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Dynamic learning in difficult times

June 19, 2020

The pandemic has affected all industries all over the world, forcing change in the way things are done to cope with what is now called the “New Normal”. In the Philippines, this fundamental change is most evident and even pressing in the education sector with the approaching opening of the new school year. Schools and educators are now looking to new strategies to deliver quality education to students outside the classroom, especially to those in far-flung areas with even more challenging circumstances. These include online to TV and radio to printed modules. It is in this context that the CVIF-Dynamic Learning Program or DLP – a disaster-resilient, innovative, and low-budget teaching strategy – proves to be very effective. The brainchild of Filipino Theoretical Physicists and Ramon Magsaysay laureates Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido, the program is designed to train students to learn independently, effectively, and responsibly, even with minimal supervision from both teachers and parents.  It focuses on student activity and aims to produce students whose competence in the Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (STEM) disciplines are comparable to global standards. First implemented in 2002 in the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF), the Bernidos’ secondary school in Jagna, Bohol, DLP immediately yielded positive results. Students showed improved academic performance in class and on national scholastic aptitude tests and higher success rates in entrance exams in premier universities in the country and abroad. This, with zero homework and face-to-face interaction with a teacher for an equivalent of only 20% of school time. The program has since been rolled out in public and private schools all over the country. Davao Christian High School adopted DLP in 2005, and this helped the school successfully transition to online classes after the pandemic was declared, according to Desi Magnaye, Junior High School Principal. “Our transition to an online platform has been more manageable. We upload the activity sheets needed by the students for the day. These learning activity sheets are to be copied by hand, and once they are done, they submit a photo or PDF of their completed work via the online platform,” he explains. DLP has also been successfully implemented in the Alternative Learning System (ALS), the flagship program of the Department of Education that offers second-chance education to youth and adults who failed to complete basic education. The typical situation In ALS mirrors the challenges now faced by formal education: there are no classrooms and workbooks, teachers to cater to learners in different levels all at the same time. Face-to-face classes are held only once a week, and because of the learners’ financial circumstances, printed rather than online modules are used, and learners have to accomplish assignments on their own. With DLP, ALS teachers have been able to bypass these challenges. “DLP is the answer to all our problems,” exclaims Renato A. Cayetano Jr., district coordinator of ALS in Bacnotan, La Union. DLP’s Learning Activity Sheets trained ALS students to read and write, and this enhanced lesson retention, Cayetano says. “The activity sheet is easily understood without teacher supervision, which works well in far flung areas, and without need for varied instructional materials. It can be answered or studied even outside the classroom and at the learner’s convenient time, which is ideal for our working students,” he explains. Most remarkable was the improved academic performance of the students, he adds. In DLP, pre-developed Learning Activity Sheets is a key component. Indicated on a single page are the Activity Title, the Learning Target, and a short Concept Note similar to a digest of the topic to be learned, and several Exercises. The difference from a teacher’s lesson plan is that the activity sheet is designed to be copied, read, understood, and answered by the students independently, without prior lecture. The use of the activity sheets has also lightened the teachers’ workload, according to Windel Alvarez, ALS Mobile Teacher in Caramoan, Camarines Sur. “Our students learn according to their ability and availability, unlike in the formal school setting,” he says. They are motivated to learn, and answering the activity sheet improves their writing skill. Prior to the enhanced community quarantine, the students had been given their activity sheets to answer, so they continue learning during the pandemic, he says. Under DLP, 70-80% of the time the student learns on his own, with the teacher providing intervention only 20-30% of the time. By focusing more on student activity rather than traditional lecture, DLP has proven to be effective in addressing the challenges teachers and learners face in difficult situations, such as sudden interruption of classes and restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The immense challenges currently faced by the education sector necessitates looking into various methodologies to bring education to learners in a variety of contexts. For PLDT and its subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. and the PLDT-Smart Foundation, this means providing flexible learning options from online to on-air to offline through the Dynamic Learning Program, which the companies have been supporting since 2010. “The DLP provides tried and tested simple yet highly-effective solutions that can help teachers, students, and parents hurdle the challenges posed by the pandemic and even smoothly transition to an in-classroom set-up in the future,” says Ramon Isberto, the Public Affairs Group Head of Smart. On June 17-19, from 2pm to 4pm, private and public schools and even those in ALS that have adopted DLP will share best practices in a web forum entitled “No Learner Left Behind: Education for All in the New Normal.” Parents and teachers, especially those in the public schools, are invited to join the DLP web forum which will be streamed live via the Dynamic Learning Program Facebook page. Visit Dynamic Learning Program and Smart Communities on Facebook for details or email LearnSmart@smart.com.ph.

