MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Is the West Philippine Sea ours? The international Court on Permanent Arbitration based in Hague says so, but public sentiment is divided. It does not help that Palace Spokesman Harry Roque has been quoted as saying conflicting claims about the issue.
Enter We The Pvblic. Based in Manila, the millennial digital publication raised awareness on the issue, wanting to sway public opinion and spirit towards ownership.
Dubbed “The 6.12 West Philippine Sale”, the online event starred digital funnyman Macoy Averilla as he presented the West Philippine Sea and discussed reasons why it’s important to say “MINE” to it.
“Almost double our land area–that’s how big the marine EEZ area was given to us,” said Senator Kiko Pangilinan in an impassioned dialogue with Macoy. The senator was joined by fellow lawmaker Senator Risa Hontiveros, and the chairman of Ang Pamalakaya, Ka Pando Hicap.
“Our losses will reach over P1 Trillion by next year,” said Senator Hontiveros. “That’s money we can be using for pandemic response and for fighting recession.”
The show was formatted like a Facebook “online selling”. Typical of the format, viewers claimed ownership by saying “MINE” in the comments section. Everyone who participated received a digital souvenir of their “claim”. Participation was free.
The show happened last June 12, in celebration of the Philippines’ Independence Day. We The Pvblic opted to use its FB page–with over 500,000 followers–to stream the show for free.
“We want people to understand how important it is to claim ownership of the region, and to instill in our readers the sense of citizen participation that is enabled by the digital platform,” says We The Pvblic publisher Josser Quilendrino. “When we tell them to ‘join the movement’, this is what we mean.”
To make the event happen, We The Pvblic collaborated with Amplify and Amp Lab. Amplify is an Experience Agency whose expertise in experience design is on bringing the WTP idea through various platforms, while Amp Lab, a digital solutions and platforms team is providing the PR and technical support for it.
Although dubbed as an “online selling event”, the event was purely satirical and did not entail the actual purchase of anything. Viewer data indicated claims of “MINE” came from all over the Philippines, and even from some viewers abroad. With the show of interest from its viewers, WTP hinted at more live shows to stream on its platform in the future.