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87 Filipino migrants finish quarantine in Sibakel Island

April 9, 2020

Western Mindanao Command facilitated the safe transport of the 87 Filipino migrants who underwent quarantine in Sibakel Island. They were ferried to Zamboanga City after completing the 21 days quarantine on April 6, 2020. "We are happy to bring them back to Zamboanga safely and COVID-free," said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom commander. Ten of the 87 migrants were Zamboanguenos. They were fetched by their respective barangay officials upon arrival at the Zamboanga City port. In a short interview, one of the migrants expressed her sincerest gratitude to the soldiers and all the people who helped and supported them during their stay in the Island. "Ang bait ng mga sundalo, hindi nila kami iniwan. Kahit anong hirap hindi nila kami iniwan. Maraming salamat po. Kahit medyo pasaway kami, di niyo kami iniwan. Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Saludo Kami sa inyo (The soldiers were so kind, they didn't leave us. No matter how hard, they didn't leave us. Thank you very much. Despite our being a little stubborn, you didn't leave us. We salute you. Thank you very much to all of you)," she said. Others include 25 from Zamboanga del Norte, 16 from Zamboanga del Sur, 9 from Zamboanga Sibugay, 6 from Misamis Occidental, 1 from Lanao del Norte, 2 from Cagayan de Oro, 8 from Tawi-Tawi, 4 from Davao City, 1 from General Santos City , 1 from Leyte, 1 from Bulacan, 1 from Quezon City, 1 from Sultan Kudarat, and 1 from Bohol. They will temporarily stay at the DSWD 9 compound while waiting for the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantines and lockdowns. "They have stayed in the island for three weeks and remained to be asymptomatic," said Dr. Abdulhalik Kasim, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Health- BARMM. "All of them are fine and are safe to return back to their respective hometown," he added.

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DOST XI welcomes 288 new Science and Tech scholars

April 8, 2020

A total of 288 graduating senior high school students from Davao region have qualified for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Science Education Institute (DOSTSEI) Scholarship Programs for 2020. Of the said number, 124 qualified under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program while 159 students qualified for RA 7687 Scholarship Program. The Merit Scholarship program, formerly known as the NSDB or NSTA Scholarship under RA No. 2067, is awarded to students with high aptitude in science and mathematics and is willing to pursue careers in the fields of science and technology. On the other hand, the RA 7687 Scholarship Program or the “Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994” is granted to talented and deserving students from families whose socio-economic status do not exceed levels considered as high income. Qualifiers under this program must pursue priority fields of study in basic sciences, engineering, other applied sciences, and science and mathematics teaching. These qualifiers must pursue a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in any of the priority fields of study in a state university or college or any private higher education institution recognized by the Commission on Higher Education as a Center of Excellence or Center of Development or with FAAP Level III accreditation for the BS program that he/she intends to enroll in. Based on the results released by DOST-SEI on March 29, 2020, Davao City has the highest number of passers among provinces/other cities in the Davao region with 170 qualifiers, followed by Davao del Norte with 48, and Davao del Sur with 32. The privileges of an S&T scholar includes a monthly stipend at ₱7,000, tuition fee subsidy up to ₱40,000 per academic year for those who are enrolled in private universities and colleges; book allowance; MS/PE clothing allowance (one-time only); one economy-class round trip fare per year for those studying outside of their home province; outright thesis allowance; and group accident insurance. The scholars are required to render service in the country along their fields of specialization after graduation for a period equivalent to the number of years they enjoyed the scholarship as a return service. "Now more than ever, we need young people to serve as ambassadors of science as the issues we face in terms of natural disasters, health pandemics, and others rely on sound scientific information to make better decisions for the public good," Dr. Josette Biyo, DOSTSEI Director said.

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Globe Studios via .giff teams up with local filmmakers and enthusiasts to raise funds for daily wage film workers

April 8, 2020

In light of the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, the Philippine film industry along with many other local businesses continue to be impacted as normal operations and services are put on halt. Globe recognizes this pressing need and continues its efforts to help frontliners and daily wage earners who have been affected by these developments through a new unique collaborative effort with film artists. Globe Studios via .giff festival of new cinema has teamed up with Lockdown Cinema Club, a coalition of independent Filipino filmmakers who wish to reach and help their colleagues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to raise funds for daily wage film industry workers in the country. Workers affected by the crisis include crew members, electricians, caretakers, camera men, artists, post-production assistants, and everyone who is vital in creating a film.  Majority of them are freelancers and are compensated on a per project basis. To raise funds, directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, production designers, production managers, film editors and film students will showcase their best works online and for free via https://giff.ph/watch/. Film enthusiasts and audiences from all walks of life can visit the page to stream, enjoy their favorite films, and take part in raising funds through donations via GCash - all while staying connected, inspired and #SafeAtHome. As of April 7, the initiative has extended aid to over 1000 film workers. Through the combined efforts of .giff, Lockdown Cinema Club and local film aficionados, the goal is to raise P3,000,000 in the succeeding weeks of the extended ECQ. Everyone is invited to watch all they want through the .giff site https://giff.ph/watch/ and give what they can via the GCash QR code found within the same page. For updates, you may visit the official Globe Studios FB page at https://www.facebook.com/globestudiosph/ .