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LANDBANK releases second wave of cash grants to 1.3M beneficiaries

June 13, 2020

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) fully disbursed the second round of cash grants worth P6,741,409,650.00 to 1,335,711 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to support families heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The payout for the second wave of cash assistance to the LANDBANK Cash Cards of intended beneficiaries was completed on Thursday, June 11, 2020.  The beneficiaries may withdraw from more than 2,000 LANDBANK ATMs available nationwide free of charge, and the more than 20,000 ATMs of BancNet-member banks. They may also use their cash cards for cashless purchases in groceries, supermarkets and drugstores through the Point-of-Sale (POS) machines at the cashier or check-out counters. “Through the LANDBANK Cash Cards, we already delivered the second wave of cash grants to 1.3 million beneficiaries in an immediate, safe and secure manner. Rest assured that LANDBANK will continuously work with the national government to ensure that future beneficiaries will receive their emergency subsidies quickly, while strictly adhering to the quarantine measures in place,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said. LANDBANK’s distribution of cash grants is in line with the passage of Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act and the issuance of DSWD-DOLE-DTI-DA-DOF-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020 or the “Special Guidelines on the Provision of Social Amelioration Measures.” For more updates, please follow, like, and share the official LANDBANK social media accounts—for Facebook and Instagram: @landbankofficial, and for Twitter: @LBP_Official, and the LANDBANK website: www.landbank.com.

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SEC-Cagayan de Oro reminds corporations of june 30 AFS deadline submission

June 10, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission – Cagayan de Oro Extension Office (SEC-CDOEO) reminds all corporations for the submission of Audited Financial Statements (AFS) which is due this June 30, 2020. The Northern Mindanao and Caraga Regions’ Stock and Non-Stock corporations whose fiscal year ends November 30, 2019 and December 31, 2019 are obliged to submit their AFS together with the General Information Sheet (GIS) otherwise corresponding penalties will incur.  Atty. Renato V. Egypto, Director for SEC-CDOEO in a statement reminds all corporations to file and submit their reports “For all corporations, it is best to file early as now for us to avoid crowd or mass gathering. The SEC-CDOEO has been open to accept submissions since the occurrence of pandemic in the region”.  SEC-CDOEO accepts walk-in submissions from Monday to Friday (8:00AM – 5:00PM). Preemptive measures are observed in the office and thus, clients are directed to follow.  For areas with travel restrictions, clients may send their reports via courier with mailing address: SEC Bldg., Tomas Saco Del Lara Sts., Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro City.  Sending through e-mail (soft copies) is also accepted however will be deemed as partial submission considering that hard copies will complete the requirements. With this, electronic signatures, and unnotarized documents are temporarily allowed. Reports have to be submitted through reports_cdo@sec.gov.ph.  This submission is in pursuance to the Revised Corporation Code, under Sec. 177 (a) which requires all corporations to submit their annual financial statements to be audited by an independent Certified Public Accountant, however, if total assets or total liabilities of the corporation are less than Six Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 600, 000.00), the financial statements shall be certified under oath by the Corporation’s treasurer or chief financial officer.  The reportorial requirements shall be submitted annually and within such period as may be prescribed by the Commission.  The AFS other than the consolidated financial statements, shall have the stamped “received” by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) or its authorized banks, unless the BIR allows an alternative proof of submission for its authorized banks (e.g. bank slips).  Late filings shall have corresponding penalties as imposed by the Commission guidelines, and/or may place the Corporation under delinquent status in case of failure to submit the reportorial requirements three (3) times, consecutively or intermittently, within a period of five (5) years. The Commission shall give reasonable notice to and coordinate with the appropriate regulatory agency prior to placing under delinquent status companies under their special regulatory jurisdiction.  

