From its infancy late in the evening of the 23rd of May 2017, the Public Information campaign became the face of JTF Marawi. It centered its dealings with local and foreign media practitioners and outfits, the local communities, the entire nation, and the rest of the world. It regulated, managed, coordinated, and synchronized the press, TV, radio, print, and social media bulletins, forums, programs, press conferences, briefings, updates, discussions, and stakeholder engagements.
Truth Liberates a Captive City
From its infancy late in the evening of the 23rd of May 2017, the Public Information campaign became the face of JTF Marawi. It centered its dealings with local and foreign media practitioners and outfits, the local communities, the entire nation, and the rest of the world. It regulated, managed, coordinated, and synchronized the press, TV, radio, print, and social media bulletins, forums, programs, press conferences, briefings, updates, discussions, and stakeholder engagements.
Foreword: Translating Tactical Gains to Strategic Victory
“By optimizing the use of our Public Information capabilities, the Philippine Army was able to effectively rally and unite the Filipino people to overcome the threats of terrorism.” — Lt Gen Rolly Bautista
This book is a narrative of how the AFP used Public Information initiatives as part of its tools to liberate Marawi City from the vicious clutches of the extremists, the ISIS–Maute Terrorist Group. This account is not only a piece of Philippine military history; it is also a case study in the use of the soft power approach to achieve our strategic ends.
As such, it is intended reading for the general public. At the same time, it can serve as a supplemental literature for public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals. For practitioners of these professions in the civilian world often encounter almost similar challenges as they go about their work. Lastly, it can form part of the reference materials of anyone who may have use for the art of strategy as he or she meets the daily demands of life.
Whatever the purpose, the AFP in general and the Philippine Army in particular hopes that readers will find its contents useful and worthy of reading for whatever purpose in their lives.
LTGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP
Commanding General, Philippine Army
Former Commander, Joint Task Force Marawi/
1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army
Introduction: Establishing Public Information Campaign from the Ground
“Gaining the public’s support became easy when partnerships with stakeholders and communities were established from the ground.” — Lt Col Jo-ar Herrera
Without the Filipino people’s support, it is doubtful if the AFP could have won the Battle of Marawi from the 23rd day of May to the 17th day of October 2017. But in the final analysis, the AFP emerged as the winner. The valor, dedication, unity, heroism, empathy, and the skills of its troopers played an important role in the success of the Armed Forces’ Marawi campaign.
Nevertheless, what the Filipino people are mostly aware of even up to now is the hard power approach (Infantry, Scout Rangers, Special Forces, Light Reaction Regiment, Joint Special Operations Group, Field Artillery, Armor, Combat Engineers, Philippine Marines, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, PNP, and PCG) that the security forces used to achieve this victory.
However, unknown to many is that the AFP also used the soft power approach in collaboration with Local Government Units (LGUs), National and Local Government Agencies (LGAs), Public Information Agency (PIA), Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), religious institutions, and traditional leaders’ organizations, our ASEAN allies and other countries of the free world, and stakeholders as part of its two-pronged strategy to liberate Marawi City. Underlying the soft power approach initiative was the effective use of our Public Information strategy to win the Filipino people’s support.
In view of this fact, this book has been written. Public Information may not be the magic wand that achieves objectives in armed conflicts, however, when well crafted, thought out, adapted, and implemented, it is an effective tool along with the other types of soft and hard power approaches for attaining success.
What is most important however, is that Public Information can also be used by the government and the private sector to attain institutional, developmental, and business management goals.
LTC JO-AR A HERRERA (INF) PA
Director, Operations Research Center, PA
Former Spokesperson/AC of S for CMO (G7),
Joint Task Force Marawi/1st Infantry (Tabak)
Division, Philippine Army
Chapter 1: Hybrid War Comes to a Southern Philippine City
Vicious extremists linked with ISIS sought to transform Marawi City into the center for their terrorist acts in Southeast Asia. Thus, their seizure of this city on the 23rd of May 2017. The Armed Forces of the Philippines, parts of the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard then fought a five-month campaign to retake it. A sophisticated enemy, these terrorists introduced hybrid warfare into the Philippines which was fought over urban terrain. Ultimately, government security forces triumphed over them on the 16th of October 2017. Part of the AFP’s response was a Public Information campaign to win the public effort to liberate the captive city.
“The Marawi crisis served as a lesson and a challenge for us. As citizens of this country, it is our prime duty and responsibility to be lawabiding nationals and vanguards of our internal peace and security.” — Lt Col Jo-ar Herrera
Dubbed as the summer capital of the south, vicious extremists sought to transform Marawi City into a hub for their terrorist activities in Southeast Asia. This was the intent of the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group that brought about the five month-long Battle of Marawi that began on the 23rd of May 2017 and ended on the 17th of October 2017.
In this military campaign, the ISIS-Maute terrorists showed themselves to be a sophisticated enemy. Well-armed and well-trained, they employed tactics perfected in the Middle East by the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. They also introduced into the Philippines the concept of hybrid warfare and made sure that their plans were staged in a highly urbanized area. Therefore, the AFP, PNP, and PCG troops had to engage in Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT).
The concept of hybrid warfare combines both the conventional and guerrilla operations. The enemy also adeptly used tools of information and communication technology to challenge our government forces.
In this regard, the terrorists proficiently made use of social media. They did so by spreading black propaganda against the government and sowing lies of their victory. As sophisticated though as the enemy may have appeared to be, our government forces responded to the challenge. All branches of the AFP took part in the campaign. And so did the elements of the PNP and PCG.
Part of the AFP’s response and an important one at that was the use of Public Information. In so doing, it employed both traditional and social media. At times it had to rise to the challenge and improvise creatively by using the available resources to effectively get the government’s messages across to its target audiences.
Marawi City today is once more free of terrorist extremists. For this, there are the government forces to thank. Among these are those who took part in the Public Information effort.
Chapter 2: Community and Culture
It is the Philippines’ only Islamic City with a predominantly Muslim population of over 201,000 as stated by the 2015 census. Sharia Law forms part of its legal and judicial system. However, penalties under Philippine law are meted out to offenders. Its cool and pleasant climate have made it the “Summer Capital of the South.” Because of the culture of Rido, clan feuds can possibly last for decades, therefore, houses, and commercial buildings there have been built as mini-fortresses. In spite its notoriety as a hotbed for violence, it remains the political, economic, and cultural center of Lanao del Sur.
