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BARMM eyes ‘distance education’ for next school year

May 12, 2020

COTABATO City – Education officials in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are keen on carrying out the distance education program or online learning for the school year 2020-2021.      This was bared by lawyer Haron Meling, the chief of staff of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE-BARMM), in an interview by Philippine News Agency on Saturday.      He said the response came about after a series of deliberations conducted by key officials from the Department of Education (DepEd) on the setting up of the “new normal” in the educational system.      "The consultation is ongoing for the committee to deliberate the most convenient alternative schooling methods applicable for various areas in the country, such as the distance education," Meling said.      He added that during the earlier part of March, five sessions of management committee teleconference of DepEd took place wherein the Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) was underscored.      "LCP is one of the alternative educational methods among all others designed for every student, including those coming from the rural areas," Meling said.      In a statement, DepEd said “LCP includes key features on K-12 curriculum adjustments; alignment of learning materials; various modalities of delivery; and corresponding teacher and parent/guardian training for homeschooling.”      Meling said that since some remote areas of BARMM do not have good internet services to support the class, the committee is pushing forward to make the class files downloadable or ready-to-print for the students.      On May 8, Meling said MBHTE–BARMM Minister Mohagher Iqbal also conducted an LCP survey meeting with the schools' division superintendents of Maguindanao 1 and 2, and other schools district supervisors pursuant to the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) LCP national survey activity.      The meeting was a prelude to efforts undertaken by the office in adjusting to the new state of the Philippine educational system amid the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis.      Aside from Maguindanao, the same LCP survey will be conducted soon in other BARMM province-components of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.      “The MBHTE-BARMM will be leaning towards this (direction) come August 24 for the start of the new school year, and set to end in April 2021,” Meling said in quoting DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones. (PNA)

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Rapid diagnostic kits, giandam na sa MisOr

May 12, 2020

LUYO sa kamatuoran nga “zero-case” pa ang Misamis Oriental sa nagpositibo sa coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), apan naniguro pa gihapon si Gov. Bambi Emano ug Provincial Task Force for COVID-19 chief Dr. Jerie Calingasan nga preparado kon ugaling ipahimutang na sa rapid testing ang intero lalawigan. Duna na silay rapid diagnostic kits nga giandam.     Matud ni Dr. Calingasan, prayoridad niining 6,250 testing kits ang frontliners ug stranded sa mga lugar nga adunay kaso sa COVID-19. Sa maong paagi masiguro nga sa ilang pagpauli sa Misamis Oriental gilayong masuta ang ilang kahimtang.     Subay niini, dunay hotspot areas sa Misamis Oriental nga didto himuon sa Task Force ang massive swab analysis kon ugaling dunay mahitabong outbreak.     “Kadto rang mild PUI’s (persons under investigation), kadtong nag symptom na sa ILI (influenza light illness). Clustering, meaning 3-5 people in one group nga nag-ILI magsuspect na dayon ta  mao ni sila ang unahon natug kuha…mga elderly 60 above and those with comorbidities, the highly risk pregnant mothers,” segun pa ni Dr. Calingasan.

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Covid delays WB-funded agri projects in M’danao

May 2, 2020

AGRICULTURAL infrastructure and enterprises funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) are facing delays in implementation due to lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. “COVID-19 is really affecting our operations, especially in implementing our sub-projects that involve field work since there are quarantine measures implemented in different cities, provinces and municipalities,” PRDP Deputy Project Director for Mindanao Danilo T. Alesna said. Construction projects not directly related to the health crisis are among the activities banned by most local governments. Mr. Alesna said the PRDP, a World Bank-funded program with the Department of Agriculture as lead implementer, has also adopted a “skeletal workforce and alternate work arrangements among our employees” in compliance with “the government’s efforts to flatten the curve.” He said they are looking at ways to get the projects back on track once restrictions are eased. “We will do our best to cope with the challenges resulting from the delays after this pandemic,” he said. There are 274 PRDP infrastructure projects in Mindanao with a total cost of P19.5 billion, mostly farm-to-market roads, and 118 enterprise development projects with a funding of P751.777 million. Among the delayed projects are those in Davao de Oro, which was granted P968.88 million for 19 projects. In a statement, PRDO said seven projects in the province worth P255.72 million, with six infrastructure and one enterprise on tablea processing, were completed before the COVID-19 crisis. The pending projects include farm-to-market roads, rubber processing and marketing, cardava banana consolidation and marketing, cow’s milk processing and marketing, and an enhancement of virgin coconut oil and by-product processing and marketing. For the completed projects, the PRDP statement quotes rice farmer Peter Jumigop of Compostela town on how the new road connecting their area to the capital Nabunturan has improved their market access. In the past, he said, the road was just a “pathway for carabaos that carry our produce. The road was muddy and the depth would reach our knees.” Fellow beneficiary Raul Bogani Sr. said nowadays, buyers are able to go directly to them and haul their products. “The buyers’ vehicle can now reach our farms and collect our produce by the side of the road, unlike before where we used to pay P15 per sack (for hauling),” said Mr. Bogani. The transport of agricultural produce are among the exemptions in travel restrictions imposed nationwide.  

