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SMC’s nutribuns fight hunger amid Covid-19 pandemic

May 8, 2020

MANILA – In the 1970s, it was the solution to malnutrition among young public school children. Today, as the country battles the Covid-19 global pandemic—which has put the economy and people’s lives on hold—the humble “nutribun” is back and is helping fight hunger in the poorest communities.     San Miguel Corporation (SMC), which decided to revive and produce the nutritious bread to solely donate it to vulnerable sectors of society, reported that total production has breached 600,000 pieces —more than double its previous production of 284,171 during the closing weeks of April.     “While our food donations consisting of rice and San Miguel food products continue, there are still many who have limited or no access to sufficient nutrition--the most disadvantaged in our society, especially children. That is why we continue to work to increase the production of our ‘nutribun’, so we can distribute them for free and provide essential nutrition for them,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said. Health benefits     The new iteration of “nutribun”, like its predecessor, is packed with many health benefits, especially for young people.     Made with San Miguel Mills’ King Hard Wheat Flour and its Star Margarine, the reformulated Nutribun was developed by the company’s flour technology team.     Unlike the normal pandesal (salt bread), usually made of 30 grams of dough, SMC’s nutribun is denser, with 85 grams of dough.     Each bun has 250 calories and is also high in dietary fiber and is a good source of iron and iodine.     “It is really designed to provide energy and essential nutrients so that our disadvantaged youth can avoid hunger and hopefully maintain good overall health during this pandemic,” Ang said. Children, the most vulnerable     “The quarantine is still far from over, and while we worry about the spread of the virus, we also cannot disregard its impact to families already saddled with poverty, whose children are the most vulnerable.”     Data from “The State of the World’s Children 2019” released by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reveal that one out of three children under the age of five are stunted in growth as many children in poor families are threatened with undernutrition and hunger.     Given the pause in economic activity and lack of income sources for most poor families, this figure is expected to increase and should be addressed. Donation via organizations     SMC’s nutribun donations have already reached some 85 communities, as well as the homeless, through its partnerships with non-profit groups.     These include institutions like Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA), Caritas, Puso ng Ama, Jesuit missions, other NGOs, as well as through military and police installations, parishes, convents, barangays, and local health offices.     Ang said the company is able to produce some 29,000 nutribuns daily at its food business San Miguel Foods Inc.’s new ready-to-eat food manufacturing facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and its Flour Development Center in Ugong, Pasig City.     Since the start of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, San Miguel Corporation has launched what has now become the largest food donation drive in the company’s history.     It has donated some PHP491.4 billion worth of food, including rice, canned meats, poultry, and fresh meats, flour, dairy, coffee, and biscuits.     Its total contribution to the country’s anti-Covid-19 efforts--which also includes donations of life-saving medical equipment and supplies, free disinfecting alcohol manufactured from its reconfigured liquor plants, and free fuel and toll to transport medical front liners, among many others--have reached over PHP1.1 billion and is still growing. (PR)

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Working FASSSTER than COVID-19: The people behind the technology

