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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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Robotics Cup builds foundation for future tech workers

“Failure in our school is not an option,” said Ana Mariolla Martinez-Quijano. “It is a necessity.” Quijano is the founder and managing director of Compass Education, which promotes STEAM education…

“Failure in our school is not an option,” said Ana Mariolla Martinez-Quijano. “It is a necessity.”

Quijano is the founder and managing director of Compass Education, which promotes STEAM education and 21st century learning skills built on creativity, innovation, collaboration and critical thinking. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

“Failure in a STEAM classroom is a necessity because we’re trying to inculcate in our kids, as young as they are, that sometimes the most profound lessons they will learn are actually in their mistakes,” Quijano said during the media briefing for the 3rd Robotics Cup at the Accenture office in eBloc 2 at the Asiatown IT Park.

Accenture, Compass Robotics Cup

MEDIA BRIEFING. (From left) Accenture managing director Arvin Yason, Compass Education managing director Ana Mariolla Martinez-Quijano, and engineer Tristan Abando of DOST 7 during the media briefing on the 3rd Robotics Cup held last month.

Hands-on learning

The 3rd Robotics Cup was held last November 11 and 12 at the SM Seaside City.

Winners of the event included student teams that offered solutions to such issues as trash, transportation, weather monitoring and health. (See photos below)

Quijano stressed the need for students to learn in a hands-on environment.

“When you just let your kids sit down and memorize, you waste their brains. We believe in hands-on learning. Children are hungry for that,” she said. “We can’t sit down the whole day listening to facts. I don’t get that.”

The Robotics Cup was supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Accenture.

Better understanding

“We believe in Accenture that there is a need to bolster efforts to create a better understanding of these technologies,” said Grace Cuenca, Media and Analyst Relations Lead of Accenture in the Philippines, during the press briefing.

The partnership to support the event “is growing,” said engineer Tristan Abando of DOST 7.

“We are very happy because it’s really the private industry that’s spearheading to introduce this to our young kids. Robotics is one of the areas where the DOST is a delving into, especially for our research and development,” Abando said.

Accenture managing director Arvin Yason said the partnership for the event does not just lead to students understanding technologies like artificial intelligence or AI but to actually “build skills for AI.”

Accenture AI

FACIAL RECOGNITION. A demo of a system built by an Accenture employee that is able to scan a crowd and deduce demographic data such as age and moods. Among potential applications are for use by retail establishments or even a quick survey of people’s responses.

Opportunities on AI

Yason said Accenture defines AI as any system that can, on its own, sense, comprehend, act, and learn.

“Three of these core components of AI are already part of the kits that the participants are using,” Yason said. “What differentiates true AI is the learning portion.”

He said AI is an important technology because it can increase profitability of companies. “We’re looking at AI doubling the profitability in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

Yason said AI can also boost productivity.

He said Accenture has identified 4 imperatives that industries, organizations, and even nations need to focus on to maximize opportunities in AI.

“I’ll focus on the first one: preparing the next generation for artificial intelligence. There is a need to consciously focus actions and ensure that the upcoming generation of people not just developers but also artists etc. are prepared to maximize the AI potential,” Yason said.

He said Accenture is doing this through various initiatives internally and externally. Supporting events like the Robotics Cup, he said, is among the key initiatives.

Robotics Cup winners

PULSO. Krisha Suico, Gwyneth Seciban, John Hora of the Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus built Pulso, an Arduino-based pulse rate monitoring device. It alerts registered guardians via SMS and contacts the nearest hospital whenever the user’s pulse rate reaches a critical limit. The team won 1st place in Everyday Solutions.

 

Robotics Cup Accenture

WEATHER MONITORING. Gregory William Liu, Charis Philip Palacio, and TG Giles Geonzon of Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus built ARAW or the Arduino-Powered Assistive Weather Monitoring Device. The system seeks to provide accurate and real-time information on “health influencing weather parameters.” They won 1st place in Growing City Solutions category.

 

Robotics Cup Cebu

RECYCLING. Hyeonseo “Rose” Kim, Clarice Alexandria Asero, and Chelsea Megan Sim of SAGE Prepschool House built a model of a recycling facility with a claw machine that picks up and segregates trash for cleaning and recycling. They won 1st place in the Loving Our Planet category.

 

Robotics Cebu

MONORAIL. Cowan Noel Adlawan, Andre Paramide, and Sean Lerin of Blessed Trinity Achiever’s Academy built this model of a monorail. “If people ride it, there will be less cars on the road. It is similar to a train but it will be helpful to our environment because it will not run on fossil fuels,” they said. They won 1st place in Traffic Solutions.

