En route to the 1st Malaysian-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference
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En route to the 1st Malaysian-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference

Blogie Robillo and I will be flying to Kuala Lumpur today as Philippine representatives in the 1st Malaysian-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference on April 23-24.

The organizers have asked us to participate to share our experiences in the ongoing efforts to form a national bloggers organization in the Philippines, and our views on regional bloggers cooperation. We will be joining bloggers from three regions of Malaysia and other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the two-day conference in the Malaysian capital.

Filipino bloggers have much to share as far as organizing events and blogging communities. Our social media sphere, where bloggers play an important role, is growing at a phenomenal speed and  expanding its reach beyond our many niches and categories. At the same time, we should also be aware of what our fellow bloggers in the ASEAN are achieving and confronting. For in reality, our freedoms Filipinos enjoy may not be available to them and we ought to wonder how they are coping with or trying to change the situation.

Despite the sharp criticisms, hundreds have decided to sign up to be founding members of the Philippine national bloggers organization, and we are happy to announce a successful series of meetings with bloggers’ communities in Cebu (Cebu Bloggers Society), Cagayan de Oro (CDO Bloggers) and Davao (Davao Bloggers). Those meetings were opportunities to clarify what we want to do, and looked into the real causes why a number of bloggers have taken time to criticize the organizing efforts. We have listened to their concerns and they have frankly admitted what they want and we waited for a month for their action on our counter-proposal to pave the way for their entry into the national bloggers organization. The doors remain open though to all Filipino bloggers who choose to cooperate, despite differences and because of the belief of the power of collective action amid diversity.

There are many challenges ahead for Filipino netizens: A telecom duopoly that continues to fail to deliver #betterinternet. Proposals for a draconian cybercrime law. The lack of a freedom of information law. The growing number of newbie bloggers looking for assistance. Ethical issues concerning a number of bloggers. And more. It helps if we have a regular forum for cooperation, beyond the usual. And with cooperation, we could do more.

We will post conference updates on our blogs as we see fit. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter: @tonyocruz @blogie