Today's Top Stories

  • Russia claims developing "first" coronavirus vaccine

    Russia claims developing "first" coronavirus vaccine

    RUSSIA (MDN International News Service) - No less than Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that his country developed the 'first vaccine' against the deadly coronavirus disease. The new development is considered by President Putin as a proof of its excellence in scientific reseach. Russia is said to be the first to grant regulatory approval to the new vaccine after several months of human testing. The recent discovery of this covid-19 vaccine, the president said, highlights the country's strong determination to win aginst hundreds of countries of the world that join the race to developed a safe and fit for human vaccine. Putin announced the new vaccine was developed by Gamaleya Institute "was safe and his daughter was even among the first to have tested the vaccine. “I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” confirms Putin, adding his daughter was among those who was tested of the vaccine. The discovery and confirmation of the vaccine to be effective paves the way for the injection of the vaccine to all Russians. This, even if the final stage of the clinical trials to test for safety and effectiveness is still ongoing.    Putin said that he is hoping the country would start mass production of the vaccine and distributed right away to all Russians. But the approval of the Health Ministry, clearly signals the president's strong support of the vaccine. This, even as there are other vaccines being developed in Russia.

    August 12, 2020

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  • Moreno vows to protect NorthMin's regional  hospital overwhelmed from surge of covid cases

    Moreno vows to protect NorthMin's regional  hospital overwhelmed from surge of covid cases

    "WE MUST PROTECT OUR BOAT," SAYS MAYOR MORENO Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Seriña Moreno yesterday vowed to protect Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the regional hospital in Northern Mindanao based in Cagayan de Oro City. The mayor said if NMMC is overwhelmed with covid-19 cases coming from Iligan City and other provinces in Northern Mindanao, the national government may takeover and it will be hard for everyone especially the City of Cagayan de Oro.     Rather than risk direct national government intervention similar to what happened in Cebu City, Mayor Oscar Moreno said he will order the City Health Office (CHO) to offer the city’s isolation units and temporary treatment management facility (TTMF) to house COVID-19 patients of Iligan City. During a press briefing on August 10, the mayor said: ‘We don’t want a situation in which the national government will have to send their people to Iligan City similar to what happened in Cebu City and even Zamboanga City. We want to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases that would overwhelm Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) and result in a region wide lockdown that would make life harder for the people of Cagayan de Oro.’  Recent updates of covid-19 cases shows Iligan City registered 27 COVID-19 positive cases from Aug. 3 to 9, up from 11 cases last Aug. 2.  The mayor has previously offered the city’s TTMF for use by the mayors of Misamis Oriental’s towns to help house some of their COVID-19 positive patients. In reiterating NMMC’s role as northern Mindanao’s COVID-19 referral hospital, Mayor Moreno said the NMMC’s critical care utilization rate or capacity to handle COVID-19 patients should not be overwhelmed beyond their current level.  "The NMMC is the region’s vessel and all of us are passengers in the same boat trying to reach the (shore of recovery). We must protect our boat," the mayor challenged everyone."

    August 11, 2020

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Mindanao Daily News

Trucks dealer NZH International expands to Mindanao

July 27, 2020

Motoring

By: Mark Francisco, QUEZON City-based NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. has established its first branch outside Luzon right here in Cagayan de Oro City. NZH Mindanao was inaugurated last Saturday (July 18) in its premises at the heart of the city particularly at Cugman Highway. It is now the fourth branch of the ever growing NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. which has maintained two more branches in the northern part of the country outside of its flagship dealership in Quezon City. According to NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. national sales director Robin Lu, they chose Cagayan de Oro as their stepping stone in other parts of the Philippines even in this time of pandemic since the government here has managed the COVID-19 crisis well so as to steer the economy as well. In the words of Maybelle Quilnat of NZH Mindanao herself, she opined that the administration of Mayor Oscar Moreno has recognized the continuing relevance of supply providers such as their business in keeping the economy float and at the same time managing the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Quilnat also said that NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. ventured into the Mindanao market particularly here in Cagayan de Oro City since it is the gateway to the northern part of the island. Quilnat said that industry vehicle providers such as their company are essential especially at this time of the pandemic to keep the movement of supplies stable. NZH Mindanao has a wide range of Shacman dumptrucks, transit mixers, tractor heads, wing vans and cargo trucks. She said that these are used in construction, freight forwarding, aggregates trucking and mining, among others. “Even during the time of pandemic, they continue to operate.” For his part, Moreno expressed his gratitude to NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. for putting their investments in Cagayan de Oro City in the midst of these trying times, saying they are not just helping to buoy up the economy but their transport conveyances are essential in all sectors. At present, Shacman heavy duty trucks are sold in more than 90 countries, the export and export volume ranking in the leading position of the industry, providing a full range of logistics solutions. Indeed it is here in the Philippines. Lu said the trend of the trucking industry in the country is for the logistics and construction sectors to buy durable equipment over less expensive but unworthy ones. He assured potential clients that NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. excels in after-sales service in all its dealerships nationwide.

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Toyota Motor Philippines Online E-Sports program – GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines

June 15, 2020

Motoring

By: , This move was brought about by the latest situation where safety is of highest concern to everyone and mass gatherings like physical races are foreseen to be limited in the coming months. “Safety of our customers, employees, and fans are always at the top of our priority,” expressed TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto.  “But we also recognize the value of waku-doki spirit in everyone!  This is a great way to sustain the excitement of motorsports program in the Philippines in a safe environment.” The GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines, an e-racing event under Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsports program, will be fully held online and will be open to the public, ages 18 and above.  “Finally, Toyota fans can participate in our sports program at the comfort and safety of their own homes.  We also expect this activity to reach a wider and younger audience, based on the profile of gamers.”  The online e-race, using Toyota’s legendary sports car icon, the GR Supra, is expected to start in July 2020.  Winners of the e-race will get a chance to participate in the regional finals, the GR Supra GT Cup – Asia. E-Sports in the Philippines have grown in popularity over the years. The addition of E-sports programs in various international competitions, producing Filipino medalists, have further legitimized the sport. The GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines is Toyota’s fun and safe alternative to holding the country’s number one motorsports program, The Vios Racing Festival. Usually held in 3 legs from the second to the fourth quarter, the current situation makes it very challenging for Toyota, the racings teams, the drivers, and public spectators to do this physical event. “We look forward to a better 2021 Vios Racing Festival Season where we can go back to the tracks again and feel the heat and excitement.  But for now, we invite everyone to join the GR Supra GT Cup Asia E-Sports Program,” Okamoto concluded. More details of the GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines will be announced soon.  Stay tuned at Toyota.com.ph and facebook/ToyotaMotorPhilippines to get updates.

