BEFORE the country's transition from enhanced community quarantine to moderate general community quarantine, we had a townhouse online discussion with various information officers nationwide attended by some city and municipal mayors on what communication is likely to be as an offshoot of the global pandemic. Using the now popular Zoom teleconferencing online platform, PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar greeted us from his Homecast Studio telling or showing to us what new normal broadcasting is like with his three-camera setup, touch screen iPad music and opening videos. Saying "Magtatagal pa ang ganitong sitwasyon kaya we have to embrace and adapt to new normal," Andanar implied that if we step out of our homes, we should not let our guard down.
Department of Trade and Industry Usec. Ruth Castelo was given the time to speak before other national officials and she said "Eto na ang new normal at hindi na tayo babalik sa dati," According to Castelo, only 40 percent of the workforce of DTI are allowed to report to office adding "Ung dating 10 in a room dapat 5 na lang at ganun din sa elevator."
According to Castelo, the imposed liquor ban will not yet be lifted to prevent convergence and socialization even if we are now on GCQ. She instead advised "Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages. We cannot go back to how we were before and we do not want to have 2nd or 3rd wave."
Establishments must also turn off free wi-fi services for customers and air-con temp should not be cooler than 25-26 centigrade temperature. After that three-hour online office related town-hall meeting and similar others before that like our regular zoom chats with my fellow members of the NCCA National Committee on Cinema, I thought of reviving the mid-'90s videoshack that I patterned from the amateur radio enthusiast's hamshack into a homecasting studio because everybody can now be a reporter, a disc-jock or a reporter with social media.
Just yesterday, Monday, I was with a team of my wife's office, the Philippine Information Agency-CAR for a live interview with Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan at the Peoples Television-Cordillera studio with Secretary Andanar broadcasting from his home-casting hub and a good one-hour of dialogue ensued with DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista with Baguio disk jock Rico John acting as the local moderator.
I have known now mayor Gabby since the early days of peace talks in the Cordillera and we even interviewed his late father in Sadanga in our research and early television days with the Cordillera News Agency.
Mayor Ganggangan's social media post about the recurring insurgency problem in the region and his expose on the mechanisms and propaganda of the so-called leftist group in the Cordillera went viral and his interview gave him more avenues for his message to be aired not only nationally but also internationally. That move of his alone is one perfect example where an obscure local official from a remote and unheard of 4th-5th Class municipality can hit world viewers with a relevant and timely issue using available technology and free online platforms such as Facebook.
Although, PIA and PCOO used online platforms such as zoom and skype for the Ganggangan interview, we earlier used an FB substitute called Messenger Rooms where as a host, one can usher in as many as 50 users to join in the online discussion which is ideal to a classroom with 40 to 49 students with a teacher serving as the moderator.
According to Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerberg, Messenger Rooms is built around the idea of rooms, letting users share a link with friends to create a private room that supports up to 50 people. It is what we used for our last group chat with my NCCA-Cinema team and we lasted for over an hour compared to the 40 minute free offering by its rival zoom.
Having taught in college under normal circumstances, this new applications by Messenger can be used by educators where they can create an online room for a group or for an event. It also lets users start a room for all friends at the top of a News Feed, allowing contacts to join if and when they want. According to Facebook, it is a key social or non-work part of Messenger Rooms where users don't need to schedule a time, which makes "much more serendipitous and fun" according to Zuckerberg.