“Marawi City has an important role in the history of our beloved country. It is one of the few territories in our country that resisted Spanish colonization and held its own way in temporarily driving away other colonizers, values that are truly worth emulating. The victory in Marawi City is a testament to the bond between our security forces and the Maranao people and a show of unity and bravery against adversity.” — Lt Gen Rolly Bautista
Portrait of Marawi as an Islamic City
Its official name is the Islamic City of Marawi. Its population stands at over 201,000, according to a 2015 census. It is predominantly inhabited by Muslims residing in 96 barangays.
Maranaos, the “People of the Lake” make up the ethnic majority not only in this city but also in the entire Province of Lanao del Sur. With its cool and pleasant climate, the city has also been dubbed as the “Summer Capital of the South.”
Making its climate cool is the fact that 87.25 square kilometers of its territory spreads across rolling hills, mountains, and valleys. It is also situated beside Lake Lanao, a large body of water listed as one of the 15 ancient lakes in the world.
Sharia law forms part of the city’s legal and judicial system. However, offenders are not subject to harsh Islamic punishments such as: stoning, flagellations, and amputations. Instead, usual penalties, as they are found in Philippine law, are also applied to convicted offenders.
As an Islamic City, Muslim festivals are regularly celebrated in Marawi City. Some of these are Maulid En Nabi, Morod a Miskin, and Ramadan. On the other hand, examples of clan, family, and individual festive celebrations are weddings and Morod A Lornalayag. Maulid En Nabi celebrates the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. During the feasting, the Sultan or Datu must have something to share with the people he leads. Morod A Miskin is a festivity held for the poor in the community. All are invited, especially the Sultan to take part in it.
Ramadan is celebrated every 12th month of the year in the Islamic calendar. Also called by others as “Pegang”, festive food placed in beautiful glassware are served to all the celebrants.
Wedding celebrations have festivities that start one week before the wedding. They can be very expensive with the costs varying according to the social status of the families of the couple being wed. Food is served in abundance to the guests. At the same time, money is given to the crowd.
On the other hand, Morod A Lornalayag is a thanksgiving feast held by Muslim sailors and travellers celebrating their safe return and giving thanks for the success of their voyages.
Maranao culture imparts a strong ethnic consciousness to all who belong to this tribe. As a people, they have also had a history of courageous resistance against would-be conquerors such as: the Spaniards and Americans. These traits enabled them to support government forces deployed in Marawi to retake it from extremist terrorists who held it captive from May to October 2017.
Nevertheless, the city has also long been notorious as a hotbed for violence and armed conflicts. Reinforcing this is its culture of rido, blood feuds between clans. The cycle of killings and vengeance killings, which may at times last decades, has its roots in maratabat, translated as “family honor.”
The cultural practice of rido obliges a Maranao to protect all who belong to his clan. Such obligation, in turn, gives the assurance that relatives will help them when needed. Thus, if one feels that one has been insulted by a particular person, one can call upon fellow members of their clan to avenge the assault on their honor. This often brings about reprisals that lead to blood feuds between clans. These kinds of conflicts have caused Maranaos to acquire a passion for the keeping of high-powered firearms that usually are unlicensed.
The frequent clan wars have strongly influenced the city’s architectural landscape. Houses there have been designed to serve as mini-fortresses to enable its residents to defend themselves against attackers. Thus, their walls average 12 feet in thickness. There are also firing ports from where one can more effectively shoot at one’s enemies. Houses there are often situated in compounds whose residents belong to a particular clan. These residences are built close to each other and are usually interconnected by tunnels. Many also have basements where one can seek shelter.
In spite of Marawi’s notoriety as a hotbed of violence, it is the political, cultural, and economic hub of Lanao del Sur. Before the crisis, its economy thrived mainly on agriculture, primarily rice, and corn farming. It also had a robust set of craft industries such as: the making of nets, malongs, and woodcraft products. Shops in its commercial centers enjoyed robust businesses. In other words, it was once a thriving and progressive city before the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group caused its populace to suffer through its siege.
Chapter 3: The Public Information Strategy
Today’s armed conflicts often feature a Public Information effort. Among the reasons is the need by states and/or non-state actors to win public support for their respective sides. The AFP was aware of this need even before the five month-long Battle of Marawi started. It also knew such an effort would have to be well-strategized and executed. In the Philippine Army doctrine, such an effort forms part of the broader discipline of public affairs. For the Public Information effort to retake Marawi City, the Civil-Military Operations Coordinating Center (CMOCC) crafted and strategized the Public Information campaign of the JTF Marawi.
“Maintain the highest dignity of a professional soldier. Compassion, greatheartedness, and the respect for the doctrines of Human Rights should be the traits that we possess in carrying out our mission.” — JTF Marawi Public Information Team
Armed conflicts of today always carry a Public Information component. It is necessary to obtain and maintain the support of a people for whom a country’s armed forces fights for. It showed anew that public trust, safety, opinion, and perception were foremost among the considerations of the AFP and crucial to their victory.
The Philippine Army Public Affairs Manual 2008 states that such an effort provides information to the general public through appropriate forms of media. Its purpose is to widen its base of popular support, motivate the people to resist and reject all forms of subversion and criminality, and to establish formal linkages with local government units (LGUs) and the leaders of various sectors of the Philippine society.
Though the manual was produced by the Philippine Army, the principles it discusses apply as well to the other branches of the AFP, namely: the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force. Especially in an operation such as the Marawi campaign which was a joint operation of our security forces under a single command.
For the Philippine Army, Public Information forms part of the broader discipline of Public Affairs. The latter is defined by the previously cited manual as, “The dissemination of information and often related activities through various media channels.” These operations the army conducts independently or in collaboration with government agencies as well as other organizations.
When Marawi City was taken captive by extremist terrorists on the 23rd day of May 2017, the AFP along with elements of the PNP and PCG sprung into action and implemented effective strategies to liberate the country’s only Islamic City. Created to accomplish this mission was Joint Task Force (JTF) Marawi. Designated to lead the campaign was then BGen Rolando Joselito Bautista. At that time, he was the Commander of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division based in the Province of Zamboanga del Sur.
