The Mindanawon #CoopHEROtives: sparking courage, forging solidarity

May 15, 2020

Co-operatives under MASS-SPECC Cooperative Development Center, the largest regional co-op federation in Mindanao, joined forces with other organizations in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 29, 2020, 148 co-ops (almost 50% of MASS-SPECC’s total membership) reported to the federation a total outlay of over Php 1.045 billion for this purpose. The amount was used to distribute cash, food, and other necessities to their members, staff, community, and Local Government Units.     In compliance with Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” co-ops in Mindanao implemented the minimum thirty (30)-day grace period for the payment of all loans of their members falling due within the period of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, without incurring interest on interest, penalties, fees, or other charges.     The workforce of co-operatives was not forgotten in this time of crisis. Most co-op staff continued to receive their regular pay despite the shortened work-day and work-from-home arrangements. A total of Php 23.84 million was given to them as advanced 13th-month pay, monetized leaves and hazard pay. They also received in-kind assistance such as sacks of rice, groceries, and face masks.     Apart from making financial services available to members, the co-operatives mobilized their resources to extend support to various communities in Mindanao. The co-ops disbursed more than Php 10.33 million. Some co-operatives also helped the government distribute the Social Amelioration Program funds and payouts for Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) beneficiaries even in hard-to-reach areas that are not serviced by banks.      MASS-SPECC also disbursed Php 736,900.00 to various communities, organizations, and co-operatives that are unable to operate at this time. Around sixty-eight percent (68%) of the fund was coursed through the Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC) to procure more PPEs such as gloves, alcohol, masks, vitamins, and bottled water for the front liners (medical workers, grocery staff, janitors, garbage collectors, policemen, soldiers, etc.) nationwide.     Co-operatives are part of the global humanitarian effort to ease the burden on people, especially those who are most vulnerable. Although co-operatives are among those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, they continue to serve their members and respective communities at this time of great need, says Ms. Bernadette O. Toledo, CEO of MASS-SPECC.

“Hatid Estudyante para Makabalik sa Probinsya” to assist stranded students in Metro Manila - Go

