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Saturday, March 09, 2024

PIA tapped to amplify West Philippine Sea issue to remote communities

By Jennifer Gaitano

DAPITAN CITY (PIA) – Information officers of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Mindanao converged in this city to craft a communications plan on how to effectively amplify the Philippine government’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.

A workshop facilitated by subject matter experts from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), and the University of the Philippines (UP) thoroughly discussed the issues surrounding the country’s claim to the West Philippine Sea and how these could be effectively communicated to the people in Mindanao.

Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, highlighted that the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., opted to increase public awareness on WPS and explain to the Filipino people that the country continues to protect its territory, as well as the fisherfolk who rely on fishery-related livelihoods within the territorial sea.

"It is the obligation of the national government to tell the Filipino people kung ano talaga ang nangyayari sa West Philippine Sea. We have to make this a duty for everybody in the government na sabihin natin sa mga Filipino kung ano talaga ang mga nangyayari, otherwise mag-proliferate ang disinformation, fake news na wala ng harassment, maayos silang kausap [Chinese], they are our partners in peace and economic development, but in reality, hindi naman 'yan ang nangyayari," said Tarriela.

[It is the obligation of the national government to inform the Filipino people about what really happens in the West Philippine Sea. We have to make this a duty for everybody in the government to tell the Filipinos what truly happens, otherwise disinformation and fake news will proliferate, suggesting that there's no harassment and that we have a smooth relationship with the Chinese, portraying them as our partners in peace and economic development. But in reality, that's not what's happening.]

Tarriela added that the personnel of PCG are doing their patriotic duty. "It's worth defending our territory and exclusive economic zone," he added.

"Why do all these transparency efforts matter to PIA? First, we engage the PIA as agents who can disseminate accurate information because we also believe that you can make our voices louder. Second, you can always magnify the truth. It's your responsibility to weigh the veracity of the information that we provide you. And third, we should not lie and create false stories to make people believe in us," underscored Tarriela.

Commodore Jay Tarriela, spokesperson of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for West Philippine Sea, shared the objective of the national government under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on its transparency efforts on the WPS issue, during the Strategic Communication Workshop with the information officers from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in the Mindanao region.Photo by PIA-Caraga)

Assistant Secretary Michel Andre Del Rosario of PCO stressed to all PIA information officers as communicators that they have to be firm in the messages that they disseminate to the general public regarding the issue  of the  West Philippine Sea.

"We should not be provocative about what we know is rightfully for us Filipinos. We have to stand firm and at the same time be disciplined and mindful of the facts that we share," he said.

"We need to help build resilience for our citizenry. By doing this, we also help in preventing the proliferation of fake news and disinformation about the West Philippine Sea. Once we capacitate the Filipino people with the right knowledge, hopefully, they will become more active and engaged in preventing these false information that were created through maligned influence," added Del Rosario.

Assistant Secretary Michel Andre Del Rosario of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) answered questions from the participating information officers of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 on the ongoing issue of the West Philippine Sea (WPS), particularly on the messages and information to be shared with the public. Photo by PIA-Caraga.

PIA Director-General Jose Torres, Jr. reiterated to all the employees of the Agency, to help the Filipino people to understand and comprehend the accurate and factual information on the West Philippine Sea, and the significance of the country's exclusive economic zone (EEC).

"Let's maximize the use of our communication platforms as part of our strategies in revealing the truth about the ongoing issue on the West Philippine Sea. Your role is vital in reaching the grassroots," he said.

Director General Jose Torres, Jr. of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) urged all the information officers of the agency to maximize the use of the different platforms in its information dissemination on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) down to the grassroots during the Strategic Communication Workshop held in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte. He stressed that this is PIA’s support for the national government and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). Photo by PIA-Caraga.

In the crafting of the PIA’s strategic plan, Ann Lorraine Macadaeg, chief of PIA Planning and Communication Research Division (PCRD), stressed that there is a need to provide a clear direction for the organization on where to go and how to get there, allocate limited resources more effectively and strategically by setting priorities and identifying opportunities and help ensure the success of the organization’s communication efforts by engaging stakeholders in the process and shaping the way the effort is perceived by these stakeholders.

“Let’s help sustain the initiative and efforts of the PCG in strengthening information drive on the West Philippine Sea issue. Your regions have already determined your target audiences; now we just have to enumerate your communication activities and how you are going to measure your accomplishments,” said Macadaeg. 

Representatives from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Mindanao Island [Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] presented their communication plan to the members of the panel from the National Security Council (NSC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and PIA’s Director General Jose Torres, Jr., during the Strategic Communication Workshop held in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte. Photo by PIA-Caraga.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director General for Unified Messaging in Mindanao Abner Caga, boosted the confidence and morale of the PIA personnel in the Mindanao regions, saying, “We are united in our goals towards the fulfillment of this strategic plan. We know what to do and how to do it, so let’s continue to strive to objectively attain all these communication activities and see to it that our target audiences are proactively engaged.”

“We will be strengthening our linkages and partnership with the information officers in the local government units and media, as our multipliers,” he added. (JPG, PIA-Caraga)