#MyASEANStory is not only about witnessing history unfold, but also our effort in helping write the story.


I’m neither a journalist, a political or travel/food blogger, so this ASEAN post will not be about foreign relations, geopolitics or lifestyle.

Instead,  as one of the Senior Consultants for the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications (CMASC), I want to share how the group is helping in writing history with the campaigns being rolled out relative to PH Chairmanship and hosting, the management of the International Media Center (IMC) during the 30th Summit, and the creative and hard working people at CMASC. .

Elevating ASEAN discourse outside ‘social studies’

One of the tasks of CMASC is to elevate the ASEAN IQ of Filipinos. The awareness level of the majority seems to revolve around who are the member states, and the conflict at the West PH Sea.

To increase awareness, CMASC is simplifying the ASEAN message to make it understandable. The video below is a good example of a short but straight forward messaging.



To get the message across, CMASC is implementing roadshows, school tours, kiosks, publication and distribution of printed materials, and social media campaigns. There are more in the pipeline, like the “ASEAN buzz” and the “Social Media Conference Philippines”, but I will not discuss details yet.

Above strategy is consistent with the master plan of Sec. Martin Andanar for the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and attached agencies– that is to have a synergized and collective strategy to communicate Government programs, like the ASEAN hosting, in all fronts— on-ground, online, on-print and on-air.

#ASEAN2017 Roadshow

The roadshow is an event for local media, LGU, and representatives from different sectors and communities.

These are being held in cities where an ASEAN senior meeting is being hosted. Aside from PH Chairship, topics like Freedom  of Information, Presidential Task Force for Media Killings, Social Media for Governance, DuterteNomics, and RealNumbersPH can be included. The roadshows are being covered live in tv, radio and social media. Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan is on top of this action plan.

To date, roadshows has been held at Davao, Zamboanga, Baguio and Bacolod.



A smaller edition of this program,  KumpaS is being rolled out at barangay level. This is being spearheaded by Dir. Benjie Felipe.

#ASEAN2017 School Tour

The School Tour program is similar to a roadshow, but the target participants are students, and discussion is primarily ASEAN. The strategy is to provide a fun way of explaining ASEAN’s vision of one community. The objective is the same– to increase the ASEAN IQ.

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While the school tour can happen in the same week as the roadshow, it can be held stand alone or independent from the schedule of a roadshow or ASEAN major meeting. The school tour is spearheaded by Karl Louie Fajardo.

Below are short video clips of what transpired in previous school tours. The first clip is the singing of the ASEAN hymn by primary students, while the 2nd is a fun game for intermediate students, junior and senior high students.



#ASEAN2017 Kiosks, Social Media Lounge and Printed Materials

ASEAN Kiosks are being set-up in places where most people converge, to distribute ASEAN printed materials, and engage passers-by. At Bacolod, the questions we received revolve around economic “opportunities” for retirees and professionals. At Boracay, since some visitors are foreign tourists, the questions are more on the domain of the “what” since they are clueless of what ASEAN is. The ASEAN kiosk is being handled by DG Harold Clavite.

The #ASEAN2017 Social Media Lounge, on the other hand, is being set-up near or at the venue of a major ASEAN event. This is to provide guests an easy access to online contents about ASEAN, and to share these easily to different social media platforms.



#ASEAN2017 Social Media Campaigns

There are pocket online contests being held in different social media platforms every now and then.  These are meant to generate online buzz and sustain the discussion about ASEAN and PH hosting. Here’s one of the winners of the most recent contest, #ASEANTrivia.

Thank you very much @asksonnie @juned67 #ASEANSouvenir #ASEAN2017 #ASEANTRIVIA

A post shared by lilyangpalayaw (@dyuulaaleii) on


By the way, there is an on-going contest, dubbed #MyASEANStory. Check out details below. Spread the word and feel free to participate!


The International Media Center (IMC) during the 30th #ASEAN2017 Summit

What is IMC? This is somewhat the ‘bat cave’ of both local and international press during the 30th ASEAN Summit. This ‘bat cave’ is cool, and I find it conducive for work. Take a tour with this video and let me know what you think.


The recently concluded hosting is not perfect, we received few concerns from foreign media. These are minor and CMASC will take this up to National Organizing Committee (NOC) so appropriate adjustments can be done. Credit the almost seamless IMC operations  to  Under Secretary Noel Puyat, Assistant Secretary Kissinger Reyes and Director Howie Uyking, the leadership team supporting Sec. Andanar.

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Sec. Martin Andanar and USec. Noel Puyat giving press briefing at #ASEAN2017 30th Summit

Sec. Martin Andanar and USec. Noel Puyat giving press briefing


#ASEAN2017 Boracay Kiosk

with Director Howie Uyking at ASEAN 2017 Boracay Kiosk. Photo courtesy of Noemi Dado


#ASEAN2017 ASec Kissinger Reyes Press Briefer

USec. Noel Puyar and ASec. Kissenger Reyes. Photo courtesy of ASEAN 2017 website

Likewise, other officers like Pebbles Duque (Social Media), is helpful in making bloggers feel comfortable during the summit. And together with, Simon Pasuengos (Special Projects), they’re able to accommodate bloggers to cover the opening ceremony of the 30th Summit, who are originally not in the guest list.
Bloggers Covering #ASEAN2017

Bloggers covering the opening of the ASEAN Summit. (L-R) Jane Uymatiao, me, Noemi Dado, Francis Santos, Rocky Gonzales, and MJ Reyes. Photo courtesy of Jane Uymatiao


with ASec Margaux after the #ASEAN2017 Summit

Photo with ASec. Margaux Uson after the opening of the 30th ASEAN Summit


There are more unamed but equally creative and hardworking staff of PCOO and attached agencies who made the IMC operations a success, and covering and writing history as it unfolds. Thanks also to the student volunteers who assisted.



Issue with the ‘brown phone’

The back-pack given to media people has become an issue, somewhat. A not so expensive ‘brown phone’ became the center of controversy online.  Some media people voluntary returned the back-pack after discovering the phone. But because of the online buzz it generated, I heard others were ‘made’ to return the back pack by their mother unit. However, as I heard, the ‘brown phone’ and a few other items inside (some of) the returned back packs are missing. But thanks to Angel Abella, the process of distributing (and accepting the tokens back) were not chaotic.

Including a gadget as part of the media token is not new, a tablet was also given in the last APEC summit. If my understanding is correct, about 5000 tablets were ordered for the APEC summit compare with the 1000 ‘brown phone’ for ASEAN. Likewise, the reason for the ‘brown phone’ is to highlight a Filipino company, ‘MyPhone’, and the ASEAN app that is pre-installed in the ROM. This app can give access to event schedule, press briefers and other contents helpful for those covering the event.

I expect the ASEAN budget will be questioned every now and then (which is helpful, I believe, to ensure accountability), but since we cannot ascertain at this time if the budget is being spent wisely, the infographic below can help provide a birds eye view.


ASEAN 2017 compare with APEC


Though the 30th ASEAN summit has concluded, PH will still host the 50th anniversary on August, and the 31st ASEAN Summit with dialogue partners on November.

Until then…

This serves as the favicon of ASKSonnie

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