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Proposed Integrated Communications Strategy


In support of the
Defense Resource Mobilization Plan
Department of National Defense

PART 1 INTRODUCTION

Preface

The country is right now facing multi-dimensional national security threats. Unfortunately, the
Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) responses and capabilities to handle these are adversely
affected by a stringent law (RA 7898) that hampers, instead of aids, modernization funds and
resources. However, despite the unrelenting onslaught of local and transnational threats, the
Department of National Defense (DND) & the AFP have the unprecedented opportunity to
reinforce its role in the areas of securing peace and nation-building. This is due to the evolving
awareness that the military today is a vital element in the country’s thrust toward progress. The
DND’s mandate to protect people against internal & external threats and to assist in the socio-
economic development of RP is justification enough for the communications program.

Rationale

A communications strategy will enable the AFP-DND to proactively enhance and reinforce public
perception in order for it to achieve its resource mobilization goals. We have a one-year window
of opportunity to be on the offensive. Numerous allegations have been levelled against the AFP-
DND, the most prominent are:

1. Corruption within the circle of its high-ranking officers as seen by the RP & US governments
2. Lack of credibility in the eyes of the media
3. Lack of competence in the eyes of the Filipino public

Notwithstanding the negative perception that has been created by these allegations, the AFP-
DND is still garnering substantial amount of positive public and media opinion with regard to the
institution being a catalyst for national peace, security, and development. The campaign against
the Abu Sayyaf Gang (ASG) and the resulting notion that peace is essential in development is
more than enough to place the military as one of the key players in national progress. Also,
recent developments, aside from the anti-terrorist campaign and the Balikatan Joint Military
exercise, has placed the AFP-DND in the forefront of both positive and negative news
campaigns, namely:

1. The continuing apprehension within the RP & US Congresses that the AFP-DND is corrupt
(Negative)
2. The growing perception that the AFP-DND needs drastic modernization in terms of training,
military hardware, income, & benefits (Positive)
3. The warming of RP-US relations (Positive)
4. The CCP-NPA-NDF and other insurgent/ secessionist groups as the root cause of peace and
order problems (Positive)
5. Laws that greatly hamper the thrust of the military to modernize its capabilities because of its
stringency. It is a tedious process compounded by too much layers and the lack of financial
expertise within the organization (Positive)
6. The on-going debate on the unresolved National Security Doctrine (Negative)
7. The clamor for the restoration of peace and order as the foundation for national development,
as proven by recent surveys (Positive)

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The AFP’s limited response to multidimensional national threats is not only caused by the lack of
resources, it can also be traced to the ongoing debate on national security doctrine. The current
conceptualization of national security, as well as the strategy it espouses, doesn’t seem to be
applicable to our concept anymore.

The current situation is too complex and broad for the country’s limited resources and laws.
National security is now defined as encompassing the political, social, & economic aspects of life.
This current definition is infinitely better and more extensive and encompassing than the
traditional concept of guardianship, protection and defense against armed threat. An alternative
definition of national security is to simply create the conditions for the nation to achieve its goals –
its goals being, among others: economic progress and ecological preservation.

Put in this perspective, our strategic direction to acquire modernization funds and public support
must leverage and address the following factors and developments:

1. Continuing CPP- NPA Threat to National Security Concerns


The CPP-NPA is the root cause of the peace & order problem. Poverty provides the environment
for them to thrive in. Defense modernization is a step toward confidence in investment and in
commerce in RP. Among all the local armed groups – Abu Sayyaf Gang, the MILF, the Kidnap-
for-Ransom gangs, pirates, drug-traffickers, & smugglers – it is still the CPP-NPA that poses the
biggest internal threat to national security.

In all these threats, one issue stands out: a strong increase in communications and black
propaganda campaign by insurgents against the government, the AFP in particular. This should
be resolved by likewise augmenting anti-terrorist propaganda through an effective
communications plan.

2. New US Focus on Asia


In May 2001, the Pentagon-sponsored Rand Corporation Study recommended that the US should
shift the focus of its military presence in Asia toward RP and other nations closer to potential
hotspots such as Taiwan and Indonesia. This suggests the return of strong US military presence
in the region. For them, it is cheaper to destabilize and change the rulers here than pay for a
lackey role in proxy wars. For instance, Guam should be developed as a major hub from which
the US Air Force and Navy could project power into the South China Sea and elsewhere in
Southeast Asia. As the re-emerging Asian alliance is formed to counter China and terrorist plans,
RP-US ties are being strengthened.

