History of Blog Watch

BlogWatch began in November 2009 as a group of independent-minded bloggers and social media users helping with voter education. It has since evolved into a nonpartisan group of citizen advocates who engage government and the private sector, online and offline, for social change. Blog Watch is composed of an editorial team : Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, Jane T. Uymatiao , Sonnie Santos, Juned Sonido are co-founders which manage a team of writers.

 

The beginnings of Blog Watch were simple. In our launch in November 2009, our short-term vision was simply to provide another avenue to promote voter education. The positive response from our community inspired us to continue our work beyond the election season and pursue our individual advocacies — as well as collaborate with netizens, when appropriate. Now on its eighth year, Blog Watch continues to be a  forum for constructive engagement in the democratic process.

Blog Watch is composed of citizen advocates, independent-minded bloggers, and social media users who leverage new technology tools to advocate for social change and serve as a nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog and collective conscience for transparency and good governance.

The Blog Watch network is intergenerational, ranging from 16-year-old to 60-plus-something bloggers, including netizens from various walks of life (students, mothers, employees, and self-employed citizens). Not all of us are bloggers. Some members of our network serve as photographers, videographers, or social media users.

Our individual advocacies range from education, support for health issues, disaster preparedness, environment, education, and livelihood, to bridging the digital divide. Some of our advocacy projects in the past included #juanvote (Filipino netizens for honest, orderly, and peaceful elections) and #epalwatch (a shame campaign against grandstanding, self-promoting “epal” public officials).

Blog Watch is not affiliated with any political group or party and does its best to remain nonpartisan by publishing, to the fullest extent possible, all sides of an issue. For transparency, Blog Watchers are obliged to disclose in their profiles any close affiliations with a politician, high government official, or political party as well as any government-sponsored consultancy agreements.

Our disclosure page likewise contains our statement of ownership, methodology including fact-checking, and corrections policy.

TIMELINE OF MEDIA ACCREDITATION

Blog Watch applied for, and was granted, permission to cover certain government events. Below is a list of some key events.

2010

  • Comelec Accreditation (unrestricted access to areas of election activity — from precincts to canvassing areas to both Houses of Congress.)
  • 2010 Inaugural given by the Inauguration Accreditation Committee; Coverage in Luneta and the First Press Conference at the Malacanang Palace
  • State of the Nation Address given by the House of Representatives
  • “President Aquino Report kay Boss”, First 100 days Town Hall at La Consolacion given by the PCDSPO social media
  • Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Awarding Ceremony at the Malacanang Palace

2011

  • EDSA 25 anniversary celebration (Covering the Tatak EDSA celebration)
  • Social media coverage of US Secretary Hillary Clinton given by the US Embassy Manila; November 19, 2011

2012

  • President Aquino launch of his flagship education program: K to 12 at the Malacanang Palace, April 2012
  • Corona impeachment trial given by the Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB), March 2012 to June 2012
  • Cocoy Dayao was one of the first bloggers to be chosen as a participant of the Foreign Press Center in the 2012 Election Night Program from October 31 to November 8, 2012, USA. He was part of the White House Press Pool for the duration of the coverage
  • Signing of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro at the Malacanang Palace, October 15, 2012

2013

  • Napoles hearing at the Senate given by the Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB)

2015

  • Comelec accreditation to cover filing of candidacy

GOVERNMENT EVENTS COVERED

2009 to 2010

COMELEC’s Bagong Botante event with bloggers to introduce the PCOS machine (Nov. 13, 2009)

Interview and live streaming of presidential/vice-presidential candidates:

  1. Manny Villar (December 17, 2009)
  2. Eddie Villanueva (January 9 , 2010)
  3. JC delos Reyes (January 11, 2010)
  4. Gilbert Teodoro (January 12, 2010)
  5. Nick Perlas (January 18, 2010)
  6. Richard Gordon and Bayani Fernando (January 21, 2010)
  7. Benigno Aquino Jr. (February 6, 2010)

Interview and live streaming of senatorial candidates:

  1. Chiz Escudero (November 7, 2009)
  2. TG Guingona (November 9, 2009)
  3. Risa Hontiveros (November 18, 2009)
  4. Alex Lacson (January 25, 2010)
  5. Bongbong Marcos (March 11, 2010)
  6. Edu Manzano (March 12, 2010)
  7. Satur Ocampo, Lisa Masa (March 17, 2010)
  8. Risa Hontiveros and Yasmin Lao (March 22, 2010)
  9. Adel Tamano (March 23, 2010)
  10. Neric Acosta, Martin Bautista, TG Guingona, Ruffy Biazon (March 29, 2010)
  11. Pia Cayetano (March 31, 2010)

