Manila, Philippines – The Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) and Internet Society-Philippines (ISOC-PH) organized the forum called “The Future of #PH Internet: A Philippine Multistakeholder Forum on Internet Governance, Human Rights, and Development” last March 23, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. This forum was also supported by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA), Dakila Artists Collective, SMART, Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and Internews.
This multistakeholder forum was attended by over a hundred participants from different sectors of society –academe, government, private companies, civil society, media, techies, law groups, gender advocates, and international participants as well. The forum was a combination of panel discussions and parallel sessions on the pressing Internet issues today.
Winthrop Yu from ISOC PH opened the program by sharing the context of the ICT development in the country and emphasizing the importance of an open, inclusive and diverse Internet.
Internet Hall of Famer, Prof. Kilnam Chon was the first speaker for the panel on “Governing PH Cyberspace: Claps and Gaps for PH Stakeholders”. He talked about the history of Internet in Asia, and how we must engage globally on Internet governance to be able to keep up with the times. Other speakers were DOJ Asst. Secretary Geronimo Sy, Ms. Chat Garcia-Ramilo of APC, and Ms. Yvonne Flores from Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP). They talked about how their respective organizations are involved in the discourse of the state of the Internet and Internet governance in the country.
The second panel discussion was about “Social Media@PH”. Speakers were Rosario “@juanxi” Juan, a social media strategist, Dir. Polly Cunanan from OPAPP, and Atty. Romel Bagares of CenterLaw. This session discussed how different stakeholders use social media for empowerment and citizen engagement. This session was facilitated by Ms. Jane Uymatiao of BlogWatch.
The draft of the “Philippine Declaration on Internet Rights and Principles” was also presented by Mr. Al Alegre of FMA. “Isang Internet namalaya at mapagpalaya” was the declaration’s vision for the future of the Philippine Internet.
David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, gave the closing keynote message for the forum. He shared ways on how the UN can help the future of the Philippine Internet. He also discussed the pressing issues on the Philippine Internet such as freedom online, access to information and access to the Internet.