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Hino Reopens Dealerships Nationwide

June 15, 2020

Motoring

By: , Hino Motors Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Hino trucks and buses in the country, recently reopened its doors to Filipinos as the national quarantine guidelines eased up. All of Hino’s 21 dealerships nationwide are back in operations. With the majority of the country now in General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Modified GCQ (MGCQ) and many business establishments are already reopening, Hino resumes operations to help the economy recuperate from the hit it took from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hino’s reopening of its dealerships is in line with the provisions and guidelines of community quarantine on each area. To ensure the health and safety of its customers, workers and partners, Hino observes strict cleanliness and health protocols such as the regular checking of temperature. All dealerships nationwide will undergo regular and thorough sanitization to maintain a safe and clean environment. Those entering the dealerships are required to hand sanitize with alcohol and to keep their face masks on during their entire stay inside. In compliance with physical distancing guidelines, only a limited number of customers will be allowed at a time. Hino will also be stringent in limiting human contact for all customer transactions. Hino has 21 3S dealerships across Metro Manila and key provincial cities. Below is the list of operational Hino 3S dealerships: NCR: Hino Balintawak Hino J. Abad Santos Hino U.N. Avenue Hino Pasig Hino Paranaque Luzon: Hino Isabela Hino Nueva Ecija Hino Pampanga Hino Carmona Hino Laguna Hino Batangas Hino Naga   Visayas: Hino Leyte Hino Panay Hino Negros Hino Cebu Hino Mandaue   Mindanao: Hino Butuan Hino Cagayan de Oro Hino Davao Hino Gen. Santos To access Hino’s full list of dealership centers and contact numbers, customers may refer to this link. More announcements are updated in Hino’s official website and social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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The New Normal of Personal Mobility

June 15, 2020

Motoring

By: , The COVID-19 Pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect in people’s lives, as well as, the global economy.  With that, a “new normal” that requires maintaining physical distancing and safe hygienic practices has been established by the government. Although the Philippines was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine since March 17, the government recently announced new guidelines to gradually ease the lockdown and slowly open up the economy starting May 16, moving the NCR to a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).  With the shift in status, still, mobility will remain limited, particularly public transportation, due to government measures to limit the virus from further spreading. According to an article by Moovit, the world experienced a decline in public transportation from about 70 percent to 90 percent among commuters from January to April this year. Another study also said that the greatest risk for a person to get ill is exposure to mass gatherings, particularly public transportation, because of exposure to crowds or contact with surfaces touched by people such as handrails and door handles. This reinforces the importance of not only physical distancing but minimized travel aside from staying at home. So when you can finally go out, it will be important to consider clever ways of commuting. One such way will be investing in motorcycles as a means of solo transportation. Motorcycles can become a reliable and convenient mode of transportation, especially during these trying times that commuters need to remain safe from crowds along with the added protection of full-face helmets and face masks. Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI) joins the country as it works to meet the challenges posed by the global health crisis through promoting physical distancing and providing a safe and convenient mode of mobility. “This pandemic is expected to remain with us throughout the year. So, we must ensure the safety of Filipinos by providing the possible transportation solutions that will allow mobility at a reasonable price, yet keep them safe,” said Susumu Mitsuishi, President of HPI. The array of cutting-edge motorcycles busy on the streets, such as the Honda BeAT, Genio, CLICK, and the PCX150 is an indication that Honda’s AT bikes are becoming predominant.  This signifies that the company has been true to its “ONE DREAM” campaign, which is helping fulfill people’s dreams while experiencing the joy of mobility. And in today’s reality, provide a safer way for people staying home to still access badly needed necessities and return to work for their living. “It brings us great fulfillment that our motorcycles are of great importance especially during these days, bringing safety for people against the dangerous virus,” Mitsuishi said.

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Italpinas Dev’t Corp. Boosted An Increase Of Sales Reservation for May 2020

June 22, 2020

Corporate

By: , Eco-friendly Real Estate developer Italpinas Development Corporation, through its Cagayan de Oro Branch Office at Uptown Cagayan de Oro,  recorded a 467% increase in sales reservations last May 2020 (compared to the same month last year). This was another record high for the company, achieved despite the on-going pandemic.       “The first semester continues to be encouraging. We are not seeing any kind of reduction in terms of the demand in the market. The market remains quite healthy. We want to thank our valued clients and our committed sales force for showing their support throughout.” said Ms. Gladys M. Echano, IDC- Sales Director      The coronavirus pandemic has been, to say the least, grim for businesses. Widespread layoffs and furloughs have prompted about 17 percent of the country’s unemployment rate. But during this upheaval, Cagayan de Oro IDC Sales Office has been thriving because of dramatic shifts in consumer behavior on green building’s health benefits and investment purposes.      IDC said its property sales have been “encouraging” in the first semester of the year, giving the company confidence that it can at least match last year’s growth. The company believes in times like this IDC’s environmentally friendly developments are more relevant than ever. IDC will focus on optimizing its existing portfolio of investment properties namely Primavera City at Uptown Cagayan de Oro.       The company currently has two major projects.  Primavera City in Cagayan de Oro is a cluster of seven buildings to be developed in four phases. Miramonti Green Residences, on the other hand, is located inside Light and Industry Science Park in Santo Tomas, Batangas, and will be developed in two phases.      Citta Bella, the second phase at Primavera City, is the newest building. It is the next eco-friendly building that will rise at Primavera City’s Uptown Cagayan de Oro location, along the junction of P.N Roa Ave. and Masterson Ave.  The first phase at Primavera City, (called Citta Verde) is in ongoing construction, with completion targetted before the end of this year. Phase 3 is Citta Grande, which is now in permitting stages. The last Phase (Phase 4) will be Citta Alta.  With its unique design philosophy, IDC™ is committed to sustainable developments in harmony with the environment to bring value to investors, end-users, and the community. Being first movers in this field, IDC™ has proven its concept with the success of its projects.

