2011 Online HR advocacy campaigns in the Philippines rundown

Social networking is one of the most active web-based activities in the Philippines, with Filipinos being declared as the most active users on a number of web-based social network sites such as Facebook, Multiply , Twitter and blog,” http://en.wikipedia.org

Advocates in the Philippines never fail to utilize the digital tools in the Year 2011.

Surely we have been witness or were invited not only once by fellow Filipino human rights defenders to participate in an online campaign that aimed to mobilize collective action online and offline.

Let’s take a look one more time to a short list of the HR campaigns that made our 2011 digital world worth remembering.

4 o’clock habit campaign: prayer/appeal for Umbrero’s release

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) initiated in June 2011 the 4 o’clock habit campaign: Prayer/Appeal for Tatay Umbrero. Tatay Umbrero, was a political prisoner in New Bilibid Prison, who suffered stage 4 cancer of the lungs.

The FB and twitter posting of prayer every 4 pm was part of TFDP’s “S.O.S. Campaign” aimed to generate support and call for President Aquino’s urgent action for Tatay Umbrero’s case.

Eventually, the campaign resulted to PNoy’s issuance of Tatay Umbrero’s release, it was PNoy’s 1st executive pardon in July 19, 4 days later after Tatay Umbrero died. This has caught media attention.

The campaign continued with the political prisoners’ Hunger Strike for freedom and Human Rights that started during PNoy’s State of the Nation Address in July 25, 2011. Combined with mass actions, letter sending and dialogues the campaign pushed government to reactivate the Presidential Committee on Bail Recognizance and Pardon or PCBREP.

This was the message circulated online during that time.

S.O.S. Free Umbrero Now! Free All Political Prisoners!
Prayer for Umbrero’s release from incarceration

Almighty and Eternal God of justice and freedom,
Hear us for Your sick servant Mariano Umbrero
for whom we implore the aid of Your tender mercy
for the restoration of his bodily health.
We also pray that you touch the heart of our President
for him to use his power and influence to immediately free Umbrero from incarceration.

S.O.S. Free Umbrero Now! Free All Political Prisoners!
S.O.S. Friends Pls help Send Appeal to P-Noy for the Immediate Release of MARIANO UMBRERO! Political prisoner suffering STAGE 4 CANCER. (Details @ http://www.tfdp.net) Please post this link to http://www.facebook.com/#!/presidentnoy


“#IwantPNoyto” twitter campaign

DAKILA Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism launched a twitter campaign before PNoy’s SONA. Through the social networking site twitter hashtag #WeWantPnoyTo , they initiated the discussion for advocates about their expectations and aspirations for PNoy’s SONA2011.

It aimed to make President NoyNoy Aquino aware of the different concerns of advocates. This spread among Digital activists, as well as among members of their organizations. It became one of the 10 most trending hashtags in the Philippines during that week.


“Take down your FB profile pic in remembrance of all victims of enforced disappearance” campaign

August 30, 2011, FB profile pics disappeared and status were replaced by the message “In remembrance of the disappeared in the Philippines and around the world, whose lives, rights and freedoms were taken, please take down your profile picture on August 30,”

This has been one of the successful awareness building campaign online.

“So far, most of the Facebook participants are Filipino activists, students and media persons who have joined the meme not only to heighten awareness about those who disappeared, but also to trumpet calls for justice.

Like most memes, it is unclear who initiated the Facebook campaign. A meme is a concept or idea that spreads through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Internet memes are seen as cost-effective advertising or PR tools to push for buzz around a certain product or concept.”

Facebook profile pics go ‘desap’ for Int’l Day of the Disappeared
Posted on August 30 by Joseph Holandes Ubalde, InterAksyon.com

Writers Unite! 09.26.11 Blog Action Day for Climate Justice

In solidarity with the victims of typhoons Ondoy (“Ketsana”), Pepeng, Frank and all other extreme weather events and disasters of the past here in Manila and all over the Philippines, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and the Freelance Writers of the Philippines (FWP) called on writers/bloggers/media workers to write their literary pieces, essays, tweets and slogans on “climate justice”.

