Student Life

UP Mindanao Bulletin, 18 April-3 May 2020

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18 April-3 May 2020


To the UP Mindanao community:

In this issue of the bulletin, we summarize updates on the various COVID-19 initiatives of the university. I am glad that based on the survey from the Office of Student Affairs and Human Resources and Development Office, UP Mindanao constituents remain COVID-free. We will continue to exert efforts to monitor the well-being of everyone in the coming weeks as we ready ourselves for the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine. For now, our priority is ensuring that our stranded students can go home to their families, and the Office of Student Affairs has been doing a tremendous amount of work to coordinate with various local and national government agencies to make this happen.

Looking to the future, however, I urge everyone to read DBM’s National Budget Circular 580, “Adoption of Economy Measures in Government due to the Health Emergency Situation,” which will have serious ramifications for our operations in the university in the coming months (Read the text here: There will be a lot of discussions in the coming weeks, and we will provide you with relevant information as soon as they are available.

Stay safe! We will get through this together.

—Prof. Larry N. Digal, PhD, Chancellor




Suspect Case*

Probable Case*

Confirmed Case*

Non-COVID 19 (Negative Test)*

Students 1






Teaching staff 2






Non-teaching staff 2






Non-UP contractuals 2






Based on Student Tracking Survey of the Office of Student Affairs (as of 4 May 2020)

2 Based on Personnel Tracking Survey of the Human Resources and Development Office (as of 3 May 2020)

*NOTE: The Department of Health has issued a new case classification based on additional epidemiological information on COVID-19, adapting certain provisions of the WHO interim guidelines on global surveyance, in its Administrative Order no. 2020-0013 (LINK:


As per information from ASec. Atty. Vanessa Goc-Ong, Office of the Special Assistant to the President, and Atty. Joseph Encabo, head of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), 28 out of 29 stranded students from Regions 10, 11, 12, and 13 in Mindanao will be brought home per batch within the week. PMS has been coordinating with the office of the provincial governors for the transfer and conducted an orientation to stranded students on May 5 (with OSA and Vice Chancellor Gomez).

Through the office of Councilor Mabel Acosta, 4 stranded students and 1 UPLB faculty have boarded a sweeper flight bound for Manila on 6 May 2020. (The UPLB faculty was in UP Mindanao for his thesis but was unable to go back home due to ECQ.) VC Gomez will chaperone and arrange for the transport of students from UP Mindanao to the airport. The LGUs of Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas will take charge of transporting the delegation from NAIA to their homes.

There are 3 stranded students from Palawan, Cebu, and Zamboanga who will be left behind because arrangements for their return are more complicated. Arrangements continue to be negotiated.

The Office of Student Affairs has facilitated the following requirements of the stranded students so they can go home:

-        Quarantine Clearance: Two quarantine clearances are still pending since the students are no longer in Mintal; clearance need to be secured at their respective barangays.

-        Laboratory test/Medical Certificate: The ones for those who took the sweeper flight received their medical certificates on May 4. Arrangements already made with Adventist Hospital for the laboratory tests and issuance of medical certificates for the other students.

-        Parent’s authorization

OSA will continue monitoring the whereabouts of our students until they reach their destination.


Bayanihan for Non-Government Service, Security, and Sanitation Personnel

Last April 24, our security, sanitation, and qualified NGS personnel received financial assistance (in cash and in kind) from cash donations of our UP Mindanao employees totalling PhP 78,600. With the approval of the ExeCom, cash and in-kind assistance was distributed to 28 security, 15 sanitation, and 20 NGS personnel (4 have not yet been claimed). The university is very thankful to the generosity of our community in times of crisis.

Mental Health Helpline

UP Mindanao Mental Health Helpline provides free mental health and psychosocial support to our constituents. This initiative is organized by our Office of Student Affairs in partnership with agencies such as the Southern Philippines Medical Center, the Philippine Mental Health Association Inc.-Davao Chapter, the Psychological Consultancy Services, and the AUPAEU – UP Mindanao Project Tambayayong. At present, the support program has helped a total of 36 individuals who availed of its services. The program is ongoing and open to students and employees of the university.



