Skip to content

Is the Philippines Ready for Government 2.0?

June 9, 2010

To say that AP commentor Lilly was frustrated when she wrote

The learned and capable men tried. They just are too outnumbered to make a dent in the Philippines’ downward spiral to self-inflicted doom.

Look at those who voted for Gordon and Gibo. Compare those numbers with those who voted for Noynoy and Erap.

Look at how actual efforts to alleviate the pisspoor quality of life were received. The stupid poor instead prefers to bet on Lotto and fight tooth and nail to get into Wowowee rather than learning a profitable skill.

The learned and capable men tried. But this is a nation overrun by idiots, ruled by families who feed on the stupidity of the idiots.

— is an understatement.

I agree. This is is a game the learned and capable men will be hard-pressed to win. And if I may add, that’s because they are using 19th century tools in the face of 21st century challenges.

Filipinos are plugged to Web 2.0. Are Filipinos ready for Government 2.0?

As you can see, the “learned men” are still playing under rules skewed in favor of the oligarchs. Money is important in a campaign – but should simply be a means to an end – not the end in itself. Or if it were the end in itself, it should be for the purpose of expanding public services or increasing investments in strategic infrastructure.

Under the current Aquino regime that’s better said than done. The odds are stacked against you, us. -The Kamag-anak Mapping Project initiated by benign0 provides you an idea of what Filipinos are up against.

[iframe: src=”http://mind42.com/pub/mindmap?mid=e37e71bf-b038-45b7-9f8f-efa973f0fb5f” width=”100%” height=”640″ frameborder=”1″ scrolling=”YES”]

Gordon and Villar had no chance – not when you are up against an entrenched oligarchy – their rules, their game. That’s the bad news.

The good news is – the Philippine constitution allows for a system of initiatives and referendum – and has an enabling law on Initiatives and Referendums – RA 6735. The bad news is – Filipinos can’t get along and are hesitant to take this route.

Guess what people, don’t expect the oligarchs to give it up either – you are not going to win.. uh uh.. ain’t happening. Not now, not tomorrow – – if you played under the same rules. It will still be LP vs NP – plus a sprinkling of chimeras and the coterie of party-lists vying to be called “honorable” in an institution that is anything.. but!

The good news is there is a nascent emergence of active citizenship emanating from the Pinoy blogosphere. The bad news is Pinoys do not trust themselves enough to pull this one off.

The thing is – whether Filipinos like it or not – other nations will embark on this paradigm very soon. And all of this is due to – yes, you guessed it right – The Internet.

Thinking Outside the Oligarch-Skewed Trapo-Centric Congress – Government 2.0

Arianna Huffington recently asked Can Technology Forge a New Relationship Between Government and the Public?” – she was clearly referring to Tim O’ Reilly – the techie who coined Web 2.0 when she wrote:

the need to create a new relationship between We the People and those we elect to represent us — and the crucial role technology can play in it. For O’Reilly, Government 2.0 isn’t about every office in D.C. having its own website and posting reams of data. It’s about, as he put it in a blog post-cum-manifesto, “a new compact between government and the public, in which government puts in place mechanisms for services that are delivered not by government, but by private citizens.”

It’s about government as a facilitator, laying the foundation for innovation in self-governance. It’s “government as a platform.” As O’Reilly notes:

If there’s one thing we learn from the technology industry, it’s that every big winner has been a platform company: someone whose success has enabled others, who’ve built on their work and multiplied its impact. Microsoft put “a PC on every desk and in every home,” the Internet connected those PCs, Google enabled a generation of ad-supported startups, Apple turned the phone market upside down by letting developers loose to invent applications no phone company would ever have thought of. In each case, the platform provider raised the bar, and created opportunities for others to exploit.

Using government as a platform also means changing the way we think about legislating. “Government 2.0 requires a new approach to the design of programs,” writes O’Reilly, “not as finished products, perfected in a congressional bill, executive order, or procurement specification, but as ongoing experiments.”

Not surprisingly, many of those experiments are going on at the local level. One leader who has enthusiastically embraced the new model is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. “We are one part of a larger democracy that is learning how to master media to drive social change,” says Booker, who was on the same panel with O’Reilly and me at the Personal Democracy Forum. “Social media is a forum where people can come together to connect, talk, mobilize, and create a larger sense of community.”

To advance the notion of applying this model to government, O’Reilly has created the Gov 2.0 Expo (the latest concluded two weeks ago) and the Gov 2.0 Summit (coming in September).

****

Going forward, it’s clear that we are going to have to forge a new relationship with our government. “Citizens are connected like never before and have the skill sets and passion to solve problems affecting them locally as well as nationally,” writes O’Reilly. “Citizens are empowered to spark the innovation that will result in an improved approach to governance.”

We can’t expect a government hobbled by centuries-old tools to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. That’s why Government 2.0 needs to be taken out of beta and put into practice across the nation.

AP has already sounded the call for Government 2.0 ever since it started to advocate people’s initiative as a modality for expediting legislation. It will not serve as a substitute – rather it will supplement or close the gaps that are currently not being addressed by the traditional legislative framework.

