Beyond Vigilance

Posted: November 27, 2009 in Socio-political Commentary

A month ago, I had read a news article entitled “BMPM empowers people” from a certain issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in July. What I had found out was that in 2007 Election, ABS-CBN introduced the Boto Mo, iPatrol Mo (BMPM) campaign.

As said in the article, the very concept of BMPM is to take picture or video of something that inspires hope, illustrates wrongdoing or anything that is of public concern and is related to the election.

Upon its launching, BMPM was able to mobilize Filipinos, using their mobile phones, to take pictures and videos of what they think was going wrong in the election in their localities.

According to ABS-CBN, picture and video messages sent to BMPM ranged from 500 a day during the campaign period and one every minute on the election day. These messages would be checked for accuracy and validity, and would then be aired to the station’s most credible news programs: TV Patrol World, Bandila, Umagang Kay Ganda; to its sister broadcasting networks, DZMM and ANC; and also published them to www. abs-cbnnews.com.

Maria Ressa, head of the News and Current Affairs Department of ABS-CBN, dubbed BMPM as an example of citizen journalism, in which according to her, is the idea that ordinary citizens have stories to share with their communities.

Currently, BMPM has more than 13 000 registered members widely-known as Boto Patrollers. As of this year, the said activity gets to high gear as “BMPM: AKO ang Simula” has been launched last May.

It attracts a great number of members, most notably the youth, and raises the level of participation of patrollers as ABS-CBN integrates social networking sites like Facebook and Multiply with cellphones and e-mails as medium in submitting reports.

Citizen journalism is a clear manifestation of citizen vigilance. As country is still political unrest, the involvement of the people in social matters is of tremendous value. It is proven for a number of times that the people’s voice plays an integral role in shaping the country’s social situation.

Thus, as BMPM continues to attract vigilant citizens, it follows that the country’s national and local election in 2010 will be guarded by alert and watchful people, and we’ll be ensured, hopefully, with a just and fair election.

If one will just bear in mind the very meaning of  “Ako ang Simula,” one will come to think that whatever will be the fate of our nation, it depends solely in our own hands. It is just a matter of choosing whether we’ll permit the prevailing socio-political atrocities or not.

Moreover, participating in the election by voting for the most credible and honest leader is not enough. Since our country is still reigned by  the most corrupt and selfish politicians, which is for me “a visible truth that people choose to be an invisible reality,” safeguarding our votes that mirror the nation’s future is a must and a responsibility of every Filipino.

BMPM as citizen journalism then is not just vigilance, but a noble expression of nationalism and noteworthy portrait of democracy.

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