Considering the importance of the cultural diversity and sensitivity of the local populace, it was important that the Public Information campaign took these into consideration hence, the JTF Marawi Public Information Team was established under Lt Col Jo-ar Herrera who also served as its spokesperson. As the ISIS-Maute terrorists rampaged throughout Marawi City, the government set into motion its Public Information machinery together with the hard and soft power approaches to liberate the City of Marawi.
Chapter 4: Media Relations
JTF Marawi commander, BGen Rolly Bautista understood he first had to win the local population’s trust. On the other hand, JTF Marawi spokesperson Lt Col Jo-ar Herrera acknowledged that only a truthful and a relevant narrative of facts would make the Public Information effort a success. Thus, the need for a well synchronized implementation of the Public Information strategy.
“We are now gaining progress in our Public Information campaign because of the overwhelming support from the community and the entire nation.” — Col Edgard Arevalo, Chief, AFP Public Information Office
Public Information Channels
JTF Marawi established JTG Ranao led by BGen Ramiro Rey. Its mission was to secure the city and its outskirts outside the Main Battle Area (MBA) as well as to maintain the trust and support of the local population.
The JTG Ranao’s job description meant that it too would have to engage in Public Information and establish links with the community. As such, JTG Ranao took steps to ensure that it coordinated and supplemented the CMOCC efforts.
The Principles of A Public Information Campaign
BGen Rey understood that all who formed part of the government’s effort to retake Marawi City would have to win first the trust of the local population. If not, all Public Information efforts targeting them would be rendered ineffective.
On the other hand, JTF Marawi decided that only truthful, timely, accurate, and relevant, and objective news reports which were subjected to stringent quality and ethical control standards must be used for our Public Information campaign in order to gain the Filipino people’s support for the Marawi liberation effort.
The strategy called for engaging the community and stakeholders. Other needs the strategy acknowledged were the following:
● Good relations with local and international media practitioners and their outfits
● Operations that targeted specific audiences with appropriate messages and themes
● Use of new media platforms brought about by recent developments in information and communication technology
● Resourceful use of other media such as: leaflets, text blasts, loudspeakers, tarpaulins, public forums, and dialogues
● Respect and understanding for the unique culture of Marawi City and the rest of of the entire Province of Lanao
● Constructive engagement of key influencers and traditional leaders
● A quick and responsible response to black propaganda by the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group
● A judicious response to the allegations of misbehavior by government troops, especially human rights violations
● Regular monitoring of digital/social media coverage of the Marawi crisis
● Constructive engagement of key influencers in the local population
● Quick responses to allegations of misbehavior by government troops, especially human rights violations
● Regular monitoring of digital media, especially social media platforms for their coverage of the Marawi crisis
● Community engagement operations
Chapter 5: Winning Stakeholders’ Trust and Support
JTF Marawi acknowledged the need to first engage stakeholders in Marawi City and Lanao Provinces. To do so, the troops were briefed on the culture and traditions of the people. They likewise knew they had to win the confidence of LGU officials in Lanao del Sur such as: traditional leaders, elders, and religious leaders.
“We made use of our connections in order to elicit stakeholder’s support that would win over the local leaders and their communities to the government’s side.” — BGen Ramiro Rey
JTG Ranao’s area of operations was outside the MBA and as such they needed to find ways to engage the community in order to win their trust and support hence, the tapping of stakeholders known to us.
In areas outside of the MBA that were cleared, we instructed all troopers to be respectful, shave, have their haircut, and wear the proper uniform.
To show respect for Maranao culture, JTG Ranao stationed female soldiers at checkpoints who wore hijabs and were specifically assigned to search female passersby when needed.
JTG Ranao, likewise, set out to win over the confidence of the local government officials at the provincial, town, and city levels. With this, it would be easier for government forces to enlist their support for our Public Information operations that would be launched.
At the same time, the JTG worked to engage religious leaders, Sultans of Lanao del Sur, and the traditional leaders of the province. As BGen Rey explained, “They are the people, the residents of Marawi City, and other parts of Lanao del Sur that have to be listened to and believed.” JTG Ranao sought the help of religious leaders in order to prevent their residents from being recruited by the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group’s false teachings of the Quran.
On the other hand, JTG Ranao reassured LGU officials that the military had no plans to take over the functions of their offices nor the discharge of their duties. These apprehensions were the result of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law all over Mindanao. Engagements like these laid the foundation for the effective Public Information campaign of JTF Marawi.
BGen Rey, went on to focus exclusively on his mission as the Commander of JTG Ranao. His tasks with regard to Public Information were passed on to Cpt Jo-Ann Petinglay and later on to Col Romeo Brawner Jr. Despite the turnover of tasks, the Public Information effort went on smoothly. Initiatives of JTG Ranao and the Public Information team of the CMOCC complemented and boosted each other. In military parlance, they were both mutually supporting and coexisting.
Chapter 6: Credibility Crucial to Public Information’s Success
JTF Marawi acknowledged that credibility was vital to the success of its Public Information initiatives. It practiced this in accordance with the principles of competence, fairness, and empathy as spelled out by the NATO handbook, “A Practical Guide to Public Information.” The CMOCC set out to win the hearts of the leaders and their people by empathizing with them and making their actions speak louder than words.
“Sustaining an effective Public Information campaign meant respecting our target audience by telling the truth.” — Col Romeo Brawner
As CMOCC went about its Public Information task, so too did JTF Marawi. In doing so, it knew that credibility was crucial to the success of this particular mission. Thus, it took great care to observe this vital asset.
As stated in the NATO handbook, “A Practical Guide to Public Information,” the discipline of Public Information has four components, namely: Openness, Competence, Fairness, Empathy, and Openness.
Through various means, our CMOCC Public Information team presented to its target audience its reasons for the government forces’ presence in Marawi City to liberate it from a cruel and fanatical enemy. It truthfully admitted to wrongdoings by some of its troops, but made it clear that these were isolated incidents and not a policy of the AFP and PNP.
