Mobit is a community-based, mobile monitoring project designed to provide social media literacy and infrastructure to rural communities via mobile and internet connectivity.
For our pilot project, we will conduct a citizen media workshop in the Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) of the Philippines. Participants include those who are in the frontlines of dealing with environmental and human rights crisis brought about by mining operations in the region. We are looking in particular at a location where a Canadian mining company has just purchased 80% ownership of the contract for the PhilCo mining claim and operation in a specific portion of the Compostela Valley and in the T’Boli region of SMR.
The goal of this first phase is to teach the participants how to use mobile phones as a way to provide a citizen’s media monitoring program that will hold transnational mining companies (TCMs) operating in their areas accountable to the communities that are either displaced or directly affected by their extractive operations.
A secondary but equally important function of Mobit is for it’s potential as a storytelling, documentation, and community-led research platform. A complimentary component is our drupal, online, blogging platform (based on the Mobile Voices model, www.vozmob.net), which will receive SMS and MMS messages directly from the participants’ mobile phones. Anyone can access the website and interact with the participants, the data, or the greater issue of mining and the impact of global extractive industries in specific sites and on the international scale.
Mobit is produced by media artist and community organizer, JR Guerrero and designer/creative technologist Honey Mae — both members of Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPS-HR), www.canadaphilippinessolidarity.org. JR and Honey Mae developed the Mobit project through their involvement with CPS-HR’s campaign on banning corporate-funded mining militias in the Philippines. One of Mobit’s project partners in Mindanao is Panalipdan-SMR (Southern Mindanao Region). Panalipdan-SMR is an alliance of organizations and individuals united in the defense of the environment, food security, land rights, and national patrimony against the plunder and destruction of the country’s natural and mineral resources. Its membership is comprised of environmental advocates and activists, church people, academe, small-scale miners, youth, Lumad, and Moro organizations.
Lately, in the Philippines, environmental activists — may they be environmental activists who have their own radio shows, or peasant workers’ organizer — have been killed point-blank in their homes, in front of churches or outside their workplace with utter impunity. Members of local government units, generals of the national army have been found guilty of these outright murders (also known as extra-judicial killings). But this issue extends beyond the human plane of existence. Our biodiversity, our finite clean water sources, the energy we use for electricity, electronic connectivity are contributing to the accelerated expansion of the hyper-capitalist industrial era we live in these days.
As environmental lawyer, professor, writer, and activist David Boyd wrote in his book, The Environmental Rights Revolution, “[Global environmental rights] is an idea whose time has come … the environmental rights revolution is well underway in most regions of the world.” (278)
Mobit Mindanao is our small attempt at contributing what we can offer today to those who are in the frontlines fighting for ecological health and justice. Together, perhaps, we can begin to ask the right questions that will lead us out of the our almost insatiable rush towards absolute profit despite the real, material threat of global ecological disaster.