Google Philippines, along with the office of Senator Pia Cayetano, held an exclusive seminar with Philippine legislators to help them leverage online tools to reach their constituencies both at home and abroad. Google emphasized the advantage of using online tools to reach the 33 million Filipinos that are on the Internet, along with the 11 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) abroad.
The seminar focused on how Google Search, Google+ Hangouts and YouTube can be used to engage better with the people and allow them to interact with government officials and participate in nation building.
“We want to help our public servants learn how to reach the Filipino people through the Internet by understanding the digital landscape in the Philippines and the online behavior of Filipinos. Filipinos are very technologically-savvy. They are constantly online. And the better way to engage with Pinoys about issues that concern them is to meet them where they are—online, whether on their laptops or mobile phones,” said Narciso Reyes, the Country Manager for Google Philippines.
Mobile penetration in the Philippines is at 111%, and two-thirds of mobile users have Internet-enabled devices. In a 2011 study by Decision Fuel and InMobi, Filipinos spend 54 percent of their time online on laptops and mobile phones. They spend 27 percent of their time watching TV, 13 percent watching radio, and six percent reading newspapers.
“As a public servant, I want to make sure that I am accessible to the people, and at the same time get feedback from them, especially those who spend a lot of time on social networks,” said Senator Pia Cayetano, who maintains a website, blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and a Twitter account. “I believe that creating a presence on the Internet will not only help us get closer to our constituencies and interact with them, it will also help them become educated about our programs.”
“We hope Philippine legislators will be able to use the Internet to strengthen communication and engagement with their constituents. We also want to help Filipinos make informed decisions about issues that affect them, especially this election season,” said Deborah Nga, Country Lead for Public Policy and Government Affairs in the Philippines for Google Southeast Asia.
Google also showed how other countries like the United States, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia have launched similar campaign strategies using Search, YouTube and Google+ to engage with their constituents in their recent elections.