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DA-NorMin Kadiwa On Wheels helps CdeO farmers survive quarantine

April 16, 2020

The Department of Agriculture - Regional Field Office 10 (DA-10) thru OIC-Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado is all out in its effort to help local farmers get by the nationwide implementation of the community quarantine by profitably disposing their farm produce. As part of the agency's effort in reaching out to farmer-groups in Cagayan de Oro, DA-10 drives its Kadiwa on Wheels to barangay Canitoan, Wednesday, April 15, 2020. In coordination with the City Government of CdeO, the agency aided local farmers affected by the quarantine. "This program of DA helps farmers like us to survive the quarantine. Our members were able to sell their products and earn decently. We are hopeful this activity can be done not just once here in our place," Lucas Faborada, Canitoan Farmers Cooperative (CAFAMCO) President said. Home to 33,000 inhabitants, Canitoan is one of the largest barangays in the city. The residents have purchased cheap, fresh and nutritious farm produce such as vegetables and fruits, fish and chicken through Kadiwa. "DA's initiative is very helpful to our residents. The products sold are affordable that helped them save their money, especially many are temporarily unemployed. Moreso, they are kept safe from congestion in the local market," Canitoan Chair, Joshua Taboclaon said. Seeing how beneficial the project, the barangay chair will be working on another edition of the Kadiwa on Wheels in his barangay for the benefit of the relocated residents in Calaanan. RED Collado added that DA's Kadiwa is an avenue for the farmers to sell their products without going through middlemen, aside from its logistics support. "What we did in our barangay, we encouraged our local farmers to display and sell their products during the Kadiwa. In fact, CAFAMCO is exclusively allowed to sell their vegetable produce today," said Marley Lagumen, the Council's Chair of the Committee on Agriculture in Canitoan. "DA's Kadiwa is beneficial not only to our residents in this trying times, but to the farmers foremost," Lagumen added. DA's attached agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Dairy Authority (NDA) and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) also joined DA's Kadiwa on Wheels in said barangay. To ensure fruits and vegetables are safe for consumption, the BPI-Satellite Pesticide Analytical Laboratory collected samples for pesticide residue analysis. DA-10 Kadiwa on Wheels will be in barangays Macasandig and Indahag on April 16, 2020.#

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PARA SA BAYAN: Shell gives fuel discounts for everyone in Mindanao

April 16, 2020

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbing over a hundred in Mindanao, Pilipinas Shell has expanded its efforts in the region to improve public transportation and aid frontliners in their fight against a potentially severe outbreak in Mindanao.  “The health and safety of our people, our customers, and the community are most important to us, and we continue to monitor the situation closely so we can respond to the needs of our kababayans,” said Pilipinas Shell CEO and Country Chairman Cesar Romero. “As everyone plays their part in this fight against this pandemic, patuloy ninyong kasama ang Shell sa bawat biyahe ng buhay.”  Free fuel has been provided to two partner hospitals, Davao Doctors Hospital in Davao and Cagayan de Oro Polymedic Medical Plaza.  After identifying a mobility challenge in the area, Pilipinas Shell offered the fuel subsidy to its partners in order to aid the transportation of frontliners, the mobilization of ambulances, and other ongoing relief efforts.  As of the moment, there are also 61 Shell retail gas stations in Mindanao who are offering discounts on gasoline and diesel products not only for frontliners, but for everyone making their journey on the road.  Shell’s gas stations have also starting donating water and food packs to nearby hospitals and frontliners from their Select convenience stores. One site in Davao has even set itself up as a donation hub where people can leave donations such as PPEs and food packs to be picked up by the Davao Task Force and delivered to hospitals.  Other stations have also started making face shields for frontliners and have donated them to Socomedics Hospital in Koronadal City as well as various checkpoints throughout Iligan City.  In an effort to help decongest traffic in supermarkets, Select stores have updated their product offerings to provide basic needs to the public so they can continue to purchase crucial supplies while still maintaining appropriate social distancing.  Various retailer partners have also stepped up to provide additional support by offering free coffee, face masks, and snacks at their stations.  For 106 years, Shell as remained committed to be the country’s partner in nation-building. During this trying time, the company has made the Philippines’ mobility, health and safety, and energy security its top priorities. It aims to help the nation weather today’s COVID-19 situation so it can be ready to progress again tomorrow.

