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LIST: 2021 Independence Day protests, activities

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Various organizations will stage protests and online discussions on Independence Day, June 12. This is the second time Filipinos are commemorating Freedom Day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rallies and discussions to commemorate Independence Day this year come in light of issues of Philippine sovereignty involving the Chinese militarization of the West Philippine Sea and President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of dealing with China and its encroachment into Philippine waters. 

Groups have also emphasized that this year’s celebration will renew calls urging Filipinos to vote and choose the right leaders as the 2022 Philippine elections draw nearer.

Among the groups leading mobilization efforts are Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), and Kabataan Party list.

Here’s a running list of protests and events on the Philippines’ 123rd Independence Day:

Mass protests

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), will stage #AtinAngPinas protest at the Chinese Consulate in Makati City on Saturday, June 12, at 9 am in a bid to urge China to keep its hands off the West Philippines Sea.

Other youth groups, including Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, Tulong Kabataan, and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines will gather at the University of Philippines-Diliman at 8 am before the protest in Makati.

The Malaya Movement, a US-based human rights group that seeks to broaden US-based support for freedom and democracy in the Philippines, will also stage protests in New Jersey (12 pm EST), Illinois (12pm CST), and Washington D.C. (1 pm EST) on June 12 for President Rodrigo Duterte’s “failures to stand for Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.”

Meanwhile, Bayan USA Northeast will organize a rally on June 11 in New York (5 pm EST), to demand the resignation of President Rodrigo Duterte for his defeatist remarks in relation to China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

Webinars

To shed light on the issue of the country’s sovereignty, several organizations will hold online discussion a day before and on the day of the commemoration.

Some webinars will also tackle the challenges faced by Filipinos and other matters in relation to the upcoming elections.

Friday, June 11

  • “PILIPINAS: Nakamtan nga ba ang tunay na kalayaan?” at 1pm
    The webinar will be organized by he local student council of Bulacan State University-Bustos. This will be conduced via Zoom and livestreamed on the organization’s Facebook page. Interested participants may register online through this link
  • “InDEFENDence for Philippine Waters” at 2pm
    This webinar hosted by the Philippine Medical Students’ Association, will feature Justice Antonio Carpio and lawyer Jay Batongbacal. Those interested to join may register here.

Saturday, June 12

  • #DemocracyTalks at 10am
    YouthLed PH, a 5-year initiative by The Asia Foundation and United States Agency for International Development will be conducting this webinar via Zoom. Those who are interested may register here.
  • “Kalayaan: Nasa atin nga ba?” at 2pm
    This educational discussion will be led by the League of Filipino Students-Metro Baguio. Join the event by signing up here.
  • Isang boto, Isambayan” at 2pm
    The 1Sambayan opposition coalition will hold a webinar to discuss matters related to the 2022 election. Participants may sign up through this link.
  • END-DEPENDENCE: Milk Tea Gathering” at 3pm
    Kabataan Partylist will host a roundtable discussion on the youth’s role in asserting national sovereignty, which will be participated by youth leaders from other Asian countries such as Hongkong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
Social media activities

Ahead of Independence Day, other groups will be organizing a youth-led discussion dubbed “Duterte’s Dignity has sailed away” on Wednesday, June 9 at 6 pm to tackle the South China Sea dispute and President Duterte’s response to this issue.

This will be followed by a social media rally on Friday, June 11 to protest against the Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

Aside from the online protests and discussions, DAKILA, along with #CourageON: No Lockdown on Rights coalition, will also be leading an online campaign and art exhibit on June 12.

The exhibit aims to speak up against attacks on Philippine independence.

Those interested to join may create a digital or physical artwork banner showcasing their version of freedom. People may display their artwork outside their homes, take a photo of it, and then upload on social media by sharing to Rappler Room and/or using the hashtags #BanderaNatinTo and #ArawNgKalayaan. People may also share these immediately online.

Artworks will be reposted on DAKILA and Rappler’s Facebook pages.

See the full mechanics below:

– Rappler.com

Patricia Kahanap is a Rappler intern and a third-year journalism student from the University of Santo Tomas. She is also the executive editor of TomasinoWeb.org—their university’s premier digital media organization.


[PANOORIN] Malaya nga ba ang mga Pilipino?