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SEC fires news warning against bitcoin revolution

June 19, 2020

Corporate

By: , The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued another warning against Bitcoin Revolution, which presents itself as a cryptocurrency trading program purportedly endorsed by government officials, businessmen and celebrities.  In an advisory dated June 16, the Commission urged the public to avoid or stop investing in schemes offered by Bitcoin Revolution or any other entities engaged in digital asset trading and promising ridiculous rates of return with little or no risk.  The SEC issued the warning after finding that Bitcoin Revolution continues to solicit investments from the public using the domain “the-bitcoinrevolution.com” without the necessary license.  Under the scheme, investors could supposedly earn as much as $1,000 from a minimum investment of $250 within a day, a 300% return on investment per day or a total of 9,000% per month.  Bitcoin Revolution also claims that some of its traders managed to become millionaires in less than two months by simply investing in its scheme that purportedly offers a unique automated trading system or platform with a success rate of as high as 99% per transaction.  The scheme involves the offering and sale of securities, in the form of investment contracts, because investors need not exert any effort other than to invest or place money in Bitcoin Revolution in order to derive income, according to the SEC.  As such, the investment contracts must have been duly registered with the Commission while Bitcoin Revolution and its agents must have secured the corresponding license to offer securities for sale to the public, as required under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code.  Aside from the missing registration and licenses, the quick and unrealistically high return promised by Bitcoin Revolution presents a red flag for a Ponzi scheme, an investment scam where investors are paid using funds contributed by the succeeding investors, according to the SEC.  The SEC has flagged the unauthorized activities of Bitcoin Revolution before in an advisory dated March 30, 2020.  Bitcoin Revolution remains unregistered with and unauthorized to solicit and accept investments or placements from the public nor to issue investment contracts and other forms of securities, the Commission emphasized.  The group also continues to manage its digital exchange platform without the proper registration with the SEC, in violation of the prohibition on the use of unregistered exchange under The Securities Regulation Code.  In addition, Bitcoin Revolution still does not appear in the list of entities registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in accordance with BSP Circular No. 944, Series of 2017, which provides for the Guidelines for Virtual Currency Exchanges.  Fake endorsements  An unregulated entity with unknown operators, Bitcoin Revolution is notorious for using fake endorsements from the likes of Senator Manny Pacquiao, former Senator and House Speaker Manny Villar, and television host Boy Abunda.  Only recently, the Department of Finance (DOF) alerted the public about false and fraudulent information about the Secretary of Finance supposedly promoting Bitcoin Revolution.  The DOF also took note of similar investment schemes fraudulently using the names of key Treasury and Finance officials in other countries to encourage potential investors to buy into their programs.  On May 19, the DOF issued a similar warning against another cryptocurrency scam, which alleged in an article that the government created a platform called Bitcoin Lifestyle and that the President was urging Filipinos to support it.  The SEC has been advising the public to take caution when presented with investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies and other new technologies, which unscrupulous individuals and groups have used to disguise their predatory investment schemes.  “The public must be mindful that cryptocurrencies are very volatile and the process of digital asset trading is highly speculative and involves a higher degree of risk and that the operations of such unregulated entities engaged in digital asset trading are completely unaccountable,” the SEC noted.  “Nevertheless, the Commission assures the public that it continuously monitors and oversees such entities and their activities in a way that it sees as proper in order to prevent the proliferation of scams and/or any other unauthorized or illegal schemes in the country.”  Strict penalties  The SEC warned all individuals and groups engaged in fraud of the strict penalties awaiting them for violating the laws, rules and regulations it enforces.  Those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of fraudulent investment schemes, for instance, may face a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both under The Securities Regulation Code.  Those who invite or recruit others to join or invest in such ventures may likewise incur criminal liability or be sanctioned or penalized in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of SEC vs. Oudine Santos (G.R. No. 195542, 19 March 2014).  Moreover, Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, penalizes those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts with two-month imprisonment or a maximum fine of P1 million or both.  “[T]he above laws are not aimed to hinder or pose significant risk to businesses and cryptocurrency projects but are intended for the protection of both the registered entities and the investing public from any anomalies and/or irregularities which tend to result from any unlawful or unauthorized operations,” the SEC noted.  The Commission encourages the public to visit the SEC website to see the advisories it issues regularly and to report unauthorized investment solicitation activities to the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department through email at epd@sec.gov.ph.  

