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 good. 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 BlogWatch 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.
BlogWatch 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 BlogWatch 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).
BlogWatch 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, BlogWatch-ers 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
BlogWatch applied for, and was granted, permission to cover certain government events. Below is a list of some key events.
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:
Interview and live streaming of senatorial candidates:
Monitoring the 2010 elections
Had a 3-hour slot for bloggers on Global Destiny Network (GNN) to report on the elections. (May 10, 2010)
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
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
Interview and live streaming of senatorial candidates:
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)
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
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
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 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:
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.
BlogWatch 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.
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