Kenjie and Yanah have asked my personal opinion on the blogging initiatives for a "National Bloggers Association", I cannot help but take a deep breath as I read the drafted manifesto.
Personally, I find the manifesto as a hopeless banality on its futile attempt to persuade the intellect of Filipino bloggers from the Philippines and across the world.
There are several issues and questions that needs clarification:
1. Is there an immediate need to organize an association at National level? It seems that there are "forces" rushing to launch the NBA as "nothing could stop them".
2. Is there an immediate threat to bloggers' "right to free speech and to free expression" that NBA needs to address?
3. Is it planning to curtail the democratic air that bloggers breath individually by drafting and adopting a "code of ethics"? All the bloggers will agree that we value our informal conversation, egalitarianism, subjective points of view, and colorful writing over profits. And defining a code ethics will be tantamount to dictatorship and runs counter to the first order of its manifesto "to promote and defend the right to free speech and to free expression".
4. Is the NBA membership open to bloggers who are blogging anonymously using pseudonyms while some are using public computers? How can NBA effectively address the issues on copyright infringement and libel within its group and non-NBA members who are blogging anonymously?
My unsolicited advice before launching an initiative for a Bloggers organization at national level, are:
a. Connect the Dots - for its first step the organizers should have made an effort by offering a leaf of friendship and harmony to all established blogging communities at regional level in Visayas and Mindanao such as the Iloilo Bloggers, Davao Bloggers, Zamboanga Bloggers, Bukidnon Blggers, Soccsksargen Bloggers, CDO Bloggers (please forgive me if I failed to mention other blogging groups, its unintentional, "tao lang po").
b. Initiate formulation and organization of bloggers association in regions where it does not exists such as in Luzon and Metro Manila, or Southern Luzon, Central Luzon and Northern Luzon provinces blogging groups.
c. Instead of pushing for a National Blogging Association as being campaigned right now in its effort to gather prospective "Founding Members", I suggest that the proponents of this NBA to conduct an exploratory talk or a consultative meeting at regional levels as primary stakeholders for conception of an umbrella organization or a bloggers federation at national level.
At this point in time, I don't think that there is an immediate need for an NBA. I am personally happy with PEBA and the Kablogs community where I belong on which it has achieved its legal entity and recognized by Philippine's SEC and BIR. NBA organizers needs to assess and specifically define its goals and definite plan of actions and its projected programs before launching its project at national scale. The cloud of ambiguity will remain over the horizon as NBA's direction remains unclear in the blogsphere.
The challenge is "what can this NBA offer to Filipino bloggers that PEBA and Kablogs, or the Visayas or Mindanao blogging organizations cannot provide?"