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Safe and potable water comes to sitio Tipolohon

June 19, 2020

Corporate

By: , For years, residents of Sitio Tipolohon in Barangay Camaman-an have relied on either the pump-operated shallow well, the supply from Barangay Indahag, or water peddlers for their water needs. They purchase water at P7.00 per container or P350.00 for 5 drums. Piped water for their homes has therefore been a longtime wish for this populace.  But now, with Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Incorporated’s (COBI) East Transmission Line in place and with the construction of a 200mm uPVC Distribution Line already complete, the waiting is finally over. With a total cost of P1,826,448.49, this water supply system project under the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) Program commenced last November 6, 2019 and is partially funded by the LGU (P1,000,000.00) with the rest of the budget jointly subsidized by COWD and Vitens Evides International.  Aside from the 540-meter long distribution line, the project includes seventeen (17) units of 500mmꝊ meter stub-outs. As of date, with 86.29% of the project already completed, 7 meter stub-outs have already been installed.  This means that residents living along the areas where these stub-outs are located may now apply for their individual water connections. Once the installation of the additional 10 meter stub-outs will be completed, a total of 500 households will benefit from this water supply project.     Other completed projects include: ·         75mmꝊ pipeline extension with 4 units 50mmꝊ meter stub-outs at the Lutheran Relocation Site in Canitoan which is intended to serve the water needs of 60 relocated families from Barangay 36; and ·         100mmꝊ pipeline extension with 10 units 50mmꝊ meter stub-outs at Zone 8, Cugman intended to improve existing water pressure in the area. which can accommodate around 200 water connections.  These service expansion projects are aimed at providing more and more people with access to safe and clean water for their hygiene and sanitation needs.

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NGCP donates testing booths, 10,000 rapid test kits to QC LGU

June 19, 2020

Corporate

By: , To aid frontliners in the battle against COVID-19, NGCP turned over 50 units of testing booths and 10,000 rapid test kits to the Quezon City local government, led by Mayor Joy Belmonte, on Thursday, 18 June 2020.  The testing booths and rapid test kits, including test administration and results interpretation, are part of the company’s continuing initiatives to support the national and local government’s COVID-19 response efforts.  As of 16 June 2020, the Department of Health has recorded the most number of COVID-19 cases in Quezon City with 2,689 confirmed cases, 953 of which are considered active or recovering.  “NGCP understands that this will be a long and hard-fought battle. We want to make sure that our donations will help ease the burden on LGUs and that our support will translate to direct results such as identification of COVID-19 cases. In this way, the process from identification to response and treatment will be expedited,” stated NGCP.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, testing will begin on Monday, 22 June 2020.  NGCP’s COVID-19 donations include a PhP 1 Billion donation of grocery items to over 1,000 LGUs and medical equipment to more than 300 hospitals and city/municipal/rural health units. The medical equipment donation includes ambulances turned over to UP-PGH, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Quirino Memorial Center, Philippine Heart Center, and Biñan Doctors Hospital. PCR machines, SteraMist disinfection/decontamination units, and closed suction systems were also turned over to various hospitals.  NGCP will also be constructing donning and doffing chambers, which are sterile holding areas used by medical frontliners to equip themselves with PPEs prior to entering isolation wards, within the hospital facilities of Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Rizal Medical Center, and East Avenue Medical Center.  Isolation rooms with negative pressure will also be constructed for Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center. Three (3) Class N isolation rooms and two (2) Class Q isolation rooms with negative pressure will be used for mild and severe COVID-19 cases, respectively.  Other earlier NGCP donations are the Meals on Wheels feeding program for indigent communities; a PhP5 million donation to Project Ugnayan which distributes supermarket vouchers to economically displaced families in Metro Manila; and earlier distribution of face masks and other PPEs to LGUs and medical frontliners.  NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto, Jr.

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SEC reminds Normin, Caraga corporations to submit audited financial statement before June 30

June 9, 2020

Money Matters

By: PR, 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 R10 rise to 236,000 as of April 2020

June 9, 2020

Money Matters

By: PSA PR, 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 236,000, higher than the recorded unemployed persons in April 2019 at 121,000. In other words, there are 115,000 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.   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 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.

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PSBank Q1 net income: P646.2m

May 7, 2020

Money Matters

By: , THE Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), the consumer banking arm of the Metrobank Group, recorded a net income of PhP646.2 million for the first quarter of 2020. Net interest income grew 21.8% to PhP3.2 billion versus the same period last year while net service fees reached PhP458.1 million. Net Income for the first quarter of 2020 is lower by 5.1% on increased credit provisioning. Total loan portfolio as of the first quarter of this year grew by 3.6% to PhP165.0 billion coming from the strong demand in the first two months of this year prior to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period. This contributed to total assets growth of 1.8% year-on-year to PhP240.3 billion. Low-cost deposits improved by 10.2% reaching PhP60.6 billion. Gross non-performing loans is stable at 3.7%. PSBank’s balance sheet remains strong with capital of PhP34.8 billion. The Bank’s total Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 17.2% is well above the regulatory minimum of 10%. “PSBank has a strong balance sheet and capital position coming into this unprecedented situation. Cognizant of the potential impact of the pandemic to the economy, we decided to exercise prudence by increasing provisions to 150% versus previous year. During the quarantine period, the Bank continued to operate 80% of its branches while keeping in place precautionary measures to ensure that our customers and employees are safe. Both customer and IT support were further strengthened to keep our online banking services available 24/7, this being the alternative banking channel during these times,” PSBank President Jose Vicente Alde said. To assist customers during this period, the Bank put together an easy-to-use ‘Quick Customer Enquiries’ module in its website which shows information on daily branch schedules, fraud protection tips, loan payment grace periods, and how-to guides on banking services. PSBank ensured the availability of safe and convenient digital banking services for customers to still do their banking transactions: Check deposit using the PSBank Mobile Check Deposit facility launched in September 2019; Mobile and Online fund transfers via InstaPay and PESONet;  PaSend for mobile cash remittances withdrawable from over 1,000 combined PSBank and Metrobank ATMs nationwide; payment of bills via mobile or online; and 24/7 cash availability in PSBank ATMs. PSBank likewise made it easy for customers to reach the bank through various communication platforms: Chatbot “ISSA” via FB Messenger (Interactive, Speedy & Simpleng Assistant) for quick queries; “LiveChat” if customers wish to interact with our Customer Associates; and our 24/7 Customer Experience Hotline for phone-in concerns. (PR)

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PH seen losing $4.5B in cash remittances due to pandemic in ‘best-case scenario’

