Australian Embassy
The Philippines

Mindanao media to meet with Australian Ambassador

Mindanao media to meet with Australian Ambassador

(Davao City - 19 April 2006) -- The local media in Mindanao will have an opportunity to learn from Australian Ambassador Tony Hely about Australia’s partnership with the Philippines in attaining peace and development in the region.

The Australian Ambassador will meet today with representatives of private and government media in Davao City in a media round table discussion on peace reporting at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.

The round table discussion will be attended by representatives of the Philippine Information Agency, ARMM Bureau of Public Information, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Philippine News Agency, Mindanao Communicators Network, Minsupala Journalists Association, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Mindanao Media Forum, Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, DXGM, Business Mirror, Mindanews, ABS-CBN, Davao SunStar, DXND-NDBC, DXGD-STBF, DXMM-STBF, DXRP Radyo ng Bayan, Mindanao Center for Peace and Development, and Mindanao Times.

Efren Elbanbuena, assistant director-general for Mindanao of the Philippine Information Agency, said the media round table discussion will assess the status of peace reporting in Mindanao and discuss strategies to further strengthen the role of media in promoting peace and development in Mindanao through peace reporting.

“Mindanao is not just about war. We have lots of good news and success stories in the Southern Philippines. We have a multicultural society that is always ready to work together for the attainment of peace and development in our region. We have a very friendly international community, including Australia, who has been silently working for Mindanao. This is the best time to let our people know of this partnership,” Assistant Director General Elbanbuena said.

In January 2006, Elbanbuena, together with five journalists from Mindanao, attended a summer course on peace reporting at the University of Sydney under the sponsorship of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The journalists are Bobby Timonera, editor of Mindanews in Iligan City; Babylin Omar, program manager of DXGD in Tawi-Tawi; Froilan Gallardo, chief of Mindanews video documentation in Cagayan de Oro; Mel Paraja, station coordinator of STBF-DXMM in Sulu; and Malu Manar, program director of DXND in Kidapawan City. The group was accompanied by AusAID Public Awareness Manager Rolly Inciong.

The media round table discussion will be immediately followed by the regular meeting of the Hermes Club of Insular, an organization of Davao City-based media practitioners headed by Elbanbuena. Ambassador Hely, together with AusAID Counsellor Angus Macdonald, will discuss Australia’s aid priorities in Mindanao.

Australia has been a major donor of bilateral grant aid to the Philippines, with 60 percent of its aid allocated to Mindanao. Australia assists in major areas of development priorities, including support to the peace and development efforts, basic education and training including Muslim education, human resource development, local governance, community assistance, agrarian reform and rural development, malaria control and prevention, assistance to women and children, and promotion of human rights.

In Mindanao, Australia has been the largest donor to the United Nations multi-donor program for returned MNLF members, their families and communities; and the UNICEF program for children.