‘Dialogue Bukidnon’ set up for 2013 polls

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/14 January) – A community-based news outfit, Bukidnon News, has initiated a documentation and research project concerning voters’ education in the province for the May 2013 elections.

Dubbed “Dialogue Bukidnon: Piliay 2013,” the project aims to help voters know the candidates more and influence the agenda to be tackled in the campaign.

The project seeks to provide an opportunity for both voters and candidates to listen to each other.

It will conduct focused group discussions (FGDs) among different sectors to identify issues that candidates should address in their platforms of governance.

During the FGDs voters from select areas in Bukidnon will be asked to answer questions concerning the qualities of candidates and the local issues that they must address.

The project proponents noted that usually it is the candidates alone who determine the topics discussed during campaigns.

The voters, who are supposed to be the “employers” hiring their local officials as public servants, are forced to react only and toe the line, they added.

The results of the FGDs will be used as basis for the preparation of research guide in the conduct of key informant interviews among the candidates in relation to their positions on certain issues.

The output of the interviews and secondary data be disseminated during candidates’ forums and through news releases.

Organizers have initiated partners’ meetings to help raise support considering the financial and logistical requirements to make the project credible and successful.

Preliminary meetings were held starting January 8 for the project’s first phase, the conduct of FGDs.

The Diocese of Malaybalay, through Bishop Jose Cabantan and its Commission on Good Governance, has agreed to help. Five parish priests have volunteered to include their parishes as local partners of Bukidnon News the project which will be piloted this year.

Non-partisan personalities and entities who may be interested to become partners and contributors may contact the secretariat at dialoguebukidnon@gmail.com. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)