understanding among participants in the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in engaging citizens in transparency and accountability initiatives.
This was the 2nd event of this kind organised by SEATTI. The first one was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in July 2013. It was attended by budget transparency groups and technology organisations from Indonesia and the Philippines.
The facilitation team was comprised of 3 members of the EngageMedia staff, Indu Nepal, Dhyta Caturani, and Cheekay Cinco as well as Dondon Parafin from the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). Dondon was in the first event held in Jakarta last year. EngageMedia also assisted in facilitating that event.
For facilitation, we employed a modified Open Space methodology. The specific agenda for the event was 'crowd-sourced' among the participants on the first day. The bulk of the event was spent on interactive sessions, small group discussions and technical skill sharing sessions with time scheduled for report-back and plenary feedback.
There are a number of on-going initiatives from transparency and media groups as well as government agencies that strategically use new ICTs to aggregate, curate and present data around issues. Some examples are:
- Money Politics. Developed and maintained by the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), this website collates, repackages and makes more accessible data and information around 4 topic areas: Public Profiles, Campaign Finance, Public Funds, and Elections and Governance. PCIJ has impressively scrubbed through both analog and digital numerical data available to create a resource not just for journalists but for citizens who want to monitor the financial accountability of the Philippine government and its officials.
- Data.gov.ph was launched the week before the event. This is the main Philippine government portal for open data. Through this website developed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), data will be made available from the different government agencies in the Philippines.
- Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility's Interactive Map on the Killing of Filipino Journalists is a monitoring tool on violence against journalists in the country.
- OFW-SOS by the Centre for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) uses mobile and web technology to provide emergency assistance to Filipino migrant workers.
The overall feedback from the event participants was positive. For most of them, this was the first unconference event they have attended. This type of workshop methodology is fairly new in the Philippines. While there was some trepidation from some of the participants, everyone was quite excited about experiencing a new way of doing events.
Concrete ideas for further collaboration and new projects have emerged out of the event:
- A Facebook group has been created and is being maintained by the participants to continue discussion and sharing of ideas among the participants.
- Open data events, hackathons, kapihan (coffee talks)
- Policy fora to be co-organised by CMFR and DBM around issues relating to open government, freedom of information and open data
- A collaboration between CMA and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to use video conferencing to organise migrant Filipino workers
- The development of a concrete action plan to use social media to engage citizens was proposed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
More photos from the event available here.
“I came to Malaysia in 1989 when I was 19. I remember the hardship my family experienced and money was always short. My father was old and my mother could not find work. I had a lot of problems supporting my education, so I decided to leave my home for Malaysia.
I approached a middleman from my village who arranged for travel to Malaysia. It cost me RP 1 million for my passage to Malaysia.
On my first journey to Malaysia, we were brought to Pulau Asem, the first of our many destinations. There were about 100 people on the boat: men, women and even children. I was the first person to jump off the boat. Others were afraid to do so. We were afraid of being caught by the Indonesian Marine Police who patrol these areas.
We were told to disembark. Some were pushed into the water. Holding our belongings on our heads, we waded towards the beach. Once we reached the beach, we were asked to run towards a small stall. We were then kept hidden in a safe house nearby.
When I first started working in Malaysia, I was afraid of being apprehended by the authorities. I usually gave bribes to policemen when I was held, on the advice of my friends.
Once my friend and I were apprehended while trying to cross the Malaysian–Thailand border. I was told by a friend that we would be able to get traveling papers if I crossed over to Thailand. At the border check-point, Malaysian immigration officers became suspicious and arrested me. The officer took pity on me and advised me to plead guilty to the charge of overstaying in Malaysia. As a result, I was sent to a detention centre for almost three months. I become very ill at the detention centre and decided to return home in 2003.
I have been cheated many times in my effort to obtain work permits. I was cheated by both Indonesian and Malaysian agents. In 2004, I managed to get a valid permit when I joined a property developer who had started a housing project in Shah Alam.
The videos I made were based on Indonesian migrant workers living in Kampung Pandan. I come across many people who are mistreated by their employers. This includes both documented and undocumented workers. Many of my community members were cheated by agents during the 6P Programme.
The authorities are not interested to know why the migrants are undocumented. They just want to punish them. No one wants to be an undocumented worker, but due to poor laws and enforcement, it gives agents a lot of opportunities to deceive desperate migrant workers. One agent even challenged a worker she had cheated by saying: “If you dare, go report to the police!”
Watch all the videos from the Crossroads project here.
With support from Internews Europe, these guides range from mobile video to hosting independent video sites.
- Guide to Independent Video Hosting. Are you looking for ways to set up your own video-sharing and aggregating site (å la EngageMedia.org!)? Then you should read this manual. The guide focuses on Free, Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) solutions such as Wordpress, Drupal and Plumi. This was written by Mick Fuzz from video4change member, FlossManuals.
- Effective Video on Low Cost Devices. If you're a video activist or citizen journalist on a tight budget ad can't quite afford to buy the latest video equipment and smartphone, then you will find this guide useful. It offers tips and tricks to making quality videos on your existing devices. This guide was written by Brian Conley from video4change member, Small World News.
- Citizen Journalist Guide to Mobile Video. This one has everything you need to know to use your smartphone for video activism and citizen journalism. The topics covered in this guide include the principles of mobile video as well as available applications to distribute video through your mobile device. This was written by Melissa Ulbright.
- Citizen Journalist Guide to Live Streaming Video. Are you citizen journalist, planning to go cover a demonstration in your town? Or are you at the right place at the right time, and are witnessing events unfold that should be shared with the rest of the online world? Before that happens, it would be great if you can read this guide. This takes the user through different tools and strategies in live-streaming video. Written by video4change member, Becky Hurwitz from the MIT Centre for Civic Media, this guide also has hands-on exercises to installing and using the most popular video streaming services available.
All of these guides are available in Arabic and Burmese.
For more information and to provide feedback on these guides, please visit the video4change Network website.