May 12, 2020

AMID the travel restrictions and quarantine measures imposed on several parts of the country due to COVID-19, the government plans to implement the “Hatid Estudyante para Makabalik sa (Kanilang) Probinsya” initiative to assist stranded students in Metro Manila who want to go back to their provinces while waiting for the next school year to begin.      Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that he supports the initiative as he understands the challenges faced by students who are studying in Metro Manila away from their families in the provinces.      “Upon the initiation and inspiration of President Rodrigo Duterte, magpapatupad ang gobyerno ng Hatid Estudyante para Makabalik sa (Kanilang) Probinsya initiative upang matulungan ang mga stranded students dito sa Metro Manila na hindi nakauwi dahil sa travel restrictions at quarantine measures kontra COVID-19,” Go said.     “Suportado ko po ang inisyatibong ito. Wala naman pong pilitan ito. Sa mga gusto lang po na umuwi pansamantala na mga estudyante, dahil naiintindihan po ni Pangulong Duterte, naiintindihan po ng gobyerno na mahirap po mapalayo sa ating mga pamilya,” he further stressed.      Senator Go urged various agencies of the government to coordinate closely with each other to ensure the safety of students who would choose to voluntarily go home. The initiative will be led by the Department of Transportation, in close coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and Commission on Higher Education.     “Nananawagan tayo sa DOTR na ihanda ang kailangang sasakyan ng mga estudyante  — whether through air, sea or land. Sagutin dapat ng gobyerno ang transportation expenses. Alamin rin po dapat ng CHED at DepEd kung sinu-sino ang mga estudyante na interesado. Himayin dapat kung sino yung kailangan talagang umuwi  at sino ang pwedeng maalagaan nalang dito sa Maynila,” Go urged.     “Nananawagan rin po ako sa DILG na tumulong sa coordination  para makapaghanda ang mga LGUs concerned na tatanggap sa mga uuwing estudyante, ma-contact yung kanilang mga pamilya, at para maihatid diretso sa kanilang mga bahay o mai-turnover ng maayos sa kanilang mga pamilya,” he added.      As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go also emphasized the need that the initiative should be in strict compliance with protocols set by health authorities to avoid spreading the disease further.      “Pinapaalalahanan ko na dapat masigurong gagawin ng gobyerno ito sa paraang in compliance sa ating health protocols. Dapat makipag-coordinate sa DOH para sa paglatag ng quarantine measures, pag-conduct ng COVID-19 testing, at may certification dapat from health officials para masigurong hindi kakalat ang sakit pag-uwi nila,” Go said.      Go appealed to students and families for their understanding since protocols must be followed to ensure their safety and the safety of their communities. He also urged them to assess if it would be better for them to go home to their provinces or just stay in Metro Manila given that the next school year will start in a few months.      “Sa mga estudyante at kanilang mga pamilya, intindihin lang po natin na may proseso pong kailangan sundin kung nais nilang umuwi. Para naman po doon sa mahihirapan bumalik sa Maynila sa pagbubukas muli ng klase ngayong Agosto at para naman sa mga may kaya, baka makakabuting manatili na lang kayo dito sa Maynila,” he also appealed.     Mindful that there are students who may not opt to return to the provinces, Senator Go also appealed to various agencies of the government, LGUs and universities where these students are enrolled to ensure the welfare of students, particularly those staying in dormitories.     And, hoping that the country will soon overcome the COVID-19 crisis and given the inevitable “new normal”, Go urged concerned government agencies and schools to guide students in preparing for the next school year. He emphasized the need to still observe certain protocols, such as social distancing, depending on the health emergency status in areas where these schools are situated.     “Schools must prepare their facilities and lay down protocols in preparation for the possible scenarios that students, teachers and education personnel will face when classes resume,” he said.      “Hindi naman po pwedeng tumigil ang kanilang pag-aaral,” Go added.     The Senator also urged TESDA to coordinate its efforts and collaborate with various government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Economic and Development Authority as well as the local government units, to match skills with the jobs that will be made available in the provinces.  “This is to ensure that the technical and vocational education as well as the skills trainings offered in a particular province match with what is needed in that locality.”     “Naaayon rin ang klase ng kabuhayan sa katangian ng isang probinsya.  Halimbawa, doon sa Mindanao, merong mga probinsya na malakas ang agri-industrial sector. Meron namang probinsya na mas akma sa kanila ang fisheries. Kaya mahalaga na ang binibigay na training ay tugma din sa kung ano ang negosyong maaaring lumago sa lugar na iyon,” Go said.     “Inaasahan din nating magkakaroon ng mga bagong special economic zones sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa kung kaya’t dapat lang na ihanda na ang mga tao sa lugar na iyon para maging kwalipikado sila sa mga trabahong magiging available,” Go added.     As the country’s main agency tasked to manage and supervise the technical education and skills development of Filipinos, one of the mandates of TESDA is to integrate, coordinate and monitor skills development programs in different parts of the country.     In one of the meetings held for the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña shared that they are aligning their programs and enhancing courses in agriculture, health and construction.  Many economists believe that these are the sectors that are expected to bounce back much faster than other industries right after overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak.     In another statement through a radio interview, TESDA-NCR regional director Florencio Sunico said that they will do a thorough profiling of workers and industries to help the government in properly assisting Filipinos going back to the provinces as the BP2 Program is set to be implemented.     As the proponent of this initiative, Go sees the BP2 Program as a way to decongest Manila, strengthen the capability of government to respond better to crises, and boost the economy of the provinces     The Senator urged the Executive branch, particularly concerned agencies and LGUs, to execute their plans immediately in support of the objectives of the program as more Filipinos have expressed willingness to go home to their provinces after what they experienced during the COVID-19 crisis.      “Hindi po ito sapilitan. Unahin dapat ang mga kababayan nating nais na bumalik sa kanilang mga probinsya at tulungan dapat sila ng gobyerno na makakuha ng trabaho o magkaroon ng mas maayos na kabuhayan,” Go said adding that the program aims to give Filipinos hope for a better future after the COVID-19 crisis.

