IN the run-up to the last elections in May 2004, we had tracked the pages that researchers were visiting in i-site, PCIJ’s information site on Philippine politics and government. One of the things that surprised us was that we found visitors whose main page of query was the one with the jpeg image of a sample ballot from the Commission on Elections (Comelec). They may have been first-time voters, or they may have already voted once when they still believed in the system, for many years lost the appetite for voting, and then in May wanted to join the fray once again—lunarpages.com didn’t tell us. But the point for us was that i-site was able to contribute to the education of voters about matters as basic as what a ballot looks like and what it is that one exactly does on an election day.
Information can be hard to come by. Or, even if it’s out there, we may find it inaccessible for a number of reasons, including not knowing how to get there. i-site could be one way.
i-site is designed to be a repository of data about public officials—who they are, their career, wealth and assets, business interests, political ties, and how they perform in office. All the data are culled from publicly available documents and then moved to databases which form the bulk of the site. The site also discusses the structures of government, displays various laws such as the Code of Ethics for Government Officials and Employees, and posts papers on issues like combating corruption and electoral reforms. And for those who may want to do their own sniffing of government officials who may be violating the law or else their ethical guidelines, i-site can also tell you how.