To achieve this, the Heritage Foundation recommended that US should be persuaded to


assemble a military aid package for RP. We should project locally and internationally that RP is
in serious need of help in the task of re-equipping its defense forces. It is in the interest of the US
to assist in the process with a package of surplus communication and surveillance equipment,
surveillance aircraft, ships, and radar in the short and medium terms. Hence, this study and
statement must be utilized to the hilt in our strategy. We must stress that only with a
respectable self-defense capability will RP be more likely to be an effective US partner in
defending US & regional interests, as well as Asian sealanes in the near future.

3. Transnational Threats
Transnational security issues dominate this field of concern, and so does problems like narcotics
proliferation, environmental terrorism, cyberterrorism, and of course, insurgency. Transnational
security issues, like terrorism, are defined as nonmilitary threats that cross borders that either

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threaten the political and social integrity of a nation or the health and even financial well-being of
a nation’s inhabitants. Transnational threats can be classified as:

1. Transnational terrorism
2. Narcotics proliferation
3. Environmental degradation & terrorism
4. Cyberterrorism
5. Biological terrorism & medical threats

To illustrate further, RP is now a major transit point for illegal drugs, particularly shabu, destined
for the US West Coast. If there is anything that gives US authorities nightmares, it is drugs made
abroad and illegally slipped across US borders. Since the AFP plays a key role in advancing and
preserving the peace and order condition in the region, the communications plan must emphasize
that without AFP modernization, RP is on the road to not only being a terrorist haven, but another
Colombia, too.

Other potential national threats are related to energy, economic disparities, food & water
shortage, population explosion, and environmental degradation. Population explosion is a long-
term problem, but as early as now, the AFP should assist the government in its environmental
program through its facilities and personnel. Water shortage and environmental degradation fall
under the AFP’s disaster preparedness and prevention duties. The military assistance and
modernization package should strengthen the non-conventional defensive abilities of the AFP
and civilian defense agencies. Illegal logging & deforestation, piracy, illegal fishing & coral
depletion, illegal transshipment of toxic substances, for instance, make it imperative for an AFP-
DENR partnership to address this for an immediate perception impact.

Finally, the growth of the biotechnology industry makes it easier for a proliferator to produce
sufficient quantities of biological agents. This makes RP more vulneralbe to biological terrorism
and medical threats because of the porous nature of its archipelago. Our efforts should effect a
bipartisan and trans-Pacific resolve to raise the public and policy-level awareness of threats that
can be addressed through the appropriation of funds for AFP modernization.

4. Policy-making and legislative concerns

This mainly concerns creative amendments to existing laws and drafting new laws that would
benefit the welfare and morale of the soldiers. In addition, the National Security Act & the National
Security Doctrine have to be defined and finalized in order to determine the appropriate military
hardware that would be needed by the AFP-DND to counter all the threats forementioned above.

PART 2 GOAL, STRATEGIES, & OBJECTIVES

A. GOAL & STRATEGIES

GOAL
To successfully persuade the US Congress to appropriate a milittary package consisting of
financial assistance and military hardware to support the modernization thrust of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines within 2 years. To accomplish this, the following groups will undertake
the following:
• Rhoads Weber Shandwick (RSW), the Washington-based lobbying firm, to lobby the US
Congress for the desired goal
• Weber Shandwick (WS) to implement a Public Affairs Support program to assist RSW

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• Bozell Sawyer Miller Group Worldwide Phils. (BSMG) to handle the domestic Public
Affairs Information Campaign in support of the US efforts of RSW and WS

MAIN STRATEGY
In the short-term, US should be persuaded to assemble a military aid package for RP. We should
project locally and internationally that RP is in serious need of help in the task of re-equipping its
defense forces. The main argument: It is only with a respectable self-defense capability that
RP will more likely be an effective US partner in defending US & regional interests, as well
as Asian sealanes in the near future. Thus, it is in the interest of the US to assist in the process
with a package of surplus communication and surveillance equipment, surveillance aircraft, ships,
and radar in the short and medium terms. In fact, Adm. Thomas Fargo, the newly-installed
CINCPAC chief, said in Basilan that the US is helping RP because it is the US’ vital and strategic
partner in the region. (PDI, p. 1, May 18, 2002)

MEDIUM-TERM STRATEGY
For the AFP-DND to be duly recognized both locally and internationally, as a professional and
modern institution under the command and leadership of the present administration.

Operational Recommendations

Appropriation should include provision and creation of a strong cadre of Information (Psy-Ops)
warriors. This unit should have a civilian, multi-disciplinary advisory group to supplement it. This
initiative should be overseen by the US and should be given a priority even in non-critical periods
to sustain reputation and image of AFP. This will enable RP to be propaganda content and leaflet
production center for the region.