In implementing our Public Information initiatives, we at JTF Marawi made sure these were professionally planned and executed. It chose its target audience, the message to be sent, messaging themes to be emphasized, and communications channels to be used. It quickly addressed issues after having been monitored and analyzed. One example was that of a soldier manning a checkpoint in Marantao. Muslims complained he was disrespectful to Maranao women, as a result of his insistence they remove their veils. This was acted upon and this particular enlisted man was recommended for discharge from the service after an investigation was made.
Such professionalism was the result of training programs regularly conducted to provide enlisted personnel and officers with skills in Public Information.
Our Public Information campaign was characterized by fairness. Never did we deliberately resort to falsehoods when launching specific initiatives against the ISIS-Maute terrorists.
“Pakikiramay” combined with “pakikiramdam,” are the two Filipino words, which when used at the same time, make up the Filipino meaning for empathy. This ability to put one’s self in the other person’s shoes and to be able to understand what he/she felt was a trait we always tried to follow.
Along with the rest of those who belonged to JTF Marawi, our troopers involved primarily in the mission of Public Information showed empathy for Marawi residents and the sufferings they went through as a result of the city’s capture by extremists.
Our Public Information team announced through various communication tools and channel programs, we at JTF Marawi were doing our best to show our empathy and express our concern for those who suffered as a result of the atrocities committed by the terrorists. Some of these were:
● Relief Operations for IDPs
● Children’s Educational Tour
● Youth Camp / Youth Leadership Summit
● Establishment of temporary shelters for IDPs called “Bahay Pag-asa or House of Hope”
● Psycho-social activities
Through various means, the JTF Marawi Public Information team practiced these
principles as it presented its messages directed at its target audience. The media
forms it employed were the following:
● Social Media
● Press Briefings
● Media Campaigns
● Online Articles and Videos
● Loudspeaker Broadcasts
● Radio Broadcasts
● Text Blasts
● Face-to-Face Engagements
● Airdropped Message in a Bottle Campaign
As the team went about its mission of carrying out its Public Information campaign, the men and women involved in it understood that their particular tasks of shaping the public opinion and the gaining of public support was geared towards the efforts to liberate Marawi City.
It initiated the creation of and partnered with the Lanao del Sur Provincial Crisis Management Committee (PCMC). In doing so, it worked with members of this committee, which were composed officials of the provincial government and other stakeholders, to help mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on the people of Marawi City and the rest of Lanao del Sur.
JTF Marawi worked with the PCMC in relaying real time information to help enable the people to know what was going on during the crisis. Its aim was to assure the residents of Marawi City and the rest of Lanao del Sur that the security forces together with the civilian authorities were in control of the situation. In so doing, the people there would understand why government troops were operating in the city.
Among the issues JTF Marawi had to address was the current information environment in Marawi City and the rest of the province. Notable were the compelling negative narratives and perceptions created by the enemy with regards to the Focused Military Operations (FMO) by government forces. Thus, we drew up a strategic plan to deal with this challenge. Our objective was to create a greater awareness and an understanding of the target audience for government troops’ increased presence and movements in the area of operations. In this manner positive sentiments among the local populace for the campaign effort would be heightened.
In creating, partnering, and supporting the PCMC, JTF Marawi made sure it would always have a specific objective for each and every Public Information task that it carried out. An example would be the strategic communication plan that JTF Marawi drew up for harnessing the community support. The target audience it identified consisted of opinion makers and key influencers in the communities. The campaign’s first desired behavior was to win their support for the ongoing initiatives by government forces in Marawi City.
This was done to increase the awareness and understanding of the target audience with regard to the soft power approach implemented by the JTF Marawi in order to sustain the people’s support for the ongoing effort to liberate Marawi City.
The strategic communication plans noted that members of our target audience enjoyed widespread popularity among their supporters and followers. At the same time, they wanted to receive truthful, relevant, timely, and accurate information about the latest developments on going in Marawi City. Likewise, they were searching for contacts that would enable them to assist us in our Public Information effort.
Based on our data analysis, we drew up a list of “talking points” for our Public Information campaigns to win over the support of the opinion makers and key influencers in the City of Marawi and the rest of the entire Province of Lanao. These were the following:
● “Sama ka na at ibangon muli ang Marawi”
● “Unity and solidarity for Marawi”
● CMO programs and initiatives
● Stakeholder engagement
● Harnessing community support
● Youth leadership camp/summit
● Announcing of CMO programs and initiatives
● Publicizing activities for stakeholder engagement
● Publicizing programs to harness community support
● Publicizing youth leadership development activities
● Publicizing peacebuilding and psychosocial activities
● Espousing Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) activities
● #UnitedMarawi Tweeter hashtags
● #SupportOurTroops Tweeter hashtags
● #TeamTabak Tweeter hashtags
To ensure a cohesive Public Information effort, the CMOCC served as the hub for the following:
● Media Engagement
● Radio Broadcasts
● Stakeholder’s Desk
● Rescue and Relief Operations
● Retrieval Operations
JTF Marawi also established an advocacy campaign for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). To carry these out, JTF Marawi undertook the following activities:
● Face-to-face engagement with the target audience
● Participation in radio and television programs
● Use of social media platforms
We kept track of the abovementioned activities using the following parameters to measure our effectiveness:
● Increase in positive sentiments for JTF Marawi operations
● Increase in positive sentiments for JTF Marawi operations by followers of key influencers
Examples would be an expression of support for JTF Marawi aired over radio and TV, texts and letters received, posts and other support sites generated in social media, and donations and pledges of donations from the public.
Chapter 7: Good Relations with Media are Always Vital
JTF Marawi knew that good relations with local and international media practioners and outfits were vital to the success of any Public Information effort. Establishing such and accrediting them formed one of the tasks of the CMOCC.
“There must exist a mutual respect for one another, an understanding of shared goals, and a joint cooperation between the military and media in order to be able to be effective stewards of Public Information.” — Cpt Jo-Ann Petinglay, Spokesperson, Western Mindanao Command
JTF Marawi recognized the need for good relationships with mass media in order to achieve its mission of liberating Marawi City. Thus, this formed part of the tasks of the CMOCC under the leadership of Lt Col Herrera. As such, it gave support to the CMO and Public Information efforts of the five month-long campaign.
