By: Roland Reyes
Prior to the launch of our internship, my colleagues and I, have managed to communicate with the organization for an orientation about the activities. The organization sent a DevCom alumna, Melvin Nuñez to be our internship supervisor. What started as a purely business manner of arrangement forged into a deeper connection motivated by the pursuit of HLAF’s goals.
The orientation proved itself to be fruitful as our supervisor stressed the primary objectives of the organization. We listened in awe as the video presentation showcased the organization’s flagship programs and its services extended to the vulnerable groups within the country’s correctional institutions.
The first deliverable assigned to us was to formulate a communication plan that guarantees our activities for the span of our OJT. The planning part of it was tricky for we had but little knowledge of the processes within the organization. Nevertheless, the motivation to showcase our honed skill for the synthesis of contributions prevailed.
The first week arrived and we have already spent an all-nighter on the conceptualization, planning, and narrative of our communication plan. Tired, yet motivated, we were granted a meeting with the Executive Director of HLAF, Iyok. Iyok (as he stressed that we should refer him as such) is a lawyer-in-practice with magnanimous experience in project management and development-oriented advocacies. He elaborated prior confusions on the systematic processes within the organization.
Along with Jannela Magtibay, a colleague in the internship, we designed and articulated key points in our presentation. I managed to present highlights of our presentation and as a team, received a remarkable response as we filled in visual gaps in their communication platforms. Aside from the delegation of activities, we conceived additional deliverables assigned by Mr. Nuñez. I added to my list of outputs an updated branding strategy that highlights the key features of our advocacy plans in the available social media spaces of the organization.
During the course of our internship, we were met with numerous tasks that add up to our workload. This was not a surprise given the current standing of NGOs in the country in hindsight to the necessity of such organizations in uplifting the different sectors of the nation. Our meager outputs serve as fuel for the engagement of our communication agendas further adding up these meaningful transitions to the accomplishments of the organization as a whole.
I devised a process of branding strategy that takes the lead in our tasks in relation to this prospect. From the evaluation, up to execution, we aligned the visual properties of every publication material, social media content, and output thumbnails according to this discipline.
On the sidelines, we were communicative assistants covering projects and events for the organization. Since most of these tasks were done virtually, previous engagements allow us to do the documentation after work hours with the help of pre-recorded zoom meetings. In all regards, despite this task being tedious, it improved my writing ability furthering to adapt conciseness and accuracy necessary during these documentation opportunities.
The month of June breezed through as we were assigned one task after the other. It takes a huge step for me to be able to build confidence in myself as the organization trusted me with important business tasks. This includes delivering an introduction to students from De La Salle University-Manila as they take on their research projects in partnership with HLAF. To speak on behalf of an organization and its three-fold flagship programs and advocacies is a feat to remember, after all.
The second month of our internship was less overwhelming. By this time we already have a grasp of our role in furthering the organization’s goals. Meanwhile, I am still continuing the processes of the branding amplification that we started last month. The month of July presented fewer documentation opportunities for me but additional write-ups and layout design to add to my design processes.
I formulated a branding peripheral that includes key points for the celebration of the foundation’s 20th anniversary. We were part of a team communicating with the entirety of the organization in this aspect. During staff meetings, we solidified our stance in developing the visual appeal of the brand. This gained traction as soon as we set up due to the new principles of design that we applied in our deliverables. Our team of DevCom interns presented our plans for the following weeks in retrospect to the previous arrangements we have learned last month.
Staff meetings are considered very important as these keep the whole organization posted on the happenings of each department. I witnessed how direct and eager each staff member is in their specific fields be it a paralegal officer, a field worker, a lawyer, or an intern like us. Each cog of this development-oriented gear strengthened the advocacies of the foundation leading to sustainable outputs in jails and institutions along respective regions.
Our part in this endeavor is to ensure that the activities prepared, planned, and executed by the organization gain traction on social media. This is vital for the outreach of support both financially and morale and is a trusted opportunity for additional partnerships.
One specific highlight is the partnership with De La Salle College of St. Benilde forged by the organization. HLAF, as directed by Iyok, entrusted the communications and redirection of tasks to us DevCom interns. It still fills my heart with a sense of responsibility when Iyok mentioned his trust in our palate of branding and that we will relay the same principles to multimedia students on behalf of HLAF.
As our internship draws nearer, we found ourselves wanting more of this job experience as mere 200 hours doesn’t make the cut in an exposure. Nonetheless, for the coming weeks, I invested in building a timeframe for my deliverables that has taken a toll due to the processes involved therein. One specific learning experience was the value of adaptability in a fast-paced organization. The key motive in revisions of publication materials necessitates clear, concise communication to our supervisor to avoid delays in production.
I also had the wonderful chance to host a podcast initiative started by my peers discussing the highlights of HLAF to potential listeners. This communication peripheral allows us to master the technology and apply the principles of trusted podcast series in our future work.
In this particular episode, I discussed the rights of PDLs at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by research, I learned that in a recent tally of PDLs in the Philippines, BuCor reported that there are 48,284 PDLs in the country as of May 2021. In contrast to the -2.34% increase rate last year, the number of PDLs increased by 0.04%.
In this light, it is important to note that in a recent speech given by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta in Tarlac State University, he said that hearings were taking place and a total of 192,444 videos conference hearings was done from May 4 of last year to February 5 of this year. The hearings have a success rate of 88%. As a result, he said up to 122,178 PDLs were released.
This is proactive in the pursuit of HLAF in aiding the gears towards jail decongestion. As part of the organization’s values to empower and capacitate duty-bearers, the community, and LGU, HLAF has been active in the goal objective of alleviating the circumstances in these jails.
I communicated these facts to Mr. Melvin Caymo, the chief paralegal officer of the Jail Decongestion program of the organization. He shared multiple insights on the role of HLAF in furthering these advocacies in spite of the pandemic. He even ended on a good motivational note featured in the title of our podcast.
The internship was a fruitful experience and it geared me for my future ventures in development-oriented work. I see myself fit in this environment where living meant alleviating the living conditions of the people I serve. That perhaps must be the ultimate goal.