April 19, 2020

Money Matters

By: , The Philippines, in a best-case scenario, will likely lose some $4.5 billion (P228 billion) in cash remittance inflows from migrant Filipino workers this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said on Sunday. “Without the pandemic, we would have expected the aggregate incoming cash transfers from Filipinos overseas to grow by $1.5 billion (or by five percent) this year,” said ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto Bertiz III. “However, on account of the severe global economic devastation caused by the pandemic, we now project total remittances to reach only $27 billion this year, or down by $3 billion from $30 billion in 2019, assuming the best possible outcome,” Bertiz, a former member of Congress, said. Bertiz said migrant Filipino workers in the following sectors around the world are bearing the brunt of the economic destruction and job losses: ·      Shipping (both merchant and cruise operations) and shipping-related support services; ·      Aviation and aviation-related support services (including crewing operations, aircraft maintenance and catering); ·      Travel and tour operations; ·      Hotels, resorts and restaurants; ·      Gaming; and ·      Oil, gas and energy exploration and development (including related construction). “The foreign labor markets for Filipino workers – except for medical professionals and technicians – will shrink considerably this year, as the global economy declines,” Bertiz said. The collapse of crude oil prices to $20-$25 per barrel is foreseen dampening to a large extent the demand for Filipino workers – from engineers to construction workers – in the Middle East, Bertiz said. The kingdoms in the region heavily dependent oil and gas income are anticipated to spend less aggressively on new public infrastructure, according to Bertiz. “The global economic recession will also reduce the demand for Filipinos sailors as shipping traffic sinks,” Bertiz said. The Philippines is the world’s second-largest supplier of licensed ship officers and the top provider of unlicensed ship ratings or non-officer crew. Some 450,000 Filipino sailors serve on ocean-going bulk carriers, container ships, oil, gas, chemical and other product tankers, general cargo ships, pure car carriers and tugboats around the world. Global ports operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICSTI) earlier reported that shipping container volumes across its terminals in 20 countries fell by 10-15 percent in March alone, and are expected to decline further in April. Meanwhile, Bertiz said ACTS-OFW is counting on the government to provide financial assistance to Filipino workers overseas who have lost income under the “no work, now pay policy” of their employers. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration last week began accepting online applications for the $200 (P10,000) cash aid for Filipino workers abroad “who have experienced job displacement due to the host country’s imposition of a lockdown or community quarantine.”

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Xavier Ateneo ready for online learning

July 23, 2020

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By: , While other universities in Cagayan de Oro are still in the process of preparing for modified learning this school year, Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan already started classes last July 6.    Xavier Ateneo, following CHED COVID19 Advisory No. 7 dated 24, May 2020, opened SY 2020-2021 for Higher Education Colleges and Basic Education (Grade School, Junior High and Senior High) last 06 July 2020 (03 August 2020 for Law and Medicine) using full online education and will implement Cautious Return to On-Campus Learning, if and when government allows.   Despite radical changes, XU’s enrolment rate was better than expected among its various pre-COVID 19 projections.     In an online conference broadcast live to the university social media accounts, outgoing XU President Fr Roberto C. Yap SJ assured parents: “I thank you for continuing to believe in Xavier Ateneo. We are really in an extraordinary time and extraordinary times call for creative and flexible moves so that we can continue to deliver quality Jesuit education to all our learners. We have really tried to provide the best possible mode and program under this pandemic. Xavier Ateneo is ready and we will do our best so that our students will truly experience excellence.”   Flexible Learning  Flexible Learning is a seamless combination of Home-based Learning and Cautious Return to On-Campus Learning that aims to minimize learning interruption, ensure learning continuity, and guarantee that minimum standards of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are met.     To begin the school year, Xavier Ateneo starts with Home-Based Learning. Xavier Ateneo has emphasized it is not rushing to implement the Return to On-Campus Learning in so far as public health and safety are concerned.    Home-based Learning features synchronous (real-time) classes held over the internet. This is allowed by DepEd and CHED provided (1) it is agreed upon by the students, (2) attendance is not required, and (3) classes are recorded for students who are unable to participate.    Xavier Ateneo recognizes the challenges posed by online learning and will utilize traditional instructional materials such as “low-tech” soft- and hard-copy learning packets for students to pick up or access over the internet when available.    Asynchronous (self-paced) learning will also be available for students through recorded classes. All requirements for both synchronous and asynchronous mode of learning are to be submitted online. Learn more about Flexible Learning by viewing this video.   Before starting the school year, Xavier Ateneo faculty underwent rigorous training and retooling to properly facilitate live online classes.      For learning platform uniformity, the Basic Education Cluster (Grade School, Junior High School, and Senior High School) uses Microsoft Teams.    Xavier Ateneo’s online classroom, XU eLearn, is utilized by the Higher Education Cluster (College, Graduate School, and Professional Schools of Law and Medicine).     Four Campuses of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan   While there is no definite date on the resumption of on-campus classes, Xavier Ateneo is already preparing for its eventuality by planning for the necessary and critical infrastructure adjustments for all four of its campuses (Divisoria, Pueblo, Macasandig, and Manresa).     No Tuition Fee Increase   To help parents cope with the present crisis, the university has opted not to increase tuition fees, matriculation and laboratory fees. Miscellaneous fees have also been reduced, if not entirely omitted, from the yearly billing. Future adjustments will be made accordingly should there face-to-face learning not be possible within the school year.    Xavier Ateneo Treasurer Lennie Ong said the reduction in fees have been made possible by operational changes for the school year such as reduced academic loads and class sizes.    Perks and Partnerships   Xavier Ateneo has been striking partnerships with various companies to help the XU community adjust to the new normal.    Parasat HD, in partnership with Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan, is now offering Study-at-Home discounted internet plans to help XU employees and students cope with the New Normal.     XU is in partnership with EO-Executive Optical for a 10% discount on their anti-radiation and multi-coated lenses, perfect for Flexible Learning which necessitates students to spend hours in front of their computer screens.    Various gadget sellers (Interpace Computer Systems, Power Mac Center, Acer, Samsung), and internet providers (Globe, Smart, Parasat HD) have also been tapped for discounts in their products and services.    XU students may also avail of various productivity applications available from Microsoft Office 365 for free.    Online Freshmen Orientation   Xavier Ateneo finished its first virtual freshmen orientation seminar on July 3.  Xavier Ateneans made #ORSEMOneBearHug, #eLearn, and #XavierAteneo trend in the Philippine Twitter space.    Like past orientations, a mass presided over by Fr Bobby was live-streamed in the official Facebook account of Xavier Ateneo.      The two-day event ended with a talent expo and a tribute to Fr Bobby who is set to become the next president of Ateneo de Manila University by August this year.    Despite being away from the familiar walls of the classroom, students were thanked by incoming XU President Fr Mars P Tan for continuing to study in Xavier Ateneo. “This is the new normal and we have to live with it.”      “We expect that under this new mode, you really have to push back your comfort zones.” Fr. Yap added.    “We will do our best to help and assist you to adjust, learn, and make the most out of the quality, holistic, Jesuit education which Xavier Ateneo will offer you under the new flexible mode of learning.” (RMB) Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan 80th Commencement Exercises (Photo by R. Amarille)

