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.

Implementing Guidelines for 2nd Semester, AY 2019-2020

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The University of the Philippines released on 23 April 2020 implementing guidelines for proceeding with the Second Semester of Academic Year 2019-2020, which has been affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and other parts of the country.
The guidelines, issued by UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, reflect the resolution of the UP Board of Regents (BOR) in its special meeting on 16 April 2020. The resolution was based on the 13 April 2020 recommendations of UP’s President’s Advisory Committee (PAC) which, in turn, were drawn from the recommendations of the UP System Academic Affairs Committee that were based on the decisions of the Constituent Universities’ Executive Committees in consultation with College Secretaries, Graduate Program Coordinators, Deans and faculty. The PAC endorsed the following proposed policy on the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 to the BOR: 1) end the semester on 30 April 2020; 2) assure that students will not fail the course but that their grade of P (Pass) with optional adjectival remarks will be deferred until they meet adjusted course requirements by 31 May 2021; and 3) allow earlier completion of requirements by students on a CU-set deadline.
Guided equally by the UP’s mandate as the National University committed to quality education and by the extreme conditions confronting its students and faculty during the ECQ in Luzon and other parts of the country, the BOR adopted the PAC-proposed “Policy on the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 in the time of COVID-19”, dated 13 April 2020, with revision. Specifically, the Board replaced the recommended P (Pass with optional adjectival remarks) with numeric grades and granted units offering graduate courses the leeway to determine how best to proceed with learning and assessment, in consultation with their students and in consideration of the current crisis situation. 
Read the full article in the UP System webpage.

UP Mindanao Bulletin, 4-17 April 2020

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4–17 April 2020


To the UP Mindanao community:

While the word quarantine initially meant “forty days” in Italian (quarantina), I fear our quarantine might not end after forty days. The city government placed the city of Davao under quarantine last 15 March 2020; hence, we will reach our fortieth day on April 23. But the quarantine will continue on for much longer as the ECQ is extended until April 26 and CQ will be reimplemented starting April 27.

Unfortunately, this is needed to “flatten the curve.” Even our own researchers from the Interdisciplinary Applied Modeling (IAM) laboratory, which is a part of the UP System’s COVID-19 Response Team, has recommended extending the quarantine as “lifting the quarantine prematurely is very risky” ( And we hope that this extension will buy us more time to set up our proposed testing lab, which was proposed by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao and to be implemented in partnership with government and private sectors, to augment the current diagnostic capacity of the Davao Region.

The extension of the quarantine means two things. First, work in the university will continue to be suspended until April 26 and beyond, and previous arrangements for the skeletal work force and work-from-home arrangements will remain in place ( Second, classes will remain suspended until 30 April 2020, the end of the second semester AY 2019-2020 as decided by the UP Board of Regents. The BOR has also adopted a “deferred grade” scheme for students in consideration of the current crisis, and our teaching staff are urged to prepare adjusted course requirements and to communicate these to students by 31 May 2020 (

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” wrote Charles Dickens. And while he may be talking about an altogether different kind of revolution, we cannot deny that the same can also be said with the Covid-19 pandemic that has upended everything in our society.

It is indeed the worst of times. So much so that the City Government of Davao has declared “a period of mourning and vigilance in Davao City” until 31 December 2020 to commemorate the many lives lost during the pandemic and “to impress upon everyone the value of empathy for those who are suffering and will continue to suffer the after effects of the pandemic.” This will greatly impact how we operate day-to-day for the rest of the year, and this will, I imagine, also have a profound effect on the various activities we have planned in line with our year-long celebration of our 25th Founding Anniversary.

But it can also be said the best oftimesas this pandemic has shown clearly the spirit of compassion and service of our constituents as they contribute in whatever way they can to address the challenges brought about by this pandemic. For example, as of 17 April 2020, we have amassed more than PhP 60,000 in response to our bayanihan fund drive for our security, sanitation, and nongovernment service personnel (we will be starting distribution within the week). Moreover, researchers from various units of the university have come together in response to CHED’s call for proposals to craft an initiative to produce 70% ethyl alcohol from lambanog to address shortage in supply.

For these and many other initiatives, I thank our community for your generosity, for sharing your financial resources, your time, and your expertise. Let us know by contacting the designated member of the Covid-19 response team if you have initiatives in mind that can help our university and our community. We are always open to new ideas.

But I cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of both our physical and mental health in the midst of this crisis. Hence, I invite everyone to sign up for the UP Mindanao Mental Health Helpline, which 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. Links are given below for ease of access to interested students and employees.