 

Robotics Cup Cebu

GripAID. The Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus team of John Burtland Allosada, James Gabriel Casia, and Cleo Agustein Sevilla created GridAID as a way to help people with grip disabilities by providing them additional grip strength. The team said GripAID is lightweight and low-cost and can be powered by a consumer power banks such as those used for phones and other portable gadgets. They got an Accenture Innovation Prize.

 

Robotics Cup Cebu, Accenture

SAFETY FOR BIKERS. The team of Mike Payo, John Burtland Allosada, and Jojemar Janea of the Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus built Safemo, a proximity-sensing device with GPS tracker for bikers. The Safemo alerts the biker whenever a vehicle is near. The team also won an Accenture Innovation Prize.

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Argao, Balamban, Dalaguete given Seal of Good Education Governance

Three towns in Cebu are among the 24 local government units recognized for their outstanding efforts in delivering basic education to their constituents. The inaugural batch of recipients of the…

Three towns in Cebu are among the 24 local government units recognized for their outstanding efforts in delivering basic education to their constituents.

The inaugural batch of recipients of the Synergia Foundation’s Seal of Good Education Governance will get incentive packages from PLDT and Smart Communications worth up to P1.5 million each.

The winners from Cebu include Argao, Balamban, and Dalaguete.

The 24 local government units (LGUs) are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alimodan, Iloilo
  2. Argao, Cebu
  3. Bacnotan, La Union
  4. Balamban, Cebu
  5. Bongao, Tawi-Tawi
  6. Cabatuan, Iloilo
  7. Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental
  8. Concepcion, Iloilo
  9. Dalaguete, Cebu
  10. Dao, Capiz
  11. Datu Paglas, Maguindanao
  12. Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya
  13. Diffun, Quirino
  14. Ivisan, Capiz
  15. Lambunao, Iloilo
  16. Miagao, Iloilo
  17. Mina, Iloilo
  18. North Upi, Maguindanao
  19. Santol, La Union
  20. Simunul, Tawi-Tawi
  21. Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
  22. Valenzuela, Metro Manila
  23. Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya
  24. Tuba, Benguet

Established in 2002, Synergeia is a coalition of individuals and organizations working closely with about 400 LGUs to improve the delivery of basic education to Filipino children. The foundation intends to award the Seal of Good Education Governance to deserving LGUs every year. It received 250 LGU nominations through its website this year.

Synergeia Awardees

AWARDEES. Synergia Foundation’s Seal of Good Education Governance awardees with PLDT and Smart executives.

 

Criteria for judging

Determining the list of seal recipients was a board of judges composed of representatives from Synergeia and the Department of Education. To receive the seal, LGUs must have broadened the membership and functions of their Local School Board. Most of their schools should have functional School Governing Councils.

As an indicator of performance, the average National Achievement Test score of elementary school children must be higher than the national average of 66%, or must have increased by at least two percentage points. Alternatively, the LGUs must have reduced the number of poor readers by at least 15%.

Moreover, their cohort survival rate (the percentage of first graders who go on to complete sixth grade) must be higher than the national average of 70%, or must have increased by at least two percentage points.

Education governance scorecard

Finally, the LGUs must have recorded a decrease in non-readers and frustrated readers by at least 15 percentage points.

“We put together an education governance scorecard to focus on the results of their work. While anecdotes and feel-good stories about education initiatives are helpful, the scorecard enables us to objectively evaluate the performance of LGUs,” said Synergeia chief executive officer Milwida Guevara.

“We are happy to recognize these outstanding LGUs, and hope that the Seal of Good Education Governance would inspire them to keep making children’s education a priority in their governance agenda,” she said.

Incentives for seal recipients

To boost the capability of seal recipients to improve education in their localities, PLDT and Smart will provide technology packages suited to the LGUs’ respective circumstances and needs. Among the incentives are the installation and maintenance of Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas, and the provision of InfoCast, a web-based solution that will allow the LGUs to broadcast announcements and receive feedback via text message.

LGUs in remote areas will get a satellite-based communication solution that provides voice and SMS services.

Another incentive for LGUs in far-flung areas is the Smart School-in-a-Bag, which contains a solar panel to serve schools without electricity, mobile devices, curriculum-based educational content, teacher training, monitoring, and evaluation.

Also included in the incentive package are personal development trainings for LGUs.