Stay Fit at Home with DTA, the Dynamic Training Approach

May 2, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the way we live and do things. With the implementation of strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, our daily routine is now centered on the “new normal” which includes proper and frequent hand washing, wearing of face mask, staying at or working from home and physical distancing, among others.     Unless a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed and no new virus will infect mankind in pandemic proportions, this new normal will stay and all we can do at the least is to adjust, adapt and work around it.     Along with adapting to this new normal, we need to continue doing regular self-care to cushion the potential negative effects to our physical, emotional and psychological well-being.     One of the best ways to do this is to boost our immune system by eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep and doing regular exercise or physical activity.      There are myriad ways to get fit without the need to go to the gym so long as we don’t invent excuses to avoid exercising even when we have plenty of time spent at home.     To prove this, I developed some exercise programs using household items available to everyone: hand and kitchen towels.     In my new YouTube channel called Dynamic Training Approach DTA, I have uploaded a Towel Exercise series to teach his viewers easy to follow exercises using a hand towel and two kitchen towels.     I also shared a video on how to make your own exercise equipment, a DIY Towel Ball, which can be used as a substitute for regular gym equipment. Definitely no reason not to get fit despite being stuck at home!     I came up with this idea because some people are having a hard time to exercise without access to a gym or gym equipment, while some just don’t know how to start or continue their physical fitness activities due to the pandemic restrictions.      By subscribing for free to my YouTube channel, you can access simple and doable exercises that can be done using available tools or equipment within the comfort of your own home. I can also develop exercise programs for individual needs and provide personal training services via zoom or messenger if required by the subscriber. This way, I can continue helping people get fit and stay healthy to get through the new normal.     I have partnered with Odyssey Airport Express to help provide free shuttle service to Cagayan de Oro frontliners. For only P500.00, you can get free online consultation, two programs that you can do for the next 4 weeks plus 2 personal training sessions. 50% of the proceeds shall be donated to the free transportation program of Odyssey so our frontliners will not worry about getting to work and going home while the city is under general community quarantine.     I have done numerous fundraisers in the past which include a blood-drive, food, school supplies and book donations, including CSR activities through sports. I can’t pass up this opportunity to help our frontliners, through Odyssey Airport Express, using a platform for which I am passionate with, which is fitness. I hope that through this program, I can inspire others to be physically fit at home while helping our frontliners who do not have a choice but to go out and fight the virus for us. It’s a win-win scenario.”     Here’s the link to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and access free workout programs: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWrjdBSa3rMJ_U0B8vp6wug     To participate in the Free Shuttle Service for frontliners, please LIKE and send a message to my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/dtaforfitness.     Special mention of thanks to Rea Liza Reyes, Raimi Yusof of Borneo Eagles RFC/Sandakan RFU, Eng. Rosello Bagundol, Teacher Val Cabigting of Happy Piano, Patrick Valor Rivera of Valor Training Center/USMF, Edna Mendoza & Miguel Villena.      (Coach Noel Villa is a UK-trained Personal Trainer based in Cagayan de Oro).