Bloggers, writers and advocates were asked to submit their contribution on September 26, 2011. Climate justice activists in the Philippines chose September 26 as it is the anniversary of Typhoon Ondoy (International Name: Ketsana), one of the most destructive storms that the Southeast Asian archipelago has ever experienced.
Based from http://climatejusticeday.wordpress.com


“I black-out my FB against power hike” campaign

In September 23, individual members of HRonlinePH.com team initiated an FB campaign called I BLACKOUT AGAINST POWER HIKE! The online FB campaign’s objective is to contribute in the National day of action, Oct.11, 7:30-8pm National Power-OFF/Lights-OFF! Campaign of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

This was the message circulated during that month.


Noticed your electric bills?
It has started.
Power rate has gone up due to wrong policies under privatization and EPIRA.
Register your protest! BLACK OUT your profile pics and say…

FB campaign mechanics:

All Filipinos and friends around the World-Wide Web with Facebook account and wishing to register one simple act of protest against continuing hike of power rates in the Philippines are enjoined to temporarily change their profile picture with the BLACKOUT logo on October 11, 2011 from 3:00 in the afternoon to 9:00 in the evening. Let us register our voices that even as Facebookers we too are concerned NETizens and affected by the increasing power rate. Invite all your facebook friends to do an act of SOLIDARITY.


Join the National day of action, Oct.11, 7:30-8pm National Power-OFF/Lights-OFF!


Online campaign to support the first International Day to End Impunity

In September, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) launched the Online campaign to support the first International Day to End Impunity on November 23, 2011.

They promoted the slogan “Pangulong Aquino: Ilan pang mamamahayag ang kailangang mapatay? Kilos na! (President Benigno Aquino III: How many more members of media have to die? Act now to End the Killings!”. This aimed to remind PNoy of his campaign promise to address the killing of journalists (and other extrajudicial killings) in the Philippines.

The campaign invited people online to “tag” the Aquino’s communications team in social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to the slogan.

CMFR encouraged bloggers and social media users to join its IDEI Blog Action Day on Nov. 21, 2011, or two days before the actual IDEI. On Blog Action Day, bloggers and social media users wrote and discussed IDEI and issues related to the campaign.

CMFR also used the hastags #endimpunityinPH #kilosna #IDEI #Nov23 in twitter for the campaign.

Kilusang 99% Facebook page

In October of 2011, a movement in the Philippines inspired by the “We are the 99%” slogan of the “Occupy Wallstreet” campaign formed their own FB page that reached 1,272 members in a span of only 2 months.

Here is the FB note posted on the page explaining what the movement is all about, read on…

Kilusang 99%
By Renz Salazar in Kilusang 99% Facebook page

The Kilusang 99% is a local multisectoral movement composed of small people’s organizations, sectoral groups, the church, and the academe that pushes for social and political system changes. It aims to present a social reform agenda to replace the existing economic paradigms that are bereft of social justice and have spawned social inequities and social dislocation.

The movement takes inspiration from the “We are the 99%” slogan of the “Occupy Wallstreet” campaign. The call is a reference to the great inequality of wealth between the masses and the 1% elite who yields influence over the political and economic policies of countries.

Kilusang 99% pushes for a development model that is more responsive to the needs of the poor and is able to bring about sustainable, inclusive, and “people-centered” development. Concretely, it calls for the completion of agrarian reform and moratorium on land conversions, protection of the environment against extractive operations, recognition and defense of the rights of indigenous people to their ancestral domain, protection of workers against nefarious labor practices like contractualization, and provision of sustainable livelihood for the rural poor and decent housing to informal settlers, among others.

Initially conceived as a social reform movement, Kilusang 99% is being convened by CBCP-NASSA National Director Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo.

The movement is currently composed of organizations from labor, agrarian, coconut sector, fisherfolks, human rights advocates, urban poor, religious, and the academe.
Aside from pushing for change in the development paradigm, K99 likewise works at broadening its alliance while at the same time raising awareness and generating public support to sectoral issues.

Address poverty, inequality and injustices with a new development paradigm by:
1. Making the poor the center of development;
2. Restoring dignity and power to the people;
3. Making social reform a national agenda;
4. Exacting accountability from public officials;
5. Safeguarding the public commons
Posted October 30 2011


“People’s Manhunt” for Jovito Palparan online campaign

HR group Karapatan intensified their campaign which they tagged as “People’s Manhunt” for Jovito Palparan. They asked users of social networking site Facebook, to post a “wanted” poster of the retired general as their profile picture in December 23, 2011.

