Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Basadours brings colorful tales, artful activities to Naga children

Basadours Inc. rolled out a series of storytelling sessions last October to the children of the City of Naga who were displaced from their homes due to a landslide. The…

Basadours Inc. rolled out a series of storytelling sessions last October to the children of the City of Naga who were displaced from their homes due to a landslide.

The month-long outreach project started on October 4 at the CEPOC Central Elementary School. The children listened in rapt attention as the Basadours animatedly read “Just Add Dirt” and “Bakawan” stories that teach the important values of cleanliness and environmental consciousness.

In the weeks that followed, Basadours visited other evacuation centers in Naga, including Central Elementary School on October 11, Naga National High School on October 13, and Enan Chiong Activity Center on October 20. Volunteer storytellers shared stories of hope and positive change in each stopover.

Basadours in Naga, Cebu

The month-long activity culminated on October 27 at the Naga Central School, where Basadours teamed up with three other organizations: Summerville (an annual summer workshop for children ages two to 13 years old), Kalinangan Youth Foundation (KALFI Lead), and Choose Tuesday. They brought the magic of storytelling as well as other engaging activities for children such as a play station, a coloring station, and an origami station.

Jo Belle Marabiles, executive director of Basadours, Inc., expressed her gratitude toward her companions and emphasized the power of storytelling among children.

“I thank my fellow Basadours for volunteering their time and effort for this endeavor in the true spirit of service and charity — giving their time, energy and pooling their resources for the children of Naga,” she said.

“Storytelling gives them something to think about. We aim to inspire them to hope for the better by reading and delivering children’s stories that will hopefully stay with them. We also hope that they live out the values from these stories or that they will love to read books as well,” added Marabiles.

Basadours in Naga, Cebu

No Comments on Basadours brings colorful tales, artful activities to Naga children

Cebu City student council heads undergo workshop to improve leadership skills

Presidents and representatives of Cebu City’s Supreme Student Councils (SSC) underwent workshops and dialogues over timely social issues during the annual SSC Training and Election of Officers in Wellcome Hotel…

Presidents and representatives of Cebu City’s Supreme Student Councils (SSC) underwent workshops and dialogues over timely social issues during the annual SSC Training and Election of Officers in Wellcome Hotel last October 29 to 30.

Working with SSC officers is one of the flagship programs of the Cebu City Local Youth Development Office (CCLYDO) and the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Cebu City.

The two-day summit embraced the theme, “Sugbuanon Student Leaders Gearing Towards a Better Tomorrow.”

The summit convened officers of student body organizations to solidify their roles as Cebuano youth leaders. It sought to make efficient the dissemination of training materials and good practices to organization members and make a lasting community impact.

Cebu City SSC Federation

Voice of the youth

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena initiated conversations with the SSC officers through “Talk to Tommy,” where Osmeña emphasized leadership as an important factor in amplifying the voice of the youth in bringing about positive social change.

Other speakers of the event include Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo, Alein Navares, Marco Romas and Magdalina Robinsons.

“Student leaders play crucial roles in our society because they will become inspirational and influential adult leaders. Their training, exposure and interaction as youth leaders will significantly contribution their brand of leadership in whatever field they choose to be involved in after school,” said Ruffolo, who delivered a talk on “Servant Leadership for Student Leaders.”

An important module covered during the summit was the Magna Carta for Students or more popularly known as the Student’s Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill. The STRAW Bill was discussed by Hendy Abendan.

Other modules covered during the two-day summit include policies on relevant issues such as the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, youth and media, project management and servant leadership.

SSC Federation officials

Jowel Sollano of Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) was elected president of the SSC Federation.

Niño Jan Miole of University of Cebu-Banilad (UC Banilad) and Andre Pepito of St. Theresa’s College (STC) were elected vice president and secretary respectively. Kylle Pulmones of University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), Adrian Aninon and Noel Mirambel of UC Main were chosen treasurer and focal persons.

“The coalition of these great young minds leads to the pursuit of change and the drive to contribute for the betterment of Cebu. This can only be realized if we function together with one heartbeat,” said Vice President-elect Niño Miole.

After the election, the SSC Federation discussed goals and potential projects by identifying relevant issues which are needed to be addressed.

In line with the Philippine Youth Development Plan, CCLYDO integrates proactive community involvement of the youth through the summit.

The summit aims to bridge gaps in knowledge and linkages. It also provides opportunities for training and immersion to promote unified action, especially among youth-serving organizations.

No Comments on Cebu City student council heads undergo workshop to improve leadership skills

Nanay group, Basadours host “Mother and Child Day” in Calawisan

It was a day of stories and art for 120 day care students in Barangay Calawisan in Lapu-Lapu City last August 11. Cebu Nanays for Nanays and Basadours Inc. hosted…

It was a day of stories and art for 120 day care students in Barangay Calawisan in Lapu-Lapu City last August 11.

Cebu Nanays for Nanays and Basadours Inc. hosted the “Mother and Child Day” event in the barangay on that day. The event was sponsored by Jollibee and Avon.

Basadours storytellers read stories and facilitated arts activity for the day care pupils.

Baadours Calawisan

Jollibee provided snacks for 200 people and donated school signs to Calawisan Centro Day Care Center. Day care teacher Charisse Tanudra received the donations.

Avon, on the other hand, conducted a make-up workshop and livelihood talk with women and gave out raffle prizes and special tokens for the best attire and best dancers in the zumba dance session in the afternoon.

Basadours Calawisan

“It is our goal to bring the joy of reading to children and likewise share knowledge and expertise to the women of the barangays,” said Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo, chairperson of Basadours Inc.

Ruffolo, who is also the creative director and founder of Cebu Nanays for Nanays, said the September session will be held at the Cebu City Public Library to commemorate the declaration of Martial Law.

Basadours Calawisan

No Comments on Nanay group, Basadours host “Mother and Child Day” in Calawisan

Vivant Foundation lights up Hilotongan School with off-grid solar power installation

WHEN students of Hilotongan Integrated School (HIS) were ushered into the computer lab after a turnover ceremony on Friday morning, Grade 9-Prudence pupil Barbi Villadolid headed to computer unit 7,…

WHEN students of Hilotongan Integrated School (HIS) were ushered into the computer lab after a turnover ceremony on Friday morning, Grade 9-Prudence pupil Barbi Villadolid headed to computer unit 7, opened Microsoft Word, and typed 2 words: Thank you.

Villadolid expressed on her computer monitor the gratitude the school and the wider island community felt for being the recipient of an off-grid solar power installation by the Vivant Foundation.

The foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Cebu-based energy company Vivant Corporation, installed solar panels, batteries, and the system that finally allowed the school to use computers that have been idle for lack of power.

Vivant Foundation Hilotongan

TURNOVER. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia (center) turns over a solar panel to Hilotongan Integrated School Principal Nelita Cervantes to mark the turnover of the solar power system that now powers the school. The turnover was held at the school last Friday. With them on stage are Vivant Corporation Assistant Vice President Grant Clark (4th from right), DepEd 7 Assistant Regional Director Salustiano Jimenez (4th from left) and other officials from DepEd and the local government unit.

 

LED lights, electric fans

The solar power system also allows the school to finally have LED lights and electric fans in its classrooms.

Before the system was installed, students took turns using a laptop charged by a generator, said Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia.

HIS Principal Nelita Cervantes said that to use computers, students used to take a 30 to 45-minute boat ride to Bantayan Island that costs P20 roundtrip and rent computers at an internet cafe by the minute. That is a fortune for students lucky to have P10 as daily allowance, Cervantes said.

Hilotongan Vivant Foundation

COMPUTER LAB. Grade 9 student Barbi Villadolid (left) works on her unit during a tour of the computer lab after the turnover ceremony. The solar power installation donated by Vivant Foundation powers this computer lab as well as the lighting and ventilation in all of the school’s classrooms.