Government 2.0 – Upgrading Classic Direct Democracy

Initiatives are not exactly new and have been around for quite sometime – the earliest known being Athenian democracy. Allow me to cite Wikipedia

Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] is a form of democracy and a theory of civics in which sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. Depending on the particular system, this assembly might pass executive motions, make laws, elect or dismiss officials, and conduct trials. Direct democracy stands in contrast to representative democracy, where sovereignty is exercised by a subset of the people, usually on the basis of election. Deliberative democracy incorporates elements of both direct democracy and representative democracy.[2]

Many countries that are representative democracies allow for three forms of political action that provide limited direct democracy: initiative, referendum (plebiscite), and recall. Referenda can include the ability to hold a binding referendum on whether a given law should be rejected. This effectively grants the populace which holds suffrage a veto on government legislation. Initiatives, usually put forward by the populace, force the consideration of laws or amendments (usually by a subsequent referendum), without the consent of the elected officials, or even in opposition to the will of said officials. Recalls give people the right to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term, although this is very rare in modern democracies.

***

Also relevant is the history of Roman republic beginning circa 449 BC (Cary, 1967). The ancient Roman Republic’s “citizen lawmaking”—citizen formulation and passage of law, as well as citizen veto of legislature-madelaw—began about 449 BC and lasted the approximately 400 years to the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Many historians mark the end of the Republic on the passage of a law named the Lex Titia, 27 November 43 BC (Cary, 1967).

Modern-era citizen lawmaking began in the towns of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1847, the Swiss added the “statute referendum” to their national constitution. They soon discovered that merely having the power to veto Parliament’s laws was not enough. In 1891, they added the “constitutional amendment initiative”. The Swiss political battles since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative (Kobach, 1993). In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendum. The populace has been conservative, approving only about 10% of these initiatives; in addition, they have often opted for a version of the initiative rewritten by government. (See Direct democracy in Switzerland below.) Another example is the United States, where, despite being a federal republic where no direct democracy exists at the federal level, almost half the states (and many localities) provide for citizen-sponsored ballot initiatives (also called “ballot measures” or “ballot questions”) and the vast majority of the states have either initiatives and/or referendums. (See Direct democracy in the United States below.)

Some of the issues surrounding the related notion of a direct democracy using the Internet and other communications technologies are dealt with in e-democracy. More concisely, the concept of open source governance applies principles of the free software movement to the governance of people, allowing the entire populace to participate in government directly, as much or as little as they please. This development strains the traditional concept of democracy, because it does not give equal representation to each person. Some implementations may even be considered democratically-inspired meritocracies, where contributors to the code of laws are given preference based on their ranking by other contributors.

The Issue of Cost

It can be argued that cost is an issue. I argue back that WE ARE ALREADY PAYING A COST – AND NOT GETTING ANY SERVICE FROM THE PHILIPPINE CONGRESS – OR THE ENTIRE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT FOR THAT MATTER.

If we need to get to the brass tacks – I would like to invite any of our readers who are good with the numbers to compute the costs below:

Given:

As-Is State: (compute costs)
* Congressman Salary
* Congressional Staff
* Congressional Office (Manila)
* Congressional Office (Local)
* Office Supplies/Transpo/RATA
* Pork Barrel

Multiply that with 238 Congressman who can’t even ****ing show up to pass the FOIA. Now compute the cost for three years – AND STILL NO LEGISLATION. NO OUTPUT.

Future State

* Cost of secretariat (manila/local)
* Cost of mobilization for signature drive
* Cost of printing referendum ballots
* Use PCOS machines for counting referendum results)
* NO PORK BARREL

I will wager that the cost of running one initiative is lesser than the cost of one congressman who does not even show up for work.

let’s say we spent conservatively – P2M per congressman – wala pang pork barrel yan – that’s PhP476M – and what have they shown thus far? Nothing.

Let’s say I’ll have a couple of Jet hernandezes or a Paul Farols run an operation – each with P3M even (they will shepherd the passing of the initiative – they will have no pork barrel at all) – I would bet they will have the legislation, signed, sealed, and delivered – with budget surplus to share.

Comparison of Processes – Congress-centric vs Initiative-centric

Consider the typical Pinoy citizen

1 – Elects congressman without thinking
2 – Congressman gets into the office, goes through the motions of legislation – but have no laws passed.
3 – Pinoy complains.
4 – Pinoy waits for another cycle of elections
5 – In the process, no laws are passed, but we keep on paying for a service which is not being rendered

Obviously, he is stuck in an endless loop with the current attitude.

Now, consider this:

1 – Pinoy Elects congressman without thinking
2 – Congressman gets into the office, goes through the motions of legislation – but have no laws passed.
3 – Pinoy initiates legislation (based on RA 6735)
4 – Law is passed

The only hindrance left here really is attitude.

It's all about a winning attitude .. knowledge.. and skills.. hard work.. and being SMART about it!What did you expect? A Freebie? Ano ka? Pinoy?😆

Technologically – it is feasible. Morga brings out a very good point

Here’s an idea: Why not keep the PCOS machines and program them for regular People’s Initiatives? Will we see the day someday when technology will render congressmen obsolete? What will the Representatives represent when the people can represent themselves directly through the PCOS machines? To save on the cost of printing ballots, number codes can be used to determine choices. So a “yes” vote would be “1?, a “no” vote would be “2?, etc. I believe this is what Manoling Morato meant when he said the lotto machines could have been used for automated voting. Imagine that. We can finally get urgent legislation like the FOI law, charter change, population management, etc done at the push of a few buttons.

Just thinking out loud. Have not thought through the details. But I think this idea has potential. Of course, it also means it will be easier for the majority to make idiotic choices that will cause us all to suffer. Freedom is a dangerous weapon.

