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COMMUNICATORS’ SUMMIT HELD IN AID OF CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT – MASONGSONG

Recognizing the indispensable role communication plays in advancing the rural electrification program, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) recently hosted the first-ever Electric Cooperative (EC) Communicators’ Summit.

Held at the NEA headquarters in Quezon City, the summit brought together a total of 255 information officers (IOs) and Institutional Services Department (ISD) managers from 117 ECs nationwide.

The activity carried the theme “Member-Consumer-Owner (MCO) Empowerment through Strong, Reliable and Effective Communication System.”

It aimed to set a consumer empowerment direction for the ECs through the introduction of a new NEA communications policy, which underscores the aggressive promotion of rural electrification program, and maximizes the utilization of traditional and new media to achieve sectoral objectives and respective corporate goals.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, in his message during the first day of the summit, stressed the importance of maximizing the utilization of media, including social networks, to advance the rural electrification program of the national government.

“If we are able to do that, the minds of the Filipino people will be convinced that the only way for us to advance is for the rural folks and communities to maximize electrification, to pursue medium and large scale economic undertakings, not just small initiatives, and not wait for the investors to come but for them to mobilize their own resources,” he said.

At the same time, the NEA chief underscored the need for continued partnership with the ECs and MCOs to achieve sustainable development in the countryside. He also called for a strengthened movement-building of non-profit distribution utilities in order to protect the gains of rural electrification.

The gathering likewise provided an opportunity for ISD managers and information officers to discuss the challenges they face in communicating with the public and the possible solutions to address them.

Another highlight of the summit was the election of the officers of the newly established League of Electric Cooperatives Information and Communications Officers Nationwide (LEXICON).

The organization is expected to play an integral role in disseminating all industry related news and information for the welfare and empowerment of the ECs and MCOs.

At the end of the summit, ISD managers and information officers issued a declaration, in which they recognized the significance of empowering their MCOs through strong, reliable and effective communication system.

They also expressed their determination “to take bolder and sustained collective actions to inject new dynamism into the Rural Electrification Movement to promote sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth of and among members of the various sectors of the power industry.”

They likewise agreed to “strengthen inter-corporate integration and enhance the full potential of the partnerships forged between ECs, MCOs, and the NEA.”

Moreover, they pledged to “adhere to the principles of transparency, accountability, information dissemination and education as indispensable anchors for the attainment of the objectives of people empowerment.”

Cognizant of the significant contribution of the rural electrification movement in the pursuit of countryside development, they also committed themselves to the authority and direction of the NEA “in setting the direction of the programs and initiatives of the country’s electric cooperatives in consumer communications and empowerment.”

In the declaration, they also urged the NEA to, among others, “issue a comprehensive communications policy to commit ourselves into and to serve as the roadmap of electric cooperatives in crafting our respective communications program in pursuit of the goals of MCO empowerment.”

The two-day event was organized in coordination with the Philippine Association of Institutional Managers (Philaim), NEA Institutional Development Department, Corporate Communication and Social Marketing Office (CCSMO), and the NEA-EC Training Institute (NETI).

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