MANILA - At the Creating Digital Dividends Conference in 2000, Microsoft founder and notable philanthropist Bill Gates said: “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”
Gates’ statement holds true to this day as the industry faces numerous changes and challenges brought about by the advent of the technological era, specifically social media and a global nationalist wave that has upturned how we approach politics. This brought two of the most respected names in the Philippine communication industry to pen two books that look at how communication can be wielded not only by those in power but those who also want to make a lasting impact on our society.
First is Gawad Panday awardee and Grupo Agatep chairman and CEO Charlie Agatep who recently launched his book “Winning the Anvils.” A definitive guide for PR professionals, students, and aspiring PR practitioners on how to create an Anvil-winning PR program or tool. But more than this Agatep highlights in his book the relevance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs to help underprivileged sectors of our society and at the same time improve a company’s reputation.
“Winning the Anvils is a book like no other—a collection of stories about some of the most outstanding PR programs and PR tools implemented from 1973 to 2016. They represent case studies that should be of interest to public relations and communication practitioners and anyone else interested in reputation management,” Agatep wrote in his book’s Introduction.
“This book is directed to the men and women in many organizations who are involved in their company’s reputation management and persons who are given management responsibility for reputation issues but who lack expertise in the area. If you belong to any of these entities, this book will help you understand the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects and the planning, strategies and skills required to implement them,” Agatep further wrote.
Meanwhile, Dr. Crispin Maslog, the most prominent communication scholar in the Philippines, released “Deconstruct to Understand: Why President Duterte Talks His Way”, a book which looks at the controversial rhetoric chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte that has won him adoring fans and fiery critics at the same time. The book enlists some of the most important names in the Philippines to create a decisive look at how the President communicates. Largely based on the output of a conference hosted by Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC), the book is a compilation of the conference papers and newspaper columns on the controversial presidential communication style.
Furthermore, Maslog’s book digs deeper on why Duterte speaks the way he does through an essay by former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. “By listening to what he says, one can reconstruct a consistent narrative. . . He was a reluctant candidate but ran because certain crucial national issues were not being addressed--the Mindanao peace situation, the pandemic illegal drug trade, corruption, poverty.”
National Artist and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee F. Sionil Jose shows another side: “The President does not realize that his greatest enemy is his own self, his mouth, because he thinks he knows all the answers. This differentiates him from Ramon Magsaysay, who surrounded himself with the best minds …”
At first look the two books seem to be distinct from one another. One looks at communication as a tool of politics, the other looks at communication and how it helps to build, enhance and protect brand reputation. But when these two books are looked at from a larger perspective, they demonstrate the fundamental role of communication in nation-building. How communication enables politicians to reach their constituents and help improve their lives, and how companies can undertake CSR projects as a means of communicating their policies and procedures for the public interest.
The launch of Maslog’s and Agatep’s latest tomes was held at the headquarters of AMIC, in the Philippine Women's University in Taft Avenue, Manila, with many of the country’s commumnication and PR educators were in earnest attendance. The event was most beneficial for the educators who were present, but it was also a special reunion for Agatep and Maslog whose professional and personal relationship started at the University of Santo Tomas’ Faculty of Philosophy and Letters where Agatep was a professor who taught the younger Crispin Maslog what PR is all about.
Agatep and Maslog both graduated with the degree of Litt. B. in Journalism. After their graduation, both of them became educators and notable journalists. Agatep worked for newswire Agency International News Service before it merged with United Press to become United Press International (UPI) while Maslog served as a staff correspondent of the Agence France Presse.
Since then Maslog and Agatep enjoyed immensely successful careers. Agatep founded Agatep and Associates in the late 80s and is now known as Grupo Agatep, the most Anvil-awarded integrated marketing communication agency in the country with 137 Anvils under its belt. Maslogbecame dean of the College of Communication of Silliman University and has penned 34 books in the field of communication, making him known as the country’s leading communication scholar.
Maslog’s “Deconstruct to Understand: Why President Duterte Talks His Way” and Agatep’s “Winning the Anvils” are both considered to be a rich source of information for faculty members teaching communication and public relations. More significantly these books will serve as a guide to future communicators who want to use communication to make a better country and a better future for our people.
In photo: Grupo Agatep Chairman and CEO Charlie Agatep (left) and foremost communication expert in the country, Dr. Crispin Maslog (center) share their newest books to PR and Communication educators during the Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) forum at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU). Agatep and Maslog are shown presenting their books to Ms. Regina Filart, PWU’s SVP for Operations.