Through the CMOCC, JTF Marawi administered the accreditation of foreign and local media practitioners and their outfits. The media outfits numbered over 100 coming from print, broadcast, and online. Examples of local media outfits included the: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, TV-5, CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN, and GMA. Examples of international media outfits would be: the New York Times, Agence France Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP), Asahi Shimbun, Al Jazeera, Cable News Network (CNN), and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Relations between the AFP and media practitioners proved to be a two-way street. The former needed the latter to transmit its messages to the public. The latter needed a source of reliable information. A symbiotic relationship existed between the two entities.
The Provincial Capitol of Lanao del Sur served as the media center. It was located in a secure area in the City of Marawi within a short distance from the MBA. Once they were accredited, their names and the names of their media outfits were forwarded to checkpoints and other security outposts. This list was constantly updated.
At the provincial capitol, regular press briefings were held and presided by the CMOCC. All media concerns were swiftly and appropriately handled by the CMOCC with the support of JTG Ranao.
A media room was set up where media could file their stories for the day and send these to their respective media outfits. It was at the media center where reporters often conducted their interviews. The CMOCC facilitated interviews of military leaders, political personalities, members of the affected communities, and others as requested by media to fill their stories.
Public Information initiated by JTF Marawi during the crisis was adapted as much as possible to suit the journalists’ needs taking into account their cycle of work and deadlines. Furthermore, JTF Marawi sourced the content that journalists asked for and facilitated their access to the sources.
The Public Information team regularly monitored the media coverage of the crisis to assess the impact of news reports on the campaign to liberate Marawi City.
The Marawi crisis underscored the fact that a professional approach to the relationship with media was vital to the success of today’s military campaigns. Its first principle was that the truth must be told and there should be no biased reporting.
Chapter 8: Radio and Other Media as Effective Communication Channels
The Public Information campaign showed that AM radio was still effective in reaching the masses of Lanao del Sur. On the other hand, two-way radio sets were used to reach audiences where signals were weak. Loudspeakers, leaflets, and tarpaulins were also used. A few weeks after the hostilities started, FM radio stations joined in on the campaign and donated regular air time to the joint task force.
“The continuous work tempo of quad-media using timely, accurate, relevant, and truthful information weakens the support for the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group.” — Lt Col Emmanuel Garcia
The Public Information effort in the campaign to liberate Marawi City demonstrated that radio was an effective tool for reaching target audiences. AM frequency band, and our innovated broadcasting by means of two-way radios and loudspeakers demonstrated the potency of this campaign as evidenced by the wide range of coverage of its listeners.
Contributing greatly to making radio’s effectiveness as a Public Information tool was the fact that shortly before the crisis erupted, CMO personnel of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division made a CMO tactical map of the Zamboanga Peninsula-Basilan-SuluTawi-Tawi area. Included in the mapping were the Provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. The map identified all existing radio stations in the area that could be used to broadcast army themes and messages.
This piece of topographic information proved to be a valuable asset in the Public Information campaign to liberate Marawi City. Radio stations on the map became resources to counter the terrorists’ campaign of lies and hatred directed against the Philippine government and its security forces. In areas where radio stations had weak transmission signals we innovated and were able to broadcast the same radio programs using a combined two-way radio and loudspeaker platforms. All these were aimed at carrying out our mandate to serve the people, therefore, to tell them the truth at all costs.
Influential leaders in the Maranao community took part in broadcast programs aired over a number of these stations. Over the airwaves, they refuted many of the claims by the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group. For instance, one Imam regularly pointed out on air the ISIS-Maute terrorists’ wrongful interpretations of the Quran. He also denounced the atrocities— desecration of Mosques, looting, acts of arson, kidnappings, rapes, and murders—the terrorists were committing on a large scale in Marawi City.
The effort to make full use of radio as a medium for Public Information did not stop here. On the 14th of June 2017, FM radio, by way of 100.6 FM, Tanglaw Radio joined in on the campaign. Its facilities were located at the Provincial Capitol of Lanao del Sur.
Partnerships established with radio broadcasting stations in the private and public sector reinforced the broadcasting effort of JTF Marawi’s Public Information campaign. That of Mindanao State University (MSU) was one example.
Its school station, 94.1 U-Radio gave a three-day weekly time slot to JTF Marawi. This made possible the regular airing of “Suhara ko Kalilintad” or “The Voice of Peace.” On the other hand, the Iligan City-based, 94.5 Cool FM, another JTF Marawi partner, aired a similar program, “Sambatan ko Kalilintad” which meant “Unity for Peace.”
The Philippine Army provided additional capability through its Civil-Military Operations Regiment (CMOR) whose Mobile Radio Broadcasting System formed part of JTF Marawi’s broadcast operations effort.
Eventually, this radio system linked up with the army’s loudspeaker teams. This enabled the JTF to air radio programs through them. As a result, even civilians in Marawi City, trapped by ongoing firefights, could be reached by this nouvelle hybrid innovation.
Three types of loudspeakers were used. In addition to those that were man-portable, there were also semi-portable ones placed in buildings. Others were attached to vehicles such as: M113A2 Armored Personnel Carriers or APC and KM 450 trucks.
Contents aired through these loudspeakers were aired in various languages spoken in the area. This included: Maranao, Visaya, Maguidanaon, Tausug, and Filipino. Speakers were soldiers, community elders, religious leaders, and ordinary civilians.
JTF Marawi made use of the fact that the Philippines is the world’s text messaging capital. Thus, short messaging systems (SMS) formed part of its Public Information arsenal. As with all other tools in this particular effort, this method was put to good use.
In crafting messages, target audiences first had to be identified. Once done, objectives for the messages to be delivered were given. Only then were the messages crafted. These were concise and purposely created to fit the message.
Once crafted, they formed part of the text blasts aimed at various
audiences in Marawi City. They were written in various languages spoken
by various people in that city. Reservists of the Philippine Army headed
by Lt Col Nathaniel Marquez, Lt Col Bob Almario, and Maj Happy
Mañalac who had been called to active duty, served as the main force for
the SMS operations under the supervision of Maj Don Ravago from the
AFP Reserve Command (AFRESCOM).
Examples of the kinds of contents used in these various media were the following:
● News updates
● Public announcements
● Information on designated evacuation centers
● Specifics of deliveries of relief goods
● Direct communication sent to civilians trapped in the MBA
● Morale boosters for troops in the MBA
Leaflet operations also formed part of the Public Information effort.
