Before saying goodbye to 2015, let’s take a look at the top stories in Blog Watch . Popular posts coincided with breaking news where most of our readers look forward to our commentaries on these issues. Blog Watch also turned six years old and published Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda on our anniversary date. We received the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism for this story.
The work is not yet over and we will continue to pursue the issues that we tackled in 2015. Take a look at our top 10 posts for 2015.
1. How the Noynoy Aquino administration is betraying the spirit of people power by Bernadine Racoma
Perhaps people can forgive President Aquino for not listening to and remembering the message of mercy and compassion of Pope Francis since he doesn’t appear to be someone close to the Catholic Church. However, it’s difficult accepting how a direct beneficiary of the people power spirit is pathetically lacking when it comes to compassion.
2. The Next President We Want by Dean de la Paz
The next president we want succeeds the president we have. Incumbent and successor will always be coefficients. The voting public has always been reactionary even where it imagined it voted on the basis of principles. Even where we want principles to overwhelm, realities are what we address, whether we currently benefit from the present or are afflicted with it.
Labor, human rights and youth groups today led a National Day of Mourning and to kick-off a campaign for justice for the Kentex workers who died in a factory fire in Metro Manila last May 13. It was the worst in PH history: 72 workers, mostly women, dead and at least 20 still missing.
4. Social media without the internet – will it ever go mainstream? by Jane Uymatiao
Ours was indeed a topic that stumped people at Rightscon when they read the title of our session, maybe because social media is always associated with being online… with having internet access. Their curiosity worked to our advantage because that, coupled with our persistence in plugging the session via social media, got us a packed room. We brought together four speakers who represented platforms that allowed a cross-section of ways of communicating by skirting the internet, when needed, but for this article, let me focus on two of these.
5. Derailing Progress by James Mangun
We can easily see why our rail systems get the least of priority and concern. A quick glance at the Public Private Partnership website shows that theError! Hyperlink reference not valid. prioritized by the government are on building new highways and road-based transportation systems.
6. From Syria to Surigao del Sur: Lumad victims need your rage, too by Carlos Maningat
We don’t need to gaze as far as Europe to be reminded that a boy is being killed, families are being displaced, and dreams are being extinguished by structural terror and injustice. We just have to look at our Lumad brothers and sisters – whose brutal executions barely land on the banner headline or top topics on Facebook and Twitter. They are the faceless victims in our midst. They need your grief and rage, too.
7. #StopLumadKillings: Designing a hashtag for a human rights issue by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
“The hashtags #StopKillingLumads and #StopLumadKillings are trending on Twitter, one of the rare instances in which a human rights issue has captivated the country’s social media.”
But what is a hashtag trend without any action? By the end of the day, Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. on the spate of harassment, killings of lumads in Mindanao.
8. Disingenuous: A response to “Why Bongbong Marcos is good for Miriam Santiago” by Jego Raggragio
We say #NeverAgain to ever putting a Marcos back into Malacanang – and that includes placing him within a heartbeat of the Presidency.
We say this because we are aware that Marcos Jr.’s primary interest is sanitizing his family’s name and his father’s legacy. We understand that whatever Marcos Jr. Does, whether in his personal acts or in government, is geared precisely towards that end. And we reasonably predict that if Marcos Jr. should ever be in a position to do so, he will not hesitate to whitewash his family’s past, and leave his father’s victims out in the cold.
9. Is there really a Duterte magic? by Tess Doce- Halili
But as most Davaoeños know, what Davao City has become today was not only due to a strong leadership. It is also due to a cooperative, obedient, peace-loving, productive, disciplined and forward-thinking people. Yes, even the vendors, the tricyle and taxi drivers, and the ordinary man on the street show their support to the leader by doing their own share in the building of a developing city. Those who come to Davao City also toe the line voluntarily. As the saying goes, when in Davao City, do as Davaoeños do.
10 . Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, Jane T. Uymatiao, Carlos Maningat
This article is Blog Watch’s final investigative reporting project for Data Journalism PH 2015, a training program for journalists and citizen media, under the auspices of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, in partnership with Open Knowledge Foundation. Blog Watch receives the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism for this story. Forbes Philippines also received the same award.
More frequent, high impact disasters are the new normal in the Philippines. The government has to seriously consider setting up this central agency for complete transparency and clear accountability from disaster preparedness to rehabilitation. NDRRMC is a start, but it is focused on monitoring and rescue. It does not have a proactive preparedness program (reason why disaster preparedness initiatives like Project Agos prosper) or a robust infrastructure for post-disaster rehabilitation. An umbrella agency tasked to cover disaster preparedness all the way to mitigation and rehabilitation, as well as accountability for donations, can cover all bases.
Blog Watch will continue to follow-up the issues we wrote in 2015 and pursue underplayed stories, and as always, focus on voter education, citizen engagement and disaster risk reduction.