The price of liberty is vigilance. Given that we are without alternatives under the current game – passing legislation then entails nurturing and cultivating a base of active citizen legislators who can get out the vote, collect the signatures, all the way through ratification. That is a challenging but fulfilling task – an Everest, a Mt. Banahaw, or a Mt. Apo that climbers will love to climb.

And should someone come up with an insane piece of proposal via initiative – one can use the same machinery that crafts legislation to work for the rejection of asinine proposals. The “base” of active citizen legislators can be a formidable politcal bloc once fully nurtured and organized.

Financially, it is viable. Politically it is empowering – and dumps the lawmakers in the wayside if they don’t step up to the plate.

The Need to Retrofit The ex-Presidential Candidates Machinery

The presidential campaigns still have their machinery of volunteers intact. At the moment Gordon’s Bagumbayan has degraded into a social club . It’s volunteers are like flotsam looking for meaning – after the elections are over. Just looking at the current activities of its volunteers – I got sick in the stomach after reading a call to Bagumbayan/Gibo volunteers to “remind ourselves how great we are as a nation” or birthday ni Gibo– really???? Two weeks after the election – the “volunteers” have been re-assimilated into the tontowist PoV – backsliding ika nga – what a waste of machinery.

Converting that machinery into an organized bloc of politically aware operators who can roll out the signatures and create law without having to go through Congress is a direct exercise of political power by the constituents. Through people’s initiative – the constituents can directly cause change – without having to go through congress.

This is an issue that the volunteers of Gibo, Gordon, and Perlas can work together on.Their nationwide machinery is still intact. This is a matter of retrofitting the machinery for the shift in strategy. Who needs to be elected to make laws if citizens make use of RA 6735 to the hilt and pass grassroots-centric legislation via initiatives/referendum. The legislative themes can be as diverse and as meaningful.

* Infrastructure projects/programs?
* Health Services?
* Mining?
* Pork Barrel reduction?
* Whistleblower Protection and Rewards Program?
* Solid Waste Management?
* Government Re-engineering?

Of course, there will be debates – that comes with the territory – and that’s a good thing. It forces the issue – if lawmakers will not do the job – the people will, and the regulations can wind up tighter than Congressmen want. Heck, it would be sweet payback to have a people’s referendum that will remove the pork barrel from the Congressmen – and redirect the funds towards more productive uses.

My mentality is this – S-C-R-E-W Congress – let the citizenry craft the law if congress is inutile – heck maybe generate the bandwagon to shift from presidential to parliamentary.

In campaigns of thias sort – it boils down to the numbers – there is no need for an overwhelming mandate – use the law RA 6735 and make it work FOR the people.

The FOIA as Test Case

For example, If Congress does not want to pass the FOIA, and the people want it – if they want it so bad – I say, the people ought to shut, grab themselves by the bootstrap – and pass the FOIA as an initiative.

Remember this – 8 laws in 3 years – and people expect Aquino to pass the FOIA? Are you kidding? Aquino didn’t even reveal how his pork barrel was spent – why will he support a law that will disclose his pork barrel spending. The calculus does not add up.

Bottom line – if people expect an Aquino congress to pass the FOIA – I doubt it very much. ABS-CBN, the Inquirer, RMN will make the FOIA story die a natural death.

Where does that leave the people – wait for another election of congressman?  We’ve tried that before – we’ve had the same results. If we want change – screw elections, people’s initiative is the way to go.

Shepherding the Citizen-centric Legislative Process

What you need are experienced marketing and sales corporate dudes who understand the dynamics of generating leads and closing a sale. Folks who can operate on a lean budget, self-starters, assigned to “sales territories”, and can generate a “buy-in”.

Our paradigm has always been to look at the legislator as the only person who will.. legislate.  And that, the lawmaker bring remiss in his job should be removed. But there are no mechanisms for doing that except through elections.

When election happens, the cycle repeats itself. But, the cycle can be broken – through people’s initiative.

With the advent of the Internet, legislation powered by crowd-sourcing is no longer just a possibility – it already is a reality. It can be ours  – provided the requirements of the enabling law on people’s initiative are met.

The idea for Government 2.0 is ready – the Filipinos and the Philippines, are not ready for Government 2.0.

Are you ready for Government 2.0?

From → Government, Solutions

53 Comments
  1. I checked out RA 6735 here.

    Sounds like there is a process that can potentially be brokered by a private-sector party and supported by innovatively-applied Web 2.0 technology….

    (1) Develop the Petition and publish it as a proposition on a blog/website. It needs to be compliant to requirements/guidelines set forth by the Comelec (presumably to do with content, outline, format, etc.).

    (2) Initiate the Petition by securing signitures of 10% of registered voters with the condition that this is sufficiently distributed to ensure that at least 3% of registered voters within each legislative district is represented.

    (3) Submit Petition to the Comelec.

    (4) Proclaim results.

    Obviously the above is just a wireframe, but those are the major steps I could discern from the text of the Act. The rest of the content of the Act has to do with terms, conditions, and requirements to proceed through the above process.

  2. Hung Hang permalink

    Here’s an alternative paradigm to Government 2.0. How about just outsourcing the Philippine Government?

  3. At this point, the people are still in euphoria of Noynoy winning the seat in the palace. They didn’t even want to entertain the fact the colossal death of their right in FOIA right before their eyes.

    Probably a Noynoy sequential gaffes in the months ahead could make the people get attracted to this initiative rather than the oligarchic-favoring EDSA.