 

Now, Villadolid said in an interview, they are able to listen to lectures comfortably in their airconditioned computer lab and use the computers to work on their assignments and projects. From presentations on manila paper, she said, they have started to submit digital reports.

“Our school rooms are now well-lighted and well-ventilated because of solar power. Our students can now use computers,” Cervantes said during the turnover ceremony at the school.

Hilotongan is an island barangay off Bantayan Island. It is accessible by boat only during high tide.

Improve students’ performance

The donation is seen to help the school improve its performance in educational measures, said Department of Education (DepEd) Central Visayas Assistant Regional Director Salustiano Jimenez. He said the facility and the comfort of studying with the electric fans in classrooms and air conditioning in the computer lab will increase the interest and eagerness of students to attend classes.

Garcia said the foundation chose HIS because it has the biggest student population, at 734 pupils, among un-energized islet schools in Cebu Province.

Juvimar Montolo of DepEd Cebu Province said she is sure academic performance will improve at the school. She said the area performed poorly in science and she sees the donation as helping the school do better on the subject.

The solar rooftop panels power the 2 computer processing units and 46 monitors connected to it in the high school computer lab. It also powers the 6 computers in the grade school computer room and the air conditioning for both rooms.

The installation also powers the school’s sound system as well as the perimeter lights that secure the campus at night. Vivant also upgraded the school’s electrical wiring.

Hilotongan Island Vivant Foundation

ROOFTOP INSTALLATION. This rooftop installation powers the schools computer lab and the lighting and ventilation in all classrooms. Vivant Foundation made sure the system will function even under cloud cover.

 

More than enough

“The solar power system includes inverters and batteries that ensure that lighting and appliances continue to function even when there’s cloud cover and that perimeter lights remain on at night,” the company said in a statement.

The solar rooftop system is more than enough for the school’s future load, the foundation said.

Garcia said the foundation spent over P4 million for the Hilotongan project. The installation, however, is just one component of the Liadlaw Off-Grid Solar Electrification Project. The project is named after Liadlaw, the pre-Christian Visayan god of the sun.

The other component, which is unique in the country, is the equipment donation and training of senior high students of Bantayan National High School on solar power installation and maintenance as part of the Electronic Installation and Maintenance (EIM) national certificate.

Training of students

The Bantayan students who will be trained on solar power will then maintain the off-grid installation in Hilotongan. This exchange allows the EIM students to get actual experience on solar power and HIS to have its systems checked regularly and maintained.

The donation and new EIM curriculum that incorporates solar power has sparked interest among students in Bantayan National High School. For the first year of EIM, 32 students enrolled in the course. This dropped to 15 the next year when students realized there were no equipment to work with. After Vivant’s donation, enrolment this year shot up to 90.

When these students graduate, they will have 2 certifications: for EIM and solar power.

Hilotongan Vivant Foundation

BIGGEST POPULATION. Hilotongan Integrated School was chosen as pilot beneficiary because it has the biggest student population among un-energized islet schools in Cebu Province.

 

A step ahead

Apart from maintaining the Hilotongan system, these Bantayan students will be able to work on other solar projects in the area, Garcia said.

He said he talked to people who have businesses in Bantayan Island and they told him their hesitation with using solar power is the lack of workers to maintain it. Garcia said the foundation hopes that when the students graduate from the course, they can serve as local workers to maintain installations and encourage businesses to adopt solar power.

Garcia said the students will be “a step ahead of other electricians” when solar power use at home and business go up exponentially as it did in China and other developed countries.

He said the foundation hopes to work on more schools in the future.

 

Hilotongan Vivant Foundation

HILOTONGAN Island is 30 to 45 minutes by boat from the mainland Bantayan Island.

No Comments on Vivant Foundation lights up Hilotongan School with off-grid solar power installation

5 Cebu teams make it to national finals of Accenture Program The Future 2018

Technology solutions to monitor Cebu City’s free medicines program, facilitate and track donations for calamity-hit communities, teach speech to kids with cleft palate, support cancer patients deal with their disease,…

Technology solutions to monitor Cebu City’s free medicines program, facilitate and track donations for calamity-hit communities, teach speech to kids with cleft palate, support cancer patients deal with their disease, and help the blind read via conversion of text into Braille feedback topped Saturday’s Accenture Program The Future 2018 in Cebu.

The five student teams chosen from the 11 that joined the semifinals in Cebu will head to Manila on August 18 to compete in the national finals.

“Your solutions and apps prove that you can accomplish extraordinary things by combining talent, collaboration, technology, and compassion for others,” said Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines Managing Director Arvin Yason during the awarding of winners.

“Help future-proof talent”

Program The Future: The Accenture Technology Campus Challenge, Yason explained in a press conference after the event, was started five years ago to reach out to the academe.

“Through Program the Future, Accenture is actively collaborating with the academe to help future- proof talent, equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed and lead in the digital age,” the company said in a briefing paper.

“The intent really is through the months-long program, we want to help students rediscover their power to shape the future through technology,” Yason said. “We’re also helping them see that it’s not just about technology it’s also about creativity, imagination, teamwork–because we’re a very team-oriented organization–and the power of technology to make the world a better place.”

Arvin Yason Accenture

EXTRAORDINARY ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines Managing Director Arvin Yason: “Your solutions and apps prove that you can accomplish extraordinary things by combining talent, collaboration, technology, and compassion for others.”

 

New technologies to solve social problems

This year, the competition’s theme is “Tech4Good.”

Accenture said the competition provides students the opportunity to learn about new technologies such as blockchain, cloud, Internet of things or IoT, extended reality, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

The students underwent training and mentoring sessions by Accenture employees on design thinking and the new technologies that they should tap in building their solutions, Yason said.

He said the program received 132 submissions from 21 schools all over the country.

In Cebu, the following teams won and will compete in the national finals:

 

Team: A1 of Cebu Institute of Technology University
Project: Aeon

Cebu Institute of Technology University

Team A1

Aeon is an app and platform that will help Cebu City Hall’s Long Life Program, a project that delivers maintenance medicines to residents with with hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. The app aims to solve problems on the program such as manual recording by digitizing records. It uses GPS to verify and track deliveries. It also has a predictive stock ordering capability to make sure there is enough stocks for beneficiaries. The platform can also be used to gather health data of beneficiaries to evaluate potential health risks.

 

Team: Aid 2.0 of University of San Carlos
Project: Tactus: Tactile text to Braille glove for the blind

University of San Carlos

Team Aid 2.0

Tactus taps AI and IoT to transform text into Braille feedback on the fingertips of a glove. The team says it offers a “portable, wearable, and affordable” solution for the blind and visually-impaired to read.

 

Team: Amigos of University of San Jose Recoletos
Project: JUANation

University of San Jose Recoletos

Team Amigos

The project taps IBM Watson AI to analyze data from verified news sources about calamities and then generate assessments, based on location and population, on needs of the community for donations. It also taps the blockchain for monitoring of the donations.

 

Team: Repository Blues of University of the Philippines – Cebu
Project: Cancervive

University of the Philippines – Cebu

Team Repository Blues

The project is a support platform for people with cancer deal with their ailment. It has a profile of the patient, a private diary to track the treatment, reminders and tracking of medications, and a community portal for interaction with other cancer patients and medical personnel.

 

Team Coop of Cebu Institute of Technology University
Project: Tingog

Cebu Institute of Technology University

Team Coop

Tingog is an app that aims to teach speech to children with cleft palate. It is meant as a complement to professional speech therapy. During the presentation, team leader Fritz Hoyle said the team will be working with Smile Train Philippines to deploy the app, whatever the outcome of the contest.

Yason said the teams in this year’s edition of the event “pleasantly surprised us in terms of the readiness of their prototypes.”