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PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College | Flexible Learning is Key for Underserved Students

July 20, 2020

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By: , (This is our third in a series on what students, parents and the general public can expect when school opens next month for some of Cagayan de Oro's Universities and Colleges) Things are going to be a bit different when students of Cagayan de Oro's four universities resume classes next month. Most of the city's tertiary level institutions are shifting to online learning as the primary method of instruction in compliance with the guidelines issued by government agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Local Government Unit (LGU), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). With one notable outlier. PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College (COC), whose students primarily come from underserved families, will provide an innovative “4-10” scheme where students will have face-to-face classes four times every 14 days as soon as permitted and while complying with all guidelines for the resumption of classes. "Distance learning using purely online methods is just out of the question,” said Mark C. Macaventa, PHINMA COC Chief Operations Officer. “Most of our students cannot afford a stable internet connection, so we designed something that matches their needs and situation. We are also designing the system so that we can go full home study if required by IATF, CHED, or LGU rules by providing students with modules at the start of the semester.” But for PHINMA COC, face-to-face classes cannot truly be replaced. “Our research in PHINMA Education tells us distance learning is not really that effective especially for complicated and technical subjects,” he added. “Nothing matches face-to-face learning, but adjustments need to be made in light of the circumstances.” FlexLearning@PHINMAEd When the college begins student orientations on August 24, PHINMA COC will adopt FlexLearning@PHINMAEd. The system was developed by PHINMA Education to enable their students to sustain their education and preserve their quality of learning. "Although we face a huge uncertainty in this pandemic, we also see a great opportunity to face a meaningful challenge, bearing inspiration to our students in their quest for a better life. Life goes on," Macaventa noted. "And because it is imperative that we continue to move forward, we are poised to deliver a creative and efficient response." Among the salient features of the new system are the following; A maximum class size of 25 students (down from 50) to comply with social distancing, reduce the chances of infection, and provide students with close support and mentoring. A blended learning model consisting of in-campus learning that observes social distancing and off-campus independent learning for the tertiary level. Modular distance learning for Grades 1-12 where all learning activities will be done at home until the DepEd allows in-person classes. Remote teacher and peer support systems to help students through this adjustment. "Teachers will do regular check-ups via texts, messages, or phone calls when students are off-campus. We are already finalizing negotiations with mobile data providers to give the connectivity our students need," Macaventa noted. But even if the economic status of most of its students has precluded its adoption of distance learning using online systems, PHINMA Education still adopted online systems for ancillary activities such as enrolment and distribution of digital diplomas and transcripts of records (TORs). “We developed these systems so students and parents do not need to go to the campus for these matters,” he added. PHINMA Education Ever Onward Last semester, PHINMA COC had some 10,000 students in the tertiary level, about 5,000 in Senior High School, and approximately 1,000 students in their K to 10 program. It currently maintains a Main Campus at Barangay Carmen and a satellite campus at Barangay Puerto. Although the community quarantine measures mandated by the global pandemic has meant it had to suspend operations from March until August, the college still has managed to retain all of its 144 regular teaching and non-teaching staff as well as extend financial and non-financial aid to its 200 casual teaching and non-teaching employees. One advantage PHINMA Education has in dealing with the economic fallout from the global pandemic is the strength and flexibility in being a subsidiary of the Filipino-owned conglomerate, PHINMA, which has investments in education, property development, hospitality, and construction materials. PHINMA Education Holdings, Inc. (PEHI) owns and operates seven schools across the Philippines, including PHINMA COC, and manages one in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia. PHINMA Education has an 80 percent average first-time passing rate for licensure exams with some 81 percent of students getting hired a year after graduation. It has 94 board exam top notchers since its inception in 2004.  "The safety and welfare of our students are paramount, but the continuation of their academic journey is fundamental to their future success. FlexLearning@PHINMAEd will help us and our students continue to advance – ever onward," Macaventa assured. (RMB)

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Capitol University: Preparing for the opening of classes under the New Normal

