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The Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance (APrIGF) on 1–3 July 2015 gathered around 300 participants from 27 countries to discuss the different facets and issues on Internet Governance in the Asia Pacific region. Representatives from the civil society, tech, and government from the Philippines attended this year’s Forum in Macau that was hosted by HNET Asia and the Macau Network Information Center (MONIC).

This year was my 2nd time to have attended the APrIGF and I could say that this Forum didn’t disappoint in providing rich experience not just for our organization, Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), but also to our Filipino advocacy partners from the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA). The APrIGF provided a space for us Filipinos to have meaningful exchange with other stakeholders in the region and to plan for further collaboration.

I’d agree with the opening plenary speakers that the APrIGF community is getting bigger in terms of numbers and there’s increased stakeholder representation. This APrIGF is even the first IGF that I’ve attended where there’s a Philippine government official present, who is also a woman, to talk about the context of the country, and I’ve already attended 2 global IGFs + 2 APrIGFs, and I’m hoping this won’t be the last. There were more workshops this year that tackled Human Rights and Gender compared to last year.

Sharing inputs in different sessions

FMA managed to organize 2 sessions – a Gender pre-event workshop in collaboration with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), which is the Gender and Internet Exchange (gigX), and another titled Human Rights & Governance in ASEAN Cyberspace. We were also part of the panelists of 3 different sessions – Threats in Expression in Asia, Bridging Gender Digital Divide, as well as Localizing Internet Governance.

This Internet Governance Forum is one venue for us to realize our goal of bringing Human Rights in the center of IG discussion so aside from focusing on advancing human rights in local internet policy spaces, we see it important to surface country-level internet rights issues to the regional discourse on Internet governance. We were able to share more of our experience in working on issues around digital rights, privacy, and women’s rights in the Philippines and in Southeast Asian region sessions, and were also able to learn more of how the other panelists and participants look at issues of internet rights and governance in the region and were able to identify points of collaboration.

All-Filipina delegation to the #APrIGF2015

The Filipinas from civil society who attended Macau’s APrIGF 2015 were Lisa Garcia, Christina Lopez, and Nica Dumlao from FMA, Hazel Cotoner from Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), PIFA’s Noemi Dado of BlogWatch and Ayeen Karunungan of Dakila Artist Collective, and APC’s Deputy Director Chat Ramilo. Ms. Noelle de Guzman of Internet Society Asia Pacific Bureau and government representative Ms. Bettina Quimson of the ICT Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO) were also there from the Philippines. Ms. Quimson was a panelist in a session organized by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to explore the role of ICTs in enabling access to information and to highlight the need to harness people’s potential to contribute to the social, economic and cultural well-being and development of the country thru ICTs.

The Forum ended on a high note with a promise of a document that will attempt to enumerate key issues and best practices around Internet Governance in the region, the first of its kind in the APrIGF history.

 Nica Dumlao is the Internet Rights Coordinator of Foundation for Media Alternatives in the Philippines. Nica’s participation to this year’s APrIGF 2015 was made possible by the APNIC and the APrIGF 2015 Fellowship grant.

 


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