Healing as One: A Call for Volunteerism

April 30, 2020

The Bayanihan spirit is alive and well in the City of Golden Friendship as Italpinas Development Corporation through its Cagayan de Oro's Primavera Sales Office, activated a number of CSR activities in response to Covid 19 pandemic.      From assistance to Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) medical front liners, partnership with volunteers of OPLAN NorthMin Front Liners,  IDC has donated various types of protective pieces of equipment, sanitation needs, and meals to both Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon front-liners.     “Our community service program is the heart of IDC, and it has always been our goal to reach out to serve communities to which we are part of. During this time of crisis, we would like to express our gratitude to the Kagay-anon community by walking an extra mile in terms of service” expressed Jose D. Leviste III President of IDC.      Last March 20 & 24 Primavera Sales Office began its CSR activities through providing Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) medical front-liners with meals for lunch,  alternative PPEs, and sanitation equipment as a simple appreciation to the medical front liners.      In the following weeks, Primavera Sales Office expanded its community service in the province of Bukidnon by sending out sanitation equipment to several hospitals in the region, including Bukidnon Provincial Hospitals in Kibawe, Malaybalay and Maramag areas.      And for this month, they provided protective suits for the city basureros which they call "the silent front-liners".      Partnerships were also forged with OPLAN NorthMin Front Liners in making face shields for the city's front-liners.     “Together, we will get through this, and emerge even stronger, with more courage and  resilience” expressed Frances Mae Galvez, Brand Manager of IDC who heads the CSR activities of the company.      IDC Primavera Sales Office encourages everyone to reach out to local charities.   

DA-10 brings Kadiwa on Wheels to Oro barangays

April 28, 2020

Elson Jalapong, a sari-sari store owner in Barangay 23 is thankful to the Department of Agriculture - Regional Field Office 10 (DA-10) for bringing the Kadiwa Market direct to their barangay.     Since the city-wide implementation of the community quarantine, his family has been making do with little income to provide for their daily needs.     "I am thankful that DA brought the Kadiwa Market to our barangay. The products sold are cheaper and affordable that helps us save, especially now that our daily earnings are much lesser under the quarantine," Jalapong said.     "I am looking forward for the next round when the Kadiwa Market visits our place," he added.     For the Northern Mindanao Federation of Dairy Cooperatives (NMFDC), better known for its brand name, Highland Fresh Dairy Products, the Kadiwa Market has helped their group get by the pandemic by maintaining steady sales.     "Our production has been affected since the implementation of the quarantine. Our sales have dropped significantly. One of our strategies is to continue joining DA's Kadiwa. This helps us to maintain our daily sales," Jhuryvie Sardovia Highland Fresh accounting staff-turned-saleslady shared.     "More importantly, the Kadiwa Market has helped me keep my job during the quarantine," she added.     Barangay 23 Chair Mario Balsarza said his constituents not only saved money because of the Kadiwa Market, but it also kept them from going to congested places like the public market, a precautionary and safe measure against COVID-19.     "I will look into inviting the Kadiwa Market some other time to our barangay. This is very helpful to our people during this time. I am very thankful that DA has considered our barangay as one of its display areas," Balsarza said.     The Kadiwa Market also enabled barangay residents to display their homemade products, he added.     DA-10 aims to bring together individual farmers, farmer-groups, small, medium and large enterprises and corporations in Cagayan de Oro as vendors and suppliers of the Kadiwa Market as it roams around the city, supplying fresh and cheap food products to Kagay-anons.     The agency provides logistics and links Kadiwa vendors to target barangays to sell their products.#(DA RFO-10/ATalib)


April 26, 2020

In line with its commitment to be of service to the Filipino public, its hospitals, and its government during the coronavirus pandemic, SM Foundation Inc. recently donated Personal Protective Equipment and medical supplies to hospitals in the Visayas & Mindanao areas.     These include PPEs, N95 and surgical masks, gloves, raincoats, goggles, as well as alcohol and hygiene kits, which are part of the P170 million SM has allocated for this purpose.     In the Visayas area, these were donated to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and the West Visayas State University Medical Center in IloIlo City; as well as 15 other hospitals in Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod City, Dumaguete City, Roxas City, Tacloban City, Ormoc City, and the province of Samar.     In Mindanao, beneficiaries included the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City and the Nothern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City; as well as the Amai Pakpak Hospital in Marawi City and Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City.     Other initiatives of the SM Group in response to the crisis are the waived rentals of all tenants of SM Supermalls nationwide, continued compensation of employees, and the extension of an Emergency Financial Assistance to its front liners, security guards and janitorial staff during the Enhanced Community Quarantine period.  


Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Business Week.