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Araw ng Kalayaan, pero may kalayaan ba talaga tayo?

Ito ba ang kalayaang makipagsapalaran sa laot at itaboy ng dayuhan sa sariling karagatan? Ito ba ang kalayaang tumulong sa kapwa kakabit ang panganib na ma-red tag ka?

Malaya ba tayo kung sa mata ng batas ay pareho ang kahulugan ng aktibista at terorista? Malaya ba ang lipunan kung binubusalan ng pamahalaan ang mamamahayag? Malaya ba ang lipunan kung nangamamatay ang mga abugado at tagapagtanggol ng karapatang-pantao?

Malaya ba ang lipunan kapag bantay-salakay ang pulis laban sa mahirap, walang boses, at walang kalaban-laban?

Panoorin ang handog na video ng Rappler sa Araw ng Kalayaan. – Rappler.com

Staying connected: How students work together amid distance learning woes

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The new normal in education left students and teachers fending for themselves in a time of uncertainty.  

This captures the story of Grade 6 student Ella Jane Perol and her classmates. Bothered by her section’s incomplete attendance in class, she volunteered to teach her peers who are trying to cope with school requirements.

Why did she go the extra mile of helping her classmates? She simply hopes none of her classmates would get left behind.

In December 2020, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition reported that their group found a decrease in students attending online classes and submitting their completed learning modules. Despite the numbers, Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that the drop in online learning use “should not alarm all of us,” citing other digital learning modes that don’t require internet access.

During school days, Perol would patiently wait for her friends to go online so she could help them cope with the seemingly endless pile of schoolwork. She would send them photos of her work and then carefully explain how she came up with the answers.

Inspired by Ella’s initiative, students Julia Lauron and Jasmin Ortiz also lent their helping hands to their classmates in need.

With the help of the three tutors, teacher Sabrina Ongkiko noticed that more students started attending classes and submitting schoolwork.

“Sa lahat ng sinubukan naming intervention sa klase, ito [ang] pinaka nag work – ’yung merong kaklaseng may pakialam sa kaklase niya. Pakiramdam ko rin tuloy bilang teacher, ‘di ako nag-iisa,” Ongkiko said in a Facebook post.

(Out of all interventions we’ve tried in class, this was the most effective – that there’s a student who cares for her classmates. I felt that as a teacher, I am not alone.)

Although other learning platforms are available, students still need internet access so they can send questions and updates to their classmates and teachers. But even with online communication platforms, some of Ella’s classmates remained unresponsive. 

Naramdaman ko po ‘yung hirap at sakripisyo ni Ma’am Sabrina, bigla ko pong naisip na…turuan ‘yung mga kaklase ko,” she said. (I felt the difficulties and sacrifices of Ma’am Sabrina, so I came up with the idea to teach my classmates.)

The cost of learning amid COVID-19

Ella is just one of many learners who don’t have access to gadgets needed for online classes. At home, they only have one working cellphone and a tablet provided by her school, which she shared with her older sister.

“Sabi nga niya (Ella), ‘Sana ‘wag bawiin ang tablet, promise talaga mas galingan ko talaga,’” her mother said. (Ella told me ‘I hope they don’t take away the tablet, I promise I’ll do better.’)

In the Philippines, distance learning is a luxury that only the privileged can afford. 

A brand new desktop computer that meets DepEd’s minimum requirements costs around P18,000, while basic tablets and smartphones are cheaper options that sell for around P2,000 to P3,000. (READ: How much would online distance learning devices cost?)

In 2020, some students tried to raise funds online so they could buy the necessary equipment for distance learning. Through online campaign #PisoParaSaLaptop, students took their calls for donations on social media, hoping to collect enough money to buy gadgets.

However, these devices are nothing without a stable internet connection. Data from the National Telecommunications Commission show that as of December 2019, only 67% of Filipinos have access to the internet.

While Culiat Elementary School grants mobile load to Ella every month, there have been instances when telecommunications providers were unable to send these monthly allocations. During such times, the young girl would use her parents’ phone to see photos that classmates and teachers send her.

Considering her classmates’ situations, Ella urged teachers to give more leeway for students who could not finish their modules due.

Towards a ‘better normal’

While many students think that distance learning is not the best way to be educated, the resumption of face-to-face classes feels like a far-fetched dream due to the COVID-19 threat.

