UP's Pride and Glory

Highlights of November 2020

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Achievements


Davao City, home of UP Mindanao, was reverted to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status from 20-30 November 2020 by President Rodrigo Duterte to mitigate the rising number of cases. However, City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio shortened the curfew imposed on 15 October 2020 from the original 7 PM-5 AM to 9 PM-4 AM.   

As of 05 December 2020, Mindanao had a cumulative total of 33,998 cases, up from the 22,585 cases on 31 October 2020. The recoveries, however, total 27,384 cases. 

Mindanao-wide, the death toll was 910 deaths, up from the 585 deaths as of 31 October 2020.  The nationwide total on 05 December 2020, by comparison, was 438,063 cases with 399,582 recoveries and 8,526 deaths. (source: ncovtracker.doh.gov.ph) 



UP Mindanao, the DPWH, and the Davao City local government renewed their agreement on 10 October 2020 to use the campus staff housing and the multi-purpose gym as COVID-19 isolation facilities for another three months. The gym is for mild suspect cases, and the staff housing is for mild confirmed cases. The City Government manages the operation, and the university constituents are guided through Memorandum No. LND 2020-52 “Guidelines and Protocols for the COVID-19 Isolation Facilities within the University of the Philippines Mindanao Campus.” (https://bit.ly/2y1vj8P)



“Digital Economy and the Implications for Agricultural Development

As an offering for the 25th Anniversary in 2020, the School of Management (SOM) offered a three-part webinar titled, “Digital Economy and the Implications for Agricultural Development.” Economist Ever J. Abasolo gave the first lecture on 03 November 2020 on "Fiscal Health and Government Response to COVID-19." He showed the robust macroeconomic indicators before the pandemic and analyzed the government’s subsequent fiscal actions. Part 2, "Transition to the Digital Economy and Implications to Agricultural Development," on 05 November 2020, called for responsive government policies to improve telecommunications to lessen inequality in the agriculture sector. He said that especially for Mindanao, which contributes 40% of the nation’s agricultural output and 60% of agricultural exports.

Professor Emeritus Eufemio Rasco Jr. gave a lecture on 16 November 2020 on “Nature with Nurture: Plant Breeding for Food Security amid the Pandemic and Beyond.” He discussed holobiont plant breeding, a method for growing plants combined with microorganisms to achieve food security amid the pandemic and climate change. The video of the lecture may be viewed here: https://bit.ly/3lVPit8.


"Zero Rabies in Davao City: A Dream or a Reality?" 

The "Synoptic Study on Transmission and Optimum Control to Present Rabies," or S.T.O.P. Rabies research program, presented the webinar "Zero Rabies in Davao City: A Dream or a Reality?" online on 17 November 2020. The webinar culminated this two-year research program supported by the Commission on Higher Education and led by UP Mindanao in partnership with the Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF), the Davao City Veterinarian’s Office, and the Davao City Health Office.  Project leaders Assoc. Prof. Lyre Anni Murao of the Dept. of Biological Science and Environmental Studies (DBSES), Assoc. Prof. May Anne Mata of the Dept. of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science (DMPCS), Assoc. Prof. Pedro Alviola IV of SOM, and Dr. Genevieve Tupas of DMSF presented the component research projects, each focused on tracking, mitigating, and eradicating rabies. The program presented its policy recommendations to Davao City Councilor Dr. Mary Joselle Villafuerte, chair of the city council committee on health. These are mandatory dog registration, mandatory pet vaccination, a transitory impounding center and return-to-owner system for impounded pet dogs, operationalizing a pet breeder registry, and more Animal Bite Treatment Centers. Councilor Villafuerte welcomed the recommendations and pledged to incorporate them into the city health program proposal. The webinar discussions were interspersed with a music video, a “fact vs. myth” talk, a quiz game contest, and videos promoting the program's internet sites and highlights of the two-year program.  The forum video may be viewed here: https://bit.ly/35XsF22.


