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On the “National” Bloggers Association

This is my personal statement regarding the formation and organization of the supposed “National Bloggers Association.” This is not the formal statement or position of the Mindanao New Media Group nor of the Davao Bloggers Group.

About a week ago, I was informed of the existence of a “Bloggers’ Manifesto” that was forwarded to a selected group of bloggers. After asking around, I was forwarded the manifesto which was tagged as “Not for circulation.” After the manifesto, there was a solicitation for feedback. The manifesto was forwarded to bloggers by Tonyo Cruz. In the email, there was no mention of who the authors of the draft manifesto are and who the convenors of the National Bloggers Association are.

Since it was supposedly a manifesto supporting the formation of a “National Bloggers Association,” I immediately consulted the officers of several bloggers’ groups in Visayas and Mindanao. I consulted them the same day I was forwarded a copy of the manifesto. That was March 2. Of the twenty persons I consulted, only 2 of them have received a copy of the manifesto.

Among those who didn’t receive a copy of the manifesto are:

  • Marie Claire Bretaña Ponsaran, President of Iloilo Bloggers,
  • Junelle Caravana, Vice President of Iloilo Bloggers,
  • Leah Valle, President of Davao Bloggers,
  • Andrew dela Serna, Finance Officer of Davao Bloggers,
  • Dulce Lada, Marketing and PR Officer of Davao Bloggers,
  • Ryann Elumba, Coordinator of Zamboanga Bloggers,
  • Bonzenti Panganiban, Jr., Core Group Member of Bukidnon Bloggers,
  • Orman Manansala, Organizer of Soccsksargen Bloggers
  • Edu Ragpala, President of CDO Bloggers, and
  • Ria Jose (this blogger), Immediate Past President of Davao Bloggers and Founder of Mindanao New Media.

Among other issues concerning the manifesto and the association, one that irked me most was the non-inclusion of Visayas and Mindanao bloggers in the formulation of the manifesto and the “National” Bloggers Association. If the intention of unifying bloggers from all over the country through a “National” organization, then the consultation of Visayas and Mindanao bloggers should have been done even before the manifesto was drafted.

It is a known fact that there are already numerous blogger groups in Visayas and Mindanao that have been successful in organizing the bloggers in their respective areas. The goals of each group may not be the same as the other groups, but these groups recognize each other as the key blogger groups in their respective areas. These groups interact with local and national government units, companies, other organizations, as well as other blogger groups. These groups might not be a representative of all bloggers in their areas, but for all intents and purposes, these groups and their officers and leaders are the recognized key blogger personalities in their areas.

Of the 20 bloggers I consulted on March 2, at least 15 are elected officers of their respective blogger groups. The rest are the informal organizers and leaders of blogger events and projects in their areas. To have only 2 out of these twenty receive the bloggers’ manifesto is an insult to bloggers from Visayas and Mindanao.

To be more specific none of the bloggers from Mindanao, 16 of them, received any copies of the manifesto. After I had informed them of the existence of such manifesto, 2 bloggers from Mindanao received copies, including Ragpala. None of the 6 bloggers from Davao that I consulted received a copy of the manifesto.

Of those from Visayas and Mindanao who received the manifesto, two have been invited to meet up with the author of the manifesto.

Among other issues and concerns regarding the manifesto and the “National” Bloggers Association, the one that really irks me most is how the convenors/organizers/authors failed to consult even one representative from Visayas and Mindanao. Why not form a Metro Manila Bloggers Group or a Luzon Bloggers Association if the opinion and voice of Visayas and Mindanao doesn’t matter much to you?

If they are sincere in unifying bloggers from all over the Philippines, then why haven’t they approached and asked for the opinion and input of bloggers from Visayas and Mindanao? Bloggers who, needless to say, have been successful in forming their own groups. The manifesto states:

We draw inspiration from and ask the participation of the city-wide, provincial, regional and island-wide associations, summits and conventions initiated by bloggers across the country.

Then why are you excluding these established groups, summits, and conventions in the drafting of the manifesto? Only four out of ten existing groups from Visayas and Mindanao have been forwarded the manifesto, and only two have been invited to meet up with the author. And none were consulted before the manifesto was drafted.

How can it be national when Visayas and Mindanao’s are seemingly treated as mere sounding boards rather than valuable contributors to the process? How can it prosper on a national level when the most successful organizations haven’t even been consulted or included?

Undeniably, Davao Bloggers has been one of the more active blogging groups in the country with the group and its members organizing local and national blogging events and projects since 2007. And yet, none of its legitimate officers and representatives were contacted, consulted, or even forwarded the manifesto.

