Class activity: It would be fun, they said.

Posted on November 17, 2012


Two words: Haggardo Versoza. It was a normal Saturday morning perfect for surfing the Internet while waiting for class to start. I was happily answering this weird personality test when the class was tasked via Facebook to brush up on the FOI (Freedom of Information) Bill and get some pretty good sources about it. So far, so chill. Little did I know that the next hour and a half would be reserved for bouts of internal screaming. It’s like there was a newsroom inside my head during the whole activity, the kind of special-coverage-newsroom where people were constantly screaming at each other.

So we were supposed to write an article re: FOI which must be posted on or before 12 noon. Okay. I have done papers on other subjects 10 or 15 minutes before the deadline and the results weren’t half bad. Piece of cake.

One word: fruitcake. I have to admit, I wasn’t really following the progress on the FOI. All I know is that it is still pretty much just sitting there while certain questionable bills get approved. Oh well. I can still probably read along the way.

Researching legit sources about a bill. NOT that easy as it sounds. And writing an article about it in 1 hour, 30 minutes? Hell breaks loose in J 116. Like a spitting armalite, keyboards were going all tak-a-tak-a-tak that anybody passing by might think that there was a massacre going on in the room that quiet Saturday afternoon.

Okay. Attack strategy. Open Google. I honestly do not like using the Yahoo search engine. I don’t know, we all have our preferences. At first, I searched for something about the FOI on the websites of news agencies – GMA, ABS-CBN, PDI, Philippine Star, Rappler. I thought that maybe they have an easy-to-understand, blow-by-blow account of the whole FOI situation, and something like “FOI explained” or something. Then I realized that there is just too many articles and I have no time to skim all of them. So change strategy.

I typed in “FOI Bill Philippines” and then “FOI Bill Philippines summary” and even “FOI Bill Philippines explanation”/”FOI Bill Philippines explanation”. I got something from Scribd. I almost used it, then I realized (1) how outdated it is and (2) it is from students, so it will probably be not that credible. so I let it go. I decided to stick with the Official Gazette which I found sometime earlier using keywords that I do not remember. It was useful, too: three different versions of the bill, a PowerPoint presentation, and a FAQ. The basic facts were there, I just have no idea how I am going to differentiate the 3 versions.

Next, I searched for a timeline of events, the kind that news agencies give to give some background for the people who have no idea what was going on (i.e. me). I searched for “FOI Bill Philippines timeline”. And boom, something useful from TV5’s InterAksyon. Easy to read, clear and concise, there! I can learn about the whole FOI situation in 5 minutes. Time check? Uhm…I can still probably write it in 5 minutes too. It doesn’t matter that my classmates were all probably in their last paragraphs or something. Anyway, the only problem with InterAksyon’s interactive timeline was the computer lagging. I really don’t need this right now, computer, get it together! Or maybe it was just me, in the heat of the moment. I don’t know.

My last search revolves around the progress (?) of the FOI hearing. I found out that the second hearing was last November 13. So I checked that. I searched for news items about “FOI Bill Philippines” during the past week. Clicked on the first one, something from PDI, because I am running out of time. Something about a stalled vote. Okay.

Article writing time! It was already 12, and I was typing furiously. I was starting to worry that my post would look as if I am trying too hard to comment on politics. I bet it would. I honestly avoid text-posting about politics because I would sound like a toddler commenting about different types of wine. I would sound idiotic in comparison to other blogs.

So how did it go? On-the-spot learning about the FOI and writing an article about it all in 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Let’s just say that I am so going to change my name into Haggardo Versoza one of these days.

Posted in: College life, J 116