Some 160 government information officers coming from national line agencies, local government units and GOCCs who are members of the Mindanao Communicators Network (MindaComNet) converged at Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City last November 12 – 14 for its annual congress.
With its theme “Build Back Better Mindanao”, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 9 Regional Director Noemi Edaga who is this year’s host said, she hoped that communicators will be enlightened on the different topics during the 3-day congress particularly on the experiences of 3 different LGUs on conflict and disaster relief and rehabilitation in Mindanao.
Christian Olasiman, representing Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, formally welcomed the delegates to “Asia’s Latin City”, noted for its Chavacano dialect that was derived from the Spanish language.
PIA 11 Regional Director and MindaComNet President Efren Elbanbuena extended his apologies due to the non-attendance of Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma as Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker due to his trip to Myanmar to accompany the President.
LGUs Cagayan de Oro City and Davao Oriental shared their “best practices” on disaster relief and rehabilitation brought about by super typhoons Sendong and Pablo, respectively, particularly on relocation of homeless families and provision of livelihood and employment to displaced individuals.
Likewise LGU Zamboanga City shared its experiences about its infamous “Zamboanga City Siege” by MNLF rebels that resulted not only to an armed and bloody confrontation between government security forces and the rebels, but also to a “humanitarian crisis” due to the scale of civilians involved in the conflict.
The said events happened a year ago but with the pace of rehabilitation efforts of said LGUs, the state of normalcy is gradually returning to the different communities affected.
In a “windshield view” tour made by the organizers in the last day of the congress, delegates were able to see first-hand the destruction brought about by the siege in Sta. Barbara, Zamboanga City, but were also happy that residents in the area have so far returned to their normal life.
Other topics presented include New Trends on Social Media for Information, Promotion of Climate Change Public Advocacy by the Zamboanga City Information and Communication Technology Office; Prospect and Opportunities of Mindanao in ASEAN Integration by Mindanao Development Authority; Update on Bangsamoro Basic Law by OPAPP; and, NGCP Hour.
The delegates likewise made a commitment signing entitled “Nagbago na Ako” as part of its Public Advocacy on Climate Change during the congress.
Prior to the closing program, delegates were treated to a city tour especially to places of interests and attractions such as Fort Pilar, National Museum, Paseo del Mar, Pasonanca Park, Yakan Weaving Center and Barter Trade Market.
Next year’s host of the MindaComNet Congress is Cagayan de Oro City.