CASIÑO TO BLOG & TWEET HIS WAY TO THE SENATE
"140 characters can go a long way," said Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño in response to questions on how he maximizes his campaign funds.
Three-term congressman said that while social media has yet to be as far-reaching as mainstream media, its potential to tap young voters is something that he and his team are utilizing.
"We hope that this election season would prove that social media can be a game changer. I launched my TV advertisements on Youtube and post timely online news about my campaign and stand on issues. I am now blogging, tweeting, and posting updates on Facebook because that's the only way an alternative candidate can really reach a lot of people with minimal cost," he said.
Casiño added that while he can never measure up to the advertisement-driven campaign of his fellow candidates, especially parties with large election war chests, he will rely as always on the support of grassroots organizations.
"Kung may house-to-house campaign ang grassroots supporters natin, may peer-to-peer networking naman ang online volunteers. Masigasig ang volunteers namin sa panghihikayat sa mga tao na kilalanin at iboto ako. Lalo na't ang pagtakbo ko ay tugon sa matinding pangangailangan na magka-boses ng karaniwang tao sa Senado," he said.
"Sa Senado, hindi nabibigyang sapat na pansin ang mga batayang isyu ng mga Pilipino tulad ng reporma sa lupa, industriyalisasyon ng bansa, permanenteng trabaho, pagtaas ng sahod at mababang presyo ng bilihin para sa lahat at ang pagwawasto ng di pantay na ugnayang panlabas,” added Casiño.
“Yung ibang kandidato, puro advertisement lang at motherhood statements, puro bangayan ng partido. Hindi na napag-uusapan ang plataporma. Bagamat kulang ang oras namin sa mainstream media upang ipaliwanag ito, nakakapag-palawig naman kami sa tulong ng Internet," the solon explained.
Casiño, a writer by profession, is a blogger (www.teddycasino.wordpress.com
) and an active netizen. Even before the campaign period, he was among the congressmen with the most number of Twitter (@teddycasino) and Facebook (www.fb.me/followteddycasino) fans.
At present, he has 11,638 Twitter and 13,793 Facebook followers.
"As an activist, I engage people. I like my constituents to know that I am accessible, that they can always go online and ask me questions," he said, adding that he uses his online clout to rally people into supporting his personal and political causes such as the opposition to the Cybercrime law.
"Malaking bagay rin ang YouTube kung saan napapanuod ng mga tao ang commercial ko ng walang bayad. Nariyan ang Facebook at mga website na libreng nagpapalaganap ng aking campaign materials upang magamit at maibahagi pa ng aming supporters. Our supporters from Mindanao can easily download soft copies of our materials in the website (www.myteddycasino.com) and have it printed there para isabit sa bahay o ibigay sa mga kaibigan," he said.
Casiño first became a high-profile blogger in 2006 when he and five other party-list representatives were forced to seek refuge in Congress or be arrested on trumped-up cases of rebellion. Casiño and the five other progressive lawmakers used the blog (http://batasan6.blogspot.com/
) to issue statements and write about their personal and political lives until the case was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
A recent report by Rappler said that there seems to be no real party system in the Philippine cyberspace but at the same time noted that Casiño's small Twitter community is competing against the LP-UNA network.