Peter Laviña

The ABCs (Activities, Beliefs and Campaigns) of City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines. This blog started on March 9, 2006.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Participatory democracy

Comments on my blog led me to the forum of dedicated Davaoenos. It is truly a great experience for public officials to get feedbacks from citizens through such internet forum. This is the equivalent of a pulong-pulong or town hall meeting.

This is the essence of participatory democracy. Governance is such a vital societal function that it must not be left to politicians alone. Citizens must be involved. There should be deliberate discussion of issues before the decision-making. Unfortunately, not all public officials have this mentality. Once elected, or appointed, or garcillanoed, they feel and act as if they are god-sent or kings or queens and decide on their own!

The first Asian to speak at and participate in the conference of the Observatorio Internacional de la Democracia Parcitipativa (OIDP) in Lille, France in 2003 with French hosts. The OIDP is the largest international organization promoting participatory governance.

This internet forum is a part of what is now the emerging 5th Estate. It is a space where citizens can interact with each other, among themselves, and with their public officials, on any issue affecting society and government. It is a virtual community that can be at par in influence with the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of government, and the mainstream media, the fourth estate.

This new powerful space, however, has threatened the powers-that-be. They fear its on coming threat to their dominance.

We should not allow them to nip this citizens’ space in the bud.


Blogger jhay said...

The internet is a good tool for governance and participatory democracy. It is now important that this tool be made accessible to the common man otherwise it would just be another privelege of the already priveleged upper class.

6:27 PM  
Blogger peterlavina said...

In my district in Davao City, almost all the 54 barangay halls have computers. Unfortunately, very few have internet connection. I am now embarking on a project to help barangays use their computers in registering their micro enterprises. And later connect them with the business bureau. This will require that all of them we wired.
The internet is now very accessible with the proliferation of internet cafes. But more people play games on it rather than use it productively.
It is a real challenge to encourage the people to use it as a tool for governance.
I have my own frustrations jhay. I sent emails to members of the cabinet, e.g. DFA, re OFW in distress, Energy, on my crusade to promote alternative energy, BIR, re problem of TIN, etc. I received no replies.
I am not sure if they are reading their mails or what!
Daghang salamat sa comment.

7:23 AM  

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