As of June 11, the country recorded over 1.3 million COVID-19 cases, of which 61,345 are active. Only 1% of the Philippine population had been fully vaccinated against the virus. The government hopes to vaccinate around 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021 to achieve herd immunity. 

President Rodrigo Duterte said in June 2020 that there will be no in-person classes until COVID-19 vaccines are made available in the country. The Department of Health added that schools must have health facilities that comply with minimum health standards, should face-to-face classes resume in low-risk areas.

With high hopes that the pandemic would end soon, Ella looked forward to bonding with her classmates and teachers on-campus once again.

“Mas maganda po sana face-to-face kung walang pandemic. Na-cha-challenge po ako sa mga classmates ko na matatalino,” she shared.

(Face-to-face classes are better if there’s no pandemic. I feel challenged by my smart classmates to do better.) – Rappler.com

Patricia Kahanap is a Rappler intern and a third-year journalism student from the University of Santo Tomas. She is also the executive editor of TomasinoWeb.org, their university’s premier digital media organization.

Filipinos assert freedom, democracy through Independence Day art

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With the Philippine sovereignty under siege and civic spaces getting narrower, how can Filipinos assert their independence? 

Through an art exhibit dubbed “BANDERA: Itaguygod ang Kalayaan Mo,” Filipino artists showcased their artworks that bannered and celebrated our rights, freedom, and democracy on Independence Day, June 12. 

This art exhibit was organized by DAKILA, Active Vista, We the Future PH, MovePH, and #CourageON: No Lockdown on Rights Coalition. 

“With [the] Bandera art exhibition, we make use of alternative places and spaces to voice out our pledge to the continuous struggle for freedom.”  DAKILA artists and Bandera co-organizer Ralph Eya said. 

This activity was also a postscript to DAKILA’s symbolic act on Independence Day back in 2017 when artists and groups raised a flag on the disputed West Philippine Sea. This was in response to President Duterte’s “jet ski” promise which he recently said was a “campaign joke.”

In light of issues involving the Philippine sovereignty, pandemic response, and the like, participants posted digital or physical artwork banners and displayed these outside their homes to showcase their own version of freedom on Independence Day.

Day and night installations

In Marikina, Jeska Barayuga sets up installations outside her home. Her daytime installation featured pieces of clothing which represent children, women, and men.

Barayuga said the flowers served as an offering to people who had to die for current Filipinos to enjoy today’s “pseudo-freedoms,” while the red ribbons symbolized blood and the struggles that “keep us bound,” such as red-tagging.

Photo from Jeska Barayuga

Her nighttime installation, ’The Price of Freedom,” features LED tealight candles outlining the shape of the Philippine flag on black fabric.

Photo from Jéskā Bærâyugă

Barayuga said both installations asked the same question: “Can we really celebrate or call it freedom when it is at the expense of others?”

Unfurled plastic division

In Iloilo, Ken Gadian showed a photo of an unfurled plastic division from inside an elementary classroom turned makeshift quarantine facility. He also urged Filipinos to keep on fighting for freedom against attacks on Philippine independence.

Photo from Keneth Gadian
Freedom from hunger

Patricia Non, the woman whose community pantry in April inspired thousands of countrymen to start their own food bank projects, also joined the campaign and posted her call for the freedom of the Filipinos from hunger.

Photo from Patricia Non’s Facebook page
Digital art

Marx Reinhart Fidel’s digital art, “MULAT NA,” highlighted the importance of being aware of history as a way of commemorating the sacrifices of the country’s national heroes.

The artwork featured an activist, Andres Bonifacio, and President Rodrigo Duterte as an embodiment of the administration.

Photo from Marx Reinhart Fidel

Meanwhile, Kenard Marquez shares his #ArawNgKalayaan artwork, stressing that the West Philippine Sea is “not for sale.” Marquez said the artwork was inspired by one of his recent visits to the grocery store.

