MANILA, Philippines - Following President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's declaration to Filipinos that they are his boss, Malacañang is doing all it can to report to "the boss." This includes using social media to connect with the millions of Filipinos in the country.
"Kayo ang boss ko, kaya't hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo," said Aquino in his first State of the Nation Address last month.
Malacañang then recently launched its official website, www.gov.ph, and its official Twitter account, twitter.com/govph.
Both were set up to make it easier for the government to communicate to the people, and vice versa.
"We all do want all the issues coming out in one website. It is much more efficient. Everybody can access. The Twitter account is meant to inform people when there is something new," said Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Palace Communications Group.
"Most of the audience appreciate [it]. It is good that people will be informed real time," said Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesperson.
The Palace assured the public that all feedback sent to the government website and the Twitter account will be forwarded not only to President Aquino but also to the government agencies who can act on them.
"We will link up all of the departments in the executive branch so they all will be housed in one site...so that people who want to access the government will go to one site. Give us some time to set it up. It will be a robust site," said Secretary Sonny Coloma of the Palace Communications Group.
Social media consultant Carlo Ople lauded the new administration's efforts to maximize the Internet, but he pointed out that the medium offers other avenues to explore.
"Ang problem sa Twitter, it is limited unlike Facebook and Friendster. And I think mas maraming magagawa sa dalawang platforms na 'yun," said Ople.
To date, the government's official Twitter account has more than 3,000 followers.
Filipinos have been posting messages, or tweets, on the Twitter account, from kudos and suggestions to outright complaints.
albertdomingo tweeted: "Can we aim for online transactions in all government agencies (eg LTO, etc) by the end of the year?"
4Fcynthz, on the other hand, wrote: "ano po ba ang ginagawa ng gobyerno ngayon sa status ng mga pinoy narses sa bansa na nahihirapang mghanap ng trabaho?"
Twitter user engrantonio reported: "PANTAY PANTAY SA KALYE! WHITE MERCEDES BENZ WITH PLATE NO. 7 ga WITH LANDCRUSER BACK UP HINDI HINUHULI NG MMDA KAHIT WRONG LANE."
silverfireph tweeted: "I like getting instant memos from PNoy. Yes, Sir!" referring to govph's tweet: "Just published. Executive Order No. 3."
And maica_ wrote: "Niceeee...the Official Gazette has a twitter account! Follow it now --- @govph ;)"
Filipino netizens hope that through these online channels, the government will be more aware and responsive to their concerns. -- With report from ANC