Netizens may tweet for good government

By: Julie M. Aurelio, July 3rd, 2013 04:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines—The Filipinos’ penchant for social media can be turned into a tool for good governance and against corruption.

Through Facebook, tweets and text messages, a civil society network hopes to make netizens and mobile phone users aware they can hold their local government officials accountable for their shortcomings.

The Citizens Action Network for Accountability (Cana) on Tuesday launched an interactive accountability website where citizens may report on happenings in their local governments.

Cana aims to tap the Filipinos’ love affair with social media—be it Facebook, Twitter or the cell phone—to crowd-source reports from the ground and take them to cyberspace.

“If not through the Internet, there’s the cell phone. It could be texting simple messages, feedback on the delivery of basic services by local governments,” said Alan Davis, Cana project director.

Social involvement

Davis said ordinary citizens could share what was happening in their localities by texting reports to the local citizen action groups in their areas.

Twenty-eight local citizen action groups will be set up in Mindanao, in places like Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Basilan, to listen to those who would give voice to their social involvement.

The European Union-funded project was launched by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Center for Community Journalism and Development, MindaNews and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

“Cana is built on the belief that the more we, as ordinary Filipinos, can start to understand how local government works, the more we can monitor, engage and shape, and ultimately ensure that it is always working for us,” said project manager Rorie Fajardo.

Cana’s We Can website is at http://citizenaction.net.

“It will also use the latest crowd-sourcing technology to ensure and continually build up real-time citizen engagement and reporting, sharing and learning both at the local and national levels,” Cana said in a statement.

The project will run for three years, after which the participating local groups will run the show.

Aside from monitoring, Cana also has education, training and networking programs to get more citizens involved.

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