"Livelihood and Health in the Fisheries Sector and Organizational Resilience During the Pandemic"

UP Mindanao hosted the session "Livelihood and Health in the Fisheries Sector and Organizational Resilience During the Pandemic"  in the 1st National Conference on “Health, Environment, and Economic Development: The Road to Recovery and Resiliency” (HEED The 3Rs) held online on 19-20 November 2020. 

Asst. Prof. Jon Marx Sarmiento presented “Fish Catch Monitoring in Ayungon and La Libertad, Negros Oriental: Implications to Small Fishers’ Livelihood,” which showed the declining catch per unit of effort in the areas. Research Assistant Charisse Miguel discussed “Shifting Patterns of Fishing Gears, Monsoons and its Impact in the Overall Catch-Per-Unit-Effort in Davao Gulf,” which presented the behavior of fishermen as a result of monsoon season variations. Research Assistant Daena Francesca Acosta spoke of the “Optimized Nutritional Intakes of Fisher’s Children in Mabini, Davao de Oro,” which showed that fishers’ children’s food intake and nutrition are insufficient and in need of augmentation. Asst. Prof. Glory Dee Romo presented “Organizational Resilience during COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from Philippine Enterprises,” which examines the varying degrees of resilience or flexibility among business organizations. Prof. Emma Ruth Bayogan, director of the Center for the Advancement of Research, development, and engagement in Mindanao (CARIM), coordinated the UP Mindanao participation with the conference co-organizers, the Economic and Environment Group, the Resource and Environmental Economics Foundation of the Phils. (REAP), and the Southeast Asia Research Center for Agriculture. Some 500 people attended the conference. 

“Assessment with Action Research in Remote/Online Learning Context"

The UP Mindanao Ugnayan ng Pahinungod co-organized the webinar on “Assessment with Action Research in Remote/Online Learning Context" on 25 November 2020 with Prof. Aurelio Vilbar as the lead speaker. The speaker analyzed the new normal in education, the learning modes, skills that can be assessed, and action research to arrive at a “pandemic pedagogy.” Several fellow-teachers shared their teaching strategies as examples. The webinar is available for viewing at https://bit.ly/33ikYBU and has since earned 565 views.


"Online Symposium on Libel, Obscenity, Fake News, and Cyberbullying"

The Department of Humanities (DH) organized the "Online Symposium on Libel, Obscenity, Fake News, and Cyberbullying" on 27 November 2020 with Atty. Alija Auxan M. Navales as the resource person. The symposium discussed libel or cyber-libel elements that make it a crime and finer distinctions relating to public personalities. Obscenity, for its part, is based on contemporary standards. “Fake news,” properly called disinformation or information disorder, is the intentional fabrication or manipulation of information to mislead and cause harm. Bullying, or cyber-bullying, is inflicting stress to others through physical or other means. To protect communication professionals, Atty. Navalesadvised verifying sources and information and knowing the laws. Students participated by giving opinions to test cases presented by the resource person.


Lecture Series on Anthropological Methods (conclusion)

The “Lecture Series on Anthropological Methods” by the Department of Social Sciences (DSS) was concluded on 09 November 2020 with online talks by Assist.      Prof.      Andrea Malaya Ragragio and Assoc.Prof. Myfel Joseph Paluga, both of the Dept. of Social Sciences. Asst. Prof. Ragragio gave a talk on “Doing Fieldwork in Texts.” Assoc. Prof.Paluga introduced the classics of ethnographic literature that are indispensable to anthropology education in his lecture “Pagbabasa ng ilang klasikong akda sa Etnolohiya.” 


"Indigent Lives: A Permanent Display of Art Prints"

Associate Professor Teody Boylie "Bong" Perez (Dept. of Humanities), a painter and visual artist,  turned over 100 prints of his artworks to UP Mindanao for display on 24 November 2020. The turnover is part of his "Indigent Lives: A Permanent Display of Art Prints" Art Donation Project supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Chancellor Larry Digal and Librarian Merlyn Castañeros received the donations. Since 16 November 2020, Prof. Perez turned over 215 framed prints to the DOST-Region XI office, the Davao City Library, Museo Dabawenyo, and the Regional Trial Court; and to educational institutions, Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Philippine Science High School-Southern Mindanao Campus, the Davao City Special School, and UP Mindanao. The 2020 NCCA Competitive Grants Program supported the project, “which contributes significantly to the Filipino’s cultural legacy.”