May 8, 2020

Ateneo de Manila University’s Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe)  has updated  the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-temporal Epidemiological Modeler ( FASSSTER) as an evidence-based tool to mitigate potential risks brought by COVID-19 and maximize the allocation of healthcare resources.     With the recalibration, the DoH, local government units (LGUs) and other healthcare facilities can now project the estimated number of COVID-19 cases in specific areas for a specific period.     “In development since 2016, FASSSTER is a product of rigorous studies based on credible and updated data. Long before COVID19, this tool was already used in the surveillance of Dengue, Measles, and Typhoid,” said  DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya      From 2016 to 2019, FASSSTER was deployed in 17 Rural Health Units (RHUs) across the country to  visualize disease models and generate syndromic surveillance reports during public health crises.      Specifically, FASSSTER connects syndromic surveillance and event surveillance from the field to electronic medical records, and uses health information to update initial disease models to provide a visualization tool for evidence-based and data driven decision making.      FASSSTER and its recalibration for COVID-19 has been made possible through the efforts of several teams in ADMU : the Data Science and Computational Modelling Team, Mathematical Modelling Team, Data Management Team, Data Warehouse Team, Systems Development Team, and the Public Health Team, each of which is heded by the following notable professors and scientists:      Dr. Maria Regina E. Estuar, Team Leader for FASSSTER and the Data Science and Computational Modelling Team. A professor at the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science at ADMU.she also serves as Executive Director of the Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRE) and is the founder of the Ateneo Social Computing Science Laboratory.  In 2019, she was cited as one of the Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award for Science and Technology from TOWNS for her significant contributions in strengthening the country’s S&T capacity.     Dr. Elvira de Lara-Tuprio, an expert in disease modeling through differential equations and financial mathematics, with focus on financial derivatives and risk management. Besides heading FASSSTER’s Mathematical Modelling Team, she is an Associate Professor ADMU’s Mathematics Department.      Dr. Marlene M. De Leon, Team Leader, FASSSTER Data Management Team, is is an Associate Professor of the ADMU Department of Information Systems and Computer Science and manages the university’s Quality Assurance of Data and Information at the University.      Dr. Raymond Francis R. Sarmiento, Team Leader, FASSSTERData Warehouse Team Currently, is the Director of the National Telehealth Center of the UP National Institutes of Health (UPNIH). He is a DOST Balik Scientist who specializes in clinical and public health informatics and health data science, among others. In 2019, he was recognized as an Outstanding Young Scientist in public health informatics by the National Academy of Science and Technology.      Mr. Christian Pulmano, Team Leader, FASSSTERSystems Development Team, works  full-time with the ADMU Dept. of Information Systems & Computer Science. He also  heads the Ateneo Block Chain Laboratory (formerly AMBERLab) which received the Recognition of Excellence Award by OpenGov Asia in 2019. He is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of BluEHR, a spin-off product from ACCCRe.     Dr. Norbie Mendoza, Team Leader, Epidemiology and Public Health Team, he specializes in the field of health and medical informatics.     The development of FASSSTER is part of the DOST-PCHRD’s projects under the Information and Communications Technology in Health priority area which aims to advance the country’s telehealth services and systems and public health surveillance, among others.     The recalibration of FASSSTER was undertaken  in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila - National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC), the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau and the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).       Committed to making lives better for the Filipino, DOST-PCHRD supports the development of health and health-related research projects outlined by the DOST’s Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) and the National Unified Health Research and Development Agenda (NUHRA). (PCHRD S&T Media Service) Mr. Christian Pulmano Dr. Norbie Mendoza

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LANDBANK offers ‘study now, pay later’ program for private schools

May 8, 2020

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) is launching a new lending program to boost the capacity of private academic institutions to implement a ‘study now, pay later’ scheme for its students.      Under the LANDBANK ACADEME (ACcess to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities) Lending Program, LANDBANK has allotted a total program fund of P3-billion in credit support for private high schools, private technical and vocational education training institutions, as well as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) such as colleges and universities, to provide continuing education to their students.      The program offers ‘3-3-3’ features with a P3-billion-program fund in credit support, a very low fixed interest rate of only 3% per annum, and payable based on the maturity of the sub-promissory notes but not to exceed three (3) years. It forms part of LANDBANK’s social investment package to encourage students to pursue and finish their education.      The LANDBANK ACADEME Lending Program is open to private/non-DepEd Junior/Senior High Schools with permit to operate by DepEd, as well as to private Technical-Vocational and Education Training (TVET) Institutions in partnership with and being regulated by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).      Eligible borrowers of the newly launched LANDBANK ACADEME Lending Program also include Private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) such as Colleges and Universities with undergraduate programs authorized by Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the HEIs are accredited by either any of the following:       Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities’ Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA), Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities Accrediting Association Inc. (ACSCU-AAI) or Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP).      “Given the financial constraints brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, LANDBANK is financing interventions to ensure that students will be able to enroll in school when classes finally resume. The LANDBANK ACADEME Lending Program supports the education sector in providing students greater access to quality education amid the health crisis we are all facing,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said.      The LANDBANK ACADEME Lending Program offers refinancing or rediscounting of promissory notes issued by the parents or benefactors of students for school loans. Eligible schools can borrow up to 70% of the sub-promissory notes on a per semester basis and subject further to a maximum amount based on the school’s net borrowing capacity.      The loan will be released either in lump sum or staggered basis per semester, and will be directly credited to the deposit account maintained by the school with LANDBANK. The LANDBANK ACADEME Lending Program will be available until June 30, 2021.      For details about the program’s features and application requirements, interested borrowers may contact the nearest open LANDBANK Lending Center or Branch nationwide, or call LANDBANK’s customer service hotline at (02) 8-405-7000 or at PLDT Domestic Toll Free 1-800-10-405-7000.      For more updates, please refer to the official LANDBANK Facebook and Instagram accounts (@landbankofficial) and Twitter (@LBP_Official) or the LANDBANK website (www.landbank.com).