Unlike in the previous staging of the events when they focused on specific technologies, Yason said this year is more open-ended in terms of solutions.

Integrate multiple technologies

“That actually mimics real life. In real life, we rarely deliver solutions just on one technology. When we build solutions for our clients, we integrate multiple technologies,” Yason said.

“The evolution this year is tech for good. We wanted these students to actually look at society’s problems and ask themselves how can we start solving these problems with new and emerging technologies,” he said.

The 10 finalists that made it to the national competition will get P20,000 cash each team. The team that deploys solutions closely aligned with Accenture’s Tech Vision will receive P50,000 cash. The grand champion will win P300,000 cash and the school will receive P50,000. The Accenture mentor of the winning team will get a gadget.

No Comments on 5 Cebu teams make it to national finals of Accenture Program The Future 2018

OCEAN18 conference in Cebu to focus on how to protect, expand homegrown innovation

A conference that started after the World Economic Forum was held in the Philippines in 2014 will focus this year on homegrown innovation and “how to protect, grow, expand, and…

A conference that started after the World Economic Forum was held in the Philippines in 2014 will focus this year on homegrown innovation and “how to protect, grow, expand, and make sustainable our own industries.”

“We’re beginning to worry about our industries, like we consume a lot more shoes from outside the Philippines than shoes made here. We’re beginning to lose our furniture industry, we’re beginning to import more and more rice, we’re beginning to depend so much on imports and our exports are also declining so we wanna try to make sure that we can focus on that,” said Winston Damarillo, co-chair of OCEAN18 and founder and CEO of Amihan Global Strategies.

Multi-sectoral strategy for growth

The Open Collaboration with East Asian Networks or OCEAN18 will be held in Cebu this November.

Organizers said that the conference seeks to “shape the future of the Philippines by bringing together indiepreneurs, sector industry champions, and policy makers to create a multi-sectoral strategy for economic growth.”

Damarillo said indiepreneurs or independent entrepreneurs are early-stage ventures “have the potential to scale up tremendously and shake up their sectors.”

Damarillo is a venture capitalist and founder of several successful startups.

Unlike in the previous two stagings in 2014 and 2016, however, this year’s OCEAN conference will have a series of masterclasses throughout the country starting in this Friday, July 27, at the Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu.

OCEAN18 Cebu

HOMEGROWN INNOVATION. Cecilia Martinez-Miranda and Winston Damarillo discuss the theme of the OCEAN18 conference in Cebu and masterclass roadshow.

 

6 high-impact sectors

This will then be followed by masterclasses in Iloilo, Davao, and Manila.

The masterclasses will focus on 6 high-impact sectors identified by the team: Creative Economy, Education, Food, Global Filipino Engagement, Healthcare, and Tourism, said organizer Cecilia Martinez-Miranda.

This Friday, Damarillo said indiepreneurs will learn about business basics that are “foundational” to enterprises.

This Friday’s masterclass in Cebu will have Damarillo, who is also a WEF Young Global Leader, discuss key business fundamentals. Niña Terol of Kick Fire Kitchen will handle a session on design thinking techniques, and Richard Dacalos of Upstart the Game will talk about effective pitching.

At the end of the day, participants will close the master class with a round of benchmark pitches.

Global Filipino

In coming up with the 6 high-impact sectors, Damarillo stressed the importance of engaging the “Global Filipino.”

“We call them OFWs. That is so 1980s because we tend to forget that 10 million Filipinos are no longer in the Philippines and some of them go out to work overseas but a good part of them are Filipinos who have emigrated from the Philippines who still care a lot about the Philippines. And they remit a lot of money,” he said.

“The idea of this particular discussion is how do we look at those Filipinos who are still very connected to the Philippines as an expansion of our market. The Filipinos who are not in the Philippines, they have a lot of buying capability. They would be the most likely to patronize our exports. And they miss the Philippines, they miss our content. they miss our products and I think it’s a huge opportunity for us to address them as a buyer of our services and not just remitter of money,” Damarillo said.

The masterclass workshops are free and organizers will choose 6 teams to represent each high-impact sector and attend the OCEAN18 in November. They will also get mentorship and assistance in getting access to markets.

Filipino way

Damarillo said that in encouraging entrepreneurship, the country should look to build “Filipino startups the Filipino way, not the Silicon Valley way, not the Singapore way.”

“I think the model that would work in the Philippines is more like the examples of Injap Sia of Mang Inasal, from small to big and growing it. An example more like Penshoppe of Bernie Liu, right from tshirt to an empire. More like Jay Aldeguer from tshirts to Island Souvenir,” Damarillo said during the press conference to announce OCEAN18.

Damarillo said that what differentiates OCEAN18 and the masterclasses from other events is that “we’re going grassroots.”

“We wanted to make sure that as many people are touched. Dili lang siya novelty, it impacts our overall economy not just the tech economy,” he added.

OCEAN18 is a collaboration among the Global Shapers Communities of the Philippines, independent initiatives of the World Economic Forum; DevCon Philippines, a nonprofit aimed at promoting IT Pinoy Talent, and Kaya Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, educating, and mobilizing diaspora youth as partners to long-term, locally led social change in the Philippines.

No Comments on OCEAN18 conference in Cebu to focus on how to protect, expand homegrown innovation

Cebuano kids, parents urged to download Kaalam learning app

Third grader Christine Sosas of Argao Central Elementary School recently discovered a fun mobile application that enables her to learn important lessons in her native Cebuano. Sosas enjoyed exploring the…

Third grader Christine Sosas of Argao Central Elementary School recently discovered a fun mobile application that enables her to learn important lessons in her native Cebuano.

Sosas enjoyed exploring the Kaalam app, launched recently by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and its local partners in Cebu. The app, which can be downloaded for free from Google Play, features Cebuano culture and folklore. It also teaches kids to count, read, and write in Cebuano.

Sosas said her favorite feature is Magbasa na ta (Let us Read) which contains local stories. “Siyempre ang story, kay nindot gyud kaayo unya makakat on pud ka sa story (The stories are my favorite because they are very nice and you can learn lessons from them).”

Kaalam app launch

KAALAM LAUNCH. (From left) Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino, CTU-Argao Campus Director Dr. Juanita Pinote, Smart Public Affairs Center Head Atty. Jane Paredes, Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero, and DepEd Regional Director for Region 7 Dr. Juliet Jeruta during the launch of Kaalam in Argao.

 

Moma Ortega, dean of the College of Computer Studies at University of Cebu-Banilad campus (UC Banilad), encouraged parents like her to download the app for their children. “The output is very good and it can help the kids. It is also timely for the K-12 program wherein we have the mother tongue-based lessons.”

UC Banilad is one of Smart’s partners for the Kaalam app. Other partners are the local government of Argao in Cebu, Department of Education (DepEd) in Cebu Province and Cebu City, and Cebu Technological University-Argao (CTU-Argao).

The Argao local government and CTU-Argao provided content for the app, which includes local folktale. This content was then digitized by UC Banilad students. Smart took care of app development.

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero said the Kaalam app facilitates learning for kids using technology with which they are very familiar. “The app is a very effective way of trying to marry culture, heritage and infuse these in the learning environment of the children.”

During the recent launch of the app, Smart also turned over 10 tablets preloaded with Kaalam to the local government of Argao.

Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino said the Kaalam app is part of Smart’s larger efforts to help develop literacy apps in different local languages. She said studies show that children learn better when they are taught using their mother tongue.

Smart and its partners have worked on apps in Arabic, Ilokano, and indigenous languages. For more information on Smart’s efforts to use technology for development, please visit the Smart Communities page on Facebook. (Press Release)

No Comments on Cebuano kids, parents urged to download Kaalam learning app

Smart, Ateneo to boost Central Visayas health programs with SHINE OS+

The Department of Health Region VII is integrating the SHINE OS+ electronic medical record system of Smart Communications and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center with its existing reporting tool to…

The Department of Health Region VII is integrating the SHINE OS+ electronic medical record system of Smart Communications and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center with its existing reporting tool to enhance the region’s health programs.

