|Government officials, Google and YouTube executives and media partners pose for a photo during the launch of the video-sharing website's localized service in the Philippines.
MANILA, Philippines - Video sharing website YouTube played a crucial role in introducing Charice, Arnel Pineda and other Filipinos to the rest of the world.
Now, the Aquino administration wants to tap this resource as it formally launched its two YouTube channels, both aimed at giving Internet users front-row seats to the government's activities.
The Official Gazette and RTVM channels feature videos of President Benigno Aquino III's public appearances as well as infomercials and public service announcements of Cabinet officials and other government agencies.
The videos can be viewed not in parts, as what is often the case, but in its entirety, thanks to YouTube's premium channel platform.
President Aquino himself was supposed to lead the launch of the two YouTube channels, but was unable to make it due to sudden changes in schedule.
"The RTVM and the Official Gazette will make our government more accessible to the Filipino people by providing them with an online library of audio and video coverage of government activities," Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang said during the launch of YouTube's localized service in the Philippines on Wednesday.
"There's an estimated 90 million Filipinos living in our country and another 10 million scattered all over the world. As much as the President would like to personally reach out to them all, this simply is not physically impossible. But through social media... Filipinos around the world can still see and hear their government in action and just as importantly, they have another channel to make their voices heard.
"And so, knowing that it can be difficult for the ordinary Filipino to view his government as accessible and transparent, we're taking the first step in coming to you."
Carandang believes that the two YouTube channels will be "a very valuable resource to anyone with an interest in our recent history."
He said it's about time that Internet users use video-sharing websites and other forms of social media not just for entertainment but also to discuss a country's problems and offer solutions to them.
Last year, Malacañang set up an account on microblogging site Twitter as part of an effort to connect with Filipino Internet users in real time.
Other government agencies have also created a feedback mechanism via their official websites.
President Aquino is taking this effort a step further as he is set to participate in YouTube's World View series, making him the first Asian head of state to do so.
Here, he will answer selected questions from netizens across the globe via a moderator gadget to be provided by Google.
The interview with the President will be streamed live on YouTube on November 4, and will be done in partnership with ABS-CBN's 24-hour news channel, ANC, and its news website, abs-cbnNEWS.com.
A live chat will also be conducted on the ANC Live Events page on abs-cbnNEWS.com.
Google managing director for Southeast Asia Julian Persaud believes that Aquino's participation in World View will not only increase Filipinos' connection with the government but also with technology.
Other heads of state who have participated in YouTube's World View series include United States President Barack Obama, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.