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

July 19, 2020

(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

(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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PMI releases first Integrated Report on performance and headways in its smoke-free future vision

July 6, 2020

Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) has published its first Integrated Report, a comprehensive overview of the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and its progress toward delivering a smoke-free future—including the company’s ambition to switch more than 40 million adult smokers to its smoke-free products by 2025.  PMI said its Integrated Report 2019 demonstrates the role of the organization's strategy, governance, and performance in the creation of value over the short, medium, and long terms. The report further shows PMI’s approach and important progress in various ESG areas, while setting new and ambitious targets for 2025 that complement the company’s prior aspirations.  “Clarity of purpose is essential for the internal alignment of any company. Since we announced our smoke-free commitment in 2016, we have made enormous progress in terms of organizational capabilities, the integration of sustainability into every aspect of our transformation, and our business,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI Chief Executive Officer. “PMI’s Statement of Purpose reaffirms our commitment to deliver a smoke-free future for the benefit of people who would otherwise continue to smoke and, hence, to global public health. It is clear to all of us at PMI that the biggest positive impact our company can have on society is to replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives; this is at the very core of our corporate strategy and sits atop our sustainability priorities while we are progressing well on all others,” Calantzopoulos added.  The report cited PMI’s Philippine affiliate, PMFTC Inc., for its strong commitment to the development and growth of local communities. In particular, the company’s corporate social responsibility program Embrace, which involves charitable giving, social contributions and community investments that focused on access to education, women empowerment, economic opportunity, and most especially disaster preparedness and relief efforts. “As a leader in the tobacco industry and a top taxpayer in the Philippines, PMFTC has a responsible role to play in spurring economic development, empowering communities and sustaining our environment,” PMFTC President Denis Gorkun said. “We are proud of our company’s caring and giving culture. We are equally proud of our employees who champion the values of social responsibility as can be most recently seen in our societal response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorkun added. In the report, PMFTC was cited as being in the forefront in providing relief assistance during disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and floods. More than 25,000 individuals received help in the past earthquake incidences in Batanes and Mindanao; and another 7,384 families benefited from relief items during the Taal volcano eruption in January this year. In these community efforts, “PMFTC employees were at the core of relief operations.” mentioning the company employees “spirit of volunteerism and compassion for the community.”   On top of helping communities, PMFTC has placed the safety and protection of its own employees a priority. Some 150 displaced employees were provided immediate assistance in the recent Taal volcano eruption. The Integrated Report 2019 also demonstrates how PMI is focusing its resources on developing, scientifically substantiating, and responsibly commercializing smoke-free products that are a better choice than continued smoking, with the aim of completely replacing cigarettes as soon as possible. The company believes that, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.  It also highlights the company’s most material sustainability topics, including the health impacts of the company’s products, an aspect often not captured by external ESG assessments.  The report focuses on this key area, and describes how the company is working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use by replacing combustible products with scientifically substantiated reduced-risk alternatives.  From the previous sustainability reporting, PMI’s evolution to integrated reporting helps investors make the connection between the product-focused sustainability initiatives, which form the core of the ESG strategy, and the financial performance over time. The report also enables the company’s stakeholders to better evaluate the company’s progress in achieving its purpose. PMI’s Statement of Purpose, adopted by the company’s Board of Directors earlier this year and published in its 2020 proxy statement, is also available in the Integrated Report.

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Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro provides food

June 17, 2020

CIVIC groups are now assisting the government in alleviating the hassles experienced by locally stranded individuals (LSIs) at a holding facility in Cagayan de Oro City.   The spacious gym at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) - known within the campus as the Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras Memorial Hall - has been transformed as a drop zone for LSIs coming from Laguindingan airport and the Port of Cagayan de Oro where local government units (LGUs) from all over including as far as Digos City would fetch them home.   The phenomenal influx of arriving LSIs was attributed to Cagayan de Oro being the gateway to Mindanao for passengers from virus-hit Luzon and Visayas.   Thus, PPA Port of Cagayan de Oro manager Isidro Butaslac Jr. conceived a plan along with the USTP management for DRERM Hall to be transformed into a holding facility.   Butaslac then rallied fellow Rotarians to redirect their civic-mindedness to help the LSIs.   Since June 12, the mother Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro has distributed 900 food packs to the LSIs.   "We also provided 10 gallons of purified drinking water which will be replenished when they are all consumed. We have coordinated with Pepsi Cola Philippines Cag de Oro Plant under GM Bob Flores for the installation of a dispenser for Lipton Ice Tea and Gatorade for the LSIs free consumption," remarked RC Cagayan de Oro past president and project director Cris Parojinog. "Del Monte Philippines also assisted us with pack fruit cocktails for our LSIs."   Mindanao’s biggest club, also recognized as The Mother Club, was organized on April 22, 1948. From a small group 17 charter members, it has constantly grown over the years.   The Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro is made up of distinguished professionals, business and community leaders who share the common passion of serving the community selflessly. It is a non-religious, culturally diverse and non-political club that strives to promote equality and high ethical standards among men through project and activities that cater to various sectors of society advocating the importance of education, health improvement, and poverty alleviation are prioritized and regularly carried out by the club and its members.