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Experience Excellence at Xavier University Senior High School

May 7, 2020

Guided by the vision of becoming “A leading ASEAN university forming leaders of character by 2033”, Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan offers Senior High School global standards in education. Xavier University Senior High School Senior High School comprises the two years of education (Grades 11 and 12) immediately following four years of Junior High School (Grades 7 - 10) in the K-12 program. Xavier Ateneo offers two tracks that junior high school graduates can choose from: Academic and Technical-Vocational. Under the Academic track, students can choose from any of the four strands: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics); ABM (Accountancy, Business and Management); HUMSS (Humanities and Social Sciences); and, GA (General Academic) which prepare students for further studies in college. Within the Technical-Vocational track, students can choose from TESDA-accredited programs (automotive, electronics, electrical, mechanical, among others), as well as non-TESDA vocational programs. Located at the Manresa Complex in Upper Balulang, Cagayan de Oro City, the Andrew L Gotianun Center for Integrated Technologies (ALGCIT) offers specialized tech-voc education to mold globally-competitive tech-voc graduates. A New ‘Clean and Green’ Campus Due to the implementation of the K-12 program, Xavier Ateneo had no college freshmen and sophomores for SY 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. Instead, senior high classes and activities were hosted at the main campus along Corrales Avenue while a new senior high school campus was constructed. Completing the Basic Education in Pueblo de Oro, the new senior high school campus is located northwest facing the junior high school campus (formerly Xavier University High School). Its construction started June 2018 and completed in May 2019. The main building of the campus is divided into the North and South wings. These are to be used as buildings for classrooms and other offices. Connecting both wings are structures that will house administrative & maintenance offices. In true Jesuit fashion, the center of the senior high school campus is a chapel. The campus is complete with environment-friendly features such as a sewage treatment plant, rainwater collection system, natural ventilation, and a sky-garden for added ventilation and heat protection. The cafeteria can comfortably accommodate the SHS population.  The campus is set to be finished in May 2020 and be used for SY 2020-2021 this coming June. However, with the uncertainty and recent developments of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), school administrators have yet to declare the admission process.  In a memo by Fr Roberto “Bobby” Yap SJ, Xavier Ateneo is strengthening its online learning method in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Experience Excellence  As the first university in Mindanao and first Jesuit university in the country, Xavier Ateneo has a long history of forming ‘men and women for others’. With its highly-accredited academic and formation programs, Xavier Ateneo molds students with the hallmarks of Jesuit education - Christ-centeredness, competence, conscience, commitment and compassion. Senior High School is a testament of Xavier Ateneo’s commitment to providing quality education. It serves to give students the proper environment and training to hone their skills for higher education and employment.   Join us and be part of the Xavier Ateneo community! (XU Comms)

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Blurb: Simply give your PayMaya mobile number to your employer for enrollment