They were dropped from helicopters or distributed by designated army troopers to passersby in secured areas of Marawi City and nearby towns.
One of the target audience for these leaflets were civilians trapped in the MBA. Printed in them were instructions on how they could be rescued.
Tarpaulins, which were commonly used by the locals as announcements for various achievements or information dissemination as displayed all throughout the province, were likewise used in JTF Marawi’s Public Information effort. Tarp banners were put on display in areas considered as strategic for the message’s purpose. Among these were public markets, police stations, schoolhouses, evacuation centers, and the sides of main roads.
They assured the people that security forces and LGU officials were working together to resolve the crisis and so were many other people.
At the same time, these tarps also exposed the grievous harm the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group had been committing against the people of Marawi City.
Chapter 9: Winning the Digital and Social Media War
JTF Marawi brought its Public Information campaign into the digital and social media dimensions. Members of the social media team worked 24/7 in three by eight-hour shifts. They monitored the online editions of a select group of media outfits. With the aid of an analytics platform, they kept track of how many articles were favorable and unfavorable to or neutral with regard to our security forces efforts.
“Our information-related activities were thoroughly integrated and consistent with our overall objectives to tell the truth, to help the IDPs, to assist the LCEs in functioning and carrying out their responsibilities, to counter disinformation, to protect our troops from enemy propaganda, and to crush the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group.” — Col Thomas Sedano
On this particular front, JTF Marawi fought the campaign to liberate Marawi City in an innovative, cost-effective, and highly efficient manner thereby, bringing specifically crafted messages intended for the Filipino people and the rest of the world.
Digital media refers to media content that has been digitized and can be transmitted and accessed through the Internet. Examples of these would be news, features, and opinion pieces – text, audio, or video – uploaded on the Web.
On the other hand, social media refers to applications and Websites that empower users to create and share content with fellow Netizens. It also enables them to form part of online communities and engage in social networking.
Forms of this new media were used by JTF’s Public Information team. Their effects can be evidenced from the support that they generated from the Filipino people who contributed to the overall effort to recapture Marawi City. It also had an effect on the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group as well as their supporters and sympathizers. Through its extensive and intensive use of digital and social media, JTF Marawi was able to counter the lies perpetuated by these extremists simply by delivering the message of truth which greatly enabled the Philippine government along with its security forces to achieve information dominance.
Active use of digital and social media enabled JTF Marawi to actively engage its target audiences. The feedback obtained allowed it to further refine its messages and also build a network of relationships with them.
At the same time, it enabled the JTF to immediately counter enemy propaganda, the enemy also being well-versed aside from having an Internet presence.
As with traditional media, use of these new media tools required careful planning, adaptation, sound strategy, and proper execution. Thus, the JTF had to first define its target audience. It likewise had to specify the messages for delivery. Having done so, it now had to understand how members of a specific target audience behaved while on social media. This meant studying how they communicated with each other online.
At the same time, the JTF would have to find a way to ensure the consistency of its message and the manner of delivery in order to influence the targeted audience.
To effectively wage a Public Information campaign on social media, JTF Marawi put up a team for this purpose. Its members worked round the clock to defeat similar efforts by the enemy. In doing so, these online warriors greatly helped to engage the public and win its support for the effort to liberate Marawi City.
Members of the social media team supervised by the CMOCC posted information materials on various sites and pages. They also monitored regularly sites that opposed or even expressed hostility to the effort to retake Marawi City. In doing so, they also sought out fake news about the government, PNP, and AFP.
The social media team posted images and videos of police, military, and local governments working together to assist the internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were uprooted from their homes and communities as a result of the fighting in the captive city.
Also posted were contents showing: rescue and retrieval operations of trapped civilians, friendly interactions between the military and civilians, and partnership programs between the JTF and various stakeholders to mitigate effects of the extremists having seized Marawi City.
Likewise, contents showing public support for the effort to liberate Marawi City were put online by them. As these were taking place, the AFP issued policies and guidelines on the use by members of the various branches of the service with regard to the use of social media during the duration of the campaign. Included was the prohibition of the posting of images and videos of victory poses in front of or inside houses and buildings in the MBA that had been cleared of enemy presence.
Extensive and intensive use of social media in the Marawi campaign showed that if its utilization was well thought out and implemented, it could serve effectively in the AFP’s Public Information effort. In this regard this new tool in the arsenal of soft power approach passed its initial test of fire.
Chapter 10: Countering Enemy Disinformation
The ISIS-linked terrorists resorted to black propaganda in a bid to sow hatred against the Philippine government and its security forces. They accused the AFP of having committed atrocities in Marawi City. The AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) responded quickly to these allegations. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself made a statement on this, and so did other high-ranking generals. Through various media forms JTF Marawi also refuted and countered these ntive narratives.
“In the end, truth conquers all and sets us free.” — Lt Col Joel Mamon
As a sophisticated enemy, the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group made intense use of black propaganda to sow hatred against the AFP and Philippine government.
Its campaign of lies and hate revolved around alleged atrocities. Among these were the following:
● Alleged Looting by the Police and Military
● Alleged Human Rights Violations
● Alleged Takeover by the Military of LGU Functions
● Alleged Acts of Arson by Government Troops
● Alleged Indiscriminate Air Strikes
● Alleged Mishandling of IDPs
● Alleged Desecration and Bombing of Mosques
In the face of such disinformation, JTF Marawi refused to remain passive. It used the tools of traditional and digital/social media to answer these allegations with a Public Information campaign.
Alleged Looting by Police and Military
BGen Rolando Joselito Bautista, the JTF Marawi Commander himself addressed the lies of looting as perpetuated by the terrorists. The statement was aired over local radio in Marawi City. It pointed out that it was the terrorists who were engaged in looting not troops of the AFP or PNP.
Many cellular phones of terrorists recovered by government troops showed photos of them engaged in a frenzy of ransacking houses and buildings for cash, jewelry, and other valuables. JTF Marawi answered the accusations in print, radio, television, digital media, and social media.
In reply to allegations of looting, JTF Marawi announced on local radio that the AFP will never tolerate cases of looting nor abuse done by its personnel. Explained was the fact that even before embarking for duty in the city, troopers were warned that the full force of the law would be applied on those committing such violations. A press release to this effect was also issued.
