Nigh time at Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Photo from Wikipedia/Wikimedia)

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA – Bloggers from across Asia, including a number of Filipino colleagues, have started to arrive in droves here in this beautiful part of Cambodia for the BlogFest.Asia 2012 for several days of fellowship, group study, discussion and fun too.

The program covers diverse topics from the basic to advanced, and also aims to discuss issues and concerns that affect bloggers and technologists in the continent. Topics include: mobile blogging, photo blogging, digital comics, Wikimedia Commons, Internet Security, online advocacy, long form writing, the Philippines’ cybercrime law and Southeast Asia media situation.¬†

The technical working group formed by the Department of Trade and Industry has released a draft final report on the application of DTI rules on the requirement of sales permit for all online sales promotions.

In the interest of transparency and to allow as many bloggers to check and react to the draft final report, I am sharing the document in full:

Even as consultations and discussions are ongoing, but it seems there are bloggers who cannot wait to be part of what is turning out to be a controversial initiative.

The draft manifesto below hopes to provide a starting point towards forming an association of Filipino bloggers. Please feel free to make suggestions to improve this statement of intent.

Members of this future organization will make the final decision on the name to use, the constitution and by laws, its officers and its programs and policies. If you wish to join as a founding member, please sign up below:

This blogger speaks at the Visayas Blogging Summit in 2010. Photo by/from callezaragoza.com.

(Post updated. Changes in brackets. Thanks.) I have long wanted to do something: To help form a national bloggers association in the Philippines. The premises are simple: We are a growing community, with more younger Filipinos trying to start their own blogs. We have worked together in many instances. We have organized events. Some of us have made blogging a career or a profession. We have been sought in interviews. Some have been considered experts in their own fields of interests. Blogs have become media too. Government and business have gone blogging and gone digital. Just imagine what we could do together if we have an organization that would take all these forward.

Secretary Esparanza Cabral, formerly of the DSWD and currently with the Department of Health. Photo grabbed from the DSWD website.

Secretary Esperanza Cabral is apparently harassing the blogger who blogged about the relief goods stockpiled in warehouses of the agency she used to head in the aftermath of supertyphoon Ondoy (Ketsana). She has filed a libel case against Ella Ganda for supposedly defaming her, the men and women of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the agency itself.

Cabral is committing a grave mistake for which she would probably shame herself before the court which will hear the libel case. The subsequent events after Ella Ganda published her controversial post — Cabral admitting that there indeed were plenty of relief goods in DSWD warehouses and Cabral accepting the offer of citizens to help in repacking them to speed up distribution, the online community’s response to such call for volunteers — would only confirm what the blogger wrote. In fact, Ella Ganda did the country a favor by ensuring speedy and transparent distribution of these relief goods for their intended recipients.

blogfestI have a couple of good news to share.

First is about what is touted as a gathering of Asian bloggers, Blogfest.Asia ’09 set to be held on Nov. 5-8 in Hong Kong.

Among the speakers are fellow bloggers Blogie Robillo and Juned Sonido. They will share insights on “Peace Initiatives through Blogging” based on the experience of Mindanao bloggers as well as introduce the Philippine blogosphere to the participants.

I will also be a Blogfest.asia speaker on the topic “Bloggers and social media users in the aftermath of typhoons Ketsana and Parma”.