  4. The main problem here is the survey company. In 2016 elcetion, if they are allowed to manipulate the election once again, another Aquino will arise…maybe Kris…or Boy Abunda or maybe Vice Ganda will run for president…how stupid would become…

  5. Shaddap permalink

    And of course, you know that two Cojuangco cousins of Noynoy own and operate Pulse Asia (while others close to the Aquinos operate SWS)…

    1. Rafael Cojuangco Lopa
    2. Tony-boy “used-to-bang-Gretchen” Cojuangco

    Those guys clearly manipulated the surveys to meet their clan’s nefarious ends. And stupid Pinoys took the bait.

    Bobo talaga ang Pinoy, no?

    (And yes, maraming so-called educated pati mga PhD pa raw BOBO rin.)

  6. Jon:

    They can’t manipulate a process if you have a solid base – a cadre of active citizens.

    We don’t elect people in an initiative – we vote on issues and legislation.

  7. How sad is this, that a seriously viable alternative to managing a modern democracy in the 12th-most populous nation on the planet is actually running the place like some hick town hall meeting. Not criticizing the initiative (it’s still better than what we got), but damn, let’s hear it for inefficiency, eh? There has got to be a better way.

    I bet my good friend Dr. J. Rizal II has a better way, here’s your cue, buddy.🙂

  8. Raise your hands, anyone who’s lived in California. t(-|-)

    There’s your argument against government-by-referendum.

  9. Miriam Quiamco permalink

    Have you considered the California case? I heard everything is in a state of disrepair over there because the government cannot raise taxes as voters in a referendum will never allow it.

  10. Miriam Quiamco permalink

    Actually BongV, it is quite okay for the volunteers of Gordon and Gibo to party and socialize, these occasions could be used to think of ways to capitalize on the volunteer movement. As far as I know the Gibo group is not only into socializing, I wouldn’t object to them celebrating their inspiration’s birthday on June 14th, I would party with them too given the chance. How to reach the groups, I get news updates on facebook about Gibo volunteer activities and I broached your idea of taking part in citizens’ initiatives, but that seemed like a frail attempt at reaching the core supporters.

  11. See? That’s just what I was talking about.

  12. The oligarchs don’t want that either.

    They’ll tag it an “unnationalistic” and all that bullcrap.

  13. BenK,

    Thanks to initiatives in California . Proposition 215 is a great reason to be in Cali – This was complemented by SB 420 (Cal HS 11362.7) – another initiative is coming up in November – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/25/california-pot-legalizati_n_512788.html 😛

    Seriously, Switzerland is the gold standard in referendum and initiatives –

    [gview file=”http://www.limitedgovernment.org/limiting_leviathan/chapter10.pdf”]

    [gview file=”http://www.idea.int/publications/direct_democracy/upload/direct_democracy_handbook_chapter9.pdf”]

  14. Miriam:

    I wouldn’t cite California – I will cite Switzerland.

  15. Miriam:

    Parties are okay, provided it’s not the only thing. I’ve been seeing these invites from GreenTeam and V for Volunteers – and I can say magmember na rin sila ng Sanrio book club or maybe the Fuzzy bears.

  16. lee permalink

    It’s an interesting idea and I would like to see a small scale implementation of it. The problem is sometimes people are not informed enough on what they want. The politicians will use the same dirty tricks and political mudslinging they use in the national elections to sway the people’s opinion. At the same time, we cannot expect that most of the people will make an informed choice and just listen to one side and ignore the rest.

    For example if we do this kind of system for a vote in favor or against charter change…what the results be? People who are against charter change will keep on reminding the voters of Marcos and Martial Law that any positive thing to be gained from charter change will be null and void. And people like Jamby will whine about how she knows the PCOS machines are made to cheat by simply looking at the circuit board.

    But I do agree that there should be more constituent involvement when it comes to legislation. Technology is an enabler but it still requires a little bit of intelligence to yield good results. Using technology to gauge the voice of the people is a great idea but it still requires that the people actually understand what they want and have enough information to make a good choice.

  17. California has a very simple problem which has made operating the state a dysfunctional mess — Prop 13 and Prop 98. Cap property taxes on the one hand, mandate a spending level for some services (in this case education) on the other. The state budget is effectively being drawn & quartered. Other referendums are socially divisive — Prop 215 probably looks pretty horrible to the anti-weed crowd, not to mention that it runs a big risk of a constitutional challenge for clashing with Federal law (personally, I’m all for States’ Rights on this one, though). And then there was Prop 8….

    Switzerland does it well, true…but does the Philippine electorate even remotely resemble the Swiss electorate, beyond being made up of adult Homo sapiens? And Switzerland is the most highly-federalized country in the world; my guess is, that might have something to do with it.

    Bottom line is, the corrective mechanism in a representative democracy is the power of the vote. My representative doesn’t do what I want him to, I’m picking someone who will. A referendum mechanism should be an enhancement to a functional system, not a replacement for it. If that. Personally, I don’t like it one bit — because I don’t want to have to do the job I hired a Congressman or Senator to do for me. Otherwise, what’s the point of having them?

  18. BenK:

    For every one BenK-esque character who will choose the right representative – there’s 10 more Pinoys who will vote the for someone else, out of blind faith or personal “utang na loob”.

    Meanwhile the one or two who think straight keep on waiting. In the next turn of election. You will be in your death bed still waiting for the next congressman you will vote for – which will not be shared by the other tontows.

    Thus, a need for a measure of “vanguardism” – cooperation between avant-garde individuals to advance legislation.