PGC Mindanao and DRMC Diagnostic Lab

On 20 April 2020, medical technicians of Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC), Philippine Genome Center Mindanao (PGC Mindanao) laboratory staff, and volunteers have begun training in RNA and qPCR laboratory techniques as part of capacity building while engineering plans are being drawn up for the COVID-19 laboratory to be established in DRMC in Tagum. Last April 29, Maer Summit Group, our private sector partner, delivered to CSM a PCR machine and accessories and some 20 test kits for the proposed lab. (We are expecting additional testing kits from the Davao Chinese community.) The target date for completion of the lab in the DRMC site is mid-June. The draft Memorandum of Agreement between UP Mindanao and the LGUs and the private sector is being reviewed and circulated for comment.

Capacity Building

PGC Mindanao has received various requests for trainings on technical aspects and assistance on building a COVID-19 testing laboratory. Among those who are interested to avail of these trainings are the Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries Inc. and Davao de Oro LGU, just to name a few.

Insights Dashboard

“COVID-19 Insights” is a dashboard and a Web-based platform developed by the Interdisciplinary Applied Modelling (IAM) laboratory, which aims to host big data and artificial intelligence models to enable the sharing and peer review of the models and comparison of results under different assumptions and scenarios to come up with more informed decisions. The link to the dashboard is given below:

The Mindanao Development Authority has requested for a collaboration with UP Mindanao for the creation of COVID-19 forecasting models specifically for the Mindanao Island. The IAM lab, on the other hand, is seeking to establish linkages with the Department of Health XI, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and PAGASA to secure more data.

Alcohol Production

The Department of Food Science and Chemistry will lead a project for the production of rubbing alcohol in response to the scarcity of this product in the market, as reported by the Department of Trade and Industry. Establishment of a pilot-scale production plant or using preexisting facilities in collaboration with participating DACUN-member institutions, DOST XI, and private sector is crucial. Fund support will be sought from CHED, with co-funding from DOST XI and DOST-PCAARRD. The OVCAA and CARIM are coordinating efforts to bring all the players together and finalize the proposal for submission.

Assistance to Partners at Land Reservation

The Land Reservation and Management Office continue to assist our partners at Marilog in the harvesting of tiger grass (tahiti) as part of our livelihood program. LRMO has also reserved 200 kg of dried palay for milling, which is equivalent to almost 150 kg of rice, to add to donations for the Laak site. This initiative of buying essential goods from local farmers for relief operations is in support of the government’s advocacy to buy local to help with farmers’ income during this crisis. The university is now studying the situation to come up with donation drives and relief operations for people in Laak and Marilog.

PULL Program Assistance to Farmer Partners

In response to the urgent need of our partner farmers at this time of COVID-19 in South Cotabato, Maguindanao and Zamboanga Sibugay, the PCAARRD-UP Mindanao-Landcare-LIFE (PULL) Program provided assistance in various ways based on their needs. One of these was the pooling of resources among the team and from friends which were then used to help in providing immediate support to the farmers. Following the Livelihood Improvement through Facilitated Extension (LIFE) Model, another response was through monitoring their situation and linking them with partner institutions, proactively finding out what assistance they provide at this time. Such strong coordination and collaboration proved effective as some agencies provided support to the farmer groups. The project was able to provide relief through our site facilitators for over 200 families across study sites in South Cotabato, Maguindanaw, and Zamboanga Sibugay from mid-April to the first week of May.


The OVCAA has conducted an online survey, which was coordinated with the faculty through the deans, OUR and college secretaries, and the ILC. The survey will data on how best to facilitate communication between faculty and students, provide them with the learning materials, and inform the administration on students concerns, problems, and issues. As of 4 May 2020, 467 of the 836 UP Min students (56%) responded to the survey. An intensive follow up on the participation of students will be done this week. This section will be updated in future releases of the bulletin.