4th Mindanao Media Summit deemed a success
by Noel B. Najarro
Butuan City (15 August) -- More than fifty media practitioners from all over Mindanao attended the 4th Mindanao Media Summit (4MMS) held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City on August 7-9, 2008.
With the theme:"Mindanao 2020:The Vision Begins With Us" the editors, radio and television station managers and other media personalities gathered to tackle the question that whether twelve years from now, will we still be "bad news Mindanao?" will we continue to hog the headlines of national papers, radio and television networks because of bombings, kidnappings and wars?
Will we still be talking peace negotiations between government and MNLF or government and MILF? Will we still have the ARMM, the expanded autonomous region according to the MNLF peace pact or the MILF's Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity or a combination of the three?
Will we be able to listen to more Lumad voices by then? Barring any constitutional changes by 2020, we shall have two presidential terms, three local terms and four ARMM terms.
While acknowledging that the understanding of the past is necessary to understand the present, the 4th Mindanao media Summit (4MMS) has intended to be futuristic, to get Mindanao's media and its citizenry to envision a future peace, development and justice.
The 4MMS theme: "Mindanao 2020:The Vision Begins With Us," has intended to get Mindanawons to work for the future beyond 2008 or 2010. "Mindanao 2020" can also be interpreted as the year of perfect vision (20/20). Either way, it is a Mindanawon's assertion that the future will be a better one. It points out also that envisioning involves not only imagining, dreaming; it also requires daring and doing.
Timely and pertinent issues and concerns affecting not only the island of Mindanao but also of the whole country were presented during the plenaries. The first evening workshop was set for the crafting of "Visioning Mindanao 2020" where every area were required to present the pressing issues and concerns of their respective regions. It was ably facilitated by Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR. The outcome of the said workshop is still with the styling committee for final refinement. The evening was capped with a media fellowship and solidarity night with Mr. Marcos C. Mordeno (MindaNews) as the Moderator.
On the second day, Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) gave briefing on the "Updates on the GRP-MILF Peace Process," as the morning's first topic of discussion. It was followed by the "Civil Society Critiques Mindanao Media Coverage" by the civil society representatives coming from the affected areas, Ms. Fatmawati Salapuddin, Director of the Bangsamoro Women solidarity Forum and atty. Mary Ann Arnado, Secretary General of the Mindanao People's Caucus. Then it was followed by a discussion on "Peace, Elections, Autonomy and Development," by Dr. Steven Rood, the Country Director of the Asia Foundation.
In the afternoon, a briefing on the monitoring of the ARMM elections was given by Mr. Salic Ibrahim, the Lanao del Sur Coordinator of the Citizen's Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (C-Care). It was followed by another briefing conducted by Ms. Somsri Hananuntasuk, (a Thailander) the Executive Director of the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL). Another briefing followed it by Mr. Kingsley Rodrigo, (a Sri Lankan), head of the Mission of ANFREL.. Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, who was supposed to give the afternoon message failed to arrive due to some urgent matters she attended in Manila, but she just sent her message for the forum participants.
The afternoon session was capped by the "Reporting of the ARMM Elections" and the "Media Briefing on the Computerization and the ARMM Elections," by Atty. James Jiminez, Director, Education and Information department, Commission on Elections. Fr. Jonathan Domingo, OMI (Mindanao Cross) was the forum moderator.
The final day (Saturday morning) was centered on the discussions on the deeper roots of the Christian-Moro conflict in Mindanao with Prof. Rudy Rodil, the Vice-Chair of the Government Peace Panel in negotiations with MILF as the resource person. The morning session ended with a the topic "Reporting the Peace Process" by Ms. Carolyn O. Arguillas (MindaNews).
The 4th Mindanao Media Summit was supported by the Asia Foundation with funding support from the United States Agency for International development's Conflict Management Program-Supporting the GRP-MILF Peace Process Component and the Canadian International Development Agency's providing Electoral Assistance in the ARMM program and the Canadian Embassy. (Butuan Star/PIA-Caraga) [top]