LONG-TERM STRATEGY
• To build a reputation for the AFP as a pillar and key partner of the people with regard to
national development
• For the Bush Administration to fully recognize and to accept the AFP as a preferred partner in
establishing democratic and economic interests, and as a vital component for peace and a
key element in national development and regional peace.

Operational Recommendations

• Explore avenues for bartering RP products for military equipment through DTI’s Philippine
International Trading Corp. (PITC).
• Explore avenues for getting military equipment and ranger & disaster-training through helping
the DENR enforce the debt-for-nature swap. DENR’s Natural Resources Dev. Corp. (NRDC)
can assist in this project. By providing ranger and patrol assistance, the AFP can get a share
of the dollar amount that the US will grant RP for preserving its natural resources.

B. OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES

OBJECTIVE 1: MOBILIZE SUPPORT FROM RP GOVERNMENT, RP PUBLIC, & RP MEDIA

BSMG to convince government officials that the allocation of a bigger AFP-DND budget is not an
expense, but an investment in better peace & order that is vital to progress and economic
development. Public opinion regarding the AFP-DND, therefore, should be increased among

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Filipinos in RP through an integrated and well-coordinated communications campaign. The


following would be the target publics:

 Members of the Senate & Congress Defense Committees


 Movers of the AFP Modernization Plan
 US Embassy In Manila
 Philippine media/ opinion makers
 Filipino masses
 Filipino youth

Tactical Recommendation
• Members of the Defense Committee in the Lower House - Include the Senate Defense
Committee under Senator Magsaysay. Joint AFP-Magsaysay projects such as medical
missions and responsible parenthood missions would enhance images of both principals.
• US Embassy in Manila – Include RP Embassy in Washington for coordination.
• Form databases of Filipino constituents for local and US campaign. A signature drive could
generate this.

OBJECTIVE 2: SUPPORT FOR U.S. ANTI-TERRORIST INITIATIVES IN RP


BSMG responsible for improving AFP-DND image in order for the organization to gain:
• In the short-term, aid package for vital electronic surveillance material;
• In the mid-term, aircraft, ships, and undersea mapping equipment to protect our sovereign
territory; and
• In the long-term, the means to address non-military threats such as environmental
degradation, water shortage, population explosion, man-made or natural disasters, etc…

Tactical Recommendations

• Mobilizing Fil-Am constituents from every state to write to their congressmen & senators to
appropriate funds for AFP modernization.
• Commissioning a Washington think tank to draft a study supportive of this goal. Heritage
comes off as more palatable than Rand, in the matter.
• Mobilizing local and US chapters of the Expansionist party, a US-based group advocating
statehood for various countries. Already, there is a local, but unorganized, groundswell for
this. This should put potential US opponents off-guard and force target publics to listen to our
message. In the mind of a typical US legislator, it is cheaper to grant appropriations than to
make a state of a fractious republic.

OBJECTIVE 3: MOBILIZE SUPPORT FROM U.S. GOVERNMENT, U.S. PUBLIC AND MEDIA,
& FIL-AMERICANS
RSW & WS to convince U.S. government officials that the appropriation of a bigger military
assistance package to the AFP-DND is not an expense, but an investment in better peace &
order that is vital to security, democracy, and economic development in the region. Public opinion
regarding the AFP-DND, therefore, should be increased among Filipino-American publics in the
US through an integrated and well-coordinated communications campaign. The following would
be the target publics:

 US Congress
 US State Department
 Executive Office

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 Filipino-American communities
 Other pertinent agencies of the US government
 US media/ opinion makers in print and TV
 RP Embassy to liaise & coordinate

Tactical Recommendation
 Grassroots Signature/Mail campaign in both countries. DOLE & DFA to assist in coordination
with expat Filipinos.

OBJECTIVE 4: PERCEPTION DEVELOPMENT FOR THE RP PUBLIC


BSMG responsible for crafting messages to help the AFP-DND achieve the following perception
objectives:
• The AFP-DND – its officers and soldiers – is a professional institution
• The AFP-DND is a significant pillar of national progress
• The AFP-DND is an organization the people can trust

Tactical Recommendation:
• To support the point that the AFP-DND is an organization the people can trust, the AFP’s
disaster preparedness and prevention capabilities and materiel must be strengthened by
modernization funds. Nothing can surpass propaganda in deed when people are in need of
help during disasters. The AFP becomes the face of a responsive and compassionate state
in this situation.