    At its most basic – it involves voting.

    After voting – lobbying comes into play.

    What if, voting and lobbying still don’t work – then instead of waiting – the political avant garde – ought to push and create the atmosphere conducive to demand.

    Philippine representative democracy is broken.

    Its time to take Government 2.0 out of beta testing. Roll it out and refine the framework via continuous improvement.

  19. And never, ever, ever let the INC or the CBCP find out about it…..8-0

  20. if they come up with good legislation, why not?

  21. Let’s hope it’s “good”” as defined by the secular sector, not “good” according to them only.

  22. HalleluyahHymen permalink

    NICE FnKING PIECE OF WORK ON THE KMI MIND MAPPING DIAGRAM BONGV!!!! HALLELUYAH HEYMEN!!!!

    Brilliant!!!

    PS

    Can i have a PDF version…

  23. Oh, come on. Let’s start with the total ban on any reproductive education, and move on to making Catholicism the state religion. Okay, maybe that’s hyperbole but….you’ve already got church leadership telling their people, “Vote for who we tell you to, or you’re going hell.” Can ANYTHING good come of that mindset? You sure you want to roll those dice? I don’t. (I’ll book tickets for six to California and strenuously exercise my Prop 215 rights if that happens. Hell, that’s sounding like a better and better idea all the time, anyway.)

  24. HalleluyahHymen permalink

    …oops… sorry… think the credit goes to Benign0. The image didn’t load the last time i browsed the previous article. I’ll work on the “missing link”… hehehe…

    Missed out:
    the Kamag-anak of Cory
    Sumulongs
    Tanhuatco
    Lapuz

    MBC:
    Ayala Group of Companies

    great idea Benigs…

  25. BenK:

    If the secular folks are overruled by the religious – it will be tough luck. However, the other religious groups can wind up coalescing against the INC or the RC. The RC isn’t exactly the monolith it was once – there are people who would rather be in hell than follow the church – like the millions of RC who voted for Joseph Estrada😆

    Another thing – the threat of an initiative of can make congress hasten the passing of the RHB.

    The RC or INC can shift from an anti-RHB to working for a repeal. The velocity of the exchanges quickens – and that is healthy in a democracy. In such a case, the alternative would have been Congress dilly-dallying the end result being the RHB is not passed – the status quo.

  26. The threat of an initiative will hasten something, that is true…but it might hasten organized campaigning against the initiative (Prop 8, again) to the detriment of other matters.

    Sorry, but this is too big a wild card for me. Better to work on building a more accountable government framework, media, and a true free-market economy than to put frosting on a cupcake made of turds.

    Geez, you got me going on this one, I got a whole page out of it:

    http://badmannersgunclub.com/2010/06/government-2-0-is-about-1-95-more-than-the-philippines-is-ready-for/

    The same voters who are susceptible to so many vested interests and poor social circumstances and can’t pick decent representatives because of that are not going to be able to wisely decide on individual issues, unless those vested interests go away and the poor circumstances improve. Horse before cart.

  27. send your email add via the AP Message inbox – we’ll send you an invite so you can add to the map

  28. Absolutely read it.

    Even then “work on building a more accountable government framework, media, and a true free-market economy than to put frosting on a cupcake made of turds” can still be done via people’s initiative.

    The people’s initiative purposes are multi-pronged:

    1 – To address a legislative gap – not to replace it.

    2 – To create more awareness about the issues. You wouldn’t know what to vote unless you knew the basic issues. Sure the people are naive on the first pass – but as more discussions go on – they become more informed.

    3 – To actually pass legislation.

    The interaction of #1 and #2 will be a driver that leads to people voting for better congressmen so they don’t have to undertake initiatives.

    #3 is just a bonus.😆

  29. While it is true that the Philippines is a representative democracy, its constitution also provides for direct democracy.

    The tools for correcting a runaway legislative body need not use the same tools that caused the congress to run away in the first place. Thus – the initiative.

    As far being divisive – democracy is essentially divisive i n the sense that people do have to vote – and the vote splits them up – whether in a referendum or in an election – same divisiveness. Divisiveness being a constant – might as well introduce a new element.

  30. lee:

    gov 2.0 need not be huge – one can start with a barangay initiative – say scheduling of barangay tanods – tweeting of tanod reports; discussing barangay ordinances etc.

    the national legislation that I cited is just an instance. am sure the electorate of Subic and the electorate of HLI will approach Gov 2.0 differently😉

  31. HalleluyahHymen permalink

    tried the application…

    i created my own mapping test the functionality… mabilis naman palang gamitin

    here’s the URL

    http://mind42.com/pub/mindmap?mid=a80ae7fe-7c7c-44f9-bc8b-94e83d6d238e

    test ko lang iframe kung gagana sa comments

  32. Miriam Quiamco permalink

    Bong V: Switzerland is a much smaller country witn 7.8 million, whereas California has 36 million, what do you think has been the difference in their pursuits of the ideals of direct democracy? The Philippine case can never be any closer to Switzerland. . . As to the Gibo movement turning into a social club, losing its political vision, this remains to be seen. I did my campaigning for Gibo on my own, not a part of the organized movement, and so, I wouldn’t know how to reach the influential members of the organization. I suppose, one thing I could do is write to the directorate about citizens’ initiatives which I am strongly for, (dunno if the form of referendum is workable), for at least some active members to lead the majority towards realizing this ideal.

