OK, it's official. I've been meaning to blog about this but kept getting derailed, until a friend called me up this morning because she saw the article linked from the Wikipedia Tambayan (hi, guys XD;; let's have coffee again?). Yes, I am the editor in chief of Filnet and WikiPilipinas, among others. I did start working part-time for Vibal Foundation about four months ago, when I embarked on something like a crash course in Philippine publishing. I felt that if I really wanted Read or Die to make a difference, I should at least learn the basics of the publishing industry. I had the time since I was in grad school and I didn't think that I could have another opportunity. With regard to Filnet, I felt that Gus Vibal was at the forefront of digital publishing in the Philippines and I was terribly interested in what he was doing. So I signed on and had the good fortune of being part of the staff when the entire project was in the midst of a fruitful transition. Which is still ongoing, by the way.
I've read my share of blogs from last year, back when I myself was a disinterested observer. I've seen the posts expressing wariness of the project, which is understandable given everything that's happened. For the record, however, I think that it is a worthy endeavor. I truly believe in Gus Vibal's sincerity, commitment, and vision. I still don't quite understand how I ended up in this position but I am grateful that he trusted me with something which is obviously very important to him.
I've just come from a trip to Cotobato and Davao where I spoke with school teachers, students, and young journalists. It's really not a matter of getting eyeballs or page rankings or whatever. In the bigger scheme of things, they're kind of irrelevant. Of course the sites have to sustain themselves, but the measure of sustainability here is the ability to be relevant to the users. I support and promote the reading and writing of books, which is the advocacy closest to my heart, but I've never believed that literacy should be solely print-based. I think that Filipinos--especially young Filipinos--should be able to find what they need to know in a variety of ways, to express themselves using different mediums. Anything that empowers them on that level gets my vote.
So I hope we can all work together. We welcome your comments and suggestions, but your support is what is most essential. (The foundation is opening an internship program, by the way, so if you want to be in on the action, send your CV to Christian Pangilinan at email@example.com).