BSMG PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES

PHASE 1: TO FOCUS ON URGENCY FOR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA TO MODERNIZE AFP-


DND THROUGH EDITORIAL LOBBYING

Tactical Recommendations
1. Begin research, study, & consultations regarding existing laws that touch on the military,
particularly its modernization efforts
2. Initiate investigative editorial output on the study and comparative analysis of existing laws
governing the military
3. Form matrix of existing laws covering the military, including its authors, for the purpose of
lobbying efforts and consultation
4. Push AFP-DND Legislative Agenda that would boost funding & morale. It would cover:
• Law for proceeds from Malampaya Gas Project to be appropriated for AFP
• Law for savings from Debt-for-Nature swap to be appropriated for AFP
• Law standardizing AFP-PNP payscale (P1.6-B needed to be at par with PNP. P8.6-B to be at
par with teachers)
• Amendments to BCDA Law increasing AFP share from 35% to 55%
• National Defense & Security Act giving new, broader definition to National Security &
formulating National Defense Doctrine. AFP-DND, with the help of BSMG, can initiate steps
in the Senate executive session scheduled for June 2002. Spearheaded by Sen. Blas Ople,
the session will determine national defense strategy and the ensuing modernization
requirements. Public hearings will follow. This will be a good local forum for AFP-DND to
project to RP & US Congresses.

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Specific Recommendations
• Feature lack of disaster preparedness capability and materiel and the need for funding and
training for such
• For the 2 civilian-led front groups, a letter-writing and op-ed page campaign will be used to
convince their congressmen to support AFP modernization legislative agenda. Local and US-
based chapters will have synchronized grassroots mail campaign.
• Initiate coalitions with power blocs and interest groups both here and in the US
• Create a local and US-based socio-civic organization that would spearhead a
correspondence campaign for modernization and policy changes to Congress
• Launch “Alliance for Peace” campaign, a civilian-led movement supporting the modernization
thrust of the AFP. This could have regional scope
• Increase media exposure in print and broadcast

PHASE 2: ENHANCE THE CREDIBILITY OF THE AFP

Tactical Recommendations
• Editorial focus on the AFP’s peace initiatives
• Launch “peace missions” in Mindanao and Muslim enclaves in Metro Manila (medical
missions, special assistance & financing schemes for small livelihood projects, etc…)
• Peace missions should include medical missions, responsible parenthood missions, and
infrastructure repair missions by the Construction Brigades. AFP’s IT group can give basic
computer, email, & Internet lessons to people from specific communities. Or they can build a
network to keep in touch with communities and gather data and information from them. This
creates linkages with the Church, NGOs, & LGUs.
• Goodwill should flow both ways, the public should be encouraged to adopt a Unit, Soldier, or
a Soldier’s Child and show support in various ways.
• Feature stories on qualities, life, and sacrifice RP peacekeepers posted in various hotspots
abroad. Also on their dependents and what they go through.
• Letter-writing project should include RP soldiers in UN Peacekeeping forces.
• Depict the conditions of enlisted men in the field and scarcity of their dependents. Low pay,
no house, etc. Including veterans. Emphasize that morale is high when the soldier’s needs
are taken care of, including his family’s.

PHASE 3: BUILD INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR THE AFP

Tactical Recommendations
• Launch an integrated and well-coordinated communications campaign both in the US and RP
• Launch anti-terrorism advertising scenario geared to reach the Filipino youth
• Highlight anti-terrorist activities of the AFP-DND to US audiences through international print
and TV media
• Begin a once-a-month full-page feature for the AFP-DND
• Build rapport with local and international media
• Feature the work of the Navy’s Construction Brigade and AFP Engineers and involve them in
Peace Missions for community infrastructure assistance. Find niches of gov’t and private
sector neglect
• Feature jungle warfare and survival capabilities in X-Games/Survivor format for the youth
• Focus on AFP’s e-procurement system. This will speed up implementation in order to prove
to the US and to the world that the RP is serious about transparency in all government
transactions.

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PHASE 4: LAUNCH SPECIAL MULTI-MEDIA CAMPAIGN TERRORISM

Tactical Recommendations
• Launch professional computerization of the AFP-DND. Wire the vital agencies and publicize
the effort.
• Launch first issue of Defense Digest, internal magazine of the DND & AFP
• Coordinate with a major daily on the possibility of putting a half-page column on a soldier’s
life at the warfront.
• Initiate TV-Radio stations tie-up to inform public of human interest stories, advocacy ads, and
non-military AFP-DND activities such as its foundations.
• A Stars & Stripes sort of publication for the AFP and the general public in print and web
format to be updated every week.
• Launch several websites to promote goodwill and understanding with several target publics
within 6 months.
• Leaflet/pamphlet airdrops and distribution in the provinces. Contents would focus on AFP
activities, how to identify & report poachers, terrorists, rebels, etc., other useful info that are
specific to locale. Handled by AFP psy-ops group with a civilian advisory group. As Saudi
Arabia was production center for Allied propaganda in the Gulf War, RP can be content and
production center for US Southeast Asia anti-terrorist leaflet propaganda projects.

