Media Engagement Training for transparent, truthful, and meaningful communication in the BARMM

The Communicating the BARMM Story "Facing the Media: Art of Media Engagement" training series gave spokespersons and leaders invaluable skills to communicate critical issues about the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Joining the training series were BARMM Members of the Parliament and Representatives from the Offices of the Secretary-General (OSG), Parliament Speaker (OPS), Floor Leader (OFL), and Legislative Technical Affairs and Information Service – Public Information Publications and Media Relations Department (LTAIS-PIPMRD).

Three one-day training sessions were conducted on October 4, 5, and 11, 2023, at the Grand Summit Hotel, General Santos City, organized by the Probe Media Foundation, Inc. (PMFI), with help from the BTA Parliament – Office of the Floor Leader. The project is made possible with support from The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the British Embassy Manila, under the Activate Bangsamoro Phase 3 project.

The "Facing the Media" workshop series was designed to help BARMM spokespersons communicate information about the BARMM Parliament, the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, and active citizen participation in the election process.

"We believe that stories can change lives and that powerful stories shape our nation. Through effective media engagement, we hope to enhance the skills of the BARMM Parliament spokespersons to confidently and successfully deliver relevant and meaningful messages to the public," shared Kath Hernandez, PMFI Project Lead and Training Moderator.

Sam Chittick, Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, shared his experience in a previous media training during his welcome message. "I went through a similar training, and it was terrifying. Everyone has their own perception of themselves and a sense of their personality. But when you translate it or communicate it to someone else, particularly to a TV lens or through the radio or even something pre-recorded that you are doing for social media, it's putting yourself out for other people to assess, engage with," he explained.

"Whether as an MP or a Minister, as a Chief of Staff, as an adviser, or in your personal advocacies in the future, I think this training will resonate through the years for all of you. But it is going to be most memorable, most powerful, most impactful if you are really terrified. So, I encourage the [PMFI] team to make it as difficult and challenging as possible," Chittick mentioned.

The program delved into the Philippine media landscape, how the media and journalists work, and how to prepare, craft, and develop messages. These topics sought to hone participants' abilities in addressing the focal issues.

The workshop combined theory and practice through simulated, intensive, realistic on-camera interviews with renowned journalists. The participants were put on the "hot seat" with hard-hitting interview questions and tailored scenarios. After the mock interviews, each participant received honest and constructive feedback for skills improvement.

A participant undergoing a simulated interview.
Simulation of an on-cam ambush interview.

Resource speakers of the "Facing the Media" workshop series include Mindanao-based writer, director, visual artist, and filmmaker Teng Mangansakan, Multimedia Journalist and New York Times Correspondent Camille Elemia, Broadcast Journalist Lourdes Escaros, Rappler Multimedia Journalist Ralf Rivas, and Rappler Community Lead Pia Ranada.

The enthusiastic response from the participants highlighted the relevance and timeliness of the "Facing the Media" workshop in the context of BARMM's evolving political landscape. They commended PMFI's efforts in organizing the workshop series and the experienced trainers who provided invaluable insight and guidance to participants. The participants also reiterated the commitment of the region's administration to transparent and effective communication.

In his closing remarks, TAF Program Officer Engr. Misuari "Jake" Abdullah expressed his gratitude for the active participation and openness of the participants in receiving critiques from their peers and the trainers. He thanked the PMFI for the valuable knowledge and skills gained during the "Facing the Media" workshop series.

The "Facing the Media: Communicating the BARMM Story" workshop series hopes to significantly strengthen communication and engagement within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. As the BARMM leadership continues to work on vital issues, these newly acquired skills are expected to facilitate transparent, truthful, and efficient communication with the public through the media.

Class Photos (below): Members of Parliament, Chiefs of Staff, and representatives from the Offices of the Secretary-General (OSG), Parliament Speaker (OPS), Floor Leader (OFL), and Legislative Technical Affairs and Information Service – Public Information Publications and Media Relations Department (LTAIS-PIPMRD) all smiles after completing the training.