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Posts tagged ‘Senator’

How Teddy came up on top of the #Harapan2013 twitter conversation

The #Harapan2013 Senatorial debate of ABS-CBN was a format very different from #RapplerDebate — time limits of answers ranged from only 15 seconds for the fast questions, to a minute for the panelist questions. Again, our Makabayan senatorial bet Teddy Casiño was there, along with several other candidates. Twitter was clearly abuzz with the senatorial debate as the #Harapan2013 hashtag continues to be a top trender as of 10AM today.
While fanatics of Risa Hontiveros were raving about her on Twitter, and even capturing a moment when the former Akbayan Party-list representative penetrated Twitter’s trending list, this single tweet completely changed the #Harapan2013 landscape:
I used the Tweet Archivist to analyze the hashtag’s trends — the tool shows which Twitter handles got the most mentions in all #Harapan2013 tweets, which words were the most used, and which hashtags accompanied #Harapan2013 the most. The results were amazing:

Hashtag Count
#teddycasino 27
#hontiveros 24
#halalan2013 19
#camerajuan 18
#phvote 14
#hagedorn 11
#teampnoy 11
#principled 9
#progressive 9
#responsive 8
#rhbill 6
#lgbt 6
#botoparasabata 5
#risahontiveros 5
#halalan20 4
#halal 4
#danielpadillaasaprawr 4
#kathrynbernardoasaprawr 4
#antidynasty 4
#teddycasiño 4
#votebam 4
#magic8 4
#paspasan 3
#philhealth 3
#ofw 3



Word Count
SA 618
ANG 558
NA 374
NG 323
IL 276
VOTE 260
MGA 227
KO 114
AKO 97
PO 92
KAY 85
PA 78

That single tweet made Casiño trend to the top of the #Harapan2013 Twitter discussion, as followers of Vice Ganda and his fan club retweeted the statement in agreement.

Interestingly and ironically, Hontiveros, obviously Teddy’s closest competitor in the #Harapan2013 trends, earlier bought political ad space in Vice’s talk show, Gandang Gabi Vice. Teddy, meanwhile, had only the sharp and correct analyses and proposed solutions to convince the comic yet cerebral celebrity to express interest about his candidacy.

Our deepest gratitude to Vice Ganda for considering Teddy and sharing it to the Twitterverse. Congratulations to Teddy and to all our compatriots in the Makabayan Coalition for a job well done in advancing the politics of change! This is one small step — let’s continue struggling for that giant leap!


A karaniwang tao’s view on the 2013 online electoral campaign so far

I recently participated in the #RapplerDebate Hangout last Saturday to discuss the social media campaign trail so far in the Philippines’ 2013 elections, representing Team Teddy Casino. The connection was quite bad where we held the live chat, so I wasn’t able to effectively participate in the discussion. They did gave us guide questions, though, and here’s my answers to their questions.


My finest moment in the Hangout — showing off my shirt to the viewing public.

  1. Campaigns in the world of Twitter and Facebook
    • Is it different?
      Social networks are extensions of our social spheres. Campaigning online is thus essentially no different with how activists engage, organize and mobilize in the real world: we promote our advocacies, we explain our positions on issues, and we invite them to both online and offline activities.
      What new media brought into the equation is the access – with the right strategy, there is now the potential to reach 25 to 30 million Filipinos across socio-economic classes without the barriers of distance and geography.On the other hand, there are unique limitations to digital campaigning: despite recently being touted by the United Nations as a human right, internet access is still severely limited by high prices of internet rates, slow speed, and its concentration in urban areas.
    • Is it a priority? How much time and effort is spent on social media?
      It is an integral component of our electoral campaign, but it is not the priority. An obvious reason is that traditional media still has the overwhelmingly greatest reach in the playing field. But to progressive political activists, the electoral fight isn’t a mere race to sweep votes, we’re also looking into getting solid votes that will translate into commitment for social action beyond the election period.

      So while it is not the priority strategy to win the electoral campaign, our new media campaign is of much importance as it is a venue to saturate a captured online audience with sustained political education at a very low cost.We have a small team of multi-taskers who are focused on ensuring the spread of high-quality content that will help Filipino citizens to understand better and even encourage them to participate in our advocacies.