May 7, 2020

 With the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and other provinces in Visayas and Mindanao still in place, many employees and workers have had their livelihoods affected, particularly those working in industries and businesses that were forced to suspend operations.  Thankfully, employees and workers affected can see if they qualify for the national government’s Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program through the Social Security System (SSS) or apply for other loans and have the funds disbursed safely and conveniently to their PayMaya account. The application period for this subsidy program has been extended to May 8, 2020. PayMaya has partnered with SSS to be the only e-wallet that can receive SBWS funds from the government, allowing even those without a bank account to conveniently receive the subsidy by simply signing up for a PayMaya account using their mobile devices. All you have to do is make sure to provide your PayMaya mobile number to your employer, who will then enroll your PayMaya account to be linked to SSS once they receive access to the SBWS application portal.  Easily receive your wage subsidy via PayMaya To get started, simply follow these steps to register for a PayMaya account: 1) Download the PayMaya app on your iOS or Android phone   2) Register for an account using your Mobile Number, Name, and Email Address   3) Enter the Verification Code that will be sent to the Mobile Number you registered with   4) Upgrade your account by accessing the menu and tapping "Upgrade Your Account"   5) Once your account is set up and upgraded, give your PayMaya mobile number to your employer who will then enroll your account through the SSS online portal Once enrolled, loan proceeds and wage subsidies can now be disbursed to your PayMaya account once the funds are available. Wage subsidies and loan applications are subject to approval of SSS and based on eligibility of employees after application has been submitted by their respective employers. To successfully receive your wage subsidies and loan proceeds via PayMaya, make sure that your PayMaya accounts are upgraded. For a faster and smoother upgrade process, uploading a Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) is recommended. Likewise, ensure that the information in your upgrade application form is the same as the one reflected in your ID. For more information on how to upgrade your PayMaya account, visit www.paymaya.com/upgrade. Once upgraded, you may encash the funds through the more than 30,000 Smart Padala centers nationwide or withdraw the funds at any Bancnet ATMs currently available using their physical PayMaya card.  To learn more about how to set up and use a PayMaya account, visit www.paymaya.com/quick-guide.  Aside from offering convenience, utilizing PayMaya for various digital transactions is also a safer way to pay as part of physical distancing and health measures. Using the PayMaya app, Filipinos can continue doing transactions such as paying their bills, settling government dues, buying airtime load for themselves or their friends, or sending money to loved ones in the provinces all at the safety of their own homes. PayMaya is the leading digital financial services company in the country that offers end-to-end payment solutions with the widest on-ground branch network. It is the first to give millions of Filipinos an e-wallet that allows them to pay cashless transactions at any time of the day, anywhere in the world, and from any device.

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Hedcor extends aid to checkpoints in Mindanao, Nort Luzon

May 7, 2020

AboitizPower generation unit Hedcor and Aboitiz Foundation have provided frontliners across various Quarantine Control Points (QCP) in Northern Luzon and Mindanao with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect the first responders who are safeguarding the public,  Now on its third wave, thermal scanners, face masks and rubbing alcohol were distributed to frontliners as they continue to secure peace and order and serve the public.  In Mindanao, Hedcor assisted some 400 frontliners across 11 QCPs in Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, and Davao del Sur to help buttress government’s efforts to flatten the curve.  The company also distributed supplies to checkpoints within its host communities in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in Northern Luzon.  Andy Faelnar, Assistant Vice President of Hedcor Group, said in a statement: “COVID-19 is a pressing matter we face, and our frontliners come in ready to respond. They have a pivotal role in enforcing social regulations while ensuring public safety and security.”  Faelnar added that the health and general well-being of all is of paramount importance to Hedcor. Hedcor recognizes that checkpoint personnel are in the front lines keeping the public safe, exposing them to a higher risk as they perform their critical jobs.   “Our community deserves safety and protection amidst this pandemic. That’s why we are here. We, too, deserve it. The same with anyone else, we have family waiting for us at home. Thank you Hedcor for thinking of our safety too,” said Narciso Dimmuyog of QCP Tadiangan, Tuba, one of the control point officers in Northern Luzon,  Staff Sergeant Efren Paragoso from Task Force Davao, who received the equipment on behalf of his team, expressed his gratitude for the initiative. “These medical supplies are really of great help to us,” Paragoso shared. “This will definitely improve our screening process,” he added.  During Hedcor’s first and second waves, some P1-million in relief packs and medical equipment were handed over to partner LGUs and medical frontliners in Benguet, Mt. Province and Ilocos Sur.  Hedcor had also previously handed ready-to-eat food packs, sacks of rice, and medical supplies worth over P.5-million to host communities in Davao City, Davao del Sur, and Bukidnon.  Hedcor is a run-of-river hydropower arm of AboitizPower. With 22 hydropower facilities over the Philippines, it has a total installed capacity of 277MW of Cleanergy, AboitizPower’s brand for clean and renewable energy.

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