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Unemployed Persons in Region X Rises to 236 thousand as of April 2020

June 10, 2020

Results of the April 2020 Labor Force Survey shows that unemployment rate in the region registered at 11.1 percent. This is the highest recorded unemployment rate since 2005. Unemployment rate in January 2020 was reported at 3.2 percent while April 2019 unemployment rate posted at 5.0 percent. In terms of magnitude, the total number of unemployed individuals as of April 2020 reached to 236 thousand, higher than the recorded unemployed persons in April 2019 at 121 thousand. In other words, there are 115 thousand more individuals who are unemployed as of April 2020 as compared to the same period in the previous year which reflects the impact of COVID-19 economic shutdown to the labor market. Lowest Unemployment Rate Among the 17 regions The region’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average of unemployment rate at 17.7 percent. The region also posted the lowest unemployment rate among the 17 regions. Employment Rate Drops to 88.9 percent Employment rate in the region fell to 88.9 percent in April 2020 from 96.8 percent in January 2020. In April 2019, employment rate registered at 95.0 percent. This translates to a decrease in the employed persons by around 400 thousand, that is, from 2.3 million employed persons in April 2019 to 1.9 million persons in April 2020. The region, however, recorded the highest employment rate among the 17 regions of the country. RUBEN D. ABARO, JR, CESE Regional Director BMC

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AboitizPower hydro unit utilizes P20.1M for host LGUs in Luzon and Mindanao

June 10, 2020

While a number of community quarantines throughout the country have been gradually eased, the battle against the pandemic is still far from over. Hedcor, AboitizPower’s run-of-river hydropower subsidiary, sticks to its commitment to power its host communities in Northern Luzon and Mindanao with Cleanergy.  To further assist the local communities recover from the plight of COVID-19, Hedcor is remitting a total of P20.1M of generation shares under the Energy Regulations 1-94 (ER 1-94) policy of DOE’s Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). The ER 1-94 program allows Hedcor’s host communities to get a share of one centavo for every kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kWh) generated by Hedcor’s plant facility in the area. The revised provision of the ER 1-94 policy now allows direct remittance of funds from Hedcor to its host communities. While generating Cleanergy, AboitizPower’s brand of clean and renewable energy, Hedcor is able to further advance its partner communities’ development through ER 1-94. “In accordance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, host LGUs can maximize ER 1-94 shares in mitigating the repercussions brought by the pandemic,” says Andy Faelnar, Assistant Vice President of Hedcor Group.  Faelnar added that the ER 1-94 funds are to be used for electrification, for development and livelihood programs, and for reforestation, watershed management, health, and environmental enhancement programs. But with the Bayanihan Act, host LGUs may now also opt to use this funding for the construction of COVID-19 facilities along with the procurement of medical testing kits and other supplies and necessities.  Additionally, Hedcor Group’s remittances before 2018 which are currently with DOE are also being downloaded by the agency to the local government units of the host communities. Beyond the streamlining of processes, Hedcor’s direct involvement in the actualization of projects places emphasis on the strong sense of partnership between Hedcor and its host communities. In Mindanao, the funds are to be received and utilized by over 12 barangays, four cities and municipalities, the province of Davao del Sur and Bukidnon, and Region XI. In Northern Luzon, the ER 1-94 funds are directed to host barangays in Benguet, Mt. Province and Ilocos Sur. Hedcor recognizes that in this trying time of uncertainty and fear, we are stronger together. The assistance provided by these funds are a supplement to Hedcor’s previous three-wave relief assistance, which was conducted in support over the government’s effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve, and prioritized the distribution of ready-to-eat goods and medical supplies.