“We strongly support Synergeia’s efforts to encourage local governments to efficiently and effectively deliver basic education to Filipino children. Through the technology tools and digital educational content included in the incentive packages, these LGUs can further enhance learning among their young constituents,” said PLDT and Smart chief revenue officer Eric Alberto.

“The PLDT Group will continue to work hand-in-hand with organizations like Synergeia and local governments to achieve our goal of building a smart nation,” he added.

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Smart Infocast to boost disaster preparedness of Dumanjug

Disaster preparedness efforts of Dumanjug in Cebu will benefit from the SMS advisory platform of Smart Communications Inc., the wireless subsidiary of PLDT. Infocast, a web-based program developed by Smart,…

Disaster preparedness efforts of Dumanjug in Cebu will benefit from the SMS advisory platform of Smart Communications Inc., the wireless subsidiary of PLDT.

Infocast, a web-based program developed by Smart, will enable the Dumanjug local government unit to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text messages.

The program allows the sending of free text broadcasts and enables registered subscribers to connect with other Infocast members through a common, unique access code, making it an effective emergency communications solution. Crucial information can be sent to all Infocast subscribers, including the municipality and barangay’s disaster risk reduction and management teams.

SMART Infocast Dumanjug

IN DUMANJUG. Members of the local government and disaster risk reduction and management office hold a mock SIM unit during the turnover of Smart Infocast in Dumanjug, Cebu. Joining the ceremony are Smart representatives led by Public Affairs Head for Visayas and Mindanao Atty. Maria Jane Paredes (5th from left).

Enhancing communications

The system has boosted the communication efforts of its many users, which include LGUs, government agencies, and other organizations, according to Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Maria Jane Paredes.

“Through Smart Infocast, we hope to be instrumental in enhancing both the communication and disaster preparedness efforts of Dumanjug,” said Paredes, who attended the turnover ceremony together with representatives from the municipal office, the disaster risk reduction and management office, and Smart.

DRRM officer Richel Canete said the program would serve Dumanjuganos well. “This is a great help for the Dumanjuganos, especially in the office of the LDRRMO, in broadcasting weather forecast and other forms of disasters and calamities,” he said.

Serve community better

“It is a great tool for our information, communication, and education dissemination. With this partnership, we can serve the community better,” Canete added.

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; the Batingaw emergency app; and the TNT Tropang Ready youth readiness caravans, among other projects, in its efforts to reduce vulnerabilities.

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PLDT-Smart Foundation to mark 10 years of honoring teachers through Gabay Guro

PLDT-Smart Foundation’s Gabay Guro is back to honor the country’s modern heroes—its teachers. For 10 years, Gabay Guro has been supporting and empowering teachers through training, livelihood programs, broadbanding and…

PLDT-Smart Foundation’s Gabay Guro is back to honor the country’s modern heroes—its teachers.

For 10 years, Gabay Guro has been supporting and empowering teachers through training, livelihood programs, broadbanding and computerization of schools, housing and facilities, scholarships and the Teacher’s Tribute, a grand gathering that the Gabay Guro Foundation hosts for teachers.

“Our nation’s children depend on our nation’s teachers to lead them to a bright future. Gabay Guro gives tribute to those who shape the next generation of nation-builders,” said Gabay Guro chairperson Chaye Cabal-Revilla.

CHANGING LIVES OF TEACHERS. Gabay Guro Chairperson Chaye Cabal-Revilla leads the preparations for the star-studded 10th anniversary celebration. During the press con, she talked about Gabay Guro’s decade-long journey of helping change lives for thousands of teachers across the country.

Gabay Guro will mark 10 years through a Grand Gathering on September 17 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The country’s biggest stars and performers converge in one grand stage to bring world-class performances. Lucky teachers can also go home with any one of the exciting prizes lined up—including gadgets, cash prizes, livelihood packages, vehicles and a house and lot.

Stellar names set to give the teachers the time of their lives on this day are Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Jaya, Sarah Geronimo, Pia Wurtzbach, Pops Fernandez, Andrew Wolfe, Michael Pangilinan, Jona Viray, Marian Rivera, Southborder, Jay-R, Luke Mejares, UP Pep Squad, and G-Force, and more surprise big stars.

A decade of empowering teachers

Gabay Guro has over 1,200 scholars in various state colleges and universities nationwide. There are over 300 LET passers, 496 active scholars as of August 2016 and a projected 167 graduates in 2017. Gabay Guro also celebrates the fact that 137 scholars graduated with honors – 112 cum laudes and 25 magna cum laudes. Gabay Guro has also partnered with local government units to further teacher education.