Digital art by Kenard Marquez

Here are other the artwork that exhibited the Filipinos’ call for freedom on Philippines’ 123rd Independence Day: 

“The Father Painted the Town Red”
Photo from Rai Cruz
“Bandera sa Muntinlupa”
Photo from Bernard Kenneth Pena
“Magkakasangga” acrylic on canvas cloth by Dale Magsino in Alabat Island
Photo from Dale Magsino
#BanderaSaQC ni Shadin Kitma
Photo from Shadin Kitma
Pre-War Filipiniana encased in glass with hammer hung nearby.
Photo from Jodinand Villaflores Aguillon

Those interested to join this art exhibit and online campaign may upload their entries on social media by sharing to Rappler Room and/or using the hashtags #BanderaNatinTo and #ArawNgKalayaan.

Artworks will be reposted on DAKILA and Rappler’s Facebook pages. The full mechanics of the campaign may be checked here. – Rappler.com

IN PHOTOS: Independence Day 2021 protests around the Philippines

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Various groups nationwide urged the government to end its dependence to the United States and China as they raised their call for “true freedom” on Saturday, June 12. This was the second time Filipinos commemorated Independence Day under a persistent COVID-19 pandemic.

They conducted on-ground mobilizations and coastal protests, in an intense call for freedom against attacks on Philippine independence. They urged government to fight back against Chinese militarization of the West Philippine Sea and to end President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of neglecting China’s encroachment into Philippine waters. 

Aside from the calls for Philippine sovereignty, groups also clamored for an end to human rights abuses and the controversial Anti-Terror Law.

Metro Manila

Human rights activists, students, indigenous groups trooped to the Chinese Consulate in Makati to make the call even clearer to China. (READ: TIMELINE: China’s vessels swarming Julian Felipe Reef, West PH Sea)

Human rights group Karapatan, which held an earlier demonstration at the University of the Philippines Diliman, urge China to get its hands off the West Philippine Sea.

CALL FOR FREEDOM. Human rights group Karapatan joins Independence Day motorcade with its ‘M/V Karapatan’ in a bid to call for the protection of human rights and Philippine sovereignty.
Photo from Karapatan

Makabayan Bloc lawmakers and LGBTQ+ organization Bahaghari urged the government to end China and US dependence and called for the ouster of President Duterte. 

ATIN ANG PINAS. Protesters from various groups lead an Independence Day mobilization in Makati City in a bid to call for Philippine sovereignty.
Photo from Arlene Brosas

The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), which described Duterte as a “puppet,” slammed the government’s neoliberal policies such as the economic charter change, the CREATE Law, and jeepney phaseout.

CALL FOR OUSTER. Protesters at the Chinese Consulate in Makati calls for the ouster of President Duterte on Saturday, June 12.
Photo from PUP’s The Catalyst

Filipino activists from Milk Tea Alliance, the largest international solidarity movement in Asia for human rights & democracy, joined the Makati protest and also stood in solidarity with activists in Hongkong, Thailand, and Myanmar, who were also experiencing persecution from their governments.

SOLIDARITY. Activists from Milk Tea Alliance Philippines call for ASEAN solidarity against Chinese aggression in Southeast Asia and nearby regions
Photo from Milk Tea Alliance Philippines

After the protests at the consulate, the caravan went to the Israeli embassy in Taguig to show support and solidarity with Palestine and urged the US-Israeli forces to stop the terrors in Gaza strip and Palestine lands.

In Manila Bay, small fishers from Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (​PAMALAKAYA) – Cavite joined the coastal protest. The group said that President Duterte is the major stumbling block in regaining control over West Philippine Sea.

CALL FOR SOVEREIGNTY. Fishers from PAMALAKAYA-Cavite joins the coastal protest on Independence Day.
Photo from PAMALAKAYA
Zambales

Fishers in Botolan, Zambales, kicked off Independence Day protests by marching along the shorelines of West Philippine Sea. They were chanting, “Atin Ang Pinas! China Layas!” while carrying Philippine flags.

These fishers used to frequent Panatag Shoal (Scarborough) until it was occupied by Chinese forces.

COASTAL PROTEST. Fishers in Botolan, Zambales hold an Independence Day demonstration on Saturday, June 12, protesting against Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
Photo from PALAMAKAYA
Rizal

Fishers from Rizal staged their localized fluvial protest to support fellow fisherfolks in Zambales.

PAMALAKAYA also added that “it is unlikely to regain control of West Philippine Sea not especially under the Duterte regime which is subservient to China”. For them, “Duterte’s subservience emboldens China to become more aggressive in our territorial waters.”