SHINE OS+ or the Secured Health Information Network Exchange open-source system enables health units to submit aggregated medical data directly to the region’s Health Console for faster retrieval of information.

An efficient electronic medical record system redounds to better health care by ensuring that patient information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. The system also guards against loss of or damage to patient files.

Smart, Ateneo DOH Central Visayas

Signing the memorandum of agreement are (in photo, from left) Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Attorney Maria Jane Paredes, Regional Health Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas, and AJWCC executive director Ma. Regina Estuar. (Press Release)

No Comments on Smart, Ateneo to boost Central Visayas health programs with SHINE OS+

Smart employees, families donate digital learning packages to far-flung communities

English teacher Dexter Masiado has a problem with student absenteeism. Not even half of his 75 pupils at Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo attend his classes at any given…

English teacher Dexter Masiado has a problem with student absenteeism. Not even half of his 75 pupils at Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo attend his classes at any given day.

He doesn’t blame his students, who are composed mostly of indigenous people. To get to school, they need to walk three hours on a mountain path – and that’s on a good day. On rainy days, they need to trudge muddy trails wearing nothing on their feet but plastic. They would arrive at school drenched and shaking.

“A lot of them also forgo classes to help their parents earn a living. Instead of attending classes, they would plough the field, harvest rice, or weave sawali,” Masiado said.

The teacher was thus very happy when he learned that their school would receive a School-in-a-Bag from Smart Communications. This is a big backpack containing a laptop, tablets, TV, a solar panel with batteries, pocket Wi-Fi, and educational content. The package also includes teacher training and yearlong monitoring.

“The students will definitely be more interested to go to school now. They have not yet been introduced to 21st century tools like tablets, laptop, and the internet,” Masiado said.

Smart School-in-a-bag

Smart meets three of its latest School-in-a-Bag recipients. In the photo are Smart employees led by Chief People and Culture Officer Liza Sichon (center) and People Group AVP Cheryll Agsaoay (standing fourth from left), and representatives of Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo; Jubilee Shelter Program in Plaridel, Bulacan; and an Alternative Learning System center in Tanay, Rizal.

Previous recipients of the Smart School-in-a-Bag have reported enhanced literacy and heightened interest in learning among their students. One teacher in Albay noted that some of her students would even go to school despite class suspensions so they could learn from the tablets.

The School-in-a-Bag is donated by Smart and its partner individuals and organizations to remote communities, including those without electricity, to help enhance the learning of students through technology and non-tech solutions.

The package that Trangka Elementary School will receive is a donation from Smart employees and their families, who sponsored the P100,000 kit by participating in a program called Smart Saturdays.

For three Saturdays last year, employees were invited to watch blockbuster movies with their loved ones and buy special event shirts for a certain amount. The collected amount was enough to put together seven School-in-a-Bag kits for underserved schools.

“I am really pleased that thousands of our employees participated in the program, not just to enjoy the movies with their families, but also to help other people,” said Smart People Group AVP for Communication and Engagement Cheryll Agsaoay. “I’m proud to say that our employees have taken to heart Smart’s mission of improving the lives of Filipinos through technology. The devices, connectivity, and educational content included in the School-in-a-Bag will help students in remote areas learn more about the world beyond their hometowns.”

Agsaoay added that Smart would continue its Smart Saturdays program to reach more far-flung schools.

So far, Smart and its partner donors have delivered 38 School-in-a-Bag units to 65 learning communities all over the country. Those interested to help can email [email protected] for more details.

No Comments on Smart employees, families donate digital learning packages to far-flung communities

UBS Phils, PSF turn over School-in-a-Bag for Mindanao learners

Students of remote schools in Talayan, Maguindanao and Patikul, Sulu will soon benefit from digital learning made possible by Smart Communications’ School-in-a-Bag. Containing a laptop, five tablets, TV, a solar…

Students of remote schools in Talayan, Maguindanao and Patikul, Sulu will soon benefit from digital learning made possible by Smart Communications’ School-in-a-Bag. Containing a laptop, five tablets, TV, a solar panel with batteries, and educational content, the learning package is donated to far-flung communities, especially those without electricity.

UBS Investments Philippines and the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) recently turned over two School-in-a-Bag packages to the Department of Education (DepEd). These are part of the P1 million donation UBS made to the PSF last year.

School in a bag UBS

DONATION. Photo shows (from left) Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino, DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua, and PSF President Esther Santos.

Smart created the School-in-a-Bag to improve the quality of education in remote schools. Since launching the program in 2016, Smart and partner donors have delivered 38 School-in-a-Bag units to 65 learning communities all over the country. Each bag, inclusive of training for teachers, costs P100,000.

Because there are about 6,000 public schools that still do not have access to electricity, organizations and even individuals are encouraged to donate School-in-a-Bag units. Interested parties may send an email to [email protected]. (Press Release)

No Comments on UBS Phils, PSF turn over School-in-a-Bag for Mindanao learners

Cebu City library gets free wifi in partnership with Smart

Shortly after expanding to 24-hour daily operations, the Cebu City Public Library and Information Center rolled out a carrier-grade wifi service for users in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. Students,…

Shortly after expanding to 24-hour daily operations, the Cebu City Public Library and Information Center rolled out a carrier-grade wifi service for users in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc.

Students, researchers, and other library patrons get their first 30 minutes of Smart Wifi access for free. They can extend access by buying credits via cellphone load.

A wifi connection is particularly useful for studying and research and would be a big help to library goers, said Ramon Isberto, concurrent Public Affairs Head of leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart.

Cebu City Library Smart Wifi

SMART WIFI. (From left) Smart Public Affairs AVP and Center Head Maria Jane C. Paredes, Mitch Roldan, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto, Cebu City Hall Assistant City Administrator Annabeth Cuizon, Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña, Cebu City Librarian Rosario Chua, and PLDT SME Nation AVP Jimmy Chua during the launching of the Smart Wi-Fi in the Cebu City Public Library.

“When you turn a library into a community hub, you make it more powerful and influential,” he added, citing that users get access not only to books housed there but to a global library through the Internet.

High-speed Internet

Jimmy Chua, AVP and Head CRM of PLDT SME Nation, said high-speed Internet is essential for going digital and that the provision of Smart Wifi at the library was only the beginning of the company’s collaboration with Cebu City.

Isberto and Chua attended the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to formalize the provision of up to 30 minutes of free wifi at the city library last April 5, 2018.

Cebu City library Smart wifi

AGREEMENT. (From left) PLDT SME Nation AVP Jimmy Chua, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto, Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña, and Cebu City Librarian Rosario Chua after the signing of the agreement.

Councilor Margot Osmeña said the City Government was more than willing to transform the Cebu City Public Library and Information Center into a daily 24-hour operation when student Mitch Roldan requested it.

“Whatever the City can do, we will do for you,” Osmeña, who represented the City Government at the signing, added.

Cebu City study centers

Cebu City plans to put up 24-hour study centers in selected barangays so students don’t need to go far to study. Osmeña said she hopes to get the support of PLDT and Smart for the other areas as well.

Cebu City public library Smart wifi

BIG HELP. A wifi connection is particularly useful for studying and research and would be a big help to library goers, said Ramon Isberto, concurrent Public Affairs Head of PLDT and Smart.

Aside from the city library, Smart Wifi is also available for students at Cebu Institute of Technology, Cebu Technological University, University of Cebu Banilad in Cebu City, and in more school across Cebu Province.