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SMC starts delivery of donated testing booths, kits to NCR LGUs

May 16, 2020

MANILA – The San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has begun turning over its donation of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing booths, starting with the cities of Mandaluyong, Pasig, and Manila, fulfilling an earlier promise to help boost the testing capacities of all 17 Metro Manila local government units (LGUs).     A total of 24 testing booths were turned over to Mandaluyong Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto, and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.     The delivery of testing booths for other LGUs -- Quezon City, Caloocan, Malabon, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Makati, Navotas, San Juan, Taguig, Marikina, Valenzuela, Pasay, and Pateros – will continue this coming week.     Apart from the testing booths, the SMC is also donating PHP3 million worth of reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to each of the 17 LGUs, equivalent to 34,000 tests.     The company is also set to turn over an additional three sets of RT-PCR testing machines and automated RNA machines to key government hospitals.     “We are fully committed to helping all our Metro Manila LGUs increase their Covid-19 testing capabilities, in support of the national government’s expanded testing goals,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a news release on Friday.     Ang said with the donations, they hope to help boost testing, particularly in “our less-fortunate communities where many underprivileged families are extra vulnerable, due to their living conditions.”     He noted the importance of carrying out expanded testing and making it accessible to more people by offering it to poor families for free.     “We need to be able to find a way to make testing accessible to all. Everyone should have equal access, not just those who have the means,” Ang said.     At the same time, he batted for the regulation of the price of testing to make it affordable to regular Filipinos and small companies that have to test their employees before returning to work.     Along this line, the SMC is working with the local government of its home city of Mandaluyong to ensure that the cost to test in the city remains affordable.     Apart from its donations to the LGUs, SMC had earlier donated five sets of the same testing machines to the Department of Health (DOH) and testing kits, which can administer up to 20,000 tests.     According to the DOH, the donation effectively doubled the country’s testing capacity. (SMC PR)

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Fintech will drive ‘new normal,’ as cash may pose risks on health safety

May 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the whole world to drastically change its old ways. Most of its population went into isolation to flatten the curve. In the Philippines, Luzon has been placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which meant limited mobility and fewer options for most people since businesses were closed down.      Since everyone is affected by a general anxiety of contracting the coronavirus, private citizens have also imposed upon themselves to observe safer and more hygienic practices to avoid transmission of the disease. While these were once deemed “alternatives” before the pandemic struck, they are sure to remain in the post-COVID world as part of the new normal.     One of these practices is cashless transactions. Digital payments are not a matter of convenience anymore. Given the circumstances, it could be a matter of life and death to those who are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.      “Now more than ever, financial technology (fintech) will play a big part in defining a “new normal” for the Philippines in the midst of a public health crisis. We believe that digital payments should be the bedrock of digital services, as we need to limit the social interaction between people and reduce risk of contracting the virus from common surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Chief Technology and Operations Officer Pebbles Sy said.      The World Health Organization (WHO) encouraged the public to wash their hands after handling paper money. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno echoed this sentiment in the country, saying that digital transactions have advantages in the face of a pandemic.     In fact, studies state that paper money increases the risk of coronavirus transmission since it can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses for several days. Thus, many governments from around the world such as China and the United States were reportedly forced to disinfect bank notes before recirculating them back into the economy. In Europe, even bank notes are being subjected to almost two weeks of quarantine, according to the Federal Reserve.     The risks introduced by cash also apply to the use of credit and debit cards in physical transactions. Doing business in the conventional way negates the efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, since this would mean that exchanging cards and receipts would violate social distancing rules even if it is just for a matter of seconds.      GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, provides a better alternative to cash as it offers reduced costs and efficiency of transactions, better transparency and security, offers greater convenience, and promotes financial inclusion.      “With most of the country under different levels of quarantine, digital finance is emerging as the core of services in the country. Everything from donation drives to food delivery services to public service utilities went digital. Businesses which have been forced to halt physical operations have used e-wallets like GCash to save themselves from bankruptcy,” Sy said.      GCash as a platform eliminates the issue of accessibility as well since anyone with a smartphone can easily join the growing community of people using digital finance. Its free app does not only innovate money transfer, but it also provides other services such as credit, insurance, and even investments.     Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), which operates GCash, is part of the portfolio companies of 917Ventures, the largest corporate incubator in the Philippines wholly-owned by Globe Telecom Inc.     GCash is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. For more information, kindly visit https://www.gcash.com/.

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