Furthermore, to inform us of the health and general situation of our employees, the Human Resource and Development Office has launched the Covid-19 employees monitoring survey, available in English and Binisaya versions. I hope our employees will find the time to answer the survey as we prepare for various scenarios when the community quarantine is finally lifted.



To end this message, I would like to borrow the words of our colleague, Prof. Andrea Malaya Ragragio, in her response to my previous message: “In the midst of this pandemic, when almost all our norms, routines, institutions, values, hierarchies, established practices, plans and expectations, our sense of self and community are up in the air, this is precisely the time when we can subject ourselves and our taken-for-granted truths to a brutal re-examination.”

As we re-examine various facets of our lives, our institution, and our society, may we always be guided by the spirit of honor and excellence that has guided many other UP scholars in the past who have weathered many storms over the years but found the resolve to contribute to the betterment society.

Stay safe and know that we will get through this together!

Prof. Larry N. Digal, PhD, Chancellor

UP MINDANAO COVID-19 CASE TRACKER (as of 20 April 2020)



Suspect Case*

Probable Case*

Confirmed Case*

Students 1





Teaching staff 2





Non-teaching staff 2





Non-UP contractuals 2 (NGS, project-based personnel, etc.)





1 Based on Student Tracking Survey of the Office of Student Affairs (as of 17 Apr 2020)

2 Based on Personnel Tracking Survey of the Human Resources and Development Office (released 21 Apr 2020)

* See note below on the new DOH classification system for COVID-19-related cases

The UP System has tasked all constituent units to report on the number of COVID-19 cases among its constituents based on the new classification system adopted by the Department of Health. Hence, we are urging students, faculty, and staff of the university to answer the appropriate survey for monitoring.





*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:

Old Classification

New Classification

Definition based on DOH AO no. 2020-013

Persons under monitoring (PUM)

Not included in new classification system

Due to evidence of local or community transmission in the country, its residents are assumed to have been exposed to the infection.

Patients under investigation (PUI)

Suspect case

-       Individuals who have symptoms of severe acute respiratory infection (fever, cough, sore through, difficulty breathing, and severe pneumonia of unknown cause)

-       Those with influenza-like illness (symptoms include fever, cough, or sore throat) who has a history of travel to or residence in an area that reported local transmission or with contact to a confirmed or probable case

-       Those with symptoms of the disease who belong to the 60 years old and above age bracket, have preexisting health conditions, assessed as having high-risk pregnancy, and are employed as a health worker

Probable case

-       A suspect case who has not yet been tested or is awaiting test result

-       Those who received a result from a test NOT conducted at the national reference laboratory, a subnational reference laboratory, or DOH-certified laboratory testing facility

COVID-19 Positive

Confirmed case

-       Any individual, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, who was confirmed for COVID-19 at the national reference laboratory, a subnational reference laboratory, or DOH-certified laboratory testing facility


1 May 2020 | Departments shall communicate adjusted course requirements for students under the “deferred grade” scheme

30 April 2020 | End of 2nd Semester AY 2019-2020

27 April 2020 | Re-implementation of Community Quarantine in Davao City

22 April 2020 | Submission of Work Accomplishment from 01-14 April 2020 for Admin Staff and REPS

20-26 April 2020 | Extension of Enhanced Community Quarantine in Davao Region

20-30 April 2020 | Online Training Courses for UP Staff – 2nd Batch 


17 April 2020 | “UP students given options in complying with course requirements, safety nets against failing grades.”

16 April 2020 | “Davao City should consider extending community quarantine beyond April 19 and conduct more tests for COVID-19—UP Mindanao Researchers” (UP System Website).

15 April 2020 | “UPMin's mathematicians recommend continuing lockdown beyond April 19" (Mindanao Times).

15 April 2020 | OSA Mental Health Pipeline (UPMin Facebook page).

6 April 2020 | “UP COVID19-Related Initiatives revised 6 April 2020”: CU-involvement in COVID19-Related Research/Technology/Extension Activities (OVPPA).

3 April 2020 | VIDEO: “PGC UP Mindanao update on COVID-19 initiative.”

Online Portal of University of the Philippines CoViD-19 News and Information.


External Agencies

17 April 2020 | Davao City Executive Order No. 25: An Order to Declare a Period of Mourning and Vigilance in Davao City.

16 April 2020 | Davao City Executive Order No. 24: An Order Providing for the Extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and Other Activities Thereafter.

