UP Mindanao Bulletin, 1 - 15 June 2020

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Forums


1 - 15 June 2020



To the UP Mindanao community:

I observed that our first two weeks of operations were infused with good cheer by “reunions” among office personnel. I noted as well the diligence by which our office personnel complied with the additional work procedures.

With the UPCAT results out, all of UP are exerting efforts to secure the confirmation of all the successful applicants to accept our offer.  Let us communicate the value of education despite the disruption in our public life.

For this, we need to prepare for the upcoming academic year. We have issued our initial policy for internet connectivity, and we will roll out additional policies, where necessary, as soon as possible.

Our faculty and students need massive support in the move to more intensive use of blended learning for both the continuing and the incoming students.  Our academic units, the Interactive Learning Center-Learning Resource Center (ILC-LRC) and Information Technology Office (ITO), supported by the UP System, are key units in this move.

There are also many urgent personnel and administrative concerns that we are addressing in consultation with our units and committees.

In our COVID-19 responses, the Davao de Oro provincial government has approached us for assistance for the COVID-19 lab that they will establish. We shall sign an agreement with them this month. We are also involved in restoring the food supply chain in partnership with other sectors. Our network is expanding with the trust and confidence in our collective efforts have earned. I also wish to thank the donors to the various donation drives that, likewise, are a measure of trust.

I am glad to learn from our OSA and HRDO that our constituents have not reported any COVID-19 cases. I sincerely hope and pray that our students and staff remain free of this disease.

A key lesson from this experience is the value and importance of physical and psycho-social well-being for each and everyone. I read that HRDO will offer a mental health webinar on 15 June. Let us all attend that. Let us also review the UP Manila webinar on holistic health and the new normal.

I urge everyone to be mindful of their health and safety always!

—Prof. Larry N. Digal, PhD, Chancellor



According to the OSA and HRDO, none of our constituents are currently categorized as suspect, probable, or confirmed cases based on responses to the Student Tracking Survey (for students) and Personnel Tracking Survey (for employees) and to follow-ups.



Offices and units shall be open Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM. However, personnel may physically report for work for a maximum of seven hours (without lunch break) considering the travel time, limited available transportation, and to minimize contact time in the office. This shall be supplemented with work-from-home arrangement to ensure compliance with the 40-hour work week as per CSC MC 10, s. 2020.

For monitoring purposes, all administrative personnel shall accomplish the daily time record (DTR) when physically reporting to the office and submit work accomplishments every 15th day of the month for the days they have worked from home in accordance with the approved work arrangement.



The students from Zamboanga, Palawan, and Iloilo, though ready, are still awaiting the re-opening of airports in their localities. The student from Cebu is awaiting a government-assisted flight home. The OSA is closely monitoring the developments in these areas and giving support to these students throughout this period.



Mindanao Food Highway

The Development Academy of the Philippines sa Mindanao invited UP Mindanao to be part of the Mindanao Food Highway (MFH) consortium, through an online discussion on 4 June 2020. The consortium will consolidate efforts in developing and scaling up innovative solutions to ensure food security in Mindanao amidst the COVID-19 disruption, which can be replicated in other parts of the country. It will cover the emergency response phase (3-6 months) and the crisis recovery phase (6-24 months).

The participants in the discussion/briefing from the academe included the University of Southern Mindanao, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, UP Mindanao, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, and Central Luzon State University.

The MFH asked UPMin to help disseminate its surveys to the UP Mindanao network of rice farmers, millers, consolidators, wholesalers/retailers, NFA administrators, local government units, and rice consumers. Students and research fellows are invited to study and produce research in the observatories set up by MFH for food supply and demand, food logistics, and COVID-19 response policies.

Davao de Oro COVID-19 Facility

The Davao de Oro Province will put up its own COVID-19 Mobile Testing Facility very soon and has requested UP Mindanao and DOST-XI for help, for which a memorandum of agreement will be signed this month.

