The past week saw the Philippines conclude its Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a grand hosting of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Manila from November 10-14.
I make a point to put this in posterity in my blog because a significant part of my work as a civil servant this year involved preparations and execution of various tasks in line with the responsibilities of the Presidential Communications Operations Office as lead agency of the ASEAN National Organizing Council’s Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications (CMASC).
In my opinion, given the circumstances at hand, the CMASC did a good job in hosting the international media centers during the two major ASEAN Summits this past week and last April, and during the 50th ASEAN Anniversary and Ministerial Meeting last August. Aside from that, it was able to execute and implement various grassroots programs and campaigns to promote, educate and inform stakeholders on ASEAN related information. It also provided publicity and communications support throughout the year to more than two hundred ASEAN-related meetings and commemorative events.
Success is measured, most of the time, by the outcome, and rarely by the process it underwent. Thus, the congratulatory compliment comes with the humble recognition that, definitely, a lot of things could have been done better if more favorable circumstances were present, and perhaps if a more detailed masterplan was designed early on by the people who were to actually execute them.
I say the first primary favorable condition to my mind being that the if CMASC had successfully bid out the services of established public relations or advertising agencies to handle all strategic communications and media placements throughout the year, the absence of which left the multi-million peso job to a handful of insignificantly-paid young but passionate and talented people in the office, I’d like to say including myself. And I say the latter “if a more detailed masterplan was designed early on” in the context of the fact that the entire budget was based on a plan designed by a totally different set of policy-makers from the previous administration whose jobs were, to their surprise maybe, turned over to a new set of officials upon the ‘unexpected’ election of the new President. The disconnect between the prepared budget and the actual operations as directed, as necessarily-implemented, and sometimes as suddenly executed on the whim and caprice of some sectors (and government officials), manifested in various negative ways throughout the year.
I will leave it at that.
The stress this ‘extra’ responsibility brought upon our offices, to me, weighs significantly in my desire to just move on from the experience and go back to normal operations in the office, and perhaps only preserve some memories to serve as a reminder or a lesson on how not to do certain things or how to perform certain responsibilities better should another project of this kind rest on our shoulders.