Monitoring the 2010 elections

Had a 3-hour slot for bloggers on Global Destiny Network (GNN) to report on the elections. (May 10, 2010)

2011

Tatak EDSA: Commemorating 25 years of EDSA, February 25, 2011

Manoling Morato expose: Manoling talks of the anomalous transactions in PCSO under Margie Juico, May 14, 2011

Interview with PCSO Commissioner Margie Juico, May 21, 2011

FOI Campaign Launch with TG Guingona, Gregorio Honasan, and Erin Tanada, July 19, 2011

2012

Interview with Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona on the impeachment case against him, March 14, 2012

Dialogues with DBM Sec. Butch Abad, August 30, 2012

Anti-epal groups meet with Comelec Commissioners, September 16, 2012

2013

Interview and live streaming of senatorial candidates:

  1. Jack Enrile (February 1, 2013)
  2. Cynthia Villar (March 5, 2013)
  3. Gregorio Honasan (March 16, 2013)
  4. Ed Hagedorn, Teddy Casino (April 10, 2013)
  5. Koko Pimentel (April 15, 2013)
  6. Risa Hontiveros (April 25, 2013)

Social Media Forum with COMELEC on ICT Issues: The Automated Election System 2013, March 23, 2013

Consultation with bloggers by Senator TG Guingona (July 25, 2013)

Covered Senator TG Guingona’s launch of #CrowdsourcePH website (August 7, 2013)

2014

Resource person, Senate hearing on the cybercrime law, March 3, 2014

Postmortem Meeting on Typhoon Ruby (To discuss the public and private sector online coordination during Typhoon Ruby and establish a workflow for future storms and other emergencies.) with the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office; government agencies: PAGASA, DepEd, Project NOAH AFP, CAAP, NGCP, PCO ; members of the media and non-government agencies: RescuePH, Oplan Kapit Bisig, December 15, 2014

2015

Blog Watch forum with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on the peace process, April 2015

#TindogTayo2016: A Presidential Forum for a Resilient PH, November 24, 2015

Launch of the Mar-Leni Youth Volunteers center, November 27, 2015

Conversations with presidentiables Mar Roxas and Jojo Binay at the Ateneo de Manila, December 11, 2015

2016

Interview with Vice Presidential Candidate Leni Robredo, January 12, 2016

Interview with Vice Presidential Candidate Gregorio Honasan, January 14, 2016

Public Consultation on the Draft Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Data Privacy Act with the National Privacy Commission, July 13, 2016

NON-GOVERNMENT EVENTS COVERED

2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awards, September 1, 2012

#SmartActs S@FE PH Social Media Night: Using the Power of the INTERNET & the People for Emergency Preparedness & Response, September 3, 2012

U.S. Embassy’s Kapihan sa Embahada (A discussion of the platforms of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama), October 24, 2012

PCIJ forum, “Taking Stock, Taking Control: Elections and Expression in the Online World” to assess the impact and influence of social media on the 2013 elections, May 28, 2013

#MillionPeopleMarch, August 26, 2013

“Partnerships for Disaster & Climate Resilience” conference #resilientPH, July 9, 2014

Project NOAH update with Dr. Mahar Lagmay, August 6, 2014

#SafePH conversation with partners and advocates, October 3, 2014

Launch of Project Agos: Making #ZeroCasualty a reality, October 8, 2014

The U.S. Embassy’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders’ Initiative (YSEALI) Program, December 3, 2014

Philippine Multistakeholder Forum on Internet Governance, Human Rights, and Development, Foundation for Media Alternatives, March 23, 2015

The U.S. Embassy’s Visa Hour (a Q&A via Facebook with US consuls), May 7, 2015

The Internet Society PH Chapter Forum on internet speeds, July 8, 2015

Forum on the Pork Barrel by Social Watch, with Ping Lacson as main speaker, August 5, 2015

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) Forum on the Anti-Corruption Framework with the Office of the Ombudsman and stakeholders, November 4, 2015

PCIJ Forum on Anti-Corruption Day, December 9, 2015

Election Monitoring with Kontra Daya Network, May 9, 2016

#NotOnMyWatch, a campaign that aims to promote integrity, competence, and accountability in government, September 1, 2016

Roundtable discussion with U.S. Embassy’s Press Attache, Molly Koscina, September 26, 2016

Foundation for Economic Freedom’s Forum on  “Does Ending ENDO Contribute to Inclusive Economic Growth?””, October 19, 2016

The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA’s) State of the World Population 2016 Report, October 20, 2016

The U.S. Embassy Election Watch 2016, November 9, 2016

AS ORGANIZER AND AS PARTNER/COLLABORATOR

Blog Watch-Initiated Events

Blog Watch hosted a session (Social Media Without the Internet) during the #RightsCon Summit in Manila (an annual world event on the future of the internet held for the first time in Manila), March 24, 2015. We brought in the representatives of Bubbly, Firechat, and EngageSpeak apps as guest speakers.