Cebu City Hall was the first establishment in Cebu that offered public Smart Wifi. Other areas with Smart Wifi are the Cebu Provincial Capitol, Larsian Food Center, Cebu North and South Bus Terminals, Cebu Port Terminals 1 and 3, Cebu Port Terminals 1 and 3, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Facebook Live broadcast of launch

No Comments on Cebu City library gets free wifi in partnership with Smart

Cebuano energy firm, partners launch hybrid power plant and micro-grid

Vivant Corporation, a publicly listed energy company established and based in Cebu, broke ground Tuesday to launch Palawan’s first hybrid power plant with a micro-grid to electrify the growing needs…

Vivant Corporation, a publicly listed energy company established and based in Cebu, broke ground Tuesday to launch Palawan’s first hybrid power plant with a micro-grid to electrify the growing needs of the area that hosts the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Vivant partnered with WEnergy Global and Gigawatt Power Inc. to form the Sabang Renewable Energy Corporation (SREC), a Department of Energy-registered renewable energy (RE) developer that aims to provide households and businesses in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa with 24/7 electricity.

The project is expected to be operational in 2019 and will be run by SREC under an Energy Regulatory Commission-approved Qualified Third Party (QTP) Agreement with the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO). As QTP, SREC is authorized to generate and distribute electricity in Barangay Cabayugan, which has been waived from PALECO’s franchise area.

ENERGY. Vivant and its partners will provide households and businesses in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa with 24/7 electricity. (Creative Commons Photo by Ryan Kaldari)

Renewable, reliable energy

“We are proud to become part of a project that supports the economic development of Barangay Cabayugan by providing renewable and reliable energy,” said Emil M. Garcia, SREC chairman and VP-Operations of Vivant Corporation.

The hybrid power plant will consist of 1.4 MWp solar PV with a 2.3 MWh battery storage system and 1.2 MW diesel generators to power its 14-circuit kilometer distribution facility. Due to its solar component, SREC will provide an average of 50% of renewable energy and will be less vulnerable to the volatility of imported fuel prices.

Every year, thousands of tourists visit Cabayugan—located about 80 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa city proper—but only a few households and tourism-related establishments in the area have electricity, with supply lasting for about three to six hours from small diesel generators. The SREC project will electrify more than 650 residential, public and commercial establishments that will enjoy uninterrupted power supply.

Hybrid power generation technology

“We will continue to invest in projects that empower communities and improve everyday living, particularly in off-grid areas,” Vivant Corporation COO Arlo G. Sarmiento said.

SREC’s hybrid power generation technology will avoid about 25,700 metric-tons of CO2-equivalent emissions over a 20-year lifetime. (Press Release)

No Comments on Cebuano energy firm, partners launch hybrid power plant and micro-grid

Dell EMC turns ocean plastic into packaging; recycles e-wastes into new components

When you unbox the highly-rated XPS 13 2-in-1 you will find packaging made of recycled ocean-bound plastics, the result of a key project that is part of the Dell EMC…

When you unbox the highly-rated XPS 13 2-in-1 you will find packaging made of recycled ocean-bound plastics, the result of a key project that is part of the Dell EMC Legacy of Good global corporate initiative.

Dell EMC collects plastics from beaches and waterways and recycles these into product packaging, which is a first for the industry, the company said.

Dell EMC will turn eight tons of ocean-bound plastic into packaging this year, with a goal of using 10 times that volume by 2025, said Elizabeth Pabunag of Dell EMC Corporate Communications. Pabunag gave a briefing on the company’s key corporate social responsibility program to journalists at their office in the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

Dell EMC recycled packaging.

RECYCLED PACKAGING. Elizabeth Pabunag of Dell EMC Corporate Communications shows the packaging tray made from recycled ocean-bound plastic (right). At left is the one made from bamboo.

Sustainability at every stage

In 2017, Dell EMC reported that its recycling program kept 16,000 pounds of plastic from entering the ocean. The plastic recovered from beaches and waterways are refined, mixed with recycled plastic bottles and food containers, and then molded into packaging trays for the company’s products.

Pabunag said Dell EMC takes a “lifecycle approach” on recycling that focuses on “sustainability at every stage.” She said 99% of the company’s manufacturing waste is diverted from landfills into the “world’s largest recycling program with services in 83 countries and territories.”

She said 22 million pounds of plastic parts have been created under this closed-loop plastics supply chain since May 2014.

Dell recycling program

RECYCLING PROGRAM. Dell EMC reported that by recycling plastic into packaging such as the one in the photo, they kept 16,000 pounds of plastic from entering the ocean.

E-waste into new components

Apart from plastics, Pabunag sa Dell EMC also recovers precious metals from electronic products and recycles them into components.

“Currently only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled into other products. As a result, it’s estimated that Americans throw away $60 million in gold and silver every year through unwanted phones alone,” Dell EMC said in a press statement.

Dell EMC Legacy of Good

TARGET. Dell EMC will turn eight tons of ocean-bound plastic into packaging this year, with a goal of using 10 times that volume by 2025, said Elizabeth Pabunag of Dell EMC Corporate Communications.

Pabunag said Dell EMC is the first to recycle gold from old computers into new motherboards. She said its supplier in Tawain was able to make connectors for 6 million new motherboards from 2.27 kilos of gold that the company recovered from discarded motherboards.

Less environmental damage

The process causes 99% less environmental damage and avoids $1.6 million in “natural capital costs.”

Pabunag also highlighted the company’s partnership with actress and entrepreneur Nikki Reed for the Circular Collection by Bayou with Love and Dell, a limited jewelry line made from gold recovered by Dell EMC’s recycling program.

No Comments on Dell EMC turns ocean plastic into packaging; recycles e-wastes into new components

Smart powers PH Red Cross-Nokia disaster response solution

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications will provide high-speed connectivity for a drone system that will help boost the disaster response efforts of the Philippine Red Cross. The drone system, which…

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications will provide high-speed connectivity for a drone system that will help boost the disaster response efforts of the Philippine Red Cross.

The drone system, which will operate on Smart’s frequencies during times of emergency, is part of Nokia Saving Lives, a program that aims to provide communications technology and technical assistance to emergency response teams.

The initiative was showcased in Barcelona, Spain, at the recent Mobile World Congress organized by GSMA, an organization of nearly 800 operators and more than 300 mobile companies all over the world.

Drone system

The system consists of drones, a portable data center, a mobile broadband network, and applications like video streaming, gas sensing, mapping, and analytics, which can help Red Cross responders assess current status of lifelines and analyze immediate needs and gaps. This will enable Red Cross to provide emergency assistance to communities in more timely, effective and efficient ways.

Using Smart’s high-speed LTE connectivity and Nokia’s portable Ultra Compact Network, the system can also create a secure communication between drones, other equipment, and rescue team members.

The drone can be equipped with different types of cameras, sensors and speakers, and can also be used to carry first aid kits. The portable data center, meanwhile, is a computing and storage unit that can be used for immediate data analysis.

Smart, Red Cross, Nokia

PARTNERSHIP. Representatives of Philippine Red Cross, Smart Communications and Nokia meet for the drone project. From left, PRC disaster response and chapter support unit head Archieval Molos, operations center manager May Carol Layugan, Finnish Red Cross country delegate Juan Daniel Reyes, Smart community partnerships’ Joyce Panaligan and Mary Jane Francisco, PRC disaster management services manager Resty Lou Talamayan, Smart community partnerships senior manager Nova Concepcion, Nokia Philippines chief technology officer Timothy Senathirajah, and Nokia Manila Technology Center’s Lawrence Madriaga and Kenneth Pingca.

Improve emergency response

Nicolas Bouverot, head of market unit Asia South, said: “Nokia is committed to using technology to make people’s lives better. With our Nokia Manila Technology Center, we’re honored to collaborate with Smart and the Philippine Red Cross in this disaster management enhancement project utilizing LTE connected drones in Philippines, helping the country improve emergency response, and save lives.”