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Negros Occidental ARBO distributes relief goods to members affected by Covid-19 crisis

April 8, 2020

To lessen the burden caused by Covid-19 to their farmer-members, even just for a few days, the San Juan Torena Agrarian Reform Cooperative (SJTARC), located in Caduhaan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, gave out food packs to 70 household recipients – who are mostly members and non-agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to the neighboring community.  SJTARC, a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-assisted agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organization (ARBO), distributed relief packs consisting of 5 kilograms of rice, 3 packs of noodles, a pack of dried fish, and 10 pieces of fresh eggs – straight from their harvest.  “This activity aims to address, even just for a week, the struggles of farmers in finding their next meals, due to loss of income, less mobilization or access to food sources brought about by the Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) crisis. Knowing that we are helping others is hugely empowering and, in turn, makes us happier and more fulfilled,” Rodney B. Cornoso, Chairman of SJTARC said.  Officers and members of the cooperative worked tirelessly the whole week to pack the goods and noted that their generosity and goodwill is only an act of returning the kindness among its fellow farmers and farm workers. “It inspires us more and this is what we need amid these trying times brought by the COVID–19 pandemic,” Cornoso added  San Juan Torena ARC, a humble ARBO with a total of 33 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), located in Barangay Caduhaan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, manages the 61.4223 hectares of land they acquired under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).  “The generosity amidst the unprecedented time of crisis is what we need today to remind us that we must also consider and be mindful of the needs of others” Cornoso said  DAR Negros Occidental 1 (North) OIC-Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Teresita Mabunay said the DAR will continually capacitate and mold the various organizations in the province for them to become an effective, efficient, and model associations and citizens of the nation.   “Farmers are the country’s unsung heroes, working day and night to deliver food straight to our tables. They are frontliners in the production of food, an essential commodity during this Enhanced Community Quarantine period. Farmers are as important as our medical personnel attending and providing intensive care to the disease-stricken patients,” Mabunay said  

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DPWH Facilitates Deliveries of DSWD Goods in Ilocos Region

April 7, 2020

In an effort to speed up the delivery of relief goods in various towns in Region 1, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has mobilized heavy equipment such as dumptrucks and tractor head trucks with trailer for transport assistance to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in its relief operations for families who have been affected by enhanced community quarantine. In his report to Secretary Villar, DPWH Region 1 Director Ronnel M. Tan said that four (4) dump trucks were utilized for deliveries going to Infanta and  Bugallon, Pangasinan; and one (1) unit prime mover tractor head with low bed trailer for the movement of goods in Caba and Agoo, La Union.  Secretary Mark A. Villar said that the national government through DSWD is intensifying its augmentation assistance to local government units with the DPWH manpower and equipment resources supporting in the delivery of food packs in various municipalities.  Food packs delivered in Pangasinan were hauled from DSWD warehouse in Basinloc, Dagupan City with the help of Philippine Army Reservist of 1601st Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade stationed in Manaoag, Pangasinan while  the goods  delivered in La Union were from DSWD warehouse in Barangay Biday, San Fernando City, La Union with the assistance of Philippine Navy. Secretary Villar has instructed DPWH field units nationwide to intensify coordination with DSWD and other frontline offices  for possible transport support of government assistance.  The DPWH Chief also lauded the DPWH men and women who are also acting as support frontliners during this crisis.

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Waterpark repurposes machine to produce surface disinfectant

April 7, 2020

Since the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort was shuttered on March 17 in response to the government’s plea to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the facility, hailed as “Mindanao’s Showcase of Sustainable Tourism” has lain idle except for a skeleton crew cleaning and maintaining its various attractions. However, that wasn’t going to stop UC-1 President and CEO Engr. Elpidio M. Paras from using its facilities to help in the war against the virus. UC-1 is the holding company which owns and manages the family’s various enterprises in the hospitality industry, business process outsourcing (BPO), internet service provision, and cable television. On March 31st, Paras announced in a Facebook post he had successfully commissioned the Seven Seas Waterpark's Chlorinsitu IIa machine to produce 815 liters daily of Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution. “While it was intended to keep our wave pool sanitized for the summer, it is now repurposed to supply a good quantity of chlorine-based disinfectant for use by the community,” Paras announced. When its daily output of NaOCl is diluted with water, the machine can produce the equivalent of 7,000 Liters of surface disinfectant in a day. “We are working with the XU Chemistry department to properly mix this into a safe and effective product for use by our front liners, hospitals and community checkpoints,” Paras said. Already, the disinfectant is being used in a prototype disinfectant misting apparatus which Paras designed for use by their Parasat HD technical service vehicles as extra protection as they go about their daily duties in response to the demands of their cable and internet business. “Our frontline technical and CSR staff are in constant exposure to possible CoVid-19 infections, so we go to extra lengths to keep them safe in their daily rounds,” Paras noted. A short video of the apparatus can be viewed  here.  In addition to these measures, UC-1 has also implemented a comprehensive package of  measures as recommended by authorities to help curb the spread of the CoVid-19 virus including social distancing, staggered work schedules with a skeletal work force, shorter office hours (8am-4pm), and plastic curtains for their payment centers. The company has also taken advantage of the Holy Week break to implement  sanitation and disinfection procedures of its various offices and payment centers which have already been provided with alcohol sanitizers and disinfecting foot baths for its customers and employees, and has disallowed the entry of all people not wearing a face mask.  As a further measure to comply with the global edict for social distancing, the company suspended all scheduled deactivations for March and encouraged all its customers to take advantage of the faster processing times for their payments at any Savemore/SM store, 7Eleven stores, or through online banking (BDO, Metrobank, BPI, Landbank), and ECPay Merchant Partner including 7Eleven (Nationwide); GCASH; TrueMoney (Nationwide); ExpressPay (Nationwide); Oro Graphic Inc. Main (Graphics); RD Pawnshop (Nationwide); ALP Tickets and Bills Payment; Triple MG Business Center; Top Online Provider Deals (App) or NATCCO (Coop).  

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