      Our work flow allows us to fully campaign during the peak online hours of peak week days, while formulating and creating content during its off-peak hours. We call Saturdays and Sundays weekends but we’re usually using it to do weekly assessments and plannings.

    • Why spend that much time?
      It is an opportunity to solidly educate and organize our ever expanding supporter base to help them understand the structural roots of the problems of mass poverty, corruption, lack of social services, and the destruction of our environment that our country faces.
      Hindi tulad ng mga trapo na kailangan lang ang atensyon at suporta ng mamamayan tuwing eleksyon, sinisikap namin makabuklod sila sa buong panahon naming pagkilos.
  1. Online vs on ground
    • How different is engagement online and in real life?
      Netizens are more opinionated, and why not: they are exposed to a barrage of information and insights. The more active ones are also more influential to their own social spheres. Unfortunately, there is still a persisting culture of slacktivism – that is, online advocacy that doesn’t translate into real-world actions – which has to be addressed by our online campaigners. To be able to tap netizens for campaigning especially for activities in real life contributes greatly to Teddy’s run for a politics of change.

    • Limitations of social media: only a certain class can be reached. How do you balance that out?
      We try to mobilize online supporters to campaign in their own social spheres – or to link up directly with our party chapters in every province. That’s the basic problem we try to address: ensuring the vote conversions aren’t limited to the individuals we directly reached online, but to access their own networks as well.

  2. Tales from the campaign trail
    • What issues have you come across online?Well, of course we face the usual vilification of the Left. In fact, we regularly experience what seems to be “operations” by hardcore militarists who throw the usual tirades of anti-communism and evangelize AFP modernization. The standard practice: discern trolls from truth-seekers, ignore the former, enlighten the latter, and regulate the unruly.

    • Any social media booboos so far? Lessons from those?
      One of our campaigners got into a tweet war with a journalist. And the incident was still being milked long after the apologies have been expressed and accepted. Then of course, there have been little mistakes such as typos, mistweets, etc. But its natural when the team is composed of volunteer activists and advocates – the campaign, after all, is the fight of the karaniwang tao for the karaniwang tao. Tao lang, nagkakamali din.

      But so far, we have made the editorial of our content and engagements tighter. Teddy’s consistently among the top 12 most engaging candidates. Nothing resonates more with the people than words that are sincere, earnest, and correct in articulating the problems our nation faces and in answering them comprehensive solutions.

    • Has social media and the Internet made campaigning easier or harder?
      It has indeed given opportunities for the champions of new politics to get the message across, but it is also replete with its own limitations and problems. The willingness of advocates to maximize all these new tools and venues for social change available to us is what will decide if it will be easier or harder.

  3. Moving forward: the road to 2016
    • Internet, social media, mobile device use will only boom in the following years. How do you think this will affect campaigns 3 years from now?
      Social media, like all scientific and technological advances, can be equally wielded both by those who seek change and those who maintain the status quo. Let us make sure that the people have the initiative to use these to their advantage.

  4. Parting messages from each campaign
    To our fellow netizens, the 2013 elections presents to us a unique opportunity to have our very own, a karaniwang tao, and a netizen through and through, in the Senate. We deserve to have our voice represented and heard echoing ever stronger in Congress. Ipanalo natin ang Karaniwang Tao, Teddy Casiño po sa Senado.

If you want to see the entire Hangout to see what the other social media operators (with much better connections) had to say, you can watch it here:

Tubbataha: Justice beyond financial compensation

Unedited version of my article in The Philippine Online Chronicles’ OY! Project. Enjoy!


SAVE TUBBATAHA. Environmental activists displayed colorful marine-themed placards calling for immediate redresses in the destruction of over 4,000 sqm of mature corals in the Tubbataha Reef National Park. Photo by Leon Dulce

SAVE TUBBATAHA. Environmental activists displayed colorful marine-themed placards calling for immediate redresses in the destruction of over 4,000 sqm of mature corals in the Tubbataha Reef National Park. Photo by Leon Dulce

The grim numbers of Tubbataha are slowly sinking in.