At the same time, photos of terrorists’ looting were posted on social media. So also were footages of these atrocities.
With regard to isolated cases, JTF Marawi made an honest admission of this fact. An example would be an excerpt from a press statement it issued: “One officer and five enlisted personnel are being investigated and will possibly face charges for looting.”
The Public Information effort by JTF Marawi did not neglect to point out the massive extent of atrocities that the enemy had committed. In doing so, it showed how vicious the extremists were. A portion of one of its press statements said: “Lt Col Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson for the 1st Infantry (Tabak ) Division and JTF Marawi, said that the terrorists had forced hostages to convert to Islam, take up arms against government forces, serve as sex slaves, and loot millions of pesos in cash, firearms, ammunition, gold, and jewelry from the houses and business establishments in Marawi City.”
Alleged Human Rights Violations
JTF Marawi closely monitored the ground troops to ensure full adherence to the principles of human rights. Thus, it cooperated closely with the Regional Office of the Human Rights Commission (RHRC). This was done to validate reported cases. One example was that of an incident where a soldier manning a checkpoint in Marantao, Lanao del Sur was complained of by a group of women. He was alleged to have disrespected them. This was acted upon immediately.
Assurances were made that AFP troops fighting to liberate Marawi City would respect the human rights of the local populace and the rest of Lanao del Sur. One such message came from the statement of the AFP Chief of Staff, General Año, saying that the AFP will do everything to ensure that no harm will ever come to the residents of Marawi City, will never intentionally violate their human rights. The AFP would welcome any complaint on this matter and conduct the appropriate investigation and punish all those found guilty of having committed human rights violations. His message, aired over radio, was in reply to a question by a broadcast reporter.
Such respect for human rights extended to the religious beliefs of the people of Lanao del Sur, especially in Marawi City. Thus, on the 26th of June 2017—Eid al-Fitr or the end of Ramadan—JTF Marawi staged a humanitarian pause in operations. In a press statement by the JTF, the AFP declared a lull in their current operations in that city on that day as a manifestation of respect for the Islamic faith and a deep regard for their people.
The humanitarian pause was announced shortly before the celebration of this important religious feast among Muslims worldwide.
Alleged Takeover by the Military of LGU
Functions President Rodrigo Roa Duterte having declared martial law in Mindanao on the 23rd of May 2017 caused anxiety to many local chief executives in the Province of Lanao del Sur about its effects on the public office that they were holding. JTF Marawi considered these officials vital allies in the campaign to liberate Marawi City.
Their anxieties were brought about by apprehensions about the military taking over their work as LGU officials. JTF Marawi denied this possibility and assisted the LCEs in their discharge of duties. In a press briefing, Lt Col Herrera announced that the military would continue its close coordination and cooperation with LGU officials. He also gave assurances that the rule of law would prevail.
Alleged Acts of Arson by Government Troops
The ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group accused government troops of committing widespread arson in Marawi City. JTF Marawi’s Public Information effort responded by pointing out that it was the terrorists who had burned down Dansalan College, the Marawi City Jail, the city’s public market, the Roman Catholic cathedral, houses, and commercial buildings. These acts of arson the terrorists committed with the use of their Molotov cocktail bombs, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), and LPG tanks. They intentionally did this to block the military and police from pursuing them.
Alleged Indiscriminate Air Strikes
The JTF Marawi Public Information Team, in its communication effort, emphasized that all Filipinos desired an end to the enemy’s seizure of Marawi City. In its messages and statements, it pointed out that air strikes were surgical, not indiscriminate. The bombings were done to neutralize the terrorists who were occupying strategic and fortified positions, to rescue trapped civilians and hostages, to facilitate the escape of people caught inside the MBA, and to protect the ground troops against snipers and planted IEDs.
Such air strikes were judiciously used to prevent collateral damage and were employed against specific pockets of resistance. Operations of this kind would continue to be undertaken if commanders on the ground would see the need for these.
Alleged Poor Handling of IDPs
Living conditions experienced by IDPs made these victims of the terrorist-initiated conflict tempting targets for recruitment by Left-wing agitators.
JTF Marawi acknowledged this threat and went to work to address it before it became a bigger problem.
The Public Information team under the JTG Tabang led by Col Thomas Sedano, took steps to show that the military was there to protect them. It also informed the IDPs and the public at large that the government was doing its best to attend to their needs and alleviate their plight.
That the government had partnered with several stakeholders, some of them being key influencers and opinion makers, civil society groups, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received publicity. In this regard, our partnerships with media practitioners and their outfits led by CMOCC as well as our innovations and adaptations created for digital and social media platforms played an important role. Information on stakeholder engagement activities received regular and timely postings there.
Alleged Bombing of a Mosque
The enemy accused the AFP of bombing a mosque. If true, such an act would have incited Muslim outrage, not only in the Philippines but worldwide. It surely would have brought about dire consequences for the country.
Because of this, both the AFP and the DND issued statements. The DND Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement that there were people in the mosque who were still alive and trapped inside. The AFP could not just go in there and endanger their safety. Because of this, it would not be militarily sound to bomb these Islamic places of worship.
Lt Gen Carlito Galvez, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM), issued a statement saying that the ISIS-Maute terrorists mercilessly killed innocent civilians. They even desecrated the Grand Mosque and Islamic Center, and a madrasah building, transforming them into fighting positions and bases. He added that mosques were never targets of air strikes.
The ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group had no respect for anyone. They defiled holy and cultural icons, places that our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters in the Islamic City of Marawi held dear. These were some of the messages that JTF Marawi crafted and disseminated in its Public Information efforts to counter the disinformation and lies of the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group that would have intensified the crisis.
If the enemy could come out with a sophisticated campaign of deception, most especially by way of social media, the Public Information campaign by JTF Marawi showed them that the Philippine government could counter these simply by telling the truth.
Chapter 11 The Public Information Effort: Victory By the Numbers
With efficient planning and synchronized implementation of its strategies, JTF Marawi was able to turn the negative sentiments of the affected population into a partnership and pledge of support for their mutual goals. This enabled us to dominate the information environment and translate our tactical gains into a moral victory.