15 April 2020 | CHED Office of the Executive Director: Submission of Reports as to the Use of SUC’s Facilities as Quarantine Areas.

13 April 2020 | CHED Advisory No. 6 Guidelines for the Prevention, Control, and Mitigation of the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Higher Education Institutions.

6 April 2020 | CHED Memorandum from the Office of the Chairperson on the Call for Proposals for the Grant of Assistance to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to Combat the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

UP System Memoranda and Other Releases

17 April 2020  Memorandum No. OSU 2020 01-02. Notice of Resolutions of the Board of Regents at its Special Meeting held on 16 April 2020.

UP System Policy on the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 in the Time of COVID-19.

17 April 2020 | UP System IT Online Courses for UP Staff - 2nd Batch

16 April 2020 | Office of the Staff Regent: Survey on the Work Condition of Administrative Staff and REPS during the Time of COVID-19.

15 April 2020 | Memorandum No. EEP 2020-7. Additional Data to be Included in the CU-COVID-19 Report.

15 April 2020 | Office of the President Memorandum No. TJH 2020-20. Redirection of Website Domain/ URL to the UP System Website.

14 April 2020 | Office of the President Memorandum No. TJH 2020-19. Guidelines for Coordinated Information Management and IT-related Efforts amid COVID-19 Pandemic.

14 April 2020 | Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs Memorandum No. 2020-48. Proposed UP System Policy on the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 and the Mid-Year in the Time of COVID-19.

10 April 2020Office of the Faculty Regent. Survey for Faculty on Online Teaching Readiness. (sent through email)

9 April 2020 | UP System IT: Overview of Recent Updates to Zoom (forwarded by UPMin IT Office).

7 April 2020 | UP System IT: Proper Use of University ICT Resources (email sent to all).

7 April 2020 | Memorandum No. NGY 2020-53 / Memorandum No. TJH 2020-16. Guidelines on the release of Clothing Allowance (P6,000) and Emergency Allowance (P5,000).

7 April 2020 | Office of the President Memorandum No. TJH 2020-18. Half-day Work on Wednesday, 8 April 2020.

5 April 2020 | Memorandum No. NGY 20-56. Submission of Work Accomplishment from 17-31 March 2020 and 01-14 April 2020.

UP Mindanao Memoranda and Other Releases

17 April 2020 | Memorandum No. LND 2020-049. Extension of Work and Class Suspension as per Davao City LGU EO no. 24 and UP BOR’s Decision to End Classes.

17 April 2020 | Memorandum No. LND 2020-047. Early Release of Salaries for 16-30 April 2020.

16 April 2020 | Memorandum No. LND 2020-046. COVID-19 Response Team of UP Mindanao (modified).

16 April 2020 | Memorandum no. ALVG 2020-016 Interim Arrangements for the Processing of Financial Transactions.

14 April 2020 | Memorandum No. ALVG 2020-014. Moratorium on GSIS Loan Payments.

13 April 2020 | Call for nomination for CHSS Dean-Extended until further notice (emailed to all units from chair, Prof. Noreen V. Fundandor).

6 April 2020 | Memorandum No. LND 2020-043. Davao City Mayor Calls for Volunteers to serve in the Proposed PUI Centers in the Region.

6 April 2020 | Administrative Order No. LND 2020-043. Appointment of Prof. Maria Stella R. Salazar as Officer-in-Charge of CHSS effective 7 April 2020 until a new CHSS Dean is appointed by the BOR.

5 April 2020 | Memorandum No. LND 2020-045. Request for Participation in the Consumer and Business Survey to Assess the Impact of COVID-19 and the Community Quarantine.

Reference Materials

UP System coronavirus advisories and prevention guidelines:



Lead person/s

Contact details


Prof. Larry N. Digal, PhD (Chancellor)

Instruction and academics

Prof. Nilo B. Oponda, PhD (VCAA)

Administration and finance

Prof. Aurelia Luzviminda V. Gomez, PhD (VCA)

Research and public service

Prof. Emma Ruth. V. Bayogan, PhD (CARIM Director)

Student affairs

Prof. Maria Teresa R. Escano (OSA Director)


Mr. Michael A. Gatela (Pahinungod Director)


Prof. Karen Joyce G. Cayamanda, PhD (Humanities Chair)

Mr. Michael Noel R. Bonghanoy (Info Comm Chair)

Mr. Rene A. Estremera (Public Relations Officer)

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