If the intention is to unify bloggers from the entire country, then the convenors of this association and the authors of the draft manifesto are showing their sincerity poorly.

14 thoughts on “On the “National” Bloggers Association

  1. Here are my thoughts…

    1. They say they want to form an “association that is voluntary in character, national in scope, democratic in decision-making, and progressive in outlook” and yet they chose to be exclusive in drafting the manifesto (http://www.influentialblogger.net/2011/03/one-country-one-blogging-community.html) going as far as labeling the draft as “not for circulation” and sending the same to a select few.

    Given that this association wants to be encompassing, shouldn’t the manifesto calling for its formation be as inclusive as possible?

    2. They claim to be “democratic in decision making” and yet are very dictatorial in their approach. The manifesto even enshrines this imposition by saying, “we declare that there’s no stopping the formation of a most awesome bloggers association for our country.”

    Moreover, the FAQ (http://www.influentialblogger.net/2011/03/frequently-asked-questions-national.html) they posted states that (#15) if I don’t want them to “go into undesirable activities or release position papers I am not in favor of” ..My only recourse is to take part. That’s ridiculous! If I take part in their activities or discussion, that would be tantamount to my joining their association which I don’t agree to in the first place.

    In the same FAQ, (#17) they seem to be implying that reaching a majority consensus is irrelevant since other similar organizations were formed with 15 members or less.

    Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can come together and decide to form a group. I’m fine with that. Besides, this is a free country. But Tom, Dick, and Harry cannot and should not impose on Tito, Vic, Joey, and the rest of us. They say that the association is not mandatory and yet they claim to represent me.

    3. They claim to “draw inspiration from and ask the participation of the city-wide, provincial, regional and island-wide associations, summits and conventions initiated by bloggers across the country” and yet excluded the Davao, SOCCSKSARGEN, CDO, Cebu, Iloilo, Zamboanga blogger groups, among others, in the drafting of said manifesto.

    4. The “not for circulation” manifesto also says that they aim to “unite the bloggers around common and beneficial objectives and aspirations” and yet it is proving to be one of the most polarizing issue in the blogosphere at the moment. The irony is hard to miss.

    5. Just like the highly controversial charter change issue, the idea of a national bloggers’ association per se is not without merit. Unfortunately, just like the much debated charter change, some of the people behind it (one person specifically), the approach they are taking, and their motivations are questionable at best.

    6. Finally, Ms. Janette’s post last February 1, 2011 specifically asked if bloggers were in favor of National Bloggers Association (http://www.influentialblogger.net/2011/01/are-you-in-favor-of-national-bloggers.html).

    It got 20 responses, half of which, were from Ms. Janette herself. Some were in favor, others were against, and the rest were questions. In the same blog post, Ms. Janette said that the next move will depend on the kind of response it will yield.

    Given the amount and kind of responses the question got, I believe the idea is not ripe for the picking.

  2. How can they call it ‘NATIONAL’ when only few were contacted/informed about this formation? My point is – MINDANAO is the second largest Island in the Philippines comprising thousands of Individual Bloggers who blog at their own free time and free will. ONE PERSON does not REPRESENT these thousands of MEN and WOMEN who want to blog freely, who want to express their thoughts freely without being censored and without being monitored..! If there is one or two bloggers from Mindanao taking taking of the formations of this so called National Assoc. – HE does not represent ALL THE VOICES of Mindanao Bloggers. We are independent NEW MEDIA… We dont have RULES but WE KNOW OUR LIMITATIONS and that we are responsible for our ACTIONS. I personally blog not to earn anything, i blog because I have a story – whether worth reading or not. I blog because i think i can… AND I CANNOT ALLOW SOMEONE TO JUST STOP ME FROM DOING BECAUSE OF THOSE “CODE OF ETHICS” THEY THINK BEST FOR THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY. If they think it is appropriate, then they should BLOG according to your ETHICS!

  3. Same comment I gave in other blogs, what if a blogging organization itself bullies an individual, like what happened to me? Creating a National Bloggers Association might create a bigger bully.

  4. I’ve been blogging almost a decades now, but I’ve never joined such a group of organization, which I was not really informed of what is this thingy.. but through this article, I never thought that there is such a president for different parts of the Philippines.. oh well, your right whatever manifesto is that.. they should let the other see it on public.. and not just for their own..

  5. Hi Ria,

    I got your link form kaiser. I hope you can include me on your circle of network. Looking forward to know more about you and your work. God bless…

  6. hahah…

    I wonder why would any blogger ever want to join a bloggers’ organization. Sounds like this one is the worst bloggers organization ever conceived in the Philippines. No offense intended, but just from the name itself, I can already smell something fishy.

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