By Paulynne Joyce R. dela Cruz
THE PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR) class of Silliman University College of Mass Communication (SU CMC) competed in the annual Students’ PR Congress and Grand Prix as one of the Top 8 finalists last Jan. 30-31 at the ICITE Building, Eastwood, Quezon City.
PR Congress and Grand Prix, an annual event of Public Relation Society of the Philippines (PRSP), is an avenue for students to exercise and apply their learnings in the classroom to the actual communication plan in the working environment.
The SU CMC PR group named as the Life Line Agency “made history” by being the first finalist that is from the Visayas-Mindanao region.
According to Irma Faith Pal, the adviser of the PR class and faculty member of SU CMC, contests like Grand Prix “expose students to the rigors of the real world, especially when the case study is not hypothetical.”
“The Grand Prix is an annual event among other prestigious schools, so it’s a huge confidence-booster for our students to be in the league. They get to experience a serious defense by a panel of professionals,” said Pal.
This year’s Grand Prix theme “PR to We Are: The Role of PR in Helping Save Lives” highlighted the role of PR to disaster preparedness, mitigation, and management. On the first day, speakers were invited to talk about government efforts, PR campaigns, and other initiatives that saved lives.
Typhoon Yolanda was the given case study. Each team came up with a six-month PR communication plan for National Disaster Risk Reduction (NDRRMC) and Management Council, the government agency in charge of disaster-preparedness programs.
The campaign goal is to help NDRRMC to effectively communicate disaster-preparedness and readiness program to the general public with the aim of minimizing casualties during super typhoons. The community objective is to raise awareness and encourage pro-active action before, during, and after super typhoons.
With their PR campaign “#HandaPinas,” the SU team aimed to inform Filipinos around the country the need to prepare better for worst disasters.
“We wanted something that when people hear, they can immediately remember, something that is so urgent something that involves the whole nation. To make it more timely we incorporated [a hashtag], that is why we thought about #HandaPinas,” said Ronelyn Vailoces, one of the members of the group.
The Top 8 teams that pitched their campaigns in the competition were from Assumption College, Ateneo de Manila University, two teams from UP Manila, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, De La Salle University – Lipa, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and SU.
“The pitching of their PR campaign plans was a stiff competition among winners. It’s good the students realize that it’s really tough out there in the industry,” said Pal.
Leslie Batallones, the SU team leader, said that dealing with time pressure and different personalities has helped them to work together as a team and enabled them to be one of the Top 8.
“The whole Grand Prix experience taught all of us in the team to believe in ourselves better,” said Batallones.
The SU team is composed of Leslie Batallones Lurlyn Carmona, Sophia Estinoso, Cess Gatmaytan, Babe Isaga, Cleo Jalandoon, Guirlyn Kilat Andrea Lim, Manpreet Mago, Jameela Mendoza, Rhobie Ruaya, Sheena Yepes, and Ronelyn Vailoces.
Among the speakers who spoke during the first day of the congress were Retired General Romeo Fajardo, the deputy director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; Roki Ferrer, one of the founders of Oplan Hatid; and Dick Gordon, the chairman of Red Cross.~