ADVOCATES FOR TEACHERS (From left) Gabay Guro Brand Advocacy Head Gary Dujali, Planet Sports Inc. Corporate Marketing Manager Nathan de Guzman, FOTON Philippines President Rommel Sytin, BellaVita Vice President Mayi Rodriguez, Gabay Guro Chairperson Chaye Cabal-Revilla and Gabay Guro supporter and OPM icon Pops Fernandez.

The foundation has conducted trainings for over 16,000 teachers. Today, it runs 8 training programs for teachers around the country namely: Teacher’s Treasure Chest; English Proficiency Training; Computer Literacy; Emotional Intelligence; Teacher’s Armor; Leadership Training; IT Sustainability and Literacy; and Unleashing Creativity in Teaching. At the same time, Gabay Guro answers to the needs of the times by doing grassroots anti-drugs trainings in schools.

Gabay Guro’s initiative on Broadband and Computerization has had great impact nationwide. All partner-schools are recipients of either computers/laptop or internet connection from PLDT or Smart.

Jona performs a preview of her number on Sunday’s Grand Gathering.

Knowing that shortage of educational facilities is a major disaster area in the Philippine education system, Gabay Guro has also taken the cudgels in the construction of classrooms in the provinces, mostly those that have been hit by debilitating calamities. There are over 40 classrooms constructed and donated already in Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Capiz.

Brand advocacy head Gary Dujali noted that Gabay Guro carries with it an outstanding history littered with awards and citations that make all of them advocates stand a little taller.

Among these prestigious awards are the Gawad Tanglaw, Anvil Awards, Philippine Quill Awards, and the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) Awards.

Gabay Guro’s Grand Gathering 2017 is made possible by the generous support of Ayala Land Inc., Foton, Perry’s Group of Companies, PR Savings Bank, Maynilad, Motorlandia Philippines, Devant, Telescoop, PLDT Employees Credit Cooperative, First United Travel Inc., Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, Red Cross, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), Light Rail Manila Corp (LRT 1), New Balance, Enchanted Kingdom, Penshoppe, Filstar, Fly Ace, Flanax, Tempra, Vivalyte, PLDT, Smart, Sun and TNT.

The 2017 Gabay Guro Grand Gathering event is exclusive for teachers. Gates open at 12 pm. Admission is free. All they have to do is like Gabay Guro on www.facebook.com/gabayguro. For more information, visit gabayguro.com, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @PLDTGabayGuro.

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Utility companies work to rid Cebu City of ‘spaghetti’, dangling wires

Power, telecommunication, and cable companies have banded together to remove unsightly “spaghetti” and dangling wires from Cebu City streets to prevent accidents and as part of a clean-up drive. The…

Power, telecommunication, and cable companies have banded together to remove unsightly “spaghetti” and dangling wires from Cebu City streets to prevent accidents and as part of a clean-up drive.

The Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO) is leading the initiative in collaboration with PLDT, Smart Communications, Skycable, Globe, and Eastern Telecom Philippines.

VECO cleanup

CLEAN-UP DRIVE. Anton Mari Perdices, VECO chief operations officer, answers a question during a press conference on the effort to clean up the city of “spaghetti” and dangling wires. With him are (from left) Richard Trasmonte, technical manager of Eastern Telecom; Rene Lescano, PLDT and Smart customer service and operations zone head; Niño Rey Sarabosing, Skycable general manager; and Edlin Jose delos Reyes, Globe regional manager for cable engineering.

Anton Mari Perdices, VECO chief operations officer, said he was asked by Mayor Tomas Osmeña a few weeks ago to oversee efforts that will address concerns over low-hanging power and cable wires.

When VECO called for a meeting to discuss the mayor’s concerns, PLDT and Smart customer service and operations zone head Rene J. Lescano said he suggested that they form a group like what they did in Iloilo to tackle the same problem.

VECO wires cleanup

TEST AREA. The group first focused on a portion of Gen. Maxilom Avenue, specifically from the corner of F. Ramos St. to the corner of Juana Osmeña St., as a test area for the clean-up.

The group first focused on a portion of Gen. Maxilom Avenue, specifically from the corner of F. Ramos St. to the corner of Juana Osmeña St., as a test area for the clean-up.

Globe regional manager for cable engineering Edlin Jose delos Reyes said that after assessing the situation, they took out the dead wires and bundled the active ones together with clamps.