“The success of our Public Information campaign can be gleamed from our statistical data which speak for itself.” — Lt Col Jo-ar Herrera
As a professional outfit engaged in Public Information, the team of JTF Marawi conducted a systematic and regular monitoring of media coverage in the effort to liberate the captive city. Closely followed were the websites of various mainstream media outfits, Philippine and foreign. Likewise followed were posts in social media and hashtag tweets.
In charge of monitoring mainstream media coverage was the JTF Marawi’s Social Media team. Social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube were monitored.
Mainstream media websites that were monitored included the following:
● MB.com.ph (Manila Bulletin)
● New York Times
● Washington Post
● Al Jazeera
The social media team painstakingly and systematically monitored the online editions of the mainstream media outfits mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
Both their articles and graphic images were closely followed. Monitoring period was from the 23rd of May to the 30th of October 2017. The team monitored a total of 1,551 articles.
Of the articles monitored, 88% or 1,365 rated as positive. On the other hand, 2% or 31 of them rated as negative while 155 or 10% rated as neutral.
An article’s content rated as positive if its contents showed itself favorable to JTF Marawi. It also quoted media lines favorable to the government as evidenced by quotes coming from the LGU or community leaders speaking unfavorably against the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group.
On the other hand, an article’s content rated as negative if it depicted JTF Marawi in an unfavorable light even as it made no mention of media lines. Neither did it cite LGU officials and community leaders opposed to the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group. Furthermore, it derived its facts from sources other than those made available by the Public Information team of the JTF Marawi.
An article’s content rated as neutral if its content depicted JTF Marawi in both favorable and unfavorable light. Effects of military operations were written from a balanced perspective.
The social media team also produced a total of 1,764 graphics images. This consisted of photos, posters, editorial cartoons, infographics, and videos. These were posted in various social media platforms.
JTF Marawi’s Public Information team engaged mainstream media outfits for the production of video reports. The team produced 22 videos and facilitated the production of 35 videos for the mainstream media. Some of these were the following:
● Vice News/HBO—On the Hunt for ISIS
● CNN Philippines—Female Soldiers
● TV 5—Female Soldiers
● GMA News—Women Warriors
● ABS-CBN—Soldiers in the Front Line/Di Ka Pasisiil
● PTV4/PIA –Human Interest Stories on Soldiers
● Inquirer.Net –Female Soldiers/Reservists – From Business to Battlefield/
Volunteers GMA News—Witness
● Rappler—Marawi 360 Inside the War Zone
● Al Jazeera—Human Interest Stories about Troops
At the same time, the JTF Marawi Public Information team took the
initiative to produce 22 more videos. These projected a positive image of
the AFP and the efforts it was exerting in the campaign.
The social media team uploaded these videos on platforms such as
Facebook. It also created Tweeter hashtags for a number of these. The
hashtags were the following:
By the 16th of October 2017, videos that the social media team had uploaded onto the TeamTabak Website, Facebook, and YouTube registered a total of over 94.2 million views worldwide. They had a total reach of over 124.8 million Netizens even as they received “Likes” of over 22.7 million,18.6 million shares, and 94.2 million views from the Philippines and the rest of the world.
With regard to Twitter.com, the hashtag #SupportOurTroops deserves special mention. On the 2nd of July 2017, it reached the 3rd highest rank in the Philippines among the trending hashtags with 1.6 million monitored tweets with a total reach of 16.7 million.
That 60 million Filipinos as of January 2017 had individual Facebook accounts is a fact JTF Marawi’s Public Information team took into consideration in its strategies. Thus, its social media team made a total of 1,786 posts (Footnote: We Are Social PTE LTD Singapore). These received over 92,000 likes with their reach totaling over two million Netizens the world over. The posts also had a total of over 1.26 million in post engagements.
TeamTabak.com, the Website of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division also deserves recognition. This is because it was the nucleus of the CMOCC of the JTF Marawi. Posts on it related to the campaign totaled 146 as of the 1st of November 2017.
By the 30th of October 2017, it had 4.2 million hits. These numbers indicated that not only in the Philippines was there an interest in developments with regard to the ongoing siege of Marawi City but more so, the world over.
This demonstrated how potent digital and social media are in ensuring the success of a Public Information campaign. The AFP must never forget this fact. And so with the private sector, particularly those in the professions of public
relations, marketing, and advertising.
“Providing truthful, timely, relevant, and accurate information empowers the public and endears the PA to them.” — Lt Gen Rolly Bautista
Troops of the AFP, PNP, and PCG fought heroically and well in the five month-long battle to retake Marawi City. They deserve the Filipino peoples’ highest esteem and gratitude.
Not all the action there though was kinetic. There were those in JTF Marawi who served in other ways to bring about victory. One example would be the men and women of the JTF Marawi’s Public Information team.
As Public Information professionals, they trailblazed and took the art of military science to a higher level. Their strategies, plans, innovations, adaptations, initiatives and implementation when added up created a boomerang effect on the enemy which resonated the world over and spelled victory for our security forces and earned the adulation of a grateful public.
- Doctrine for Joint Psychological Operations 05 Sept 2003: Psychological Operations: An Overview (P1-9)
- Marawi City’s Official Website
- GMA News Online
- NATO, “A Practical Guide to Public Information, Section 1 –
- the Importance of Information and Communication during a Crisis”
- Minda News by Carolyn Arguillas June 15, 2017
- ABS-CBN News Posted at Jul 22 2017 02:08 PM
Book 2 Production Team
Lt Gen Rolando Joselito D Bautista AFP
Commanding General, Philippine Army
Maj Gen Robert M Arevalo AFP
Vice Commander, Philippine Army
Maj Gen Danilo Chad D Isleta AFP
Chief of Staff, Philippine Army
Maj Gen Gilbert I Gapay AFP
Former Chief of Staff, Philippine Army
Ltc Jo-ar A Herrera (INF) PA
Director, Operations Research Center (P), Philippine Army
Isabel Cojuangco Suntay
Mavreen Jackie P Yapchiongco
Marlon C Magtira
Sgt William C Sajul (MS) PA
Pfc Jerry R Sibuyan (Inf) PA
Graphic/ Layout Artists
1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, PA
Civil-Military Operations Regiment, PA
Joint Task Force Marawi
Civil Relations Service, AFP