Trickle down of information on the CAB PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 July 2014 13:16



Conferences, seminars, fora are convened for the purpose of  updating relevant publics  with current trends and information or consulting them to get the feel of  public consensus   or to promote a particular stand on a given topic.  I have had my share of attendance in these activities and I admit that these are efficient ways by which certain objectives may be attained.

There is a need however to ask:  After  a particular conference, seminar or forum, what comes next?  From the academic perspective it is clear to someone like me who was in education for the whole of my professional life that teachers are expected to incorporate  newly acquired knowledge into their teaching  activities. But I am not sure if those who supervise teachers actually monitor if this is done.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)  is one topic which has been presented and discussed in a seemingly endless round of  fora and consultations. This is good but eventually we have to ask questions about these activities, particularly for something like the CAB with its crucial implications  for so many lives.

Who are supposed to be in these fora/consultations?  I have been in a number of them myself and I can’t get over the feeling that I keep seeing the same people in those that I have attended.

There is also a need to reflect on the mechanics of these activities. Many people in the audience have good questions to ask but most are too shy to stand up in a roomful of people  to ask their questions. So what happens is that the usual people who are more comfortable doing so end up asking their questions. And some  don’t just ask  - they end up making speeches. Most Q and A portions allow only one question and a follow-up one but I am not convinced that murky understanding is clarified  this simply.

I guess one aim of these fora  on the CAB is to prepare people to make informed decisions when the referendum or plebiscite comes around. If I am correct here then all those who will  express their stands in the plebescite should know about the CAB and its contents and the possible implications.  This is where I have strong reservations.

I can’t quite get over the feeling that the trickle down of information to the grassroots is not being done.  I keep being invited to these sessions because I was once in academe, or because my family is engaged in business, or because I am a member of  a given  organization. I appreciate this. But what about  the registered voter who is a sari-sari store owner or a dressmaker or a trike driver,  etc. in the barangays? They too will be asked to express their stand on the CAB when the time comes but will  they have the information to make the informed decision?

If  the information campaign or the consultation is indeed  being done, is it being done efficiently?  Perhaps a  government agency has been harnessed to handle this but it may be a worthy project for NGOs to engage themselves in this  activity and work with the relevant agency. Otherwise, we will have no one to blame if things do not come out as expected for the common good.  And the time for taking a stand is not that far away.