ARMM execs stand to Open Governance
COTABATO CITY (December 7)—From exclusive technical writing, employees and mid-level executives of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said they believe that added “popular communication” skills in news writing can help bridge the region’s programs to the general public.
This was pointed out by participants of writers’ forum series over the weekend, the second follow-through workshop-series for writing technical staff-members and mid-level executives of the ARMM’s Regional Development Planning Office (RPDO).
Thus far held in two series of follow-through workshops, the RPDO writers’ forum has been geared towards “harmonizing” the technical writers’ “exclusive communication skills in the narrative form” with the more “inclusive popular communication of news writing,” according to one participant.
Executive Director Engr. Baintan A. Ampatuan said the RPDO plays important role in engaging the region’s constituents in the twin realm of planning and development, and for which popular communication is essentially necessary.
“We hope that we can institutionalize this kind of activity and hopefully, we can design another activity like this in the subsequent years.”
“We can communicate well only if we have the capability, and because we are using the net, we communicate with the rest of the world, thus, we must have quality outputs (of written communication)”, she added.
The participants said they wanted to write a news item or two from each activity or event initiated by the RPDO or by the ARMM regional government.
They said they wanted news items which they could come up with to be uploaded to the RPDO website, not only for publicity purposes, but also in support to the regional government’s adherence to the principles of Open Governance.
Prior to this, the RPDO in partnership with the Bureau of Public Information-ARMM hosted ARMM Writers’ Training and Workshop Forum for communicators of regional line agencies, offices and bureaus in April 2013.
Development partnership and convergence programs have been integrated into the concept of inter-agency ARMM HELPS Convergence, which is the flagship program of the Hataman administration. HELPS stands for Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy.
News writing skills for staff-members and officials attending official activities and events can also be an effective tool for the government in reaching out to the public for sustainable endeavors, such as those covering development partnership programs, they said.
In July 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 43, which stipulates his administration’s Social Contract with the Filipino people.
ARMM Governor Mujiv S. Hataman signed ARMM Executive Order No. 5 for his administration’s adherence to the principles of the UN Open Government Partnership (OGP) in which the Philippines is a founding member-nation among 18 signatory-countries.
In April 2012, Governor Hataman signed EO No. 6, adopting his administration’s social contract with the diverse Tri-People ARMM constituents.
Resource persons included journalists Nash Maulana (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Noel Punzalan (PNA Bureau Chief for Central Mindanao) and Datubod Lauban (former NCMF deputy information chief).
Maulana said the general objective of the writers’ forum workshop series is to promote popular communication as an institutional tool for a broader engagement with the people and in support to the principles of Open Government Partnership.
For one, Maulana said, enhanced skills on popular communication is an essential support to ARMM EO No. 5— Adherence to Open Government Partnership (OGP), and ARMM EO No. 6—ARMM Social Contract (April 4, 2012), the regional government’s version of Memorandum Circular No. 43 stipulating the Aquino Administration’s Social Contract with the Filipino People.
“More specifically, since you (participants) are already into technical writing, our purpose is to harmonize your knowledge in technical writing, that being an exclusive form of written communication, with the more inclusive form of popular communication in news writing,” he said.
Knowing “what to write” is equally important as answering the question, “how to write,” the resource persons said. The participants were taught basics of obtaining facts, many of which they can get from the objectives, activities and expected outputs enumerated in their technical proposals and terms of reference crafted for specific programs, projects or official activities.