Sunday, 2 June 2013

MambulaoWatch: Of Facebook and the JPCN Group



MAMBULAO has become a hot commodity since two years ago, drawing so much online attention to itself from people from both overseas and elsewhere in the Philippines.

And notably, it also drew the curiosity, which later morphed into admiration, from non-Mambulaoans, who have lately developed interest in our community, with a say or two to chip in.

It is a curious phenomenon. It has caught the imagination of the many – the professionals and otherwise, overseas resident, overseas contract workers and many others that included walk-in browsers.

Thanks to the many development initiatives of our mayor, Dong Padilla, his vice-mayor, Aye Non and the supportive majority members of the current Sangguniang Bayan.

Now, Mambulaoans’ keen interest in our beloved town has grown from just a tiny candle flame to a what I could describe as “conflagration”, that even the non-natives had sought to be included into the feverish discussions via postings on the Facebook account of the Mambulao group, known as the Jose Panganiban Camarines Norte Group.

As a supposed closed-group whose non-Mambulaoan members were endorsed to get their membership, the JPCN group has drawn about 1,800 from all over the world.

Surprisingly, the outsiders are now being cut off from the site because of postings that touched on politics and other interests, and instead are now being nastily relegated to a newly-created FB group where they can vent their ideas, frustrations, anger, and where they can engage anybody to online debate and verbal fisticuffs

It was one reason, as put forward by one of the site’s administrators and an instigator of the “kick them out” rule, why only 10 percent of the supposed 1,800 members, or 180, are participating in the day to day exhanges.

He alleged that the members have felt the site has become a venue for the so-called elitists, the articulate and the wordy among the members, who proved to be more active than the native Mambulaoans, in ventilating their thoughts, thus turning off, allegedly, those who can just barely type a few words or two every time.

The remedy, which was carried out in a blitz, is to send the non-Mambulaoans to two newly-created FB sites where they can do their thing.

This was immediately rejected by another administrator, who earlier suggested/proposed that the term “mamayan” (resident) referred to in the house rules be changed to “kasapi” (member), to cover everybody who should be given a space on the site, and not just the natives.

This way, the non-Mambulaoans would feel at ease of not being discriminated or kicked out.

But this was allegedly turned down by the majority and having been spurned in his suggestion, he is inclined to quit the site and shut his mouth.

Personally, I resent this house rule for being unjust and divisive.

We should remember that when the Internet came into what it is as we know it now, its creators/ designers had in mind the wide world around us and knocked down all barriers of communication between nations, between races, between entities –both human and those created by laws – and between human beings.

The exchange of ideas took place instantly-- not in two seconds, but instantly.

This is why Mambulaoans and those “who don’t belong” but with a thing or two to share by way or a posting on the JPCN Group Facebook site, have been encouraged to join in the debate and fray – whether it is about politics, social issues, economics  -- or just to simply text a plain and colorless “hi” or “hello” to fellow Facebookers.

Now, some smart guys in the core group wanted this undone by barring non-Mambulaons from the roster.

The agenda is to make the website a pure Mambulaoan affair and send the “outsiders” instead to a website they can only half-appreciate, simply because they are being removed from where the real action is and relegated to a box where they could be easily confined alongside their political sentiments, anger, frustrations and all.

Clearly, this is negating the purpose of the Internet, which is opening the line of lightning-speed communication between and among human being

If I were to create a new Facebook group, I would certainly open it to people with hearts for, and interest in, Mambulao, and let them talk and get mad.

This will make the site a better place to be, as it will give them a natural habitat, with a climate of ease and tolerance for their great ideas as well as concern for our beloved Mambulao.

Who knows, this could be a cauldron where ideas are boiled to high heat, thus processing a workable solution to the  problems now besetting Mambulao and its people.

And I am very sure the potential “joiners” are many, including those who are now listed under JPCN Group.

But sadly, I won’t do it.

One new website of this brand would just crowd out the rest, adding more to confusion.

And detractors would immediately brand this as “divisive”.

But look who’s talking!

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