FLUVIAL PROTEST. Fisherfolks conducts a fluvial parade in Rizal province on Saturday, June 12.
Photo from Pamalakaya
Cavite

In Kawit, Cavite, where independence from Spain was declared 123 years ago, Southern Tagalog activists and other concerned groups staged a protest denouncing “false liberty” as the country still grappled with US and China imperialism. 

CALL FOR INDEPENDENCE. ctivists from Southern Tagalog stage a protest in Kawit, Cavite on Saturday, June 12 to commemorate Independence Day.
Photo from League of the Philippines Students – Cavite
Cebu

In Cebu, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)- Central Visayas led the Independence Day protest at the Cebu Heritage Park in Parian

INDEPENDENCE DAY PROTEST. Protesters gather at the Cebu Heritage Park in Parian on Saturday, June 12.
Photo courtesy of AMA Sugbo-KMU
Bacolod

In Bacolod City, progressive groups led by Bayan Negros also commemorated the Independence day through a protest-march towards the Fountain of Justice to denounce Duterte’s continued puppetry to US and China and the human rights abuses in the region.

Negros Island is one of the hotspots for cases of police brutality and killings, with activists being constantly targeted with death threats.

PROTEST MARCH. Protesters in Bacolod join Independence Day protest march in Bacolod City.
Photo from Panghimutad Negros Island
Davao

In the Duterte hometown, youth and workers from BAYAN – Southern Mindanao led a bike protest going to the Chinese Consulate in Davao to demand Chinese forces to leave the West Philippine Sea. 

However, they failed to reach the consulate as the police barricaded the road to the Chinese consulate.

“We condemn these acts of the police in Davao City as they became instruments of the Duterte regime to be the defender of their imperialist masters — US and China,” Kabataan Southern Mindanao said in a tweet.

BLOCKED. Activists on bikes were prevented from holding protest at the police-barricaded Chinese Consulate in Davao City
Photo from Kabataan Southern Mindanao

Other groups held their activities online to show solidarity with the Filipinos on Independence Day. – Rappler.com

Joven Jacolbia is a Rappler volunteer studying organizational communication at the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM). He is Editor-in-Chief of Assortedge Media and Research and Education Head of Bahagsari UPM.

#FactsMatterPH: The many ways you can help fight disinformation

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While digital media initially served as platforms for social good, it has eventually been weaponized for spreading lies. Technological giants have allowed disinformation to thrive in digital public spaces.

We saw this in 2016, when social media turned into a battleground for false claims from politicians and their supporters. 

The good news is that you can do something about the problem. 

With the 2022 elections coming up, we expect more lies, propaganda, and suspicious claims to surface online. Media organizations need your help to counter those efforts to drown out facts and divert public attention from important issues.

News organizations like Rappler have repeatedly emphasized the importance of partnering with communities to actively prevent the further spread of disinformation online.

MOVE CAVITE. MovePH holds a fact-checking workshop at De La Salle University-Dasmariñas’ Alumni Auditorium in March 2019 as part of MovePH’s series of roadshows nationwide.

MovePH, the civic engagement arm of Rappler, has conducted several fact-checking programs to equip communities with the knowledge and skills they need to take action.

Over 5,000 students, teachers, professionals, and volunteers from all 17 regions of the country and even abroad have so far participated in these programs.

Like them, you can help fight disinformation online. Here are ways to help in MovePH’s fact-checking efforts:

Report dubious claims online

You can report any suspicious claims – like false, misleading, or unverified posts – to fact-checking organizations verified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter.

Rappler is one of the IFCN-verified fact-checkers in the Philippines and a fact-checking partner of Facebook in the Philippines. Since 2018, Rappler has published more than 500 fact check articles, debunking disinformation online about various topics.

These are the ways you can report a claim to Rappler:

Move also regularly posts callouts on latest issues and trending topics, and ask followers to report related claims that are potentially false or misleading.

Attend and co-host a fact-checking webinar

Since the onset of the pandemic, MovePH has been able to conduct more than 25 webinar sessions, where participants are taught to spot and debunk false information.

More than 3,500 students, campus journalists, youth leaders, teachers, and other professionals across the country and even overseas have joined these webinars.