  33. Miriam Quiamco permalink

    What is the guarantee that the debate on initiatives won’t be high-jacked by the oligarchs and by the louder yellow propagandists for that matter, thus giving their stand on issues wider legitimacy through a referendum that would represent the ignorant views on things?

  34. Miriam:

    There is always a first time. How would you know if you don’t even try?

    How will we bring attention to the method if we don’t undergo praxis?

    For one, there was a successful attempt in terms of mobilization – “format-wise” the requirements based on the % breakdown of signatures were met.

    With the Senateas decision to oppose the convening of Congress into a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass) to rewrite the 1987 Charter, a Peopleas Initiative remains the only option left for the masa to push badly needed constitutional reforms that would settle the political standoff and free them from generational poverty, peopleas organizations (POs) and sectoral groups said yesterday.

    These leaders said the people should now take it upon themselves to initiate the constitutional reforms a” via the Peopleas Initiative route a” that are needed to ensure lasting political stability and rapid growth with social equity.

    “We should not allow the failure of Congress to do its job to defeat our goal of initiating genuine reforms via Charter change,” said Forting Yabut, national president of the MASA BANSA representing the urban poor.

    “The masa should not remain on the sidelines while our senators continue to hold our countryas economic takeoff hostage to their sickening partisan interests and political ambitions,” he added.

    MASA BANSA is one of some 45 sectoral groups and peopleas organizations nationwide representing the urban poor, women, labor, overseas Filipino workers, the youth, women, labor, Muslims and interfaith groups, farmers and fisherfolk pushing constitutional reforms.

    Miguel Manota, the national president of KAMANGGAGAWA representing the labor sector, noted that these groups are frustrated over the worsening executive-legislative gridlock manifested once more in this weekas Senate passage of a resolution crushing the Con-Ass option and the senatorsa vow to “boycott” a House- planned session on Charter change.

    As this developed, Iloiloas local executives have pledged to be at the forefront of the campaign to mobilize support for Charter change in the Visayas with the signing of an “Iloilo Declaration” backing constitutional amendments on the shift to a parliamentary system and liberalization of our “protectionist” economy that has stymied growth.

    Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas, head of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), said that the Iloilo declaration took note of the urgency of carrying out constitutional reforms to address the “recurring reckless escalations of various conspiracies to bring down government through violent and unconstitutional means.”

    “The time to act is now. The nationas welfare must be paramount over personal and political interests,” said the declaration, which was signed by more than 1,000 Ilonggo leaders during an AdCom forum at the Central Philippine University.

    LCP is a member-group of the 1.7-million strong Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) that is conducting a parallel advocacy campaign along with Charter Change Advocacy Commission (AdCom) to inform the people how Charter change would truly benefit them, and how they themselves could help correct the systemic defects in the countryas political and economic structures that have prevented them from reaping the fruits of a rebounding economy.

    Efren de Luna, national president of the PCDO-ACTO, said the transport sector is banking on the system of peopleas initiative and referendum to achieve reforms.

    Carlo Masajo, chairman of the Youth for Peace and Development, noted that the Constitution itself guarantees the peopleas inherent and undeniable right to shape the countryas future.

    Adel Lazaro, national president of the Akbay Pinoy of OFWs Inc, added: “A peopleas initiative would even prove to be the best option to push Charter reforms because this would truly reflect the sentiments of the people and would empower them, instead of leaving the decision-making on such an important concern to a bunch of politicians.”

    Palace calls for aprincipled middle grounda in Cha-cha

    By FERDIE J. MAGLALANG

    MalacaA[+ or -]ang yesterday called on Senate and House leaders to reach a “principled middle ground” in ironing out their differing views on introducing amendments or revisions to the 19-year-old Constitution, notably on the mode to effect changes.

    Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye made the call after 22 senators formally turned down the House position that the two houses of Congress should vote as one on the issue of amending the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass).

    “It is a pity that the interest and welfare of the nation is being set back by the continuing impasse between the Senate and the Lower House on the issue of Charter change,” he said in an official press statement.

    “We hope that both chambers (of Congress) can work out a principled middle ground in settling their differences so we can overhaul our poisoned political system,” he added.

    Senate President Franklin M. Drilon led his colleagues in rejecting the position adopted by House Speaker Jose de Venecia that the Upper and Lower Chambers of Congress should vote as one and not separately in amending the Constitution.

    In Senate Resolution 471, 22 senators belonging to the majority and minority blocs stood firm on their conviction that any amendments or revisions of the Constitution should be voted upon by the Senate and the House separately.

    The House position on Charter change has raised suspicion that the Presidentas allies are bent on excluding the senators from voting on any proposed amendments to the Charter should Congress be converted into a Constituent Assembly.

    “We need to move forward and Charter change remains the key to enduring national stability and prosperity,” Bunye said, stressing the need, if not the urgency, for the nation to rewrite the alleged restrictive provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

    As this developed, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) yesterday denounced the use of government resources and personnel to support a Peopleas Initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution and shift to a parliamentary system of government.

    Pimentel questioned the directive of Secretary Ronaldo Puno to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the convening of barangay assemblies nationwide on March 25 to gather signatures in favor of Charter change through a Peopleas Initiative under the guise of discussing the concerns and problems of the local communities.

    “Secretary Puno is using the municipal development officers of the DILG to conduct barangay assemblies nationwide to solicit signatures for Charter change a” which is Gloriaas way of avoiding an inglorious end,” he said.

