ARMM holds 1st Peace Communication Summit PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 April 2012 14:39

Media and civil society groups convened for the first-ever Peace Communication Summit of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) held at the Al-nor Convention Hall in Cotabato City.

Representatives from the media and civil society groups who came from Manila and various parts of Mindanao gathered on Tuesday to explore effective ways on how to communicate peace in reporting about the armed conflict in the south.

The participants related their experiences and exchanged views anchored on the theme, “Beyond conflict and political coverage: Is there a room for peace communication in Muslim Mindanao reportage?”

On behalf of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, Assistant Secretary Rosalie Romero relayed her speech to the assembly who commended the participants “for choosing to take part in the solution to the issues confronting conflict and political coverage in the country.”

Deles also urged everyone to “remain optimistic and affirm that indeed there is a space to communicate peace in reporting the Mindanao conflict.”
“Year after year, various groups and sectors have organized same forums, proving to us that journalists and communicators will never run out of avenues to become potent instruments of peace,” Deles added.

Resource persons from the government, civil society, and media provided information and backdrop for the whole-day discussion.

Assistant Secretary Rosalie Romero of the OPAPP Public Affairs Group provided updates on the peace talks and the government’s development efforts through the PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.

Carol Arguillas, editor of MindaNews, talked on the role of media in promoting peace in the coverage of armed conflict, while Guiamel Alim, chair of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), discussed the role of civil society organizations in peace communication.

Arguillas stressed that peace communication advocates have been discussing the same things again and again. “What we lack is action,” she said.

Apart from the media’s dearth of context, she argued that many reporters do not think about the consequences of what they write. “A minor skirmish can escalate into a major war because of irresponsible reportage. What we need to focus on is the repercussion of conflict and violence.”

Professor Arnold Molina-Azurin of the University of the Philippines College of Anthropology discussed the importance of changing the audience’s mindsets towards supporting the objectives of peace.

Azurin, who based his discussion on his paper entitled, “Enculturing Peace by Displacing Myths and War-prone Mindset with Multicultural Knowledge,” underlined the need to transform mindsets and educate oneself consistently as a peace communicator.

“We, peace communicators should be creative in changing mindsets. We should be working harder in acquiring knowledge because this knowledge will be the one to displace the bad ideas,” he said.

Following the presentations was an open forum where participants assessed the current state of conflict reportage and talked over ways to improve it.
The ARMM Peace Communication Summit was organized by armmpeace.com, an ad hoc group composed of the ARMM Bureau of Public Information, OPAPP, The Asia Foundation, and CBCS. — PIA