“In the webinar, I gained an understanding of how to fact-check, specifically the details we should check, and how to find proof of whether a claim is true or false,” Ryuichi Rosh de Guzman of De La Salle Zobel said. 

Aside from teaching the basics and process of fact-checking, these webinars served as a safe space for participants to raise their questions and concerns and share their insights, learnings, and experiences in combatting online disinformation.

In several of these sessions, participants said a frequent concern for them was how to deal with relatives who shared unverified posts on group chats and social media accounts. (READ: FAQs: Fact-checking to stop disinformation online)

FACTS MATTER. In 2020, over 3,000 participants joined the fact-checking webinars and digital media, technology, and society webinar series hosted by MovePH.

“I didn’t know anything about the fact-checking process, so this [webinar] was an eye-opener. I appreciate the work that organizations like Rappler do to set things straight. If only all individuals and organizations were responsible enough to do this, we would have a better educated, better informed populace,” Salve dela Paz of St. Paul College Pasig said. 

You can join MovePH’s fact-checking webinars or co-organize these webinars for your own community so more individuals will be trained. Partner with MovePH for this training by sending an email to move.ph@rappler.com

The webinars also tackle special topics, like investigative reporting, covering developing stories, debunking historical claims, and the like.

Learn about digital media

MovePH also launched a four-part webinar series to promote media and information literacy in the Philippines. The series gave participants a more critical understanding of the evolution of journalism and the online environment in the Philippines.

“I realized that a lot of fake news victims don’t even realize it! That’s what really makes the infodemic such a huge phenomenon. Fake news peddlers take advantage of this lack of awareness,” a participant said.

In these sessions, speakers and panelists tackled the potential of social media, as well as the problems it poses, the different kinds of risks online, and how digital media is being used for manipulation. 

“I’ve attended two sessions. My biggest takeaways from these webinars revolve around us having to be more cautious about the information we share online,” University of the Philippines Diliman student Jericho Igdanes shared. 

To learn more about digital media and the importance of discerning information in the digital age, invite Rappler as a speaker in your events or join and partner with MovePH’s webinars promoting media and information literacy. 

Join the online fact-checking community

You don’t have to do fact-checking alone. Being part of a community allows you to engage with individuals who also value truth-telling. You can collaborate with Rappler’s fact-checking team and its volunteers.

One way you can get this started is by joining the Fact-checking in the Philippines Facebook group. As of June 2021, the group has more than 2,900 members who are students, campus journalists, teachers, media practitioners, volunteers, and the like. 

In this platform, we share latest fact checks published by Rappler, callouts, webinars, tools and tips, any new studies, and updates on misinformation and disinformation online. 

As a member of this group, you may share posts for verification, identify items in the claim that can be fact-checked, and share relevant information you’ve researched to help debunk the claims.

In 2020, more than 40 suspicious claims sent and reported in this group by volunteers resulted in published fact checks. 

Volunteer to fact-check

Beyond organizing events and training, MovePH aims to build communities of action. That is why we also launched a fact-checking mentorship program.

This program aims to provide a hands-on training for volunteers to learn more about the tools needed to verify claims and write actual fact checks. By experiencing the actual process, volunteers are able to teach others and lead initiatives to fight disinformation. 

FACT-CHECK VOLUNTEERS. MovePH conducts consultation sessions with volunteers for the second batch of the fact-checking mentorship program.

“All of the false claims that I fact-checked came from my own circle – my family and friends on Facebook…. Because of this mentorship program opportunity, I was also able to experience debunking these dubious claims online with the help of the Rappler fact-checking team that patiently guided me through the process,” Owenh Toledo, a communication student from Cabanatuan City, said.  (READ: [OPINION] Start with your own circle: How the pandemic turned me into a fact-checker)

The success of the program helps Rappler further establish its network of fact-checking volunteers around the country. This is critical as we move into the upcoming 2022 national elections. Communities will play a crucial role in helping fight election-related disinformation, especially in relation to those spreading in their respective localities. 

“I thought learning exclusively from the professionals was already a big opportunity, but having to apply the theories into actual work was indeed an unforgettable experience,” Polytechnic University of the Philippines student Hyacinth Estrada said. 

As of February 2021, at least two cycles of the program had been completed, and eight volunteers were able to use the lessons they learned from the mentorship to teach others, lead campaigns, and fact-check claims in their own local communities.