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Local inventor rolls out green disinfection innovations vs. COVID-19

April 16, 2020

There’s no stopping the Magus of the Seven Seas, Cagayan de Oro’s Pride and representative to the Parthenon of game changing inventors like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Alva Edison. The younger generation knows Engr. Elpidio M. Paras better as the man behind two of the region’s most popular tourist attractions, Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, and the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort at Opol, Misamis Oriental. But they have no idea how the magic started long before he graduated as a mechanical engineer from De La Salle University in 1974 thanks to a scholarship from Del Monte Philippines, how the ideas came thick and fast to eventually bring the wonders of satellite TV to Cagayan de Oro and later cable television, both firsts in Mindanao. Now at this time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Magus of the Seven Seas has again risen to the occasion with three innovations to help mitigate the adverse health and economic effects of the coronavirus on the populace. Practical Magic First off, last March 31st, Paras announced in a Facebook post the successful commissioning of the Seven Seas Waterpark's Chlorinsitu IIa machine to produce 815 liters daily of Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution daily. “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 said. 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 frontliners, hospitals and community checkpoints,” Paras said. Then, on April 13, Paras rolled out two more innovations with a post on his social media page. “In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines and the worldwide transmission of this pandemic, the safety of both patients and medical frontliners has always been the subject of intervention and studies on how to best reduce the occurrence of infection in medical facilities, hospitals, isolation rooms and the like,” Paras noted. Green Disinfecting  There have been a number of proprietary solutions and products for disinfection based on UV-C radiation used for cleaning and disinfecting hospitals over the last decade as epidemics like SARS, MERS CoV, and H1N1 affected several countries.  Although UV treatments have been used for disinfection since the mid-20th century, this technology become more reliable only recently as a consequence of the longer lifespan of UV lamps. The use of UV-C is a chemical free and low-cost procedure, which represents a green alternative method for disinfection.  “The contribution of this equipment to the conditioning of hospital areas makes these systems useful for other kinds of spaces that require periodical disinfecting. The spaces which require control of the presence of microorganisms need effective, fast and economical controls, and also, that can be used on a frequent basis,” Paras noted. “When the growth of microorganisms and pathogens is not under control, they can increase the severity of infections and morbidity.”  To address this urgent need, Paras constructed a prototype low cost, portable room disinfection device based on Ultraviolet-C Irradiation technology, using locally available materials. “The state of community quarantine in many localities including our own (Cagayan de Oro City) has affected the sourcing of more sophisticated devices and components that would be used for automated or remote control of the proposed device,” he noted further. “The system here described is easily built using common tools and materials and is scalable to generate higher ultraviolet dosages by adding more UV-C lamps.” Dubbed the “ParaSafe Transportable Ultraviolet Disinfection Chamber”, the collapsible cabin measuring 2m x 2.5m can be located near isolation facilities in hospitals so that PPEs, gowns, footwear, masks and medical devices can be sterilized quickly, safely and economically in minutes. “The well known ultraviolet sanitizing method employed by this device affects a very wide range of microorganisms and it has advantages compared to chemical based-sanitizing methods,” Paras said.  To avoid or minimize the use of chemical agents that may be harmful to the surfaces of hospital rooms and minimize the impact on the environment, Paras built a mobile device which permits periodical irradiation of rooms with UV-C, to eliminate and prevent biological contaminants.  UV-C radiation inactivates microorganisms causing DNA damage by producing cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs), altering DNA structure, and thus interfering with DNA replication. This has been effective and requires less personal than the manual cleaning and disinfection based on chemical agents.  Older methods of disinfection for large areas include the use gaseous agents (formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, etc.) which are hazardous and require an air flow pattern. Likewise, liquid agents, such as sodium hypochlorite that are also used for disinfection must be carefully removed after being applied and may damage exposed materials such as delicate electronic devices.  However, Paras cautioned UV is not suitable for disinfecting humans since it can harm the skin and eyes under prolonged exposure. It is intend solely to disinfect PPEs, masks, surgical gowns, and footwear. “The external tower signal light with buzzer indicates Active status of UV-C lamps, minimizing unnecessary prolonged exposure of uncovered skin and unprotected eyes to UV rays which could produce sunburn-like exposure. An emergency stop button is also available to turn off the lamps if needed,” he added. The second innovation, dubbed the “ParaZap” is a portable wheeled UV-C Room Disinfection Unit (RDU) which reduces the turnaround times for operating theaters, Intensive Care Units (ICUs), delivery rooms and facilities requiring a germ-free environment to operate. “In minutes of exposure to UV-C light, pathogens, bacteria and viruses can be rendered inactive,” Paras noted. “A surprising side effect of using mercury based UV germicidal lamp tubes is the production of minute quantities of Ozone, a scientifically known oxidizer which breaks down bacteria, amoeba and the like.” He added that UV technology, Ozonization and onsite Chlorine production using salt, are some of the state-of-the-art sciences currently used at the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort (dubbed “Mindanao’s Showcase of Sustainable Tourism”) to keep customers safe while they enjoy the facility. Paras has written Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) Chief Dr. Jose Chan about his intent to donate the ParasSafe disinfection cabin and ParaZap RDU to NMMC and is just waiting for a response. NMMC in Cagayan de Oro City is the sole apex referral hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Northern Mindanao (Region X). Should the situation call for it, Paras said they can fabricate more UV solutions to close the supply gap although the supply of UV-C germicidal lamps may need to be imported since there are hardly any available in Cagayan de Oro. (RMB)

