Quality coverage and analysis of vital economic and political issues in the domestic and international levels is a skill that has to be learned and fostered, not only in the Department of Foreign Affairs, but also in agencies concerned with the conduct of Philippine foreign policy. The Carlos P. Romulo School of Diplomacy at the Foreign Service Institute ran a course on Political and Economic Analysis and Reporting to enhance participants’ skills in research, analysis, report-writing and presentation. The course was attended by Philippine Navy (4), Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (3), Presidential Management Staff (2), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (3) last 11 to 23 February 2015.
Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of political and economic research, the Institute solicited the expertise of Dr. Aries Arugay of the the Department of Political Science in the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Dr. Arugay is a well-published researcher and is a fellow at the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, Inc.
Ambassador Maria Helen Barber-De La Vega of the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy, and Undersecretary Laura Del Rosario of the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations supplemented Dr. Arugay’s academic approach with a more pragmatic lecture of how reporting and analysis is done in the context of Foreign Service work operations. This was further enriched by a panel discussion with seasoned DFA officers on the realities of political and economic reporting on the ground.
After a week-long research break, the participants were required to present and defend their findings before a panel with Deputy Director General Julio S. Amador and Dr. Arugay as critics.