Cabaero: We are the periphery

MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle mentioned “periphery” at least twice in relation to the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.

A day before the pope’s arrival, Tagle said in a television interview that the papal visit was a chance for the church’s leader to see the joy and resilience of Filipinos. He said he hoped the pope would be inspired by the hopefulness of simple, poor, and suffering people.

“I hope he would also be inspired. After all, he says the church should go to the peripheries, not just in order to bring something to the periphery, but also to get something from the periphery, to learn valuable lessons from the periphery,” he said.

The second time Tagle mentioned “periphery” was at the end of the pope’s final mass held at the Luneta last Sunday. He said the Filipino people would join the pope in his visits to the periphery.

“You arrived in the Philippines three days ago. Tomorrow, you will go. Every Filipino wants to go with you. Don’t be afraid. Every Filipino wants to go with you–not to Rome–but to the peripheries. We want to go with you to the shanties, to the prison cells, to hospitals, to the world of politics, finance, arts, the sciences, culture, education, and social communication. We will go to those worlds with you to bring the light of Christ,” Tagle said.

The challenge to the Philippines, Tagle said after the Pope left Monday, is to implement what we learned from his visit.

* * *

Periphery can also have geographical context. Cebu, located far from the nation’s capital that is Manila, is in the periphery. Far, as in physical distance, from the nation’s decision-makers. Far in figurative terms from opportunities granted first to those in the bigger metropolis.

But, as Tagle said, it is in the periphery where we can learn valuable lessons.

Organizers of the Citizen Media Summit 2015 to be held in Cebu this Saturday and Sunday also know the value of the periphery. Global Voices, a renowned international citizen media network founded in 2004 at Harvard University, decided to hold the summit here to discuss open Internet, Filipino citizen media, crisis reporting, online civic movements, freedom of expression, and sex and the Internet.

Citizen media is about reporting on what you witness or experience, getting information and sharing it even if mainstream media like newspapers, radio and television are not there to report it. It is about reporting on issues that others may have overlooked or forgotten.

Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder of Global Voices, said, “The Philippines is a leader in Asia in terms of press freedom and digital innovation. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to meet in Cebu, to connect with local experts on citizen media and to learn from and with our Filipino colleagues.” Zuckerman is also director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media.

The summit will be about sharing knowledge and learning from the periphery.

Previous summits were held in the United Kingdom, India, Hungary, Chile and Kenya.

This year’s summit is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Google, the Province of Cebu, Knight Foundation, Sun.Star Publishing Inc., Open Society Foundations and Yahoo!.(ninicab@sunstar.com.ph)

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