Clean up drive

UNSIGHTLY. Power, telecommunication, and cable companies in Cebu are working together to remove unsightly “spaghetti” and dangling wires to prevent accidents and as part of a clean-up drive.

The next step will be show it to Mayor Osmeña and get his approval on their solution before coming up with a timeline for clean-up works all throughout the city starting with its main thoroughfares, added Skycable general manager Niño Rey Sarabosing.

Representatives of the utility companies agreed that an underground installation of power and cable wires would be very expensive and not a fitting solution for many areas in Cebu City.

VECO clean up

WIRES gathered after the clean-up.

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Nepal taps eHealth system of Smart as disaster risk reduction tool

SHINE OS+, an electronic medical record and referral system initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), has been adopted in Nepal as a tool for disaster risk reduction….

SHINE OS+, an electronic medical record and referral system initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), has been adopted in Nepal as a tool for disaster risk reduction.

Dr. Regina Estuar of Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center (AJWCC) recently conducted a workshop on the open source platform with the Nursing Association of Nepal in Kathmandu. Smart has worked with AJWCC in developing SHINE OS+, which stands for Secured Health Information Network and Exchange.

Shine OS

TRAINING. Representatives from EpiNurse and the Nursing Association of Nepal pose for photos during the EpiNurse training held in Kathmandu recently. Photo shows (from left) Laxmi KC, general secretary, Nursing Association of Nepal; Sakiko Kanbara, founder, EpiNurse; Ma. Regina Estuar, co-founder, EpiNurse; Tara Pokhrel, project leader, EpiNurse; and Shoko Miyagawa, co-founder, EpiNurse.

Prevent outbreaks, mitigate risk

SHINE OS+ Nepal was developed as a post-disaster surveillance system in 2015. Now called EpiNurse or Epidemiology + Nursing for Disaster Risk Reduction, the program will serve as a public health emergency reduction tool for the country. The program is seen as crucial in preventing disease outbreaks and consequently mitigating disaster risk.

Last May, EpiNurse received the Risk Award at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico. The award, issued every two years by the Munich Re Foundation, the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Global Risk Forum Davos, honors innovations aimed at disaster risk mitigation.

For its part, SHINE OS+ has received at least three recognitions this year alone: a Silver Anvil at the Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; a Merit Award at the Philippine Quill Awards of the International Association of Business Communicators, and the healthcare category winner at the Golden World Awards of the International Public Relations Association.

Holistic approach

According to Estuar, EpiNurse provides a holistic approach by empowering nurses in Nepal not only in care management but also in surveillance reporting during the different phases of a disaster.

Members of the Nursing Association of Nepal undergo training on the SHINE OS+ mobile app.

“EpiNurse will be powered by SHINE OS+ in developing three applications that will allow EpiNurses to collect data at the school and community levels for preparedness, as well as surveillance data during and post-disaster,” she said. “The system will be simple, straightforward and localized so that the language and the design suit the Nepal culture and community.”

Estuar also said it was possible to apply the same technology for public health monitoring here in the Philippines. “EpiNurse aims to provide a global standard in disaster surveillance,” she said.

Patient information

Smart public affairs center head Maria Jane Paredes welcomed the replication of the project in Nepal. “SHINE OS+ has been embraced by medical practitioners here in the Philippines because of how it made patient information more organized and accessible, while keeping the data private. We hope Nepal benefits from this project as well,” she said.

SHINE OS+ is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices to assist health workers on the field. Medical practitioners interested in SHINE OS+ may email [email protected] (Press release)

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RDRRMC lauds Smart efforts during Cebu earthquake drill

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Central Visayas recently recognized Smart Communications (Smart) for its services and efforts instrumental to the successful conduct of the Nationwide Simultaneous…

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Central Visayas recently recognized Smart Communications (Smart) for its services and efforts instrumental to the successful conduct of the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill in Cebu.

During the drill, Smart deployed its multi-equipment on wheels and free calls assistance via satellite phones; provided connectivity via LTE SIM cards to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Wi-Fi courtesy of PLDT to the Cebu Provincial Capitol; and disseminated preparedness and safety tips via LED ads within the city.

SMART earthquake drill

The photo shows Smart Public Affairs Visayas-Mindanao Head Atty. Maria Jane Paredes and Public Affairs Manager NN Navarro (second and third from left) receiving the plaque from Department of Science and Technology VII Regional Director Ed Paradela (left) and Office of Civil Defense-Central Visayas RD Connie Ornopia, during the National Disaster Resilience Month culmination and awarding rites held in Cebu City.

