Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Conversation in Manila with Hillary Clinton

United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the Philippines last Wednesday for the 60th anniversary of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty, which was held aboard USS Fitzgerald docked at Manila Bay. "As part of that treaty, she signed the Manila Declaration binding the countries to work together on a variety of mutual interests," as reported in the Daily Mail. She also had a bilateral meeting with the President at the Malacanang Palace; and a social media town hall meeting interview at the National Museum, to cap off the trip.


The US Embassy in Manila, together with a news network, invited a sampling of the youth, bloggers, online personalities and celebrities to a forum dialogue discussion entitled "US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Conversation in Manila," which was aired live and live streamed.

According to the US Embassy, it was a first for the US State Department to allow cellphones to be brought in an event. It was also the first time they are doing this format: using social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Skype, etc, together with a town-hall style interview and discussion.

TEST SHOT: Making it count. Presidential Security Group (PSG) inspects all cameras brought in the event, a mandatory check for all high level government events.

US Embassy staff explaining the rules: Phones in SILENT mode. Raise your hands if you have a question, and Ramon will find you. No flash when using your cameras.

I remember I attended a similar forum, entitled "The Manila Forum," with hundreds of students held at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), when she visited the Philippines in 2009. I was with the delegation the University of the Philippines (UP) sent to the event. It was great to be seeing her again this time around. Her passion and charisma never changed, always game to answer and to connect to the crowd.

Anchor-hosts Vicky Morales and Howie Severino prepare before the arrival of the US Secretary of State Clinton

Ramon Bautista interviews Heart Evangelista, Maxene Magalona, Isabelle Daza, Mareng Winnie Monsod and Mel Tiangco during the dialogue

With multi-awarded journalist, Maria Ressa, whom we missed after her stint with ABS-CBN. Now she is back in the Philippines. Read Bianca Gonzalez' feature on Maria Ressa, to know more about this legend :)


"We are in the age of participation," Hillary Clinton says. She recognizes the role of the youth, and the new media and social media we are using to change the game. She says the youth now has the "power of individual," to start your own movements, outreach, and participate in discussions, make governments accountable, and make real changes in society.

She was very optimistic of the Philippines. She said she sincerely believes that it is the Philippines time, but there has to be changes, such as more investment to education, among others. The forum ended with a challenge from Secretary Hillary Clinton to Filipinos, "What can you do to help the Philippines?"


Marjohara Tucay, editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, towards the end of the event, disrupted the forum with his high-pitched voice (in the same manner they always do) shouting “Junk VFA. There was nothing mutual in the Mutual Defense Treaty” while raising a banner (see photo above).


Clinton, on the other hand, remained calm and still poised and remarked that she's "pretty much used to it after all these years," and that even though she doesn't agree with him, respects his opinion. “I think people have the right to express themselves, that's what democracy is about," she said.


Photos from The Philippine Beat and The Philippines and Beyond. Thank you to the US Embassy in Manila, GMA News TV, and PLDT for making "A Conversation in Manila" possible. If you missed the event on TV and online live streaming, you can catch it here:

1 comment:

  1. It was such an honor to have such a reputable visitor in our country. I hope that Mrs. Clinton arrived and left on a high note.



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