COMMference 2024 commences with talks on communication competencies for societal relations


The Association of Communication Enthusiasts spearheaded the yearly event COMMference with the theme “Interconnectedness: Rethinking Communication Competencies Leading to Engaging Societal Relations” held at the UNP Auditorium on April 18-19.

The first presenter, Dr. Christine ‘Tinay’ Faith Avila, a faculty member of the Department of Mass Communication at the Ateneo de Davao University, delivered her presentation entitled “Communication’s Significant Role in the Global Arena” with the theme “Building Global COMMpetence: Social and Communication skills for Sustainability.” Dr. Avila highlighted the relevance of signifying communication agenda in every industry to cater to every social group.

“Communication plays a significant role in amplifying sustainability messages, fostering collaboration, and empowering individuals and organizations to drive positive change at scale. It is key to articulating issues, building coalitions, and mobilizing support for policy changes and collective action on pressing environmental and social issues. Communication enhances individuals’ and organizations’ global competence in navigating and contributing to a more sustainable and interconnected world,” Dr. Avila stated.

Additionally, Mr. Noji Bajet, an alumnus of the University of Northern Philippines, served as the second speaker with his talk entitled “Journalism as a Medium in Creating Safe Online Spaces.” He highlighted the importance of journalism in creating a safe place on media platforms and tackled the concepts of “safe space” and “safe places” in online platforms.

Gender-responsive reporting was one of the highlights of his talk, where he emphasized the use of gender-neutral terminologies as replacements or alternatives for gender-biased terms to foster inclusivity in online spaces.

He also addressed “Reporting Suicide and Mental Health,” discussing the “Werther Effect” and its impact on suicide rates and vulnerable individuals. Stories containing sensitive content must be reported with care and caution.

Regarding AI in Journalism, he emphasized that while the use of AI can be helpful, it should be used in moderation as an aid in organizing information. However, human input remains crucial, as the gathering of data, evaluation, and arrangement of facts, video, photography, and recording cannot be replaced by AI.

Furthermore, the third speaker, Ms. Celeste Bianca Pajaro from the Public Information Office (PIO) presented her topic titled “Branding as a Tool for Effective Marketing” under the theme “COMMerence and Innovation: Creating the Best Marketing Strategy for Effective and Sustainable Branding.” In her lecture, she underscored the importance of branding, especially in marketing, emphasizing that branding was not just only the identity and background of a certain company or product; it serves as a tool for effective marketing, showcasing a company’s unique features to consumers.

Pajaro further emphasized the significance of branding in standing out to customers, fostering customer loyalty, and amplifying the impact of marketing efforts by establishing emotional connections. Additionally, she highlighted key elements of branding, including brand identity, positioning, personality, messaging, experience, equity, guidelines, and the importance of competence and innovation in branding strategy.

In addition, Mr. Mark Louie Tabunan, coordinator for the Public Information Office, served as the fourth speaker at the conference. He delivered a presentation entitled “Promoting Ilocano Culture through Literature.” One of the highlights of his discussion was the presentation of cultural representations in music and literature, along with a discussion of language politics in the Philippines and the Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), encompassing both multilingual Filipino and the Ilokano language. He also shared samples of Ilokano-based literature and media forms, demonstrating the appreciation of Ilokano culture through language, literature, and the media.

As the first day of the COMMference concluded, it served as a means not only to gather the entire communication faculty and students, but also as an opportunity to learn and gather new insights related to journalism and communication fields. Participants were able to appreciate the potential of the discussions and emerging topics that are relevant today.

Article by Kennedy Jetajobe, Juliana Sol Rabago, and Adrian Supnad. Photos by Noelle Tacas and Kleo Vash Madongit.


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