Through its #SafePH advocacy, Smart has been supporting various government initiatives aimed at cultivating a culture of preparedness among Filipinos.

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Healthcare gets boost from award-winning Smart innovation

A few years ago, workers at the Samboan rural health unit (RHU) in Cebu had to file and search for patient records manually. The practice was time-consuming, especially for patients…

A few years ago, workers at the Samboan rural health unit (RHU) in Cebu had to file and search for patient records manually. The practice was time-consuming, especially for patients who had to wait for their files to be retrieved before seeing a doctor. It also posed a risk of paper records being damaged during disasters, and of handwriting being misread.

Now, the Samboan RHU and selected public health facilities in Cebu, Iloilo, and Quezon City can retrieve files with a few clicks on a laptop, and can thus serve more patients. They can also refer patients to better-equipped health facilities electronically, and remind patients of appointments and medication via SMS. Furthermore, they can submit relevant patient information to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for faster processing of claims and health statistics.

All this and more are made possible by SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record and referral system run by Smart Communications and the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center.

Launched in 2011, SHINE OS+ is now being used by a network of 86 RHUs, 44 private hospitals, and 32 public hospitals. It primarily targets RHUs, which use the system for free, as these are mostly situated hours away from tertiary hospitals, which have specialists and more advanced equipment. Paid plug-ins and extensions are also available to private clinics and hospitals.

Recognized here and abroad

SHINE OS+ has been recognized by three local and international awards programs this year alone. It won a Silver Anvil at the Anvil Awards, given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; and a Merit Award at the Philippine Quill Awards, organized by the International Association of Business Communicators-Philippines.

More recently, SHINE OS+ was announced as winner in the healthcare category of the Golden World Awards, organized by the International Public Relations Association.

“SHINE OS+ revolutionized how patient health information can be recorded, retrieved, reported to various health agencies, and used for e-referrals to higher health institutions. With just a click of a button, one can search which patients have particular conditions, or check disease burden. Samboan, a town about four hours away from Cebu City, can now send advanced notice to hospitals and other SHINE OS+ users that patients are coming their way,” said Dr. Ianne Jireh Cañizares of Samboan RHU.

Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Smart public affairs center head, said the digitization of health records could also help policy makers develop more appropriate health programs.

“Because health information is more organized and can be accessed faster, authorities can identify the most common cases in a particular area and can craft health programs accordingly,” she said.

Continuous improvements

Being an open-source platform, SHINE OS+ allows developers from anywhere in the country and the world to create additional features that can fill more gaps in the health sector. It does this while keeping patient records private.

Among the relatively new features created are an electronic prescription module, a disease-tracking and monitoring plug-in, an offline version of the program for those with limited internet access, and Android and iOS+ apps for use of health workers on the field.

Health facilities interested in using SHINE OS+ may send an email to [email protected] (Press release)

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Tutelage Learning Center brings progressive education to south Cebu

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school. What’s even better for preschool and elementary…

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school.

What’s even better for preschool and elementary kids, Tutelage Learning Center (TLC) will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

Ava Kristine Rosello, vice president for administration, said they offer all levels of instruction from playgroups to sixth grade as well as early interaction programs for children with special needs.

Tutelage Cebu started out in 2006 with tutorial programs to aid schoolchildren and added classes gradually until they were able to offer the complete primary education levels. Its first school is located on Edros Road, Cebu City.

Tutelage Learning Center

PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION. Officials of the Tutelage Learning Center talk about their school in a press conference. TLC will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

John Dewey philosophy

TLC espouses the John Dewey method of instruction, which follows the progressive rather than the traditional way of teaching, explained senior curriculum advisor Lanore V. Suico.

She added that aside from the fewer students in Tutelage classrooms, they are also active participants, problem solvers, and planners in classes.

“John Dewey believed that kids learn best if they are doing the activities firsthand. At Tutelage, children express their thoughts and ask questions,” Suico also said.

Curriculum adviser Yollymar Lemente said that aside from the learning they get from academic lessons, kids are also taught such competencies as finance and life skills.

Teacher-student ratio

Riza Sorbito, TLC director, said their ratio per teacher is six to eight kids for the playgroup and nursery levels and 12 for the graders.

She said Tutelage is K-12 ready and has accreditation from the Department of Education (DepEd).

