Highlighting the power of the social media to bolster advocacy efforts online, the fourth-year Development Communication (DevCom) students of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan have filled a cinema house in Ayala Centrio Mall on February 22 for their 4th Mindanao Young Communicators’ Congress.
Bearing the theme “#INFOential: Digitalizing Advocacies,” the event has gathered close to 200 participants from various junior, senior high school, and college students in and outside of Cagayan de Oro. These included students from University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines, Liceo de Cagayan University, Xavier Ateneo, Lourdes College, Mindandao State University - Naawan, Bukidnon State University, Manolo NHS, Holy Cross, Corpus Christi and St Mary’s Academy.
Three speakers from different organizations flew in from Ilo-ilo and Manila, respectively, to grace the event: Marlon Nombrado, the co-founder of Out of the Box Media Literacy initiative; Angeli Monique Siladan, a UP Diliman alumna and the Project Manager of Qapwa, a digital storytelling platform; and Hamilcar Chanjueco Jr, founder of Mindanao Pride and a DevCom alumnus.
Giving a nod to his DevCom roots, Chanjueco said during his talk, “In DevCom, [we] were taught to be digital, but at the same time, to be traditional,” to emphasize the need to still get to know the audience for advocacies.
“It is important to balance the effort on ground and online," Nombrado stressed during his talk. "This is simply by conducting training [sessions] with students and teachers to develop habits. Although advocating online content can have strong impacts like a project can be a trending for a week or months, but eventually it is forgotten, so the challenge is sustaining it.”
This was reiterated by Siladan, who shared, “If you want to be relevant in influencing online, you also have to be visible offline as well.”
The Mindanao Young Communicators’ Congress is an annual event that serves as a class requirement for students taking up DC 33: Seminars for Development.∎