Viewing parties of the #PiliPinasDebates2016:

  1. Presidential Debate #1, February 21, 2016
  2. Presidential Debate #2 in collaboration with TV 5, March 20, 2016
  3. Vice Presidential Debate, April 10, 2016
  4. Presidential Debate #3, April 20, 2016

 

Collaborations and Partnerships

“Social Media Capital”, on Social Media Day, June 30, 2012 – A collaboration with TweetUpManila
Virtual roundtable discussion on the #Cybercrimelaw, September 8, 2012

Bloggers’ Forum on the Expanding Epidemic of HIV in the Philippines in coordination with PLCPD and UNAIDS ,December 7, 2012

The Rundown 2013 with Blog Watch and UP Economics Society, February 7, 2013 – A forum with Q&A that featured the senatorial candidates

“Blogging and Citizen Media during Elections” USAID, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), March 8, 2013

@RocktheVotePH senatorial candidates, 2013

Guest speakers, Social Media Day 2014, #fwdPH, June 29, 2013

Forum on Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, July 12, 2013

Co-organizer, #MillionPeopleMarch in Luneta, August 26, 2013

Resource speakers, “Watching Where the Aid Goes”, 1st Public Roundtable on Citizens’ Monitoring of Financial Aid for Relief & Recovery of Victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda #reliefPH, December  5, 2013

Co-organizer together with Vibal, 1st Future of Media, Convergence, Collaboration and What’s Next in Media Biz, , April 29, 2014

Emcees, #BoomPH Social Media Day, June 28, 2014

Co-emcee, The Future of #PHInternet: A Philippine Multistakeholder Forum on Internet Governance, Human Rights, and Development – This forum was co-organized by the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) and Internet Society Philippines (ISOCPh), in partnership with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Dakila Artist Collective, and the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA).

Co-presentors, Hashtags, Memes, and More Creative Communication Strategies for Advocacy at the #RightsCon Summit, March 25, 2015

Member, Drafting committee,  Philippine Declaration on Internet Rights and Principles, June 5, 2015

Co-hosts, #AskBlogwatch, a radio segment at the Youth Power Radio, DZME 1530, June to December 2015

#StopLumadKillings: Bloggers, netizens & students meetup with the Lumad, September 9, 2015

Signatory, Philippine Declaration of Internet Rights and Principles , September 13, 2015

Twitter Chat with Victoria Kwakwa of the World Bank, “How can we bridge the gap when skills and jobs don’t match?”, September 15, 2016

Facilitators, “Education and jobs”, #HackSociety #2030Now, September 26, 2016

Digital Education working group member, Education Summit 2016, November 4, 2016

RECOGNITION AND AWARDS

“Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  for their story on “Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda” . Forbes Philippines also received the same award.

Finalist, Blog Watch, “The Advocate” at the Globe Tatt Awards, August 2011

Finalist, #EpalWatch, Best Social Media Movement, June 2013


The very beginning …in 2009

It was timely that in early 2009, three bloggers, namely, Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, Marck Ronald Rimorin and Pierre Tito Galla were invited by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for a training seminar on “Covering Elections in the Era of Internet and Automation,” which was supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In succeeding such seminars of the PCIJ, Blog Watch was able to get a total of nine bloggers trained.

The idea for a citizen media movement for the 2010 elections began brewing then. Bloggers could play an important role in the election coverage because they had an existing community that could virally disseminate information among their readers as well as to other internet users, especially on the social networks which comprised 51 percent of internet users in the Philippines. The urgency of voter education and training was clear as the elections neared.

Blog Watch became a reality when Vibal Foundation’s Philippine Online Chronicles hosted our articles on their site. We began to cover underplayed stories that traditional media could not, or would not, cover due to limited resources and time. But our role was not meant to remain in the shadows of voter education alone. We were able to snag our first interview with a presidential candidate, Manny Villar, who had a fairly good social media group. From there, we went on to interview other candidates for president, vice-president, senator and local candidates as well – using our tools of the trade in each of these interviews.

 

More: Blog Watch in the News | About Blog Watch