The school, she assured, has zero tolerance for bullying but teachers promote positive discipline.

Tutelage Learning Center decided to open in Pakigne, Minglanilla to cater to residents of the town as well as those in Talisay and Naga.

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Volunteers get boost from Smart-initiated Operation Smile app

Finding cleft patients has always been one of the biggest challenges for Operation Smile. Most of them are either located in impoverished, remote areas, or some of them are just…

Finding cleft patients has always been one of the biggest challenges for Operation Smile. Most of them are either located in impoverished, remote areas, or some of them are just not confident enough to seek treatment due to their physical appearance.

An initiative by PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, however, seeks to address this problem. The Operation Smile patient-mapping mobile application, which was conceptualized by Smart for Operation Smile Philippines (OSP), was deployed during a recent medical mission in Bacolod City.

“Most patients are in the provinces. The challenge is how to find them. Another challenge is that when you have a facial deformity, you don’t go out,” said Wiggy Fontanilla, OSP president. “This mapping and tracking system changes the whole endeavor by coming up with a heat map of patients.”

Better access, monitoring

At the Bacolod medical mission, volunteers have recorded cleft patients’ details using the app, as Operation Smile aims to store patient information on the Web for better access and monitoring.

Arleen Antolo, 24, a speech teacher at Hope Foundation and volunteer for Operation Smile, travels for at least two hours from Bacolod to far-flung rural health units and barangay health centers in Negros Occidental to meet with other volunteers and cleft patients for possible inclusion in succeeding medical missions.

Antolo, who has been a volunteer for three years now, said her love for teaching and for children were what drove her to help in Operation Smile. “It feels good to help cleft patients, and see them smile. Being treated will definitely help them have a better future,” she said.

Operation Smile app

Operation Smile volunteer Arleen Antolo (left) takes a photo of a 7-month-old cleft patient using the Operation Smile app in Barangay Bago, Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental.

Lessen paperwork

She expressed appreciation for the app, which she used to record patient details during the Bacolod mission. “This will help lessen paperwork—we won’t need to carry folders of patient records, which may get lost or even get wet when the rain comes,” Antolo said.

The Operation Smile app is available as a free download for iOS and Android devices. Anyone can download and use the app—just open an account and follow the instructions on uploading patient information.

Patient details gathered through the app will be uploaded to the central server of Operation Smile, which will use the information to monitor patients’ treatment and plan for the locations of succeeding medical missions.

Closer to communities

“In our efforts to use technology for good, we partner with institutions such as Operation Smile, which seeks to bring healthcare closer to communities. We support Operation Smile as it aims to eradicate the backlog of cleft conditions worldwide,” said Ramon R. Isberto, public affairs group head for PLDT and Smart.

For its part, Operation Smile has expressed its appreciation for Smart’s efforts. “We sincerely appreciate all that [Smart has] done to help us give people with cleft conditions new smiles,” the global Operation Smile unit said on its Twitter account. (Press release)

To support Operation Smile, Smart subscribers may also donate by texting SMILE (space) (amount) to 4483.

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Batibot now on App Store

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV…

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children

Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV show that helps enhance learning among children.

Earlier launched on the Android platform, the app features fun games that teach kids basic learning concepts like matching, sorting, and grouping. The app also lets children practice tracing letters with the proper strokes, and helps them identify shapes, colors, numbers, and letter sounds.

The Batibot app is the first educational app in Filipino that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

Aligned with curriculum

The app’s “Awiting Batibot” feature enables kids to sing along to Batibot songs, while “Kuwentong Batibot” contains local stories that promote good values.

What makes the Batibot app stand out from other educational apps is that it is the only app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

The Batibot app is the product of a collaboration among Smart Communications, Community of Learners Foundation, and developer startup OrangeFix. The app jumpstarted Smart’s efforts to work with various communities and organizations to create literacy apps in local languages.

Batibot app

The app features local stories that promote Filipino values.

Filipino language, values

Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto said that since the Batibot app was launched on the Android platform, a lot of parents had inquired as to when it would be downloadable on iOS devices.

“Many parents based here and abroad said their kids had grown up speaking English, and that they wanted their children to be proficient in the Filipino language too. The Batibot app will certainly help them brush up on Filipino in a fun, interactive way,” he said.

“When you search for educational content online, you’ll find that most of them are in English. There is a need for digital learning content that promotes the Filipino language as well as Filipino values. The Batibot app addresses that need,” Isberto added.

Kids can now have the fun Batibot experience that their parents had, through the Batibot app.