You can be an active fact-check volunteer by signing up for this mentorship program. Refresh this page for updates about the application.

It’s now up to you to make a move. – Rappler.com

MovePH fact-checking webinar: Learn how to spot disinformation online

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Have you received an unverified message related to the coronavirus in the past few months? Maybe it was forwarded by your tita in one of your group chats on Viber? 

During crises such as a pandemic, unverified reports and misleading posts online can spread as fast and as wide as the virus itself. 

This is not surprising. With almost everyone locked inside their homes during the quarantine, Filipinos crave for information that could help allay any feelings of uncertainty and fear.  

However, the disinformation network that casts doubt on official and established sources of reliable information makes many Filipinos especially gullible to misleading information. 

The World Health Organization said that the “infodemic” or the unprecedented surge information – be it truthful or false –  has become a severe deterrent in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Therefore, staying at home is not the only thing that quarantined Filipinos can do to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. It also becomes imperative for online-savvy Filipinos to be responsible when sharing information online.

How can netizens help separate fact from fiction in the time of coronavirus? 

MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm has been leading a series of fact-checking webinars in the time of coronavirus aimed at training participants to spot disinformation online and combat it. 

During the webinar, Raisa Serafica, Rappler’s head of civic engagement, will tackle the online landscape during the pandemic. Rappler’s researcher/writer Vernise Tantuco will discuss the fact-checking methodology. There will also be a Q&A session and a spot-check exercise.

More than 3,500 participants in all regions of the country and even abroad have joined the first 29 sessions of the webinar since it began on April 3, 2020.

Several of these sessions were co-hosted by various academic institutions, youth organizations, and local groups.  For the upcoming session, the webinar will be co-presented by Break the Fake Movement.

Interested participants may visit this link or register below to reserve a slot on Friday, June 25, 2021, at 4pm.

Schools, organizations, and other groups interested in co-hosting an exclusive webinar with MovePH for their community may send an email to move.ph@rappler.com– Rappler.com

Join #PHVote Dialogues: Pandemic response and the elections

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Candidates in the 2022 Philippine elections will probably be best measured against how they intend to move the country forward as the pandemic is expected to linger and when it is over.

Will they be following the militaristic strategy employed by the Duterte administration? Or will they explore lessons from other countries and pursue a more scientific and data-driven pandemic response?

Less than a year before the 2022 elections, the country is still battling the spread of COVID-19. As of June 10, the country has recorded almost 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 and 22,312 deaths. Despite the efforts of the government, civil society, and the private sector to prevent the spread of the disease, deep-seated systemic issues in health, education, transportation, and governance have surfaced.

Some quarters have suggested the possibility of postponing the elections while there’s a pandemic, although the Comelec has given assurances that it can find a way to safely hold the elections in 2022. (READ: Comelec urges vigilance against ‘no-elections’ scenario in 2022)

To talk about how both the pandemic and the government’s response are shaping the upcoming elections, Rappler will be hosting the third session of #PHVote Dialogues on Wednesday, June 23, at 6 pm.

#PHVote Dialogues are monthly huddles featuring personalities from the entertainment and arts industries, a subject matter expert, and Rappler’s own journalists.

We will be joined by karate athlete James delos Santos, Rappler’s news editor Paterno Esmaquel II, St. Luke’s Medical Center – College of Medicine Planetary and Global Health Program inaugural director Dr. Renzo Guinto, and actress Ria Atayde.

This will be hosted by Rappler’s Lifestyle and Entertainment editor Bea Cupin.

For those who would like to join the huddle, you may click here or sign up below:

#PHVote Dialogues are part of #WeDecide: Atin ang Pilipinas, Rappler’s 2022 Elections coverage. – Rappler.com


Months before deadline, qualified voters encounter registration problems

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Three months before voter registration ends, qualified voters are still encountering problems, ultimately hindering them from enlisting for the 2022 Philippine elections.

Among the concerns they have posted on social media or sent to Rappler are the limited registration slots offered by their local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office or their local governments, as well as ineffective registration sites.

These issues arise after almost two years since voter registration began in August 2019. A few months after registration started, a global pandemic was announced, hampering the registration drives of the Comelec, local governments, and various groups. 