July 19, 2020

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By: , (This is the first of a series on what students, parents and the general public can expect when school opens next month for Cagayan de Oro's Universities) Things are going to be a bit different when students of Cagayan de Oro's four universities resume classes next month. In fact, when classes on all levels at Capitol University resume on Monday, August 3, 2020, there will be practically no students coming in through the gates of their main campus at Corrales-Osmena Ext and satellite campus at Gusa. "Capitol University has developed  CUDDLE (CU Dedicated Distance Learning Environment) which is CU's answer to the call for delivering quality education to our students without compromising their safety," said Dr. Fe Rosales-Juarez, CU Executive Vice President. "CUDDLE involves Flexi-Learning featuring many modalities, mostly online, but also includes hybrid learning, offline for students without connectivity- to cater to the needs of the times," Dr Juarez added. Flexible Learning Opportunities With CUDDLE, learning opportunites are made available to students in consideration of their present situation with regards to current IATF guidelines in response to the global pandemic. CU offers three learning modes: Entirely Online learning, Modified Hybrid Learning, and Blended Learning. Entirely Online Learning is for students who have the connectivity to access and fulfill all course materials online. For this coming school year, classes will be conducted via Google Classroom-CU's official Learning Management System Platform. CU uses Google Suite for educationwith each student and faculty given an institutional Google Account to maximize all its advanced educational features. Modified  Hybrid Learning is for students with unstable internet connections but can communicate via mobile phones or Facebook chat. Students can choose from either Entirely Offline (for those who do not have computers or internet access) or Mostly Offline (for those who have functional ICT equipment but no reliable intenet connection). Those opting for Entirely Offline can either pick up campus learning packets with printed and digitally-stored (USB flash disks to be provided by the student)  copies of the materials make a one-time download of the learning packets which they can comply with offline, and later upload online after they have fulfilled all learning requirements. On the other hand, Blended Learning is for courses that require competencies and activities not feasible through distance education. Minimal face-to-face classes can be scheduled when conditions allow. Students are only allowed to choose one modality which best suit their current situation and cannot change to other modalities within a semester. There will  be no changes to the present grading system as specified in the CU Student Manual. No tuition fee increase For the First Semester of school year 2020-2021, CU will not implement any tuition fee increase and will further realign some fees such as for athletics, library, et al for service which cannot be availed of during the current pandemic to further reduce the fees. "So far, we have managed to maintain our present employees despite the pandemic," Dr Juarez noted when asked about the economic impact of the community quarantine imposed on the city as a result of  the pandemic. "However, we still have to see how many students will be enrolling in the coming semester to say how we can face the near future and what is needed to be done to maintain the quality of education in our school," she added. Capitol University maintains two campuses. Its Main Campus at Corrales & S. Osmena Ext  for Graduate, Undergraduate and  Senior High School students, and its Gusa Campus for Pre-School, Grade School and Junior High School. Summer Pilot Program CU will not be moving into this new milieu unprepared. During the May - June 2020 hiatus when the city was practically at a standstill under the initial onslaught of the global pandemic,  CU piloted an online summer program involving 829 students to test the new teaching modalities. Training of its faculty was also done rigorously,  and is contuing at present.  "Fortunately we had some very positive results, especially with helping students develop a sense of personal responsibility and accountability for their performance, instead of leaving most of that burden on their teacher under traditional classroom teaching." Dr Juarez noted. In addition to testing the new modes of teaching, the program also included individual e-counseling for students, and an orientation for parents at the Gusa Campus on how to do home schooling once classes resumes this August. CU's online guidance counselling and consultation services for students facilated  by their Guidance Center will be available to support students especially regarding their mental and emotional health. These services can be accessed online, SMS or phone calls. Student support services and co-curricular activities that are appropriate under the current set-up are also being designed in pursuit of the development of CU graduates as the "Total Person."   About Capitol University Capitol University (CU) formerly Cagayan Capitol College was established in 1971 as a non – sectarian, co – educational private academic institution,  that operates with the authority of the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education. It was granted University Status by CHED on February 3, 2003 and was formally inaugurated as Capitol University with Atty. Casimiro B. Juarez, Jr. as its first University President on May 3, 2003. Capitol University was granted Autonomous Status per CHED Memo No. 12,  s.2019 effective June 1, 2019. Having evolved as one of the premier academic institutions in the country, CU continues its thrust towards excellence in the areas of instruction, research and community engagement in order to achieve its mission of developing the youth into “Total Persons”. In 2019, in preparation for the Golden Anniversary celebration of her Foundation (in February 14, 2021), CU reviewed her Vision-Mission with the purpose of making it more relevant and meaningful: VISION Accessible excellent education for enhanced quality of life. Mission Capitol University is committed to develop the youth into “Total Persons,” mature and responsible individuals who are intellectually, professionally, and technically competent, imbued with desirable attitudes, and steeped in moral and spiritual values, who will serve as catalysts for social transformation. Core Values of the CU Graduate Character Capitol University strives to develop the “Total Person,” one who has a strong foundation of integrity, courage, and moral virtue. CU prepares her students to be engaged catalysts of hope and change in challenging times by developing their social consciousness and ethical leadership skills. Competence CU seeks to transform students into professionals who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to enable them to respond to challenges and excel in the modern global arena. Commitment The Total Person is dedicated to excellence in all endeavors. CU ingrains among her students the value of hard work and a sense of responsibility, not only for their personal duties but also their role in the greater community. They know that the future of the country and the world rests in the work of their hands. Culture CU cultivates excellence in the arts, letters, and scholarly pursuits for the enrichment of the Filipino nation. CU also fosters progressive and tolerant individuals who appreciate and respect diverse histories, beliefs, and identities. Care CU engenders a culture of care characterized by showing concern, kindness, affection, and respect for other people. This begins by molding compassionate individuals with a sincere appreciation of the value of each person. Total Person development entails a balance between academic excellence and emotional intelligence thus, CU nurtures the capacities for high performance and high care. (RMB)

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FLEx@Liceo U: Scaling the heights with Flexible Learning