The estimated damage on coral reefs in the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park caused by the minesweeper USS Guardian is now pegged at an extent of 4,500 square meters, which rise to as high as 10 meters. This level of coral maturity required 2,500 years of growth. Its destruction will affect the home of more than 350 species of corals, 600 species of fish, 2 species of sea turtles, 12 species of marine mammals, 56 species of invertebrates and 7 types of birds. An estimate of at least 600 kilos worth of annual fish catch is expected to be lost.

These data were discussed at length in a gathering of environmentalists, scientists, fisherfolks, lawyers, women’s groups and other sectoral organizations held in Quezon City last February 23. The ecological, socio-economic and political impacts of the minesweeper USS Guardian’s grounding on the Tubbataha Reef National Park were assessed to form a broad unity that will claim economic and social justice for the maritime disaster.

The implications of the incident are expected to go beyond the patch of corals that may seem minuscule to the uninformed. Frances Quimpo, executive director of the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC Phils), said scientific studies demonstrate the integral role of Tubbataha Reef to seed the entire Sulu Sea with coral and fish larvae.

The Reef is in the very heart of the Coral Triangle, a globally critical and biodiversity-rich area that covers marine ecosystems in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Its disruption spells disaster especially for our local small fisherfolks who are considered the nation’s poorest in 2006 and 2009 with a poverty incidence ranging from 23.9 to 66.7 percent according to the National Statistics Coordination Board.


From left: Marine ecologist Dr. Rex Montebon, fisherfolk leader Pedro Gonzales, women’s rights activist Joms Salvador and physicist Dr. Giovanni Tapang presenting scientific, socio-economic and political assessments of the Tubbataha grounding incident. Photo by Leon Dulce


Tubbataha also a problem of sovereignty, patrimony

The women’s group Gabriela called the incident “the Rape of Tubbataha” for its clear violations of our country’s national patrimony and sovereign rights as a free nation. Aside from violating several sections of Republic Act 10067 or the Tubbataha Reefs National Park Act of 2009, the disaster was the latest of long-standing unpunished environmental and social crimes that military forces of the United States have done with impunity in the Philippines.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), among other onerous bilateral agreements with the US government, was pinpointed as the underlying policy that allowed for such grave abuses from their warships and troops.

Green groups have previously noted how past military exercises involving naval maneuverings and live fire exercises under the VFA have already caused the destruction of coral reefs, the pollution of ecosystems and even the death of civilians. In 2004, US naval ships indiscriminately discharged sewage waste and oil in Subic Bay, a feat repeated by the tanker MT Glenn Guardian when it dumped 189,500 liters of hazardous domestic waste and 760 liters of toxic bilge water again into Subic.

Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, noted how routine port calls of frigates, submarines and other US naval warships are presently being made almost on a monthly basis due to the VFA and in line with their rebalancing of forces from West Asia to the Asia-Pacific to challenge the regional dominance of China.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the AGHAM-Advocates of Science & Technology for the People warned that there may be more to the incident than just an accident, noting reports that billions of barrels of crude oil may be lying underneath Tubbataha. In fact, 15,000 hectares of Tubbataha were originally covered by oil exploration efforts.

Justice beyond financial compensation

In response to the grounding incident, involved US personnel offered no explanation for their trip to Tubbataha and their hostile response to park managers and Philippine Coastguard personnel who attempted to get near the grounded USS Guardian. Instead, they merely expressed their apologies and willingness to pay for financial compensation.

The Aquino government displayed a clear reluctance to answer this issue. Clearly, such responses from both the US and Philippine governments will not sit well with the Filipino people.

The forum organizers led by CEC Phils, Gabriela, the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and the Center for Women’s Resources, united in the demand for “justice beyond financial compensation”, calling for the prosecution of liable officials and the payment of all charges necessary to restore Tubbataha Reef to its pristine state prior to the grounding.