PHASE 5: ENJOIN INTERNATIONAL LEADERS TO SUPPORT EXPANSION OF ALLIANCE


FOR PEACE MOVEMENT IN ASIA

Tactical Recommendations
• Organize AFP-DND parallel groups on a regional scale. (Target: Asia-Pacific countries)
• Launch “Global Media & Military Peace Summit” in RP
• Coordinate and manage Peace & Development Summit’s anti-terrorism and disaster
preparedness dialogues in Asia Pacific for AFP-DND officials

Specific Recommendations
• Make biennial Disaster Preparedness and Risk Prevention Summits the Peace &
Development Summit’s main propaganda event. The US Armed Forces has the best training
and research center in Hawaii. This event is justified by the threat of natural disasters and
weapons of mass destruction used by terrorists. In addition, given the increasing
sophistication and innovative techniques of terrorist organizations, the regional security
establishments need to draw a strategy to implement policy against terrorism. Preventive
security has to be increased to reduce the vulnerability or risk to a target group or area. It is
no longer enough to provide security measures as terrorist organizations have shared
“intelligence information, weapons, supplies, training facilities, instructors, sponsors, and
even membership.” Thus, the first theme could be: The common combinations of intelligence,
legislation and the use of special forces or strike teams have to be strengthened and carefully
balanced without impinging on the people’s democratic freedoms.
• Engage the DFA, the ASEAN Regional Defense Council, the Senate Defense Committee,
and the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) to organize peace and defense
summits in the region. Transnational and non-military threats should be addressed in regional
peace and defense summits spearheaded by the AFP for perception development.

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OPERATIONAL THRUST 5: MESSAGE DEVELOPMENT FOR RP PUBLIC

BSMG to develop the following KEY MESSAGES:


• Peace is a key factor in national development
• AFP capability in addressing transnational threats and non-military threats is a key factor in
securing sustainable peace. To support the point that AFP capability in addressing
transnational threats and non-military threats is a key factor in securing sustainable peace, a
link up with DENR to forestall/ address non-military threats that will impact RP economy and
environment within the next 10-20 years.
• Support from the people and the government is the only viable avenue toward building
st
military capability for early 21 century conditions.

TACTICAL MESSAGE DEVELOPMENT AND TIME LINE

• Secure a major newspaper column (weekly, preferably on a weekend) on the lives of soldiers
at the warfront. This will be in preparation for the June 12 Independence Day
communications salvo
• Daily release of feature stories on the need to modernize the AFP-DND
• Initiate leaflet drop psy-ops in battle zones to increase confidence of people in AFP-DND and
to demoralize insurgents

MONTHLY EDITORIAL THEMES


JUNE 2002
• COURAGE UNDER FIRE: Profiles of courage (Independence Day Feature) Interviews with
high-ranking AFP officials and soldiers at the warfront

JULY 2002
• ABU SAYYAF: Profiles of terror

AUGUST 2002

• GAMES OF THE GENERALS: Strategy, Methodology and Operations


(Disinformation campaign) Focus on strategy and peace missions

SEPTEMBER 2002

• KEEPING THE FAITH: Guardians of National Progress

OCTOBER 2002

• NATION-BUILDING SERIES ONE: The need for environmental marshalls

NOVEMBER 2002

• NATION-BUILDING SERIES TWO: AFP as Infrastructure Niche Providers

DECEMBER 2002

• NATION-BUILDING SERIES THREE: Peace Missions & Progress


(Launch Alliance for Peace concept)

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Important Note: Last week of the month will steadily focus on initiatives and articles that tackle
the justification and approval for modernization appropriations.

CONCLUSION

The communications plan is more than just giving the AFP a face-lift; it is ultimately geared
toward one goal: to reposition the AFP as a professional, self-motivated and highly-trained
organization, hence a key player in national development.

The point is to show the US Congress that while the AFP lacks hardware, it is abundant in good
peopleware. This is evident in the way it has undergone a paradigm shift in including
transnational & non-military threats, disasters, and nation-building as central to its mandate. If the
AFP’s heightened nation-building thrust actually improves the quality of life of Filipinos, then
international media and organizations will notice it.

When the US Congress sees public opinion on the side of the AFP, and government sees the
importance of having strong military capabilities in the whole equation of national development
and socio-economic progress, they would have no other recourse but to provide the AFP with
vital logistical support.

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