“We are happy to be part of this project by providing vital communications support for the operations of the drones. This project is in line with our commitment to deploy tech innovations for the benefit of communities, particularly during times of disasters,” said PLDT and Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto.

Smart is one of the three founding signatories of GSMA’s Human Connectivity Charter. The HCC aims to provide increased access to communication and information of for those affected by calamities, helping reduce loss of lives and contribute to humanitarian response.

Since its launch in 2015, HCC has grown to include over 100 mobile operator members and six humanitarian partners across more than 75 countries.

HCC was launched to enable network operators and industry partners to formalize their commitments to enhance their capacity to mitigate, prepare for, and respond to disasters through mobile technology.

Smart, Red Cross, Nokia

Smart will provide connectivity support to Nokia drones, which will be used by the Philippine Red Cross for their humanitarian efforts.

Disaster preparedness programs

Smart’s disaster preparedness programs were cited in GSMA HCC’s annual report in 2016. These programs include Smart’s Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS), which sends out location- and hazard-specific alerts; its ICT Bayanihan series of regional summits to institutionalize emergency telecommunications teams; and the Batingaw disaster management app, which has been replicated in the Horn of Africa. In 2017, the report said Smart had sent SMS and ECBS disaster alerts to 10 million people.

The company has also been a partner of the Philippine Red Cross for disaster response efforts and blood donation drives. Smart has extended support to Red Cross chapters all over the country on various occasions and in times of calamities by providing communications facilities and helping set up first-aid stations, among other activities.

Smart’s support to the Red Cross and commitment to HCC are part of the company’s #SafePH advocacy, which aims to help build resilient communities and reduce disaster-related casualties through technology. (Press Release)

No Comments on Smart powers PH Red Cross-Nokia disaster response solution

Smart donates digital learning packages for Basilan learners

Students in Basilan, particularly those under the Alternative Learning System (ALS), now have access to mobile tools and digital content that will help make learning more fun and effective for…

Students in Basilan, particularly those under the Alternative Learning System (ALS), now have access to mobile tools and digital content that will help make learning more fun and effective for them.

Smart Communications recently turned over two School-in-a-Bag units to the Department of Education-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, represented by Secretary Rasol Mitmug, in Lantawan town.

Each School-in-a-Bag contains a solar panel for recipients without access to electricity, tablets preloaded with fun educational content, and other devices. The donation package also includes training for teachers and yearlong monitoring.

School in a bag

TURNOVER. Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino (standing third from right) turns over a School-in-a-Bag to Basilan teachers.

The two units will benefit students in Lantawan and Sumisip under the ALS, a learning option for those without access to formal education in schools.

“I am thankful that Smart is there to help the education sector, as its capabilities in delivering technology fit the needs of the next generation,” Mitmog said.

ALS coordinator Aurora Anamon said, “It is a big thing for learners to see videos on a screen. The visual learning approach helps a lot. There are adult learners who will benefit from this because they wish to learn through technology.”

ALS teacher Husaita Barillo-Pantao said the School-in-a-Bag would lighten the heavy load of teachers, particularly in terms of preparing visual aids.

Smart developed the School-in-a-Bag after a study it had commissioned showed that the managed use of tablets in the classroom boosted learning and interest in lessons. While it has donated several units to schools in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Smart is also calling on individuals and organizations who wish to bring digital learning to more areas in the country. Interested parties may email [email protected] for details.

No Comments on Smart donates digital learning packages for Basilan learners

Indigenous students to benefit from localized learning content

Imagine being a child from an indigenous tribe going to school for the first time and finding out that the lessons there are conveyed in languages and stories that are…

Imagine being a child from an indigenous tribe going to school for the first time and finding out that the lessons there are conveyed in languages and stories that are foreign to you.

It is a challenge faced by many IP (indigenous people) students, given the lack of teachers who hail from their own tribes or are knowledgeable of their language and culture.

To help address this, specifically for the benefit of young learners from the Blaan tribe in Sarangani, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications organized workshops for the creation of traditional and digital learning materials in the local language and incorporating local culture. One of the workshops, conducted in partnership with the PLDT-Smart Foundation, also introduced a learning method that would help IP educators effectively handle multiple grade levels at the same time.

Easier to learn

According to the Department of Education, there are 125 IP schools in Sarangani alone, catering mostly to Blaan students.

“It’s better to have stories about the children’s own community so they could relate to these. If you use stories like Rapunzel, they would not understand that. If you use local stories it would be easier for them to learn,” said IP teacher Edna Alicaba.

An elder of the Blaan tribe in Sarangani checks the accuracy of illustrations and learning content created by teachers for young Blaan learners.

She added, “It is so easy to impart knowledge if you use their language. You can’t keep speaking in English if your audience is composed of IP pupils.”

For five days in January, a team of teachers and illustrators learned scriptwriting and storyboarding so they could produce animated versions of Blaan stories and make lessons more fun and interactive. Smart will help put all the content in a mobile app especially made for Blaan learners. The plan is to include sections on Blaan prayers, songs, and greetings, on top of lessons on numbers and letters.

Digital tools

Smart is spearheading the development of learning apps in different languages because studies show that the managed use of digital tools can boost the literacy of young students and heighten their interest in learning. It is for the same reason that the company has donated mobile devices packed with learning content to underserved public schools.

“Nowadays, most of our learners are visual. When they see something, when the process of learning is interactive, it becomes easier for them to learn,” said teacher-illustrator Reynald Dapar.

A separate team of IP teachers were introduced to the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) created by Ramon Magsaysay awardees Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido. Under this method, students learn independently in classrooms 80% of the time by working on activity sheets. The remaining 20% is when the teacher checks on their progress and helps them process what they already learned on their own. Schools implementing the DLP have reported better retention and mastery of concepts among students.

Activity sheets

During the workshop organized by Smart, the IP teachers created learning activity sheets (LAS) in the Blaan language. These activity sheets also featured local cultural elements, and can be used as a template for other learning communities.

Alicaba expressed optimism that the DLP would help teachers perform their duties better. “It is very nice because when you handle three different classes with different grade levels, you can handle them at the same time via parallel classes. While the two classes are working on their activity sheets, you can focus on the remaining class.”

A Blaan student shows off her answers to a learning activity sheet written in her mother tongue.

Battle discrimination

To make sure that the use of Blaan cultural elements and language was accurate, a tribal elder was invited to validate the LAS and illustrations created by the teachers. The materials will also be tested on students before full implementation.

The elder, Fulung Siamen Tumandan, expressed his appreciation for the effort. “It is a challenge to get Blaan children to be interested in studying. Many of them reach only grade school and stop because they want to get married. But slowly, more of them now understand that studying has a purpose and will help their future.”

“Education is very important for us because it will help us battle discrimination,” he added. (Press Release)

No Comments on Indigenous students to benefit from localized learning content

Smart Infocast boosts disaster preparedness of Bogo City

Residents of Bogo City in Cebu will now benefit from the services of Smart Infocast, a communications solution by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications. Smart Infocast is a web-based platform…

Residents of Bogo City in Cebu will now benefit from the services of Smart Infocast, a communications solution by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications.

Smart Infocast is a web-based platform that offers various SMS facilities catering to the needs of an organization.

The system will enable the local government unit of Bogo to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text message, making it an effective emergency communications solution. It also allows registered subscribers to send reports or feedback to the system administrator.

Empower communities

Just last month, Bogo was placed under state of calamity when Tropical Storm “Urduja” (Kai-tak) hit the Visayas. In 2013, it was also one of the cities devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). Located more than 100 km from Cebu City, Bogo has a population of more than 70,000, based on 2015 census.

By providing a means to disseminate timely messages to the public, Smart empowers communities to strengthen their communication and disaster preparedness efforts, according to Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Atty. Maria Jane Paredes.

