A messaging workshop was conducted in February 17, 2015 at Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City to lay out the strategic messaging for the project.
The workshop was attended by the personnel of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) headed by Executive Director Atty. Benedicto Bacani and Program Manager Prof. ReyDan Lacson, the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF) headed by Prof. Edmund Tayao, the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) represented by its President Amina Rasul-Bernardo, and the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA) represented by its coordinator Vandrazel Birowa. Staffs of the four organizations were also present. Project’s consultants like Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI, Atty. Bong Montesa, Dr. Ofelia Durante, and Atty. Anwar Malang – the Secretary of DILG-ARMM- were also present.
The workshop was facilitated by Atty. Bong Montesa and he asked the first questions “what is your view of the current situation?”, and “what is your feeling about the situation?”
The participants expressed diverse views. Some raised concern about the BBL due to the Mamasapano incident.
One lamented that the members of Congress may utilize the two opposing positions for their own political interest.
A few participants looked at the situation on a brighter side saying that the Mamasapano tragedy suddenly exposed the weaknesses of the peace process and pronounced he is not that worried and he still see light at the end of the tunnel. A final note closing the questions was stated saying the incident and situation is ‘a wakeup call’.
Facilitator Atty. Bong Montesa asked another set of questions: “If the ARMM political leaders are here – what could they say?” and “How do the politicians feel towards this?”
Responses vary. Some participants presupposed that generally politicians are less informed about the BBL and makes them feel concerned of the fate of their LGUs.
On the positive side, others presupposed that politicians view that there are opportunities under CAB and BBL for a broader participation.
Atty. Bong Montesa asked another question saying “Most of the people think that the solution for this problem is ___, but actually it is ______?”
The answers of the participants include: "All out war is not equal to all-out-wipe out", the PNP-SAF did not really know the players and interactions of the players, and geography of Mamasapano, there are many identities of armed groups involved in the Mamasapano incident, that the problem is cultural and ignorance, that Mamasapano incident and the peace process is both a local and national issue, that ‘we are all one in this together’.
Suggestions follow that to achieve a peaceful and secure communities the political leaders/LGUs must be principled, and that the peace and order councils (POCs) must be inclusive to include women, Muslim religious leaders (MRLs), indigenous peoples, and other marginalized sectors; and to expand the ‘third-siders’.
Another session about Creating Message was initiated. Before proceeding for the workshop Atty. Montesa defined: “Strategic Communications – is about the use of words, images, sounds, videos, audio, actions, assemblies to evoke emotions – and hopefully actions”.
Lastly, the activity ended with the call that messaging should encourage the politicians and to let them define good governance on their own and that it is evolving through their participation. It was also stressed that the selling point is ‘more resources and power for the LGUs’ because its bottom line is always economics. For example, what can the LGU gets as share from the Sulu Sea oil exploration, etc, etc.? And finally, the importance on ‘how do we stir the discourse’ was emphasized because ‘If you change the institution, it will also influence behaviors’.