10 days of the loud clamor of Filipinos against HR 1109, President GMA probably heard it and placed ConAss on hold. GMA ordered her allies to temporarily suspend HR 1109 on the day of Philippine Independence, June 12th. It was a temporary victory for us and an additional reason to celebrate this freedom during our day of Indepence.
I say temporary because we cannot trust GMA,or any of her allies, that this won’t be pursued again before the national elections. But nevertheless, temporary victory is better than none at all.
Photo by Karla Redor (with Sparks, me, Phoebe, Karen, Mark and Karen)
When ConAss was still ongoing, I participated in 2 of the rallies that were announced through Facebook, Plurk and Twitter. The first one I attended was the silent protest organized by Rock Ed held at Baywalk last June 7th. Different kinds of people congregated there, some of them were people I am connected with 2-3 degrees apart. There were passersby who just stared at the tarpaulin banner Rock Ed prepared which says “Explain Yourselves, Indimidation is the Way of Leaders Who are Weak” and didn’t really bother to know the issue. I heard Phoebe (a fellow blogger) ask “Why aren’t they joining us?”. We were joking that there were some television celebrities there like Pen Medina and Ronnie Lazaro (which were really present there) but people just lurked. Estimated number of people there: probably a hundred. My fellow bloggers and I got hungry after the silent protest and decided to have a dimsum and ensaymada fix after.
The second rally I participated in was at Ayala last June 11th. Not really sure on how many people attended. There are different estimations from 6,000 to 30,000. I would say 6,000 and a little bit more is the right estimate. This was much noisier and all the media and political personalities were there. Even the known ‘balimbings’ are there, riding the bandwagon. It was a peaceful rally. Then the very next day, ConAss was suddenly placed on hold by GMA.
Anti-ConAss rally at Ayala Ave.
Reading a lot of blogs about con-ass made me realize that an alternative form of activism is becoming popular and probably can be effective. Many people say that the online protests about ConAss influenced the Palace to place it on hold. Most likely, the government is already used to street protests. Even though how loud they are on the streets, it seems that the Palace wouldn’t care to listen. This alternative kind of activism, through the use of existing social networking resources in the internet, made Filipinos aware about the pros and cons of the issue.
The question is, are street rallies not enough for us to be heard? I still believe that rallying in the streets isn’t the only way to do activism. I am not saying that it’s not effective anymore but it will be effective if the message will be transmitted to a lot of people.