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Robinsons Hotels and Resorts Plans for Re-opening and Keeping Guests, Hotel Teams Safe from COVID-19

June 9, 2020

Robinsons Hotels and Resorts (RHR), hospitality arm of Robinsons Land, is preparing for a soft reopening of select Go Hotels and Summit Hotels and Resorts properties around the Philippines.  In preparation, RHR has devised new ways to keep guests and hotel staff safe, including elevated standards of hygiene and cleanliness based on World Health Organization guidelines and Department of Health New Normal protocols. Throughout the quarantine period in effect since mid-March, RHR has kept over 50% of its homegrown hospitality brands – Go Hotels and Summit Hotels and Resorts – open to service the needs of long-term stay guests, mostly employees from business process outsourcing firms and repatriated OFWs complying with government guideline for auto-quarantine. With some LGUs announcing its transition from GCQ to MGCQ, RHR gears up for the re-opening of select hotels by June 16, 2020, starting with four of its provincial hotels: Go Hotels Iloilo, Summit Hotel Tacloban, Go Hotels Butuan and Go Hotels Iligan, respectively. “Since ECQ began on March 16, 2020, we have been closely monitoring the rapidly-changing situation around COVID-19, responding to new information as it arises and preparing for all possible scenarios, with the goal of continuing to safely serve you in our hotels and resorts”, said Arthur G. Gindap, Senior Vice President and Business Unit – General Manager, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts. “We know that people will travel again for leisure and to see family and friends. And when they do, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts will be ready to welcome them back." In addition to following the guidance provided by the World Health Organization, Philippine government, LGUs, Department of Health and Department of Tourism, RHR also consulted with a top sanitation expert – Ecolab – as they implemented the Circle of Clean protocols. Circle of Clean is the term for RHR’s elevated standard of hygiene and cleanliness developed with the aim to provide a worry-free stay experience for guests from pre-arrival to post-departure touch points implemented in all Go Hotels and Summit Hotels and Resorts around the Philippines. RHR’s Circle of Clean Protocols include but not limited to:  ·         Frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-contact public areas – from touch screens, computer keyboards, to door handles, hand railings, elevators, public bathrooms. ·         Consistent use of hospital-grade disinfectant in partnership with industry expert Ecolab, providing trusted products to meet the highest cleaning standards and ensure the peace of mind of owners, guests, and associates. ·         Temperature checks, foot bath, hand sanitizers, luggage sanitation and on-property signages reiterating social distancing and personal sanitation guidelines. ·         Contactless check-in and check-out via Self-service Kiosks (in select hotels), clear partitions at front desk and UV light sanitation of keycards before issue to guests. ·         Personal protective equipment for front office, housekeeping and food & beverage team members. ·         Weekly misting in all guest areas and regular deep cleanings as required to protect the safety of our guests and associates. ·         Modified food & beverage operations, including launch of pre-order/pick-up/ delivery at Café Summit and shift to pre-packaged set for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ·         Updated furniture spacing in restaurant and function venues to promote appropriate social distancing. ·         Best-in-class training programs for hotel staff on enhanced operating protocols at Go Hotels and Summit Hotels and Resorts.  “From the start of the booking journey on our brand websites to the pre-arrival email, we will be communicating our Circle of Clean protocols to our guests and will continue to build consumer awareness over the coming weeks,” said Joy de Mesa, Group Director of Sales and Marketing, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts. “This will include a targeted consumer media campaign to promote the Circle of Clean standards delivered via the hotels’ online channels and media partners. We have already communicated our approach to our corporate clients and in the process of empowering our sales and marketing teams to do contactless presentation and virtual tour of our hotels.” “We are focused on making sure our associates can put their health first and foremost as we face this situation together. We have implanted the Circle of Clean protocols to help ensure that our associates are safe while on duty such as frequent and proper handwashing, wearing of company provided PPEs, and enhanced operating policies designed to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Annalyn D. Yap, Director of Human Resources and Operations, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts.  “As we face the challenges ahead, I know we will continue to work on ways to make sure genuine care (“malasakit”) and our bayanihan spirit remain at the core of who we are as a hotel company and as a strategic business unit of Robinsons Land Corporation. This will be a challenge, but it is an exciting one, and one we are more than happy to face, together.“ Gindap said. Summit Hotels and Go Hotels brand websites, social media pages and viber communities shall be updated with additional information on hotel re-opening schedules and its Circle of Clean protocols. For more information visit: www.summihotels.ph and www.gohotels.ph.  

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