Registration was suspended for a time when the country was under enhanced community quarantine. Surge in COVID-19 cases also shortened registration hours.

We are compiling issues that citizens are experiencing, hoping to get the proper government offices and watchdog organizations to help address them. If you have a problem registering, let us know by joining our digital campaign and sharing your experience online using the hashtag #PHVote.

Unavailable appointment system in iRehistro

The Comelec launched iRehistro supposedly to streamline the process of voter registration in the country. But some local government units (LGUs) opted to establish their own appointment system for voter registration. 

However, qualified voters in some areas report that the appointment system for their city or municipality is not available. Such is the case in Taguig City, where registrants are not able to book a slot for biometrics capture. Other disabled systems include Makati District 2, Las Piñas, Pasig, and Pasay (districts 1 and 2).

Visit this site for more information on the online appointment system in Taguig City. If your city or municipality is unavailable through Comelec’s iRehistro, check if your local government or your local Comelec office provide their own booking system, or inquire with your barangay officials.

Fully-booked iRehistro

Aside from unavailable appointment systems under iRehistro, some users are unable to use the site because it is already fully booked for biometric capture slots until September 25, 2021. From September 27 to 30, the deadline for registration, only walk-ins are accepted. 

FULLY BOOKED. Despite this, Comelec has no plans to extend voter registration period.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon told CNN Philippines on June 9 that there would be no extension for the  registration period: “I would like to emphasize that the registration is going to end on September 30, and there will be no extension.”

Schedule of registration is on weekdays, when most are at work or in class

Some Filipinos are having a hard find time squeezing registration chores into their schedule, as Comelec hours coincide with work and class hours. 

Comelec is accepting applications from Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm. For those with strict work schedules during the week, satellite registration offices are open on Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm.

Printed forms are still required

Even when appointments can be done online, would-be registrants are still required to print out the forms they fill out online. This midway shift to digital registration has left some users dismayed, as not everybody has “access to printers.” 

Some barangay have printed forms, which the registrant may manually fill up on-site. 

Threat of exposure to COVID-19 at the long lines for voter registration

Because registration on-site has cutoffs every day, long lines tend to form early in the morning for would-be voters. These lines make some uncomfortable because of COVID-19 exposure. A number of registrants complained to Rappler that Comelec or LGU workers in their localities don’t bother to enforce physical distancing.

Offices are disinfected on day/s allotted by the LGUs. – Rappler.com 

‘Mumultuhin ka namin!’: Heroes in witty campaign urge voters to register

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Jose Rizal, Tandang Sora, and Andres Bonifacio did not die for the country just so you could throw away your right to vote.

Or so their animated ghosts tell us.

In a new interactive website – magparehistroka.com – the Philippines’ national heroes come to life to instruct qualified voters on how to register for the 2022 elections.

The site was developed by the Commission on Election (Comelec) in partnership with Google and advertising agency MullenLowe Treyna. Content creator Chinny Basinang drew the artworks featured in the site.

“This is Rizal, he died so you can vote,” the narrative caption reads when you open the website. Rizal, considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines, was a progressive writer who fought for Philippine independence and democracy against Spanish colonizers. 

The campaign drives home the point by appeals to Filipinos’ sense of patriotism – and humor.

‘ARAY!’ Cartoon Jose Rizal reminds the public he didn’t sacrifice his life just so Filipinos would take participating in elections for granted.
Art by Chinny Basinang

Heroes Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Aurora Quezon, and Tandang Sora walk users through the simple steps of voter registration, with candid dialogues and cultural references using the younger audiences’ language.

“’Pinaglaban naming makaboto kayong lahat so dapat lang achievin n’yo ’to,” says the ghost of Aurora Quezon, the First Lady who fought for Filipinas’ right to vote.

The lola heroes also remind registrants to observe health protocols when lining up at Comelec offices to submit their applications – face mask, face shielf, sanitizer, your own ballpen, distance of six feet from the next person, and, more importantly, “’Wag ka nang makipaglandian dun.”

At the end of the walk-through, the site presents a link to iRehistro, Comelec’s registration site, and a link to download necessary forms. 

Still haven’t registered for the upcoming elections? Don’t let these heroes down. You may visit magparehistroka.com or use Rappler’s registration guide. 

Voter registration period ends on September 30, 2021. – Rappler.com 




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