“We’re very happy that the City of Bogo believes in Smart Infocast as a vital tool of communication in times of disasters. It can also be used by the LGU to send out important information to the community, such as advisories, reminders, and safety precautions,” Paredes said during the inauguration of the service at the New Bogo City Hall.

Smart Infocast Bogo City

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. Smart Infocast will enable the local government unit of Bogo to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text message, making it an effective emergency communications solution.

Mitigate disaster risk

The platform will further enhance Bogo’s existing communication services, according to Bogo public information officer Rhett Vincent Minguez. “With the Smart Infocast broadcast system, we’ve been given the opportunity to strengthen our communications system. It complements our existing channels and ensures our messages reach our audience,” Minguez said.

Smart Infocast has boosted the communication efforts of the institutions where it has been implemented, among them local government units, government agencies, and other organizations.

Under its #SafePH advocacy, Smart promotes the use of technology to help mitigate disaster risk in communities. The company has developed other preparedness programs and solutions, such as the Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS); the Batingaw emergency app; and the TNT Tropang Ready youth readiness caravans, among other projects, in its efforts to reduce vulnerabilities.

Representatives from Smart and the Bogo City local government and disaster risk reduction and management office pose for photos during the turnover of Smart Infocast to the city at the New Bogo City Hall.

No Comments on Smart Infocast boosts disaster preparedness of Bogo City

Vivant Foundation pioneers solar power curriculum in Bantayan, donates equipment

Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez….

Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez.

Not anymore. The students will soon start working with actual wires, pliers, and other electrical equipment after the Vivant Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Vivant Corporation, donated equipment to the school last Saturday.

The donation includes materials and equipment for EIM and the new solar power component that Vivant Foundation formulated with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DEPED).

Vivant Foundation donation Bantayan Island

EXTRA ADVANTAGE. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia said the pioneering solar power track of the Electrical Installation and Management course in Bantayan National High School will give its students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.” Also shown in the photo are the equipment that the foundation donated to the school last Saturday.

Electrical course with solar component

“No school in the Philippines offers EIM with the solar component and we found that it was time that somebody did, especially considering that renewable energies are playing a bigger part of our power distribution and generation,” said Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia. “Tomorrow’s electricians need to know how to handle solar power so together with TESDA and DEPED, we created a new curriculum that would be taught for the first time in the entire country here in Bantayan National High School.”

Garcia said that for Bantayan National High School, they are donating equipment listed by TESDA as requirements for teaching the EIM course. Before the donation, the school had to make do with the scant materials that were available, said teacher John Ray Tejero Tapales.

Tapales and Martinez said they were excited to be able to work with the equipment in their EIM classes. The school has 36 Grade 12 EIM students and only 15 Grade 11 EIM pupils. Tapales said sign-ups to the course dropped after students realized there were no equipment.

Training for teacher

During the summer break, Tapales will be going to Cebu City for training on the solar component, said Garcia. Vivant Foundation also donated solar panels, inverters, and batteries so they will learn to set the system up, he said.

“We’re not the first group to do solar panel electrification for off-grid areas like in mountain schools in Luzon and Mindanao and island schools in the Visayas,” Garcia said in an interview. “But what we have that’s unique is incorporating the idea of having a larger high school that offers EIM and updating their course to include solar. In exchange for them getting the equipment and the training, they’re gonna check in on the island school that’s being electrified to make sure that it’s maintained.”

Garcia said maintenance is important when it comes to solar power. Solar panels are designed to last up to 25 years but installations that are not maintained break down after just a few years.

The students who will be trained will be the ones to maintain the solar power rooftop installation that Vivant Foundation is donating to nearby Hilotongan Integrated School. The rooftop installation will power the school’s lighting and the batch of 100 computers that arrived last year but haven’t been turned on for lack of power, said Garcia.

Vivant Foundation Bantayan Island

TRAINING. Raji Roullo (left), planning and design engineer of Vivant, explains how solar panels work to a group of Electrical Installation and Maintenance students of Bantayan National High School.

Cheaper in the long run

The foundation will be spending P3.3 million for the solar power system and more in logistics cost to power the school in Hilotongan.

“It sounds like a lot but it comes out cheaper in the long run than paying fuel for the generator. And also, consider that their generator only did their light bulbs and their electric fans and they had a hundred computers that they couldn’t even turn on,” Garcia said. “The hundred computers arrived towards the end of last year but they haven’t put it on yet because they don’t have electricity.”

The system will be installed in Hilotongan from March to May, in time for the opening of the new school year.

After Tapales is trained, he will then handle the solar power component for the 2nd year of the EIM course.

Garcia said the instructor and the top students can then make quarterly trips to Hilotongan to check on the solar power setup. They will also be the ones to handle repair requests. This partnership will also give the students the needed hours of on-the-job training for their certification.

This training on solar, he said, will give students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.”

The students will have a lot of opportunities in a growing industry, said Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco.

Vicant Foundation Bantayan Island

AGREEMENT. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia signs the agreement that covers the donation and program. Seated at right is Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco. The donation was held last Saturday at the Bantayan National High School.

Increasing interest

Garcia said that with solar “getting cheaper” every year, they hope to encourage adoption in areas like Bantayan Island.

With heightened awareness on eco-tourism and environmental issues, “there would be increasing interest in solar and especially if businesses know that there are people who can do the maintenance and repair,” he said.

Garcia said their foundation decided to focus on technology and K to 12 education after going around the different communities in the Philippines to study the needs that they could address.

“At the same time, I also went to a symposium by PhilDev and USAID where they were talking about how we needed to increase our innovation in our country because we actually lag behind our other ASEAN neighbors in science education,” he said.

They started with donating science labs and equipment as well as training teachers in Palawan, where they have a power plants.

The Bantayan Island project, he said, is “a big part of our next step.” He said they intend to make it nationwide and would be assessing its impact, particularly of the solar power curriculum, for the needed improvements.

Self-sustaining program

He said the students in Bantayan who will be trained on solar power can potentially serve the community, including five other islet schools.

“That’s basically the idea – that it would be self-sustaining on the education side. It creates people that are skilled at jobs that are growing in demand. Solar is getting cheaper every year, so the demand has been increasing every year. And we think places like this are ideal to have people educated in solar because it is known for the beautiful beaches, the beautiful water,” Garcia said.

When Hilotongan Integrated School is energized with solar power, Garcia said they could do other side projects like putting up an adult learning program on computers during weekends, when there are no regular classes.

No Comments on Vivant Foundation pioneers solar power curriculum in Bantayan, donates equipment

Communities benefit from Smart’s disaster preparedness, environment programs

To serve more communities in the areas of disaster preparedness and environment, Smart Communications (Smart) expanded its existing programs, launched new ones, and developed solutions in 2017. Building a #SafePH…

To serve more communities in the areas of disaster preparedness and environment, Smart Communications (Smart) expanded its existing programs, launched new ones, and developed solutions in 2017.

Building a #SafePH

Smart aggressively rolled out its TNT Tropang Ready Caravan learning series to state universities from Northern Luzon to Mindanao in order to empower the youth in mobilizing their communities in times of disasters. Tropang Ready schools to date include Batangas State University, Bulacan State University, Southern Leyte State University, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines–Cagayan de Oro, University of Baguio, Isabela State University, Eastern Visayas State University and public and private educational institutions in Ormoc, including St. Peter’s College. Plans are underway to encourage more schools to become Tropang Ready in 2018.

Smart Tropang Ready

TROPANG READY. A student learns how to use a fire extinguisher during the TNT Tropang Ready “Training of Trainers” disaster preparedness and emergency management activity organized by Smart at Eastern Visayas State University in Tacloban City in November.