Participants of the confab led the formation of Task Force Tubbataha (TFT), an alliance convened by environment, women and other sectoral groups pushing for the due prosecution of liable entities in the Tubbataha grounding and the revocation of the VFA. Among the proposals of the TFT’s initial conveners include the following:

  • The formation of a multi-disciplinary Technical Working Group that will assess the extent of reef damage, including a baseline inventory of the different types and characteristics of the affected coral reefs, the economic valuation of their ecosystem services, and even the socio-economic indicators of surrounding communities affected by the impacts of the grounding incident;
  • Immediately conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the incident to verify the motives, errors and culpability of the erring US personnel as well as the negligence of local public officials mandated to address this issue;
  • Exhaust all legal actions possible to compel government agencies to enforce laws on our environment and sovereignty, hold accountable all erring US personnel and agencies and reverse onerous bilateral agreements such as the VFA and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

The TFT said they are prepared to bring the issue even up to the United Nations. Earlier, Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño and Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino filed House Resolution 3012 condemning the incident and calling for immediate redresses. These efforts must come together in a massive coordinated effort to win this landmark fight that would not only rehabilitate a World Heritage Site, but may very well bring back the dignity of the Philippines as a nation.#

Leon Dulce is the campaign coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and a grassroots new media trainer for the Computer Professionals’ Union. He casually blogs and tweets in his spare time.

Notes on Teddy Casiño’s #ReaksyonTV5 Grilling

Props go to the #ReaksyonTV5 for their grilling of my #1 senatoriable, Teddy Casiño. The panel led by program anchor Luchi Cruz-Valdez included PCIJ’s Mei Magsino and Philippine Star EIC Amy Pamintuan, an ensemble who kept the pressure level high all throughout the discussion.


After going through the usual questions on his alleged linkages to the revolutionary New People’s Army and their Permits to Campaign, the panel did what other interviewers usually failed to do: talk about the issues. For the benefit of those who weren’t able to watch, here are a few notes on the points discussed:

  • The panel asked Teddy what he thinks about the taunting thrown his way by no less than President Benigno Aquino III himself on his 2.6 percent vote conversion showing in the then latest surveys. They also asked him what he thought of his 24th place showing in the said surveys.Teddy pointed out that even Aquino started with a much lower voter preference rating when he started to run for the presidency, and only experienced a meteoric rise to fame due to his larger-than-life parents Cory and Ninoy. Teddy said he was confident the ratings would improve dramatically during the campaign period as he shares his platforms, advocacies and analyses.

  • Teddy furthered that despite not having artistic fame or well-entrenched political dynasties, it is the Bayanihan kind of movement of dedicated and enthusiastic advocates that fuels his campaign. These supporters are completely different in motivation and commitment as opposed to professional operators and voting bases with which trapos spend millions on.

  • The panel pointed out the public perception of the Left as a fighter (a whiner, even) but with no concrete solutions presented. Teddy dispelled this by pointing out that the Left brings a concrete program of alternative policies and programs every time they engage in issue-based campaigns. He pointed out how media and critics tend to focus on the more ‘exciting’ critical exchanges and, of course, the standoffs in protest actions. Teddy presented three main programs of action: enacting genuine land reform and agricultural support, building Filipino industries to generate permanent jobs alongside meaningful wage increases, and the lowering of prices of utilities.

  • The panel also brought up the issue of the Left’s beef with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in PH. Teddy pointed out that the Makabayan only wants to defend the constitutionally guaranteed right of Filipino industries to be given priority, harking back to the golden age of industrialization during the 1950s.The discussion here became very interesting. The panelists pointed out that the advocacy for industrialization was indeed during the 1950s but belonged there, while utilities and industries receiving an influx of FDI became more efficient and productive. Teddy refuted this idea, sharing the sentiments of local livestock producers being threatened by the entry of a Thai agri-industry giant given a six-year tax holiday and duty-free importation rights.

    Local producers challenged government to grant the tax holiday and other economic privileges, which they said would result in the domestic livestock industry becoming more productive and generating more revenue than that of the Thai firm. This concrete example was a golden pitch for greater state support for domestic industries, but it would have been stronger if Teddy was able to explain why the country would benefit from greater domestic capital flow as opposed to the vicious cycle of FDI and export capital.

