Media group launches 2022 Bukidnon election documentation, reporting project

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MALAYBALAY CITY (26 February 2022) BukidnonNews.Net, a community media association, has launched its 2022 election documentation and reporting project dubbed Piniyalan Reporting Governance Community Project 2022.

Organizers describe the project as a research-based and a voter-focused community documentation and reporting project for the 2022 local elections in Bukidnon.    

“The project will document the aspirations of the voters for good governance in the province and what are the responses of the candidates on these aspirations,” Mr. Walter Balane, project lead researcher, said during the virtual launch on February 26 streamed live via the BukidnonNews.Net – Piniyalan Reporting Governance Project Facebook page.

BukidnonNews.Net, initiated in 2011, is a community media entity recently focused on conducting community documentation and reporting. Its movers are volunteers who are professionals in community media, public information, development communication, literature, public administration, basic and higher education, among others.  

The team intends to explore the governance issues in the city and provincial levels, including the national lens that matter to sectoral representatives in the focused group discussions (FGDs) it will hold in Malaybalay and Valencia cities.
The FGDs will be done with at least 40 representatives from the women, students, community-based youth, senior citizens, laborers, farmers, informal, IPs, LGBTQ, church/faith Groups, business, and professionals sectors.    

Why should sectors take part and send representatives to participate in the focus group discussions?

“This is an opportunity for the different sectors, especially those representing people on the ground, to express and articulate the issues and programs they are pushing bottom up,” organizers said in a statement. BukidnonNews.Net will present the FGD results to candidates and inquire about their responses.  

BukidnonNews.Net volunteer documenters and reporters will develop the results of the FGDs as part of the guide questions for its key informant interviews with a total of 22 candidates based on the project’s coverage.

The KIIs will be conducted with the candidates for Bukidnon Governor and Vice Governor, Mayor and Vice Mayor of Malaybalay and Valencia Cities, and for congress representatives for the Second and Fourth Districts.

Piniyalan organizers said they are short of funds, volunteer, and time to pursue a wider project coverage,

Why should candidates take part?

“Candidates have the responsibility to let the people hear of their platforms. But the first responsibility is for them to listen to the agenda of the voters,” Mr. Balane said.

He said this is an opportunity for candidates to show they know how to listen, take time to sit down as the project offers the candidates an opportunity to hear the issues raised from different sectors in one platform.

“Both voters and candidates needed opportunities for dialogue to counter the noise propagated during the election period,” he added.  

Mr. Ryan Chris Handugan, a public administration educator from Bukidnon State University added that politicians need to present their development agenda and the Piniyalan project is a good venue to articulate it.

The project is an opportunity to meet half way. It is important to get the sides of both the candidates and the voters,” added Mr, Handugan, who was among those who volunteered for the Piniyalan 2019 voters’ education project. 

Ms. Ana Ninfa Bago Caballero, a renowned local broadcaster and another faculty member from the BukSU public administration department, said the academe and other sectors have great role in orientation and reorientation in voters education before, during, and after the elections.

“Everyone, including teachers, have the social responsibility on voters education, which starts from oneself,” she added.  She said this involves orientation and re-orientation to ensure voters shield themselves from misinformation and disinformation.

Ms. Caballero, who volunteered for Piniyalan as one of the interviewers, added that each vote is sacred so the opportunity should not be wasted.

“We also have the moral obligation to repeatedly disseminate the guide on how to effectively select the best candidate for a specific position. Voters need to meticulously choose the candidates,” she added.

The FGDs and KIIs will be done virtually in observance with minimum health protocols, organizers said. 

The results of the FGDs and the KIIs will be presented for public scrutiny via local newspapers and radio stations and social media channels. The team will also employ mediated crowdsourcing to augment data generated from the FGDs.

The team will also hold a launching of the public presentation of the results, which will also be compiled as part of the documentation for future use.

“We will use the responses as records of the campaign pledges of the candidates. We intend to follow up on the winner’s elections promises when they assume office.  This is beyond elections, this is about governance,” Mr. Balane added.

Ms. Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan, a core volunteer of BukidnonNews.Net, thanked those involved in the noble project, which dubbed will benefit not only the voters but also the government officials.

“We know this is a big challenge to face for us, but because of our dedication and our willingness to serve the community, we can best serve the people through the project. Let’s continue to work together and be excited about this,” she added.   

Ms. Iyren Dalipe Neri, a gender and information specialist from Central Mindanao University, who served as host of the launch, invited more volunteers and partners to share their resources to ensure the success of the project. Ms. Neri is a core volunteer of the group. She was part of the team who conducted FGDs and KIIs in Piliay 2013, the forerunner of Piniyalan project, which became a partnership between the initiating group, DXDB Radyo Bandilyo, and DXBU 104.5 FM with the support from then Malaybalay bishop Jose A. Cabantan from 2013 to 2020. (BukidnonNews.Net)

This story was published with support from Internews Philippines 

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