Open Society
3G Connectivity: A Powerful Weapon Towards Democracy and Resiliency

3G Connectivity: A Powerful Weapon Towards Democracy and Resiliency
© FNF Philippines

The call to connect and work together has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, people are challenged to establish the right connections, strong enough to empower communities towards democracy and resiliency.

Connectivity boosts individuals’ freedom to express  

On its 11th year, the Lingap Sining Program of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) played around the Filipino word ‘galing’, giving birth to the acronym “3G”. Uniquely, the word encompasses a meaningful journey from valuing one’s context (G for pinangGalingan) to building one’s capacity (G for galing) to healing and mental well-being (G for pagGaling). In the time of COVID-19, PETA Lingap Sining navigated through offline and online platforms to continuously connect – to sustain education and amplification of its advocacies with community and school partners in Metro Manila and various provinces and regions around the Philippines.

Since January 2020, theater performances were developed by 129 young artists from 6 local parish and community-based groups. These performance outputs became a take-off to discuss concepts and values on human rights and democracy in various youth forum in communities and schools. 

The community quarantine has forced individuals to stay at home but this did not hinder the program to continuously connect. Digital transformation bridged on-ground education and advocacy activities to reach various online communities. 

Series of webinars titled ‘Lusog Isip Talks’ and ‘Open Talks’ were organized to deepen understanding on the impact of the pandemic and the quarantine to the lives of people in challenged communities and ways of coping and enhancing community support for health and human rights. Online trainings on Arts for Advocacy were launched as platforms to engage the youth towards creative expression and connections amidst distancing and isolation. Workshops on spoken word, dance, creating micro videos and song writing churned more than 70 creative outputs for and by young people.  

Coming together makes connections and advocacies stronger 

The connections established from April to September built up towards the ‘3G, Connect! Community Arts Festival – Online’ in October 10, 11 and 17, 2020. The festival showcased how on-ground and online communities work together in valuing life, humanity, and human dignity.

One of the keynote speakers, Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan, emphasized the importance of harnessing “the power and the capacities of our young people and our communities towards enhancing our courageous spirits, compassion, critical thinking, creativity, and most importantly, our sense of community”.

Other keynote speakers included Hon. Vice President Leni G. Robredo, Hon. Mayor Vico Sotto, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Chito Gascon, NCCA Arts Ambassador 2020, Ms. Catriona Gray and Mr. Enchong Dee. Guests and celebrity artists, including The Juans, Ebe Dancel, Juan Miguel Severo and Noel Cabangon, also performed and inspired the young to continuously harness their capacities and work together in strengthening their communities. PETA was able to tap more than a hundred community, schools, youth groups and social media partners for the festival. 

‘3G, Connect’ showcased the power of journeying together. Coming from distant places challenged by the global crisis, connections were re-established in a time when hope and compassion were much needed to be experienced. The series of education and advocacy activities shed light and opened opportunities in a time when fear and uncertainty were much felt. As we continuously face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, PETA Lingap Sining continues to respond and connect with its community partners to find ways of transforming these crises into opportunities of inspiration and growth. 

In his message, FNF Philippines Head of Country Wolfgang Heinze said that “empowering individuals and communities is one way a society can achieve freedom. When we create safe spaces for people to freely express their talents, raise questions, learn new things and interact with one another, strong foundation is built towards good society.”

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation has been working with PETA for its innovative approach to present social issues through theater and the arts. 

Links of ‘3G, Connect’ Online Streaming