  • Teddy explained the exorbitant price increases as just one of the resulting impacts of completely privatized and liberalized public utilities and industries to answer the point on more efficient services from the private sector. It would have been a more convincing argument if he cited data on price increase trends post-deregulation of the oil and other utilities, but I guess this is hard to recall in the heat of the discourse.

  • The panelists pointed out how militants have taken to increasingly violent actions. Teddy rooted the growing conflict in the growing desperation of the masses as government agencies such as the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources continue to ignore the worsening plight of the poor.

  • On the question of inter-conflict among the Left, particularly between the Makabayan bloc and the Akbayan, Teddy focused on the question of Akbayan’s continuing claim of legitimate representation of the marginalized and under-represented. Indeed, most of Akbayan’s officials have been appointed to high government positions. This makes them a political party in power that can no longer claim themselves to be marginalized, as opposed to Makabayan being a coalition of clearly oppressed sectors of society.

  • I personally wanted to hear more of the policy and analysis differences between Makabayan and Akbayan. Akbayan’s apologism to the Aquino government has resulted in seriously flawed and compromising policy positions, such as their shooting down of the Student Rights and Welfare Bill and their defense of the Cybercrime Law.

  • Panelists pointed out the growing opinion that the Party-list system was a failed system that only wasted government funds, which Teddy clarified was a direct result of dynasties, big business interests and trapos hi-jacking the system. He agreed that the system is seriously flawed, but that the repeal of the system would only result in the further marginalization of the exploited masses.

Overall, it was nice to finally hear talk of the economy and other big-ticket issues that government must be addressing. It was truly a feat for Teddy to be on top of the discourse where all three panelists were machine-gunning questions all at the same time. Electoral discourses should take a leaf or two out of this interview. Tama talaga si Teddy: it is high time to bring in a higher level of campaigning in the 2013 elections.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me point out that I am one of Teddy’s full-time volunteer new media officers. All views are mine, not our movement’s.

When an Old Man speaks for the New Generation

Taken from the Inquirer

The 2010 Elections is all about the future. It is the first time we are implementing an automated election system (it also might be the first time we face an epic poll automation failure). It is the first time we see New Media and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) used on a large scale to monitor the elections. More importantly, it is the turning point of history where we finally see the end of a degenerate regime under Arroyo and the beginning of, hopefully, a departure from such politics.

Activist lawmaker Ka Satur Ocampo is of the old generation, but has much to give for the new. Already in his 70’s, he carried his patriotic principles and revolutionary vigor from his days as a journalist and then revolutionary in the Martial Law era, up to the present as 3-term representative for progressive partylist Bayan Muna.

He speaks for the New. In his stint as Bayan Muna representative, he has co-authored such bills as the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Bill, sharing the FOSS advocacy of collective development and democratic accessibility with us young guns techies. He has fought for everyone’s right to universal education on and off the halls of congress. I remember he was one of the few politicians who stood in solidarity with the PUP students in putting a stopper on their exorbitant tuition and other fee increases. He has done his best to “speak our tongue” in reaching out to us, going as far as engaging in twitter and live chat.

He acts for the New. It is not new to most who have heard of him that he is a herald of the Politics of Change. His platforms alongside fellow Makabayan senatoriable Liza Maza brings to the Senate the activist brand of legislation, such as genuine land reform, a nationalist economy, and basic social services for all. Despite the old time detraction of branding him as a communist, he still proves through legislation and advocacy that his old time radical principles still work to uphold the people’s rights and interests.

When an Old Man speaks for the New Generation, you know that he has nothing but a bright future in mind for us. Ka Satur has proven that the militant activist movement will struggle and succeed on all fronts, because it is a movement that is for the people and by the people, and answers to the interests of the people and the people alone. In fact, in the face of an impending poll failure, Ka Satur was the first to call on all opposition parties to shed their colors and unite to prevent GMA Holdover or Military Takeover scenarios.

We need this old man in the Senate this coming May 10. He is the new face that will bring the change that countless familiar names and faces holding dynasty over Philippine politics for decades have failed to imbibe. Vote for genuine social change. Vote for Ka Satur Ocampo.