Smart also enhanced the capability of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) by turning over to the agency the Emergency Cell Broadcast System. ECBS issues quick location- and hazard-specific alerts using a channel separate from that used by calls and text messages, which may get congested in times of calamities. This makes ECBS an effective warning system during disasters.

Republic Act No. 10639 or The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act mandates all telecommunication services providers to send free mobile alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters and calamities. Smart acquired the latest cell broadcast platform, investing P400 million, to effectively comply with this law.

The Philippines faced a number of natural and man-made hazards this year. Batangas, Leyte, and Surigao del Norte were affected by earthquakes, while several areas in the country experienced flooding and landslides due to typhoons. Marawi was also besieged with conflict that displaced most of its residents. In these trying times, when access to communication could get limited, PLDT and Smart offered communication services as aid, allowing residents to reconnect with their loved ones and get information on where to avail of basic necessities and state services.

Libreng Tawag, Charging Stations

Services offered include Libreng Tawag and Charging stations, free calls and texts in affected areas, SMS and pocket Wi-Fi credits to responders, and the Infocast SMS facility, which enables authorized users to disseminate information to registered subscribers.

PLDT and Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto emphasized the importance of staying connected in times of disasters. “Communications is vital in any emergency situation,” he said. “As a telecommunications company, our primary job is to keep the network running so that we can provide continuous emergency communications services.”

Libreng Tawag

A Libreng Charging Station was set up in Barangay Linao in Ormoc following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that hit Leyte in July.

Through its ramped-up network expansion program, Smart ensures that customers will have uninterrupted wireless coverage even during emergencies, and that nearby cell sites have the capacity to compensate for the affected ones.

Smart also provided anew emergency communications support during the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drills held in Cebu, Davao and Cavite. The services deployed include multi-equipment on wheels (MEOW) portable cell sites, ECBS, free calls and charging, satellite communications, and the SOS Dispatch solution, which enables LGUs to monitor, record, and dispatch reported incidents while keeping responders connected in near real-time.

Meanwhile, the Batingaw disaster management app, a project by the NDRRMC, Tudlo developers group, and Smart, was replicated in the Horn of Africa. It was adopted in Kenya as an early warning tool during their national elections, and for disaster risk management, with the high probability of El Nino in the region.

Smarter, greener earth

Harnessing technology to protect the environment, Smart teamed up with technology partners to deploy solutions in forests and critical habitats. The company is working with Ericsson to implement the Connected Mangroves project in Bangkung Malapad, Sasmuan, Pampanga. This IoT (internet of things) solution will use Smart’s wireless connectivity to capture data relevant to mangroves’ survival such as water level, humidity, soil moisture and temperature, and other hazards in the environment.

Connected Mangroves

CONNECTED MANGROVES. This mobile phone screen shows the interface of the Connected Mangroves dashboard, which may be accessed at ericsson.luimewah.net. The website shows information that has been recorded from the sensors attached to the mangroves.

Smart is also collaborating with startup Instigators Inc. for the Biosentinel environment monitoring system, which will be deployed in Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve. The system has three components: the web dashboard; the app, which can be used by forest patrollers; and the analytics data software.

The company is also steadfast in its commitment to protect the Marikina watershed by expanding livelihood assistance to the communities working to rehabilitate the protected area.

Smart will continue to provide communications support and work with the government and other partners in building better prepared and environmentally sustainable communities. (Press Release)

No Comments on Communities benefit from Smart’s disaster preparedness, environment programs

Cebu students get coding intro in Hour of Code in Accenture

School principal Rosemarie Novabos was apprehensive. Her students at OPRRA National High School only started ICT classes this year and they were already being invited by Accenture to join Saturday’s…

School principal Rosemarie Novabos was apprehensive. Her students at OPRRA National High School only started ICT classes this year and they were already being invited by Accenture to join Saturday’s Hour of Code.

While she told ICT coordinator Vince Impel to “immediately say yes” to the invitation by Accenture, whom she described as an important stakeholder of their school, she admitted to being apprehensive because the activity involved “coding.”

Hour of Code Accenture Cebu

This will be fun, Accenture Managing Director, Technology Arvin Yason tells students of OPRRA National High School at the start of their Hour of Code session.

Excited by sessions

Her students, on the other hand, said they were excited by the opportunity. Most said in an interview that the only experience they had with computers before the Hour of Code at the Accenture office in Cebu IT Park was to play games. Impel said their lessons so far were only on how to use the PC and some office applications.

For Grade 10 student Marites Hagoyahay, time on the computer meant using Facebook and YouTube. But on Saturday, she was among the first to finish 2 modules for the Hour of Code – essentially 2 hours of work in less than an hour. One involved control of Disney characters on the screen by manipulating blocks of code and the other an introduction to concepts on artificial intelligence (AI).

Accenture Hour of Code Cebu

Grade 10 student Marites Hagoyahay works on the intro to AI module as Accenture employee Jon Alistair Ong looks on.

It was really fun and exciting and I learned from it, Hagoyahay said in an interview.

When asked if she is considering a computer science course, she nodded enthusiastically but said “mahal man kaayo if direct computer engineering. Plano nako is accountancy lang sa and then after, engineering.” (Computer engineering is very expensive. I plan to take up accountancy first and then take up engineering after.)

Encourage to take up STEAM

“We must give our students, our youth, that kickstart to encourage them to go to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics),” said Accenture Managing Director, Technology Arvin Yason. “This Hour of Code is a fantastic example, fantastic venue for organizations like Accenture.”

Yason said students should be exposed to code since “it’s a great first step towards a career in technology. It is a great first step towards a career in computer sciences.” He recounted how his father’s decision to buy a personal computer when he was young led him to try out coding and eventually guided him to a career in technology.

Accenture Hour of Code Cebu

FIRST TO COMPLETE. Kenth Bryan Suquib was first to complete the tasks in his group. Although he has been considering taking up Chemical Engineering, he said he is also looking into programming as a career option.

He said he’s hoping the Hour of Code will also have a similar impact on the students they hosted.

Accenture chose OPRRA National High School because it is a recipient of computers donated by the company.

“We’re very happy to know and see how technology is enabling these students and all it took is one yes and a commitment to say yes, we wanna do it. Now they are enabling more of their students with all these skills,” said Accenture Media and Analyst Relations Lead Grace Cuenca.

Hour of Code Accenture

AI CONCEPTS. For this year’s Hour of Code, Accenture built a module that introduced participants to concepts on AI.

Intro to AI concepts

Accenture has hosted Hour of Code in Cebu for 3 years, mostly with students of Passerelles Numérique. What differentiates this year’s session is the inclusion of an introduction to AI.

Accenture built a module for students to “discover how various AI techniques can teach a robot to explore a new planet — including recognizing animals and plants, understanding a new language, and conversing with inhabitants.”

Yason said encouraging the youth to take up coding is important in light of what he described as a “global war for talent.”

Shortage of talent

“There is a large demand for computer science professionals globally. In the US. for example, there are for any given year demand for almost half a million computer science jobs. And they only graduate 40,000 CS majors every year. Not enough to fill the demand,” he said.

In the Philippines, there is also a shortage of talent.

Hour of Code Cebu

VOLUNTEERS. Accenture programmer Joyce Anne Dreyfus gives Grade 10 student Clint Manolat tips in programming Elsa to move on the screen. When Accenture Cebu opened slots for volunteers to the Hour of Code, it was filled up in minutes, said Managing Director Arvin Yason.

“We see a problem if we don’t work with academia, we don’t work with government to really encourage students into a career in technology,” he said.

Yason said Accenture employees were also enthusiastic in volunteering for the program, with slots filled up in minuted.

“It’s providing opportunities to people. It’s a way for us to pay forward, invest in the youth, and invest in the country also,” he added.

No Comments on Cebu students get coding intro in Hour of Code in Accenture

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search