Palparan was charged with three others for the abduction and disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

The campaign  started after Palparan was prevented by immigration officials from leaving the country and went into hiding early this week because of the warrant of arrest issued against him by the court.

“The internet is a venue for supporting many causes including this very important quest for justice of the mothers of the two disappeared UP students. All netizens are enjoined to post this poster on their profiles to make known to internet users the face and name of this notorious human rights violator and seek information on his whereabouts to cause his immediate arrest,” said Cristina Palabay, convenor of End Impunity Alliance, a network of victims of human rights violations, rights defenders and civil libertarians.


One for Iligan

After flashfloods caused by the typhoon Sendong struck Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro in December 17, many of our fellow Filipinos utilized the online media to campaign for help. One of these was initiated by a group of bloggers called iliganbloggers.com.

Read on…

ONE FOR ILIGAN campaign for the victims of typhoon Sendong in Iligan City was first conceptualized by the Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. and went viral online. This movement is realized by generating enough funds online and use it to provide immediate needs for the victims. The One for Iligan movement is for all Iliganons, Filipinos, and people with big hearts to give as little as a dollar for the victims for Typhoon Sendong .
Excerpts from http://iliganbloggers.com/


Boycot PAL

Early in November after Philippine Air Lines refused to board a PALEA member and her family despite holding tickets for the Los Angeles-Manila flight because she was supposedly on “blacklist of PALEA members,” and the harassment of PAL hired goons to protesting workers in their picket line, Partido ng Manggawa, PALEA and their National and International partners, networks and allies launched a campaign called “Boycot PAL.”

The group utilized FB and other online tools to propagate their campaigns aiming to put pressure on PAL to open negotiations with PALEA to end the labor dispute and ask people not to fly PAL and AirPhil until the PALEA’s demand for employees to return to their regular jobs are met.

The following are the reasons of their campaign stated in their FB page, read on…

5 Reasons to Boycott PAL and AirPhil
1 Corporate greed: PAL retrenched 2,600 employees despite earning more than PhP 3 billion last year. For every PAL employee turned into a contractual in the service providers, Lucio Tan and PAL earn PhP 4 million for the next ten years or more than PhP 10 billion for all 2,600 employees affected. Lucio Tan is the second richest Pinoy but wants to get even wealthier via contractualization.

2 Union busting: PALEA has sacrificed for the last 13 years with the suspension in collective bargaining negotiations, from which PAL has benefited by an early exit from rehabilitation. But when negotiations were due to start in 2009, PAL announced the outsourcing plan which resulted in the terminated of 70% of PALEA’s membership and 60% of its leadership.

3 Human rights violations: PALEA members protesting the outsourcing plan last September 27 were forcibly evicted from Terminal 2 and other PAL offices leading to injuries to employees including women who were bodily taken out by PAL security guards. Further, two attempts have been made to violently disperse the PALEA protest camp. The latest daybreak attack led to injuries to seven PALEA members and the arrest of one of the hired goons who confessed to been paid by management.

4 Labor code violations: The latest among the many violations of the Labor Code by PAL and Lucio Tan exposed during the labor dispute is that the supposed independent service providers Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen are actually illegal labor-only contractors. These dummy companies do not have its own equipment and depend upon facilities of PAL such as the In-Flight Center.

5 Safety and service compromised: Untrained and overworked scabs are now operating PAL flights resulting in numerous complaints by passengers over delays, disruptions and deterioration in service. Long lines at check-in counters and food in lunch boxes are some obvious examples. Further, unlicensed and inexperienced trainees working the ground handling are a flight risk.

If Lucio Tan succeeds in contractualization at PAL, our jobs are next. Ang laban ng PALEA ay laban ng lahat! Defend Job Security at PAL. Promote Regular Jobs for All.


This is just a short list among the so many online human rights activities that took place in 2011. We are definitely sure that there are still more out there in the world wide web that relatively succeed in touching our lives in one way or another. It’s 2012, another year to look forward to a healthy, creative, inspiring, moving and relevant online activism. We’ve been tagged as the world’s social networking capital so why not stand and be more aggressive in occupying the cyberspace for human rights in the years to come.

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