Or, Reprisal-Free Bulan Politics
by jun asuncion
Linking Bulan Observer to Bulan-LGU Website is a sign of maturity- for both. Maturity because it is all about constructive dialogue, maturity because it is about public service and transparency, maturity because it is about democracy.
We cannot expect perfection from both of these Bulan platforms yet we strive to make them the best they possibly can be within our own Bulan concept of democracy. Democracy is best experienced in a town level for people still know each other. While in the national level democracy is being insulted or abraded by some egoistic figures or polarized by crab mentality, Schadenfreude, envy and rancor, we Bulaneños have the chance to prove to the whole Philippines that we value town democracy and constitutional rights and respect our own people.
Democracy offers us options on how to relate to things that matter to us in Bulan. We can cast our ballot secretly for instance but a useful debate must be public. And- in this kind of debate- identity matters.
Hence, anonymity- though a democratic right or prerogative- loses also its effectiveness in some democratic processes like civil discourse. Now that politics, business and social life have been “uploaded” on-line, human emotions and attitudes have also been uploaded on-line and mostly they are protected by anonymity when it comes to messages of hate, back-biting or recrimination.
Still, it is rude and irresponsible, vindictive in motive or perhaps cowardly when one hides behind anonymity when engaging in a discourse or publishing a claim, particularly when one is criticising or attacking somebody. Nevertheless, I still support the right to anonymity when posting general comments or comments that are emphatic yet grounded and in context and not directly offensive against anyone in Bulan. However, a signed comment is still the best.
On the other hand, when people choose to hide their identity when talking politics, it is also indicative of fear of reprisal which is understandable within the Philippine political context in general. Again, this should be a great chance for Bulan to show to the whole Philippines that we are different from the rest in this respect. Since Bulan is now also uploaded online, we hope that the LGU- Bulan Website and all other sites involving Bulan will contribute to our goal of reprisal-free Bulan politics and that this will be made manifest in the way Bulaneños involve themselves in our dialogue.
It is a courageous step forward for the LGU-Bulan to integrate critical voices of Bulan by linking Bulan Observer to its official site. In this manner, the LGU-Bulan has protected itself from any future criticism of being one-sided and not open for dialogue with its constituents at home and abroad. It is a sign that the incumbent Mayor Helen De Castro is for progress and constructive dialogue.
Bulan Observer is not against the idea of government. Its goal has been clearly defined from the very beginning. And it is not about me or about the authors, contributors and commenters but is about working together for a brighter Bulan.
I’ve read all the entries in this Bulaneño Blog where it talked about the Bulan Terminal and the corresponding Commission On Audit COA Special Report. I leave it as it is and found it wiser not to engage in dialogue with it nor link it in Bulan Observer for the very reason that the authorship is unknown. Or if it is because of the fear of reprisal- real or imagined- that he chooses to be incognito, then I suppose it is better for him to stop his activity so that he will live a normal life without such kind of fear or fear of being outed, i.e., exposed sooner or later. We know that constant fear is detrimental to mental and physical health. But that’s his decision. That it had not published until now the LGU-Bulan’s response through Mr. Gilana was in a way expected and also an attest to this Blog’s refusal of democratic dialogue. Again, identity matters in some issues, whereas anonymity protects yet, in some cases, renders a claim or argument not worthy of discussion or consideration. A serious democracy- let us not forget- is about fairness and transparency.