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One Small Voice
Friday, October 19, 2012
THERE is a new kind of people power. People power no longer happens on land. People power already happens on air.
There is even a new name for people in this new kind of people power. People are no longer just called just citizens. People are also now called netizens.
There is likewise a new form of power in this new kind of people power. Power no longer consists of warm bodies. Power already consists of fast fingers, of course coupled with hearts and minds that care to contribute, or otherwise just find some fun, or otherwise just cause some chaos. Whatever pushes the buttons, the point is that we are at a period of people power not only being fast but instant, not only being cheap but free, and not only being nationwide but global.
This new kind of people power has been used in plenty of issues and concerns, but the most recent ones are those involving grave and imminent danger as well as long-term implications, complications and repercussions.
First, the Anti-Cybercrime Law was passed, but as soon as it was passed, legislators scrambled one after the other to either withdraw their approval and support, deny their knowledge and participation or propose amendments and revisions. This was due to the overwhelming outpour, or better yet overwhelming outcry, of comments and criticisms from the citizens, especially the netizens. Blame it on the media, traditional and social.
Second, the committee report of the Sin Tax Law was released, and as soon as it was released, it has not yet even reached the period of interpellation, much more being passed for bicameral deliberation, the committee chairman withdrew the said committee report and resigned as the committee chairman. This was, again, due to the public pressure that came not just, or not really, from the people but from fellow legislators as well as the executive branch of the government. Blame it on the media, traditional and social.
Third, the Reproductive Health Bill was filed, and as soon as it was filed, all hell broke loose, or the heavens fell, and until now after such a long and winding process, still nothing came out of it. This was, likewise, due to the push and pulls of opposing forces, without any chance of compromise, without any chance of settlement, each side being too far away from each other, each side having inflicted wounds that might never ever heal. Blame it on the media, traditional and social.
Indeed, these are interesting times, and such times are made more exciting by technology that has made power within the reach of the people, not just around the corner, but at their fingertips. Social media, coupled with traditional media, are the new double trouble.
And, to top it all, there is a move to institutionalize this new kind of people power through a proposed legislation entitled, "The Crowdsourcing Act of 2012."
This bill allows the people to comment on pending bills through email and the internet. It also allows the public to access copies of bills and measures pending before the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Furthermore, the bill extends the right of the people to participate in governance to include the ability to reach their legislators even during the period of interpellation and debates.
This will make legislators out of everybody who care enough to participate. Instead of slogans and placards, or spray paint on concrete walls, we now have the opportunity to suggest and recommend, or comment and criticize, as well as check and monitor, bills and resolutions, especially those that may affect our lives and our property.
If and when this bill is finally passed into law, assuming that there will be no outpour or outcry and in all probability there will be none at least in this case, then the new kind of people power will have been made permanent, not just a flavor of the month, not just a fruit in season.
If and when crowdsourcing has been institutionalized, then our legislators will no longer be able to legislate anything sinister.
(Comments are most welcome. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 19, 2012.