AFP reinforces social media initiatives to get closer to Filipinos

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With over a thousand participants from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of National Defence, Philippine National Police, academe, government agencies, private and civil-society groups, modernizing the (AFP) has taken on a new context as it endeavours to arm itself with social media to be more open and closer to the Filipino people in the biggest armed forces event at the AFP 1st Social Media Summit held on July 11, 2014 at the AFP Theatre, Camp Aguinaldo.

Spearheaded by the Media and Civil Affairs Group and the AFP Civil-Military Operations School of the Civil Relations Service AFP and organized by public relations agency Ardent Communications, “the summit seeks to enhance the AFP’s online reputation, strengthen nationalism and public service awareness through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks,” said Brigadier General Romeo Gan CRSAFP Commander.

According to Brigadier General Romeo Gan, “The summit will improve the AFP’s initiatives in information and communication management, enhance the skills of social media managers and build a bigger network with AFP’s civilian counterparts. It will also establish a structure or mechanism that will synergize and harness social media efforts to achieve organizational and national goals.”

“‘Social media is a reality. We need a balance between transparency and the use of social media with the requisites of holding the confidentiality of information that will compromise the performance of our mandate. Control’ is not the appropriate term. It’s just managing and balancing between the need for secrecy and transparency as well. We have internal guidelines in the use of social media,” AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista said in an interview on the sides of the conference.

“It is just about time that the AFP maximizes Internet tools such as the social media to strengthen their connection to the people and optimize communication avenues in social media,” said Ana Pista, managing director of Ardent Communications Inc (ArdentComm) and one of the speakers.

Earlier this year, AFP CMO School also conducted the 5-day extensive seminar and training on Social Media Management Training for various AFP units. The Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation and Communication, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office also participated in the said training.

“The AFP CMO School is in line with the AFP Social Media Summit in providing world-class training and equipping armed forces personnel with high-technology skills to further enhance their efficiency in public service,” said MAJ JO-AR A HERRERA PA, AFP CMO School Commandant.

“The AFP Social Media Summit is geared at boosting and synergizing AFP’s online initiatives and strengthening nationalism and public service awareness through social media networks,” said MAJ MICHAEL T AQUINO PA, Media and Civil Affairs Group Commander.

The summit plenary topics and speakers include the following:

    • Opening Address – CRSAFP Commander BGEN
        ROMEO G GAN AFP
      • State of Social Media for Organizations – Janette Toral
      • Utilizing Facebook for National Interest – Rafael Alunan III
      • Keynote Address – AFP Chief of Staff GEN EMANNUEL T BAUTISTA
      • Public Relations in Social Media – Ana Pista
      • Twitter Trends, Developments and Issues – Hannah Abello
      • Long-Term Impact of Social Media in Organizations – Ben Francia
      • Preparing Organizations for “Social” Speed – Raffy Pekson
      • Organizational Branding on Social Media – Giancarlo Viterbo
      • Organization’s Path to the Future with Social Media – Wo Rocete
      • Uplifting AFP’s Image in Social Media – Gang Bado
      • Summit Synthesis – MAJ MICHAEL T AQUINO PA

Closing Address – J7 MGEN LYSANDER A SUERTE AFP

AFP is already in Facebook since 2009, posting updates and programs as well as news of national concern. A year later, AFP joined Twitter (https://twitter.com/TeamAFP) to broaden its social media networks. Currently, AFP’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/armedforcesofthephilippines) has over 77, 000 followers with more than 200 visits daily. Their Twitter account has almost 27,000 followers. The AFP also has its own blog at http://teamafp.tumblr.com/. Their official website is http://www.afp.mil.ph/ .