The facility will be considered an Extension Laboratory of the UP Philippine Genome Center in collaboration with the Davao de Oro provincial government. The local government will construct and operate the facility. UP Mindanao, through PGC Mindanao, will do the following: build the capabilities of the facility personnel through training, participate in the design of the facility in accordance with Department of Health guidelines, produce a manual of operation, provide technical assistance in the DOH accreditation, provide consultancy services for technical issues, and formulate collaborative programs for expanded use of the facility such as infectious diseases surveillance. DOST-XI will provide financial support for the personnel training.

NICER Project: Interdisciplinary Applied Modelling, Data Analytics, and Biology of Infectious Diseases (IAMDABID)

Chancellor Digal wrote a letter on 5 June 2020 to Dr. Gernelyn Logrosa, head of the Office of Research, Development, and Innovation of Malayan Colleges Mindanao, to state the full support of UP Mindanao to the initiative of the UP Mindanao Interdisciplinary Applied Modeling group to partner with MCM in the Interdisciplinary Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Biological Infectious Diseases (IAMDABID) project proposal. UP Mindanao will fully endorse the project to the DOST Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) program for funding.

Chancellor Digal and Dr. Logrosa are also exploring other areas of research collaboration, teaching, and extension.

Mental Health Helpline

UP Mindanao Mental Health Helpline reported that 39 persons have availed of its services as of 11 June 2020. The program is ongoing and open to students and employees of the university.





Classes in the coming first semester are projected to be done by remote learning. Courses will be delivered online or through blended learning (lab, PE, and the like).

The preparations for this scenario include the retooling/training of faculty for online teaching, for which an extensive repository of online learning materials have been made available through the Interactive Learning Center.

A UP System-level Remote Learning Committee was created to give support and the UP Open University, experts in distance learning, will assist.

The immediate needs are the following: determining the number of students in need of devices; the provision of internet connectivity/devices for faculty and students for online learning; and the selection of a learning management system platform.

A generic academic calendar has been proposed, UP System-wide, for which the start of classes is suggested to be on 10 September 2020.



SENTro from UPGRADE Technology Business Incubation

UPGRADE, UP Mindanao’s technology business incubation unit, has developed SENTro Your Food Supply, a mobile phone application that gives direct access to buyers and direct access to farmers’ supply. This is to be piloted in the Davao Food Terminal.

SENTro for farmers has the following features: a map locator; settings for volume/quantity and price; uploading of product pictures and information; coordination with bagsakan site; generate reports; and, in the future, data analytics

SENTRO for buyers has: bagsakan selection; bagsakan coordination through the app, by text, or by voice call; wish list of products; (future) online shopping and order history.

Cacao project

UP Mindanao accepted the invitation from the DOST Industrial Technology Development Institute to be a co-implementer of the project “Developing the Capability of Micro and Small Scale Processors on the Manufacture of Quality Food Products from Philippine Cocoa Beans.” Chancellor Digal committed UP Mindanao to provide the required building or laboratory dedicated to the sensory evaluation of cacao products and for processing of fine chocolate, under the Department of Food Science and Chemistry. 

The project is under Phase 2 of the DOST Program on Technological Support for the Upgrading of Local Cacao and Cocoa Industry to be funded by DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).

A memorandum of agreement will be forged between the parties, wherein ITDI will provide the know-how on the conduct of sensory evaluation of cacao products and processes for basic formulation of fine chocolate, including the transfer or roll out of two key equipment for fine chocolate.



On 19 June 2020, 7:00-8:30 AM (Philippine time) Prof. John Bengan will participate in the international online event, “Rally Reading Series + Words Without Borders: International Queer Writing.” Organized by Words Without Borders. Register here:



-           Philippine Genome Center Mindanao gave its report of donations to its COVID-19 training project as of 1 June 2020.

-           The UP Alumni Association (UPAA) Davao donation drive for PGC Mindanao as of 8 June 2020 produced seven boxes of micropoint tips, two RNA/DNA kits for 100 preparations, and 2 L of molecular-grade alcohol, costing more than PhP 100,000. The items are for delivery.

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