Multi-stakeholder forum looks into how climate storytelling and reporting could help bring about community action

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The Oscar M. Lopez Center, in partnership with The Climate Reality Project Philippines and with the participation of Asia Society Philippines, held a multi-stakeholder forum last December 10 to engage stakeholders in a discussion on different climate themes and issues and identify opportunities and challenges to climate storytelling towards exploring key actions. Entitled “Turning Climate Stories Into Action: A Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Approaches to Climate Storytelling”, the event was attended by invited guests from media, government, academe, and civil society organizations.

Joy Alampay, executive director of Asia Society Philippines, in her welcome remarks, underscored the importance of  ensuring that climate stories are put into action. Nazrin Castro, branch manager of The Climate Reality Project Philippines, remarked on the importance of communicating both “the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis.” Castro urged participants to collaborate and “empower one another to deliver more compelling stories on climate change and solutions.”

Approaches to climate storytelling

The plenary session of the forum focused on roundtable discussions where select Umalohokan Fellows presented their different climate stories and media campaign strategies.  Their presentations were followed by comments and insights from industry panelists. The roundtable discussion was moderated by Kristine Galang, communications officer of The Climate Reality Project Philippines.

The G-Unit team, represented by Efigenio Toledo IV, presented their approach to promoting climate-resilient farming methods through established media channels. Johannes Chua, editor of Property and Environment sections and sub-editor of the Lifestyle Section of the Manila Bulletin, shared his insights on their campaign approach and execution.

Bicol Umalohokan, composed of Mavic Conde, Rome Candaza, and Apple Allison Perez, introduced their solutions journalism approach to campaigning for sustainable food production and consumption practices and the reception it received from various sectors. Jonathan De Santos, news editor of, lauded their efforts and provided suggestions on furthering their campaign.

PonD News Asia, composed of Elmer Nev Valenzuela, Joel Mataro, Richel Mascariñas, and Demi Jhoe Mabansay, shared the challenges of their investigative journalism approach in producing a documentary on the UP Arboretum and the various issues confronting it. Luz Rimban, executive director of the Asian Center for Journalism and co-founder of Vera Files, provided them with advice on how to overcome challenges and find ways to get additional information to make their campaign more robust.

Salikhain Kolektib, composed of Ralph Lumbres, Juan Miguel Torres, Maricon Montajes, Ness Roque, Eric Sister, and Rye Tipay, presented their team’s process of documenting the stories of residents living in small island communities via short animated videos and their intention of having their videos used in instruction. Prof. Flordeliz Abanto, coordinator for Instructional Video & Faculty of the Far Eastern University, gave the team suggestions on how to make their materials more accessible for classroom instruction and more appreciable to young learners 

Team Bintuwak, composed of Ronald Maliao, Beverly Jaspe, and Richard & Ritchel Cahilig, shared their ethnographic storytelling approach in enhancing public understanding of the role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) in climate resiliency. Samantha Bagayas, community and civic engagement specialist for MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, shared her insights on the approach based on her experience working with communities and advocacies.

The plenary session, team presentations and panel insights are available for viewing on the OML Center YouTube channel.

Exploring action points

The discussion was followed by solutions brainstorming sessions for each climate story and strategy. Participants in the breakout rooms were tasked to discuss the issues they have identified that needed to be prioritized and addressed based on the presentations of the teams during the plenary session.

Representatives from The Climate Reality Project Philippines helped facilitate the discussions. Niel Ian Lumanlan (Food Security Coordinator) facilitated the climate reporting breakout room; Dominic Jan Ramos (Climate-Smart Industries and Services Cluster Coordinator) facilitated solutions journalism; Keith Sigfred Ancheta (Youth Cluster Coordinator) and Hiasma Gani (Human Security Cluster Coordinator) took on investigative journalism; Rosemarie Casimiro (Ecological and Environmental Stability Cluster Coordinator) and Mary Ruzzel Morales (Youth Cluster Coordinator) moderated short subject films; and Joseph Cubar (Knowledge and Capacity Development Cluster Coordinator), and Ramon Christopher Manero (Water Sufficiency Cluster Coordinator) handled ethnographic storytelling.

Balangay Media Project final grant

The forum closed with the OML Center’s awarding of  the final grant of the Balangay Media Project.Team Bintuwak was awarded PhP170,000 for their campaign “Kinaiya it Kailayahan: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices of Nabaoynons in Malay, Aklan in Developing Local Climate Change Resiliency.” 

The total amount Team Bintuwak received from the Balangay Media Project amounts to PhP275,000, including the seed grant of PhP35,000 it received in August, and the second tranche worth PhP70,000 in October to help them implement their campaign plans.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Rodel Lasco, executive director of the OML Center, expressed hopes that the conversations continue along with the surfacing of more climate narratives to help build and sustain climate-resilient communities. 

The forum is part of the activities under the OML Center’s Balangay Media Project. Launched in June 2021, the Balangay Media Project aims to engage passionate communicators to increase science-based public discourse on climate change and inspire action. Ten teams composed of representatives from media, academe, non-profit, and youth sectors were selected to move onto the Umalohokan Fellowship to the Climate Media Labs, a series of webinars organized to enhance science-based media coverage. 

To learn more about Team Bintuwak’s campaign, visit the Facebook and YouTube pages of Kinaiya it Kailayahan.

You may also visit the Balangay Media Project page on our website for more information.