    Pimentel said the use of government personnel, funds and other resources for a Peopleas Initiative cannot be legally justified because this is envisioned under the 1987 Constitution to be essentially a private effort to work for constitutional reforms.

    He said President Arroyo, Cabinet members, governors and mayors have no business spearheading or interceding in the Peopleas Initiative.

    Otherwise, he said it should no longer be called peopleas initiative and it will have no semblance of credibility or constitutional validity.

    BUT it was a flawed attempt – right from the start, because it was directed at charter change.
    RA 6735 is not applicable to charter change because RA 6735 does not provide the regulations for amending the constitution via charter change.

    My take is that amending the constitution via people’s initiative is two step.

    1 – Amend RA 6735 to include the guidelines for amending the constitution via citizen’s initiative

    2 – Given an enabling framework – amend the constitution via initiative.

    Until then, initiatives will be limited to statutes and ordinances crafted at various layers of governance – Barangay > District > City/Town/Municipality > Province > Region > National

    Initiatives can be launched at the barangay level – debates can be done through town hall meetings assembled by the secretariat staff – or the volunteers. The initiatives can be localized FOIA ordinances – at the barangay level – to force the issue – be proactive.

    From this first wave of initiatives momentum can be built until people get used to the idea of initiatives. Meanwhile the praxis becomes wider – barangays into districts.. districts into cities.. Results are shared through Web 2.0 technologies – mobilization of wired active citizens is faster and more widespread.

    Of course there will be stupid proposals – that comes with the territory . But then do you stop a toddler from attempting to walk because his psychomotor skills are lacking at that stage in its life?

    Nations evolve too – and we can step back and go with the flow – but this isn’t one of those times – there are times when you need to be proactive and seize the agenda – take the risk and put yourself out there. After all without the risk – there is no reward. Rewards come because you took the risk.

    The point is people’s initiative can be done at all levels – given the parameters – and citizens are not using this mechanism to create a better life for themselves. If they don’t control the agenda – someone else will – and we might not like it at all . The thing is if we took the initiative, it wouldn’t have even gotten there in the first place.

    It might look humongous in a national scale – but the project can be broken down into itty-bitty smaller administrative territories based on the barangay. It’s like cleaning a huge lawn. You clean in small portions – until all the small portions grow more and more – and before you know it – your yard is clean.

    Your alternative is – the cost of doing nothing. Which means you will have the same cost, the same non-performing system – and you wait till the crow turns white – you ain’t getting the needed legislation.

    FOIA under NA3? 8 bills in 3 years – and refused to disclose his pork barrel disclosures – what are the odds he will be supportive of the FOIA? if NA3 will not touch it – what makes you think Congress will touch it – specially with Imelda and Gloria in Congress. Let’s get real now.🙂

  35. Miriam:

    There are no guarantees.

    But you wouldn’t know if you don’t try either😉

  36. I forgot to add – by saying there is an oligarch+ignorant bloc (A) also implies there is a non-oligarch+non-ignorant bloc (B).

    the balance of forces is currently in favor of (A).

    the challenge therefore is how to swing the balance of forces to (B)

    as one classical political economist, puts it – ” “philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Philosophy’s validity was in how it informed action.

    Georg Lukács held that the task of political organization is to establish professional discipline over everyday political praxis, consciously designing the form of mediation best suited to clear interactions between theory and practice.

    Theory – Practice – the praxis refines the theory, which in turn refines the practice – in a continuous improvement loop.

    Voting via Representative Democracy is just one arena in the overall political struggle. After all – what really is the intention of all this legislation – to swing it in favor of the greater number of citizens without oppressing the minority. For a majority to be righteous – it must be sanctioned by reason. Otherwise – it is nothing but the tyranny of the mob.

    But even then, the law of entropy dictates that the mob will ultimately settle down as it runs out of steam – that is when you engage and make your move. you organize, you articulate, – they attack, you retreat, they retreat, you attack, choose the moment when you have superiority and surprise.

    People’s initiative is a powerful tool to wield – someone’s gotta start somewhere – if not now, when? Never? If Never, then what’s the point in having that in the constitution – for window dressing,

    All am saying is we have been complaining far too long, we have played the same tune all over – and over – new faces, same old scripts – don’t you guys get tired?

    I do. So, I’d rather risk the initiative – if it bombs – what else is new? Failippines does it again. But what if it succeeds? Given that there was a prior attempt which failed on technicality but was successful in form – do we stop because we failed the first time?

    Is it because initiative is flawed – or is it because we didn’t know how to wield the tool? If we didn’t know the first time – should that stop us from attempting again. I dunno, that really bugs me – that does not sound like a winning attitude –

    the worst thing that can happen is it will fail? so what? but, again – what if – it does not?

  37. GabbyD permalink

    what law specifically are you thinking about here (to pass by people’s initiative)?

  38. GabbyD:

    Any law you want, provided they meet the terms of RA 6735 – the enabling law.

  39. miriam quiamco permalink

    Sorry, N/A had 8 bills in three years, not congress legislating only 3 laws in three years, thanks for mentioning this again (got it wrong initially). N/A is already showing weakness of leadership this early, how can he ever muster the energy for leadership to get his bill passed during his presidency? I agree with you that the people’s initiatives as vehicles to air issues that matter to the nation are useful. There is still a lot to work out though, in terms of mechanics. How exactly do we start getting the process going. Ideas are great, but visualing how to make these ideas into reality is very important. Okay, so we take advantage of the idealistic political volunteer movements of Gibo and Gordon, I agree this is the first move. How do we do this? Should we contact the directorates of Green Team Pilipinas and Gordon’s to get a particular bill passed. Say we start with FOIA, what should be the mechanics to get the volunteers to work on the passage of the bill. Is calling a referendum on the issue feasible here? If so, this could be our first foray on getting a bill passed through direct democracy. We have to get some ground work going the.

