DAVAO CITY—The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Eastern Mindanao briefed members of Davao del Norte’s Information Officers Network (ION) on Friday, September 21, to increase their understanding of the recalibrated messaging strategy of the National Task Force to Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The said messaging approach aims to amplify the national government’s efforts in fostering unity, peace, and development, while countering anti-government propaganda.

“The NTF-ELCAC’s messaging shifts towards the intensification of promoting unity, peace, and development. For OPAPRU, this is a pivotal move because our aim is to counter the divisive narratives propagated by groups that are against the government,” said Atty. Elisa D. Evangelista-Lapiña, OPAPRU Director for Eastern Mindanao.

The central theme of the NTF-ELCAC’s StratCom Cluster for this year is encapsulated in the slogan: “Magkaisa Para sa Abot-Kamay na Kapayaan, Kaligtasan, at Kaunlaran” (Unite for Achievable Peace, Security, and Prosperity).

According Lapiña, the decision to focus on unity, peace, and development as the central themes of the StratCom Cluster’s messaging reflects the government’s commitment to address the root causes of the decades-long communist insurgency.

By highlighting the benefits of peace and development, she said, the campaign aims to draw support away from the false promises and divisive tactics peddled by anti-government forces.

“OPAPRU’s Local Peace Engagement and Transformation Program framework has been instrumental in fostering cooperation and understanding at the grassroots level,” Lapiña pointed out.

By cascading this framework to the StratCom Cluster, the government seeks to strengthen its ability to communicate effectively with the public and counter the anti-government forces’ efforts to undermine peace and stability here in Eastern Mindanao,” she added.

NTF-ELCAC’s Message House

During a gathering of Davao del Norte’s information officers at Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte, Oliver Binancilan, head of OPAPRU’s Davao Area Management Unit, highlighted the flexibility of the suggested messages per pillar.

Binancilan said these messages can be modified, provided that any revision aligns with the overarching objective of the Message House – promoting unity towards peace, safety, and development.

Binancilan then urged the information officers to convey the message purposefully to sustain the gains of peace, emphasizing that the responsibility for working towards peace falls on the shoulders of all government agencies, not just the police and the military.

At the core of Message Pillar 1 is the concept of Localized Peace Engagement (LPE), which signifies the government’s commitment to achieving genuine peace through community-based efforts.

This message pillar underscores the belief that peace is a collective responsibility and that the LPE approach represents the right path toward lasting peace.

“The message conveys that peace cannot be achieved through violence and that the government is dedicated to working hand in hand with local communities. ‘Kapayapaan Natin, Responsibilidad Natin’ encapsulates the community-centric nature of LPE,” Binancilan added.

The Message Pillar 2, “Kaligtasan” or “Safety,” emphasizes that meaningful change cannot be achieved through violence. It stresses that genuine peace and progress cannot be realized through armed conflict.

This pillar aims to debunk the decades-long lies and deceit spawned by violent, misguided ideologies.

Moreover, Message Pillar 3, “Kaunlaran” or “Development,” underscores that armed violence is a hindrance to the progress of our nation and diminishes the prospects of a brighter future.

It emphasizes that programs for those who have returned to the folds of the law will be the key to building peaceful and prosperous communities.

Meanwhile, Lapiña said that the peace-loving Filipinos should support NTF-ELCAC’s comprehensive, holistic and theme-based communication campaign aimed at gaining widespread support for the government’s peace efforts in Davao and in Eastern Mindanao with LPE interventions and the Transformation Program at its core. ###