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Moving Forward -- Together

April 16, 2020

In the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, a wave of panic alongside the spread of the disease forcing governments from across the globe to take the necessary health actions, which includes closing of establishments, forcing everyone into self-quarantine, just to avoid the risk of infecting a great many. Amidst this health crisis, economies have been greatly hit – workers are either let go or forced to work still, others are granted the opportunity to work from home, while others who are self-employed have to make ends meet. Front liners, most especially, are at most risk since they have to attend to patients and ensure their welfare, all to keep the virus at bay. However, in the process of quarantine, they are not the only ones at risk amidst the pandemic, there is another group many have forgotten, worst, neglected, and taken for granted – the informal workers. They are small-scale vendors, drivers, to name a few. They, together with our medical front liners, are left to make ends meet despite the threat of being infected. Thankfully, these people were never forgotten by the people. Little did they know, help was on the way. As it is within these trying times when heroes slowly emerge from the shadows, when initiatives are born to shed light on those afflicted, and where we can exercise our humanity. Left and right, initiatives have been coming to light, enabling compassion to arise amidst the panic – that we are stronger than the fear that this pandemic has brought us, that together, we can beat COVID-19. One such initiative is powered by the combined forces of energetic minds from the young blood dwelling from our very own City of Golden Friendship, one hoping to appeal to the people to hear their plea. The FundForward Initiative is a local crowdfunding platform that aims to support small-scale, vulnerable communities greatly affected by COVID-19. It is powered by the youth of Cagayan de Oro city, empowering those who are leading positive actions in their communities – big or small. The project sets its sights on giving the youth a chance to fully work their magic to giving aid where it is needed, to give voice to the voiceless, and to fully exercise their compassioned selves. “I think there are different initiatives out there and their focus might not be the same with us -- and that's okay. In times like this, I believe we need to see past the competition but understand that we can't get out of this if we won't work side-by-side reinforcing each other. May more initiatives to help others arise!” says Adam Anay, Project Head of the FundForward Initiative. He, together with a small band of volunteers, are working together to make this project happen. “We want to help as many small-scale, youth initiatives in the city. I think that is the end game. As long as there are people who are willing to help, we continue to help.” The FundForward Initiative recognizes small communities greatly affected by the pandemic, aiming to build a community of young donors to make an impact in their very own city, to give them a chance to help in however way they can. “...the idea that there are some good initiatives in the city and are not given the proper audience. If more people can know about this, then the faster we can bring help to those who are experiencing difficulty brought by the pandemic.” he further adds. Compared to the initiatives, this project focuses solely on the youth – who, in the words of Dr. Jose Rizal – are the hope of our country. In a way, this project aims to fully evoke a sense of empathy in charity work, a spirit of volunteerism – bayanihan, if you may, and most importantly, support vulnerable communities. “We have been labeled for the longest time apathetic and [seemingly] not caring for the world, it’s time to change that.” Anay shares when asked about the project being powered by CDO youth. “It’s our future at stake— we can start the change the world needs once the pandemic is over.” We do not know when exactly the pandemic will end, or what trials will be faced along the way, but when people come together for a common cause, their drive will be stronger than the pandemic itself. Humanity continues to thrive. Life finds a way. We can only pay kindness forward. (@FundForwardInitiative)

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Globe encourages customers to share inspiring stories and messages through Hope Bank

April 15, 2020

Globe Telecom encourages its customers to share inspiring stories and messages of upliftment to those suffering from fear, stress, anxiety, and depression especially in light of the current pandemic that the world is battling. Globe’s Hope Bank Facebook Community (http://bit.ly/hopebank_), aims to serve as an empowering channel for those who are trying to cope with the emotional and mental challenges caused by COVID-19 and to boost the morale of frontliners, patients who are being treated for COVID-19, as well as their families and friends. Through this online space, community members may share messages of hope for encouragement, strength and inspiration. “We want to rally people into becoming a community support group to make others realize that they are not alone, that there are people who are willing to provide empathy and emotional connection virtually.  This is the time for each of us to reinforce one another, even if only to provide support to those who need them the most,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communications. To contribute to the platform, members may post using the hashtag #SpreadHOPE, both on their personal profiles and in the group.  The messages may be in the form of photos, artworks, quotes, songs/lyrics, video or anything that reflects their expression of hope and positivity.  They may tag family members and friends or anyone who may benefit from such support. Hope Bank was first introduced by  Globe two years ago as a platform for people with mental health illness seeking help and support.  

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SM DONATES PPEs AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO NORTHERN MINDANAO MEDICAL CENTER

April 13, 2020

SM Foundation donates PPEs and Medical Supplies to Northern Mindanao Medical Center for the health workers’ protection against COVID-19.  The donated items include N95 masks, surgical masks, goggles, raincoats, gloves, alcohol and personal protective equipment (PPEs).  This initiative forms part of SM Foundation’s P170 million worth of PPEs and medical supplies given out to over 50 hospitals nationwide.  “NMMC is grateful for the generous donation of SM Foundation. This gift will go a long way in protecting our healthcare workers,” said Dr. Jose Chan, Medical Center Chief.  SM has committed to be of service to the Filipino people and to the country, in helping overcome the COVID-19 crisis together.  

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