    I am based abroad, so what I can do is contact people who I know could follow through our online efforts on this. We can begin campaigning for a referendum on FOIA, hasn’t this bill already been debated enough publicly? Are the people sufficiently knowledgeable on this to vote wisely? Sure, it makes sense to pass FOIA, perhaps, without a referendum, this will pass anyway, how to get this bill passed, N/A will be too saddled with other concerns, and will surely be overwhelmed by the efforts of congressmen who are anti-FOIA and if N/A himself refused to divulge his CDF expenditures, it makes sense he will be against this bill. Apparently, the main reason for the opposition to this bill is the requirement included in the bill forcing members of the legilslature to retroactively divulge their CDF records and that they could be punished for any wrongdoing. Even those who sponsored the bill did not show up for the voting. At least Nograles for all the criticism heaped against him by the media had the balls to publicly disclose the names of members who were absent during the plenary sesssion, thus, a quorum could not be reached.

  40. jonphil permalink

    I am with you on this, Bong.

    We’ve been committing same mistakes in the past, why not try a new approach?

    We just make sure – although we may be outnumbered – that we thoroughly plan our moves and properly coordinate with each other.

    Whatever the result, there’s something to be learned from the endeavor.

  41. @miriam quiamco:

    you are on a roll. exactly.

    FOIA is more or less the “laboratory” – the “pilot project”.

  42. ulong pare permalink

    … daaaaang

    … as long as flip gung gongs/squats multiply like cockroaches, flipland will never be ready for any meaningful and functional govt…

    … the flip gung gongs outnumber matitinos, like us, 10K:1…. they are wothless as fuck!:mrgreen:

  43. RHB to stop the infestation?😀

  44. miriam quiamco permalink

    Let’s go for it BonV!

  45. ulong pare permalink

    … daaaang

    … flips y squats live in cesspools, imburnals, esteros, y garbage dump…

    … if WHO descend to flipland, they’d come up with new disease unknown to human… and would reclassify flips as a new species.,,, the ciivilized world would be shaken on its core… :mrgreen:

  46. m:

    first step – send those letters to the national directorate – stimulate a debate within the ranks. see how it plays out. let us know – let us talk about the dynamics.
    this will not happen overnight – it will be a gradual process which at a certain point will snowball. once the momentum is generated – let it go.. imagine a cowboy on a rampaging bull – get the hell out when the allotted time has been required..😆
    our job is to pump prime – that’s it. start a chain reaction – generate a discussion. refocus the discussion to – why the hell aren’t these congressmen doing their job – if they will not pass the FOIA – let’s do it via initiative –

    I believe this is a neutral issue – one that crosses party lines – everyone one wants to end corruption – first give us access to the data – we will flag any signs of collussion and review line items through the wringer – online – all agencies.
    It’s a simple question to the masses – do you want to stop corruption? if they say yes? then support FOIA initiative campaign for yes, sign the dotted line.

    then if the initiative application is approved – campaign for its approval.

    on campaign day – get out the vote.

  47. uncle pinoy permalink

    24 Senators x P200 million pork barrel = P4.8 billion
    270 Congressmen x P70 million pork barrel = P18.9 billion
    Total Pork Barrel = P23.7 billion
    If we returned P23.7 billion worth of taxes to businesses, what will they do with extra capital?
    Businesses will use capital to make more money.  How?  By expanding operations and HIRING MORE WORKERS.
    With more people employed, there will be a broader tax base (which means more people pay taxes).
    With more people employed, there will be less people on welfare (which means less spending by government and less taxes).
    Now, imagine if we cut more government spending by shrinking government (merge redundant departments and offices, abolish useless agencies).
    Remember,  government  cannot get us out of our economic mess.  Also the private sector can.

  48. uncle pinoy permalink

    The national government debt is now at P4.458 TRILLION.  If we keep waiting for the electorate to smarten up and elect a Gordon, we'll be in a bigger sinkhole than even a hundred Gordons can fix.
    Shrink government NOW!  Cut spending NOW!  Abolish pork barrels NOW!

  49. uncle pinoy permalink

    I agree with Bong's people's initiative-referendum model.  We have enough laws in place.  The congressional set up we have now is not cost-effective.  Best to abolish or shrink congress.  Use part of the money saved to increase the number of courts and judges (and their pay) to rid of the court dockets backlogs.  The rest, return as tax rebates.

  50. Rennan permalink

    I don't know much but can I just let fly words like
    convention – let us (ap, gibo volunteers, gordon volunteers, even perlas volunteers) convene and start realizing the ideas richly discuss here. If there is any meaningful transition of these ideas into concrete steps towards a true democratic united movement that will really accomplish anything meaningful for the Philippines, I think we should gather. 
    lobbying – after all, congress building and national offices of volunteer groups above-mentioned are here. Lobbying here can take the form of rally at batasan?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Government 2.0 is about 1.95 more than the Philippines is Ready For
  2. Tweets that mention Is the Philippines Ready for Government 2.0? | Anti-Pinoy :) -- Topsy.com
  3. Walang Pagsisisi sa Simula – The First Three Weeks | Anti-Pinoy : World Edition :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: