BARMM government communicators join PMFI training

PMFI organizes training workshops for BARMM Government Communicators

By Riza Dizon, PMFI Project Staff

“The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has made significant strides in its effort to promote peace, development, and good governance in the Bangsamoro region. However, this effort can only be fully appreciated and understood if we effectively communicate it,” said Engr. Abdulgani L. Manalocon, Director II of the Legislative Technical Affairs andInformation Service, during his opening message at the “Communicating the BARMM Story"  Communications and Campaign Planning Training.

The Communicating the BARMM Story is a project by the Probe Media Foundation, Inc. (PMFI) that aims to enhance the skills of BARMM Parliament communicators to promote and raise awareness of the Bangsamoro Parliament, Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC), Bangsamoro Autonomous Acts and encourage active citizen engagement. The project involves a series of training sessions and other communication initiatives. It is supported by The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the British Embassy-Manila under the Activate Bangsamoro Phase III:Promoting Active Citizen Engagement with the BARMM Parliament program.

The first part of the training held on August 2 to 3, 2023, at the GreenLeaf Hotel General Santos City, saw the participation of sixteen (16) members of the BARMM Offices of the Parliament Speaker, Floor Leader, Legislative Technical Affairs and Information Service, and the PRLS –Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division. 

PMFI Project Lead, Ms. Kathlynn Hernandez, kicked off the session by highlighting the importance of communications planning to execute a campaign to effectively raise public awareness of the BARMM Government, the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, and other issues. She mentioned that the workshop lectures and activities aim to sharpen skills and provide techniques for crafting and amplifying meaningful and relevant messages to the citizens.  

The Asia Foundation (TAF) Assistant Program Officer Al Nur Mampen shared that through this project, TAF hopes to promote an active citizenry who proactively engages with the new parliament and supports initiatives related to these developments.

“As government communicators, we play a crucial role in informing and engaging the public about the work and initiative of the BARMM Government. It is through effective communication strategies that we could bridge the gap between the government and the people to ensure transparency and accountability,” said LTAIS Director Manalocon.

BARMM government communicators engage in group discussions and activities to prepare advocacy, communication, and awareness-raising plans on the BARMM Parliament and the Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

PMFI facilitated a dynamic and interactive workshop in collaboration with expert resource speakers. Atty. Ona Caritos, Executive Director of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE); Rey Soriano, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Consultant; and Vicky Ortega, Brand Storyteller and Insight Specialist, provided valuable input and guidance to the attendees. Various activities aimed to create awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the importance of communication and campaign planning. The participants worked on designing a communications campaign for September 2023.

Atty. Ona Caritos, Executive Director of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections(LENTE) provides a refresher on the BARMM Parliament and the Bangsamoro Electoral Code
Rey Soriano, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Consultant, conducts activities and discussions to start off the campaign planning process.
Vicky Ortega, Brand Storyteller and Insight Specialist, talks about crafting powerful and relevant messages that resonate with target audiences.

The immersive workshop delved into six core modules:

- Laying the Groundwork: Understanding BARMM Parliament and the Bangsamoro Electoral Code
- Introduction to communications and campaign planning
- Setting Goals and Objectives 
- Understanding the BARMM and Audiences 
- Crafting Meaningful BARMM Messages
- Strategic Design and Implementation Planning

In his closing video message, The Asia Foundation Philippines Country Manager Sam Chittick congratulated the participants for finishing this leg of the program. He emphasized their critical role in providing citizens with vital information in the BARMM region that is undergoing rapid transformation.

“We know that within BARMM and across BARMM, across the various offices and agencies, there is so much skill, expertise, and passion for exactly this, for communicating the BARMM story. I hope you are able to take that back to your day-to-day jobs and improve your approach to communications planning, thinking about the kind of stories that you’d like to tell and then telling those in noble and innovative ways that will capture the attention of the citizens of the Bangsamoro,” says Chittick. 

The second leg of the training, to be held on August 8 to 10, 2023, brings the communication plans to life. The participants will attend the "IEC Materials Production Training" to gain tools and techniques to produce their planned Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials on citizen engagement with the BARMM parliament and electoral process. (See article on second leg of training)

Participants of the Communicating the BARMM Story: Communications & Campaign Planning Aug 2 to 3, 2023 | General Santos City
headed by Engr. Abdulgani L. Manalocon, Director II of the Legislative Technical Affairs and Information Service.
Back row, left to right: Nor-ain Lambitan, Nailiah S.Amerol, Faisalia M. Bacarat, Eisa A. Manalocon, Engr. Abdulgani L. Manalocon,Salahuddin M. Abdelgafur, Arief L. Usman, Hassiem Abduraffy S. Jauhari, RackibAlih Hussin. | Front row, left to right: Bai Fairuz B. Candao, Rahima U. Manalocon, Atty. Alianna Arnica A. Mambatao, Norhanifa H. Ragundo, Fatmah Najebah H. Balindong, Asral Datuamala, Potre Nai-ranie D. Ranao.