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AFP Public Affairs officers 'face off' with media in Tagaytay City

MANILA, Nov. 30 – Public Affairs Officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) gathered Wednesday in the first-ever “Public Affairs Officers Summit” to reinvigorate its task of responsively supporting the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” at the Days Hotel in Tagaytay City, Cavite.

The two-day activity, which started Tuesday, was attended by Civil Military Operations (CMO) chiefs and Public Affairs officers of Major Services (Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy), Unified Commands, Department of National Defense, AFP Office of the Peace Process Chief, and the spokesmen of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Spearheaded by the AFP-Public Affairs Office (PAO), headed by its chief, Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, the summit seeks to improve and boost its core functions by organizing a medium for different public affairs practitioners to exchange their respective units/offices’ best practices, achievement and policies and brainstorm on possible recommendations and modification on its functions.

Among those who attended were Col. Vicente Gregorio Tomas of the Army's Deputy Civil Relations Service (CRS); and Rear Adm. Miguel Jose Rodriguez, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Officer (CMO), J7 of the AFP who presided the opening and closing remarks respectively.

In the first day of the summit, chiefs and representatives from Major Services and Unified Commands’ Public Information Offices presented some of their best practices with respect to their core duties as information officers, developments as well as concerns and recommendations on how to improve their offices.

On the second day, specialists from various forms of media discussed the PIO-media relationship, including the problems encountered and their suggestions to resolve them.

Among the presenters were former Defense Press Corps (DPC), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and Golden Dove awardee, and DZRH radio anchor Bing Formento; former DPC president and Business Mirror reporter Rene Acosta; GMA7 reporter Marisol Abdurahman; and Roberto Almario who discussed on new and ‘scatterable’ media. “This summit is the first occasion where top leaders of different information offices of the AFP gathered to discuss and revitalize their roles with regard to the IPSP Bayanihan. The summit also gave way for them to talk on problems encountered in the job and share different strategies on the best use of the media to attain public information goals,” said Burgos.

“This activity is a dream come true. It was a rare gathering of all the talking heads and public information officers of the different AFP units. This is actually the first time that CMO Chiefs and PIOs from the AFP Unified Commands have gathered and joined our public information officers forum to revitalize their respective units,” Burgos said.

“I hope that we will all have a share of our units’ best practices. Aside from that, this summit will be an opportunity for us to build camaraderie and friendship with our fellow public affairs operators, as well as with the members of the media,” said Tomas stressing that this event will contribute to the strengths of every AFP PIO.

“This is a momentous step by our CMO units in further improving our public affairs efforts and functions. It is always our priority to ensure that the public is well-informed of the activities and advocacies of the military,” Rodriguez said.

“The first-ever Public Affairs Summit is a significant headway towards achieving our shared goal of a just and lasting peace and stability within our nation. I commend all of our public affairs officers and CMO chiefs for successfully pioneering this one-of-a-kind event. We are looking forward to future gatherings like this to continuously support and reinvigorate our campaign of the Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan,” AFP Chief, Gen. Eduardo S.L. Oban Jr. said. (PNA) RMA/JCA

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