DAVAO CITY- How we can we say that “Less is More”? This statement brings so much questions and connotes underlying meanings. Only when we network and build partnerships, that we can grasp the substance of this.
The network of local government information officers (LGU IOs), Civil Military Operations (CMO) officers and Police Community Relations (PCR) officers has paid off in closely monitoring the 2016 National and Local Elections. Information that used to be hard to come by when working alone has been made available. Verified and complete of details. The exchange of information has never been made easy to reach, until such network has come about through establishing a convergent effort to properly inform the public.
In partnership with the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army under Major General Rafael Valencia, PIA XI Regional Director Efren F. Elbanbuena called the LGU Info Officers to a meeting on Election Reporting together with the CMOs and the PCRs on May 05, barely four days before the 2016 National and Local Elections.
“This convergence is the first of its kind,” Elbanbuena said as he vouched support to create a mechanism of updating the public regarding the conduct of the 2016 Elections which the Filipino people viewed as crucial to building a “transformed” Philippines.
Elbanbuena pointed out the importance of the civilian information officers as essential partners of the CMOs and the PCRs. “CMOs cannot be effective without the support of PIA; we cannot talk peace alone,” he said in his talk during the meeting on Election Reporting.
Major Gen Valencia acknowledged the importance of the partnership with Information Officers and PCRs, saying this could pave way towards pooling together the individuals who work on the ground to communicate with local folks.
In his message read by 10th ID assistant division commander, Col. Casiano C. Monilla, Major Gen Valencia viewed the convergence of CMOs, LGU IOs and PCRs as a way for the Philippine Army to expand its network of working for peace and development at the community level.
In his talk, 10th Inf Div. G-7, Lt Col Ben Tianco also noted the importance of involving PIA and its network of information officers in the Joint Security Coordinating Council (JSCC). He said communication and information would play a pivotal role in setting the mode of communicating with the public. Such idea was also pointed out by Major Ezra Balegtey, the public information officer of the Unified Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Every idea is good. Every information is good. Paano ito ilalabas is a different thing,” Tianco said. “We will provide the truth; we will not hold information but it should be accurate, correct,” he added.
The meeting on Election Reporting dealt much on “What to Report” and “How to Report” before, during and after the Elections. On top of the discussion on these, the participants defined the meaning and connotations of “general public information”, and “internal information” which needed in depth verification.
When “The Day” came, the Davao Region Watch community page established by PIA served well in pooling together election-related information from LGU information officers and those coming from the 10th Inf. Division of the Philippine Army.
In Davao City, PIA XI featured Major General Rafael Valencia as guest of the early morning Election Briefing that provided reporters a glimpse of the general situation at the onset of the casting of votes, and in few hours after the opening of polling centers.
SMS reports and photos on Election situations were posted on the Davao Region Watch while also being sent to the Hatol ng Bayan at the Central Office of PIA and posted at the I-Hayag facebook, updating fellows of PIA on events occurring in various areas of coverage.
PIA XI extends great appreciation for the camaraderie of LGU information officers and the openness of CMOs under the 10th Inf Division of the Philippine Army. It is also expressing thanks to the Regional/Provincial Directors of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for picking up calls of PIA XI to ask for update and AOR assessment. PIA XI is also grateful to all Facebook administrators of the local government units in Davao Region for allowing it to share posts on the conduct of Elections in their municipality.
PIA Davao Region is run by very lean number of staff. Despite having Less number of workers, PIA XI strives to produce More through establishing network, partnership and friendship with the military, the police and the LGU communicators who share the common cause of empowering the public with information. And with them, PIA XI works Less for More… (Jeanevive Duron-Abangan, PIA 11)