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Six tests negative for Covid-19 in CDO, MisOr

May 2, 2020

SIX individuals from this city and Misamis Oriental, who were suspected of having contracted the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), have tested negative, health authorities said Friday (May 1).   Among those whose results came out negative was a 60-year-old woman from Barangay Lapasan who died Friday afternoon (April 30). Her swab samples were taken a day before she died.   Others whose results were also negative were a 31-year-old mother and her seven-month-old baby from Barangay 35; a medical worker, 31, at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center who had contact with patient 6783 from Sitio Pinikitan, Barangay Camaman-an; a woman, 53, from El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental; and a 45-year-old female from Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.   All the patients were admitted at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the referral hospital for Covid-19 in Region 10.   Dr. Lorraine Nery, Cagayan de Oro City health officer, said all the test results for the patients who turned out negative for Covid-19 were done in the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.   Meanwhile, 17 family members of PH 6783 have already undergone swab testing conducted by the Department of Health and local health personnel, the results of which have yet to be determined.   Patient 6783, who died of severe acute respiratory illness while undergoing at the NMMC on April 18, was also suffering from chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, hypertension, and benign prostatic hyperplasia.   PH 6783’s test result indicated he was infected with the coronavirus. Following his death, Sitio Pinikitan was put on quarantine with law enforcement officers setting up checkpoints at the area’s entrance and exit points to control the movement of residents there.   Mayor Oscar Moreno has also urged the residents in the area to stay in their homes while a team of health personnel conducted contact-tracing.   According to Dr. Bernard Rocha, a medical expert at the NMMC, there are now 71 patients suspected of having been infected with the coronavirus who were discharged after testing negative for Covid-19. (PNA)  

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UN’s rehab program in Marawi to include COVID-19 response

May 2, 2020

THE United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has expanded its rebuilding program in Marawi City to include response measures on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.      In a press statement released Monday night, UN-Habitat said its Global Emergency Response Fund is providing an additional budget for the three-month project called COVID-19 Response As We Rebuild Marawi.      The project components include providing residents access to food and other basic needs through satellite markets and mobile stores, installing hand-washing facilities and distribution of protective equipment and other medical supplies, promoting community level gardening, and enhancing the city government’s incident command system.  The target beneficiaries are about 2,500 families who were displaced by the 2017 siege by extremist groups and are still living in temporary shelters.  “Marawi City is one of the most vulnerable cities right now because of the disasters that it has experienced,” said Warren C. Ubongen, UN-Habitat project manager.  UN-Habitat has been implementing the Rebuilding Marawi through Community-driven Shelter and Livelihood program, which organizes residents into cooperatives for livelihood activities.  Marawi City and the entire Lanao del Sur province has been under strict quarantine protocols with nine confirmed COVID-19 cases out of the total 10 in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as of April 27.   

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LandBank gives cash aid to rice farmers

May 2, 2020

THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) has paid out over P308 million to over 60,000 farmer-beneficiaries listed under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF) initiative.     In a statement, LandBank said that as of April 22, a total of 61,564 rice farmers across 26 provinces have received financial assistance from this program. These farmers were largely affected by quarantine measures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.   Small rice farmers tilling farms with an area of one hectare or less received P5,000 each through the existing LandBank SURE Aid (Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers) and RFFA (Rice Farmer Financial Assistance) cash cards.   LandBank is also preparing to release cash grants to more rice farmers covering 34 provinces nationwide pending the list of more beneficiaries from DA. Farmer-beneficiaries will claim the cash subsidy over-the-counter from designated branches of the Bank.   “We are in close coordination with the DA to supplement the income of our small rice farmers and their families the soonest possible time. This forms part of LandBank’s intensified support to the agriculture sector, which belongs to the most vulnerable sectors during this Covid-19 crisis,” LandBank president Cecilia Borromeo said.   LandBank’s financial aid distribution is in support of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the government for the implementation of Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.” (PR)  

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