July 19, 2020

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By: , (This is the second in a series on what students, parents and the general public can expect when school opens next month for Cagayan de Oro's Universities) Things are going to be a bit different when students of Cagayan de Oro's four universities resume classes next month. "Education should be all-inclusive," said Dr. Alain Marc P. Golez, Liceo U president. "We have reshaped our learning management system through flexible learning to help our students continue their education with minimal distractions from health protocols mandated by the global pandemic whichis crucial to their attainment of quality education."  Golez said Liceo U has reshaped the design and delivery of instruction to suit her students' unique needs and situation by considering  their individual access to technology and availability of devices, and how they can continue their education even if they  have limited or no access to the internet. Pilot Program and Survey Fortunately, Liceo U gained valuable experience with FLEx Learning when it piloted Online Learning in 2017 with her Physical Therapy Department.and in 2018, Information Technology, Psychology and Radiologic Technology also conducted some aspects of instruction online. In addition to the learnings and experiences  gained through this pilot program, Liceo U also conducted a student survey to determine the  best approach to fulfill their specific needs and expected learning outcomesthrough the Learning Management System Committee chaired by Dr Florecilla C Cinches and co-chaired by Dr Denise O Orong.. Founded in 1955 by the couple Rodolfo and Elsa Pelaez, Liceo U gained her University status in 1997-1998, and she has numerous LEVEL IV Accreditation Certifications from the PACUCOA.. Liceo U now has three campuses: RN Peleaz Campus (former Liceo Hospital) along Macapagal Avenue (formerly Patag Road), Main Campus on RN Pelaez Boulevard and Paseo Campus (for Senior High and Medicine-related courses such as nursing, , Physical Therapy, MedTech, Pharmacy, Radiologic Technology)     Home-based FLEx Learning "Liceo U will introduce Flexible Learningas the best approach offering the best outcomes for our learners' even as we continue to follow strict health precautionary measures," Golez noted. "It is designed to meet the needs of our students. Whether they’re connected to the internet or not, in school or in the safety of their  homes, no one is left behind. Liceo U will continue to offer accessible and inclusive quality education for all her students," he added. Liceo U's FLEx Learning is basically a Study-from-Home system will utilize either synchonous (real-time virtual conferencing) or asynchronous (self-paced learning) instruction. This includes but is not limited to the provision of printed and technology-assisted learning materials for students with limited or no internet connectivity. Real-Time Virtual Learning has been designed for learners' with reliable internet connections that would enable them to participatein real-time synchronized meetings through a prescribed online platform, with learning modules and materials to be accessed online, and virtual laboratory  (may require delayed laboratory return demonstration). On the other hand, Self-Paced Learning is for students with none or limited internet connection, thus access to materials/modules will depend on the student's availability to pick up the learning materials either through the use of a flash disk, or printed modules and materials at the campus, comply with the requirements at their own pace, and upload the completed compliances online after. School-based learning includes face-to-face (lecture and laboratory) sessions to ensure the achievement of the outcomes or competencies that require demonstration of skills with strict compliance upon the advice of the local and national government and their agencies: DepEd, CHED and the IATF. Liceo U will take further steps with school-based learning when the university administation determines that COVID-19 has been contained. FLEx Features FLEx @ Liceo U features Learner-Material Flexibility, Learner-Support Services and Trained Faculty for Virtual Learning. WithLearner-Material Flexibility students will enjoy real-time learning instructions, self-paced learning, and delayed laboratory demonstration with printed modules and learning packets prepared by departments. Learner-Material Flexibilityassures that all students learn through online and can work at their own pace within a given time framework using online and offline activities accessible through both personal computers or smart phones. Those with  limited online access can retrieve learning materials and modules through flash drives or materials printed by their respective departments. Liceo U's FreeLearner-Support Servicesis designed to meet the unique demands of online learning. It provides online personal counseling with peer-to-peer support, health and wellness, spiritual, legal, and ethical services, online libraries, bookstore services, technical support and online academic mentoring and advising. The University partnered with various online resources and platforms for teachers and learners to have seamless learning connection offline and online. Among these are Google, GSuite, Quipper, Microsoft, Edmondo, Zoom, YouTube and Facebook. While the University's libraries remain closed, Liceo U continues to support teachers and learners through its free online library resources. Even with the implementation of FLEx Learning, Liceo U assures that her trained experts in Online Teaching who are professinally competent to undertake online learning. "Liceo U faculty participate in ongoing professional development to stay current with advances in online instruction and latest educational technologies to meet learner's individual needs. Teachers lead classes with more effective and innovative online teaching methods to cater to 21st century learning skills," Golez noted. The university considers its faculty trained in Virtual Learning as indispendable in the enchancement of 21st Century Learning Skills. In 21st century education, skills enhancement is the priority of the University for the globally competitive learner. The University aims to further enhance critical thinking, collaboration, creativity with the inclusion of digital literacy in communication as important learning domains these times, Golez stressed. To ensure that all students regardless of their choice of Real-Time or Self-Paced Learning, have access to the support they need to complete their requirements, Liceo U has established the Liceo Educational Learning Center whichensures access to and proficiency in technology for creative integration to enhance delivery of instruction and reinforce educational needs. The center offers skills-based and curriculum-integrated professional development opportunities, collaborative initiatives with other curriculum departments, with software tools that are current and necessary for 21st century education. Enrollment ongoing till August 3 to 14 for  late enrollees, classes start August 3  (Medicine) and August 11 (all  levels). All-Inclusive Community During its latest academic year, Liceo U had enrolled some 10,000 students who were nurtured  by a teaching/non-teaching staff of some 500 employees. "We managed to survive the transition period for the mandated implementation of K+12 which was really tough and I am confident we can manage to meet the challenges posed by the New Normal, " Golez said. Expected Aftermath However, should  the global pandemic pan out longer than expected, Golez cautioned their students and employees to expect the present non-medical protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to continue, even if schools would already be allowed to re-open with face-to-face instruction. "Expect the present physical distancing, footbaths at the gates and classrooms, temperature checks, hand washing and mandatory face masks to continue," he warned. Meantime, the gates to all three campuses remain closed, with personal interactions for those doing business with Liceo U limited to a roped-off  Extended Service Area near each campus gates where the present health protocols are strictly implemented. (RMB)

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