Technocart, School-in-a-Bag

To bring the Batibot app to remote, underserved communities, Smart installs the app in the tablets it donates to public schools under the TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag programs.

Smart TechnoCart, which is donated to public schools with electricity, is a 2×2 ft mobile laboratory containing 20 tablets for students, as well as a laptop, projector, and mobile Wi-Fi with starter load for the teacher. The School-in-a-Bag, which is meant for remote public schools without electricity, is a backpack containing a solar panel, a laptop, five tablets, a mobile phone, a pocket Wi-Fi with starter load, LED TV, and learning modules.

Smart as well as individual and corporate sponsors have so far donated TechnoCarts to 40 schools, and School-in-a-Bag units to 18 schools all over the Philippines.

Teachers of the recipient schools are given training on tablet basics and on child and curriculum development.

Powerful learning tools

“Combined with guidance from elders, mobile devices and the internet can be powerful tools in enhancing learning among children,” Isberto said.

“Batibot helped shape a generation of Filipinos, many of whom are now parents and teachers. They now have an opportunity to share the Batibot learning experience with their children and students through the Batibot app,” he added.

To know more about Smart’s initiatives to use technology for the development of different social sectors like education, please follow the Smart Communities page on Facebook. Those interested to sponsor Smart TechnoCarts or School-in-a-Bag units may send an email to [email protected] for more information. (Press release)

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Globe sets up 41 libreng tawag and charging stations in Leyte, Samar, and Bohol

Globe Telecom has put up 41 Libreng Tawag and Charging stations across the provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Bohol to assist victims of the recent earthquake with their communication needs….

Globe Telecom has put up 41 Libreng Tawag and Charging stations across the provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Bohol to assist victims of the recent earthquake with their communication needs.

Due to the damage sustained by electric power stations, there is still no electricity in the areas, leaving residents with limited means to charge their mobile phones and make calls.

The Libreng Tawag and Charging stations are open from 9 am – 5 pm and are located in the following areas:

LEYTE (9 LIBRENG CHARGE/TAWAG stations)

1. Ormoc City – Brgy Cogon near Jollibee
2. Ormoc City – Quadrangle
3. Baybay City – Plaza Rizal
4. Hilongos – SF Commercial, Hilongos
5. Tacloban City – Sonny John Store, Brgy Manlurip along highway infornt of Sunnyville
6. Tacloban City – Marcab Store, Tacloban City new bus terminal
7. Tacloban City – Sacay Store, San Salvador St. Brgy. Puri Palo, Leyte
8. Tacloban City – Rose Tan Store, Don Gorgonia St. V&G Tacloban
9. Kananga – In front of Liz Barbecue, Real st. corner Larrazabal St.

Globe Libreng Tawag

Newly-activated libreng tawag and libreng charging station in Kananga, Leyte

SOUTHERN LEYTE (2 LIBRENG CHARGE/TAWAG stations)

1. Maasin City – Andoks, in front of Mang Tinapay
2. Sogod – Plaza Rizal

SAMAR (5 LIBRENG CHARGE/TAWAG stations)

1. Calbayog City – Nijaga Park, Gomez St
2. Catbalogan City – Color Print Store, Allen Avenue
3. Catarman – Catarman Park Near City Hall
4. Borongan – Borongan North, Siongco st.
5. Guian – Near Tourism office

BOHOL (25 LIBRENG CHARGE STATIONS)

1. Barangay Sta Cruz, Calape
2. Barangay Danao, Panglao
3. Barangay Tayong, Loay
4. Barangay Tabajan, Guindulman
5. Barangay Guinacot, Guindulman
6. Barangay Poblacion, Anda
7. Barangay La Union, Candijay
8. Barangay Poblacion, Alicia
9. Barangay Buenavista, Carmen
10. Barangay Poblacion, Carmen
11. Barangay Tejero, Jagna
12. Barangay Larapan, Jagna
13. Barangay Poblacion, Jagna
14. Barangay Poblacion, Duero
15. Barangay Panghagban, Buenavista
16. Barangay Luyo, Dimiao
17. Barangay Poblacion, Buenavista
18. Barangay Poblacion, Getafe
19. Barangay San Jose, Talibon
20. Barangay Poblacion, Bien Unido
21. Barangay San Roque, Mabini
22. Barangay Rosario, Inabanga
23. Barangay Luyo, Inabanga
24. Barangay Lapacan, Inabanga
25. Barangay Poblacion, Pitogo island

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