National Research Council of the Philippines

Assoc. Prof. Lyre Anni Murao of the Dept. of Biological Science and Environmental Studies (DBSES) gave a talk, "Covert Battles: Are Wildlife Viruses Really Wild?" in the Scientific Webinar of the National Research Council of the Philippines Biological Sciences Division virtual meeting on 30 November 2020. She said about 60%     of the emerging infectious diseases that are known so far are zoonotic. The majority of these originated from wildlife, but less than .1% of the known animal pathogens can cross the species barrier and infect humans. The NRCP reported Cyrose Suzie S. Millado and Fritzie A. Camino, both of the DBSES, and Kriza Faye A. Calumba of the Dept. of Food Sci. and Chemistry as new members of the NRCP Biological Sciences Division. 


Publications and Presentations

A sampling of publications and presentations in conferences in November are shared below:

  • “An Ions Motion Optimization Algorithm for the Continuous p-center location problem” by L. Opeña and Ritchie Mae T. Gamot (DMPCS), in the press in the Asia Pacific Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 2. 2020.
  • “Possible role of non-enzymatic antioxidants in hydroprimed sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) seeds under heat stress” by R.L. Catiempo, S. Photchanachai, Emma Ruth V. Bayogan (DBSES), and T.  Vichitsoonthonkul, published online in Crop Science, November 2020. 
  • “Manny Pacquiao Speaks to a Butterfly in California” (monologue), “Skin Flick” (fiction), “Slaughter Story” (essay), by John B. Bengan (Dept. of Humanities), in Bravura: An Anthology of 21st Century Philippine Fiction, Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature, 01 November 2020.
  • “Of Alternative Histories: The Hierarchy of Memories in Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado,” by Farah Virador (Humanities), UNITAS Journal. Vol. 93 No. 2. 2020.
  • “My COVID-ized PhD Finish: an overview” by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz (Humanities). Accepted for publication (December 2020), COVID-19 Journal DX Machina Volume 2, University of the Philippines.  
  • “A Dance Notation of the Ata-Manobo in Talaingod, Davao del Norte” by Jezreel Abarca (Dept. of Human Kinetics), in Philippine Humanities Review, 25 Sept. 2020.
  • “Pag-ilaila sa Kaugalingon: An Introspective Turn in the Time of Covid-19” by Raymundo R. Pavo (DSS), in Social Ethics Society Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 2, No. 2, November 2020.
  • “Interlocking Blocks in Social Construction of Housing: Collaboration of Local Government, NGO and the Urban Poor” by Isidoro I. Malaque III (Dept. of Architecture) in the 54th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association 2020  Virtual Conference, New Zealand, 26 November 2020.
  • “End Times: Anthropology among the Pantaron Manobo In and Out of their Habitual Socio-ecological Settings” by Andrea Malaya M. Ragragio and Myfel D. Paluga (DSS) in Mindanao Regional Conference of the 42nd Annual UGAT Conference (online), Ateneo de Davao University, 21 November 2020. 

Meat Processing at UP Marilog Land Reservation

Although challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UP Mindanao Land Reservation Management Office (LRMO) continued to conduct livelihood training on Meat Processing at UP Marilog Land Reservation on 12 November 2020. Mr. Vince Molejon, a UP Mindanao BS Food Technology alumnus, served as the resource person. The Obu Manuvu Tribe and the Barangay Local Government Unit of Barangay Datu Ladayon co-organized the one-day training. A total of 20 beneficiaries from Datu Ladayon, Arakan, North Cotabato, Sitios Dalag-ayo, Tibal-og, and Ladi-an of Barangay Marilog participated in the event.



Chancellor Digal presented the 2022 UP Mindanao budget proposal to the UP System officials on 10 November 2020. The UP Mindanao Strategic Plan 2019-2023 embodies the proposed budget, bannered by proposed colleges for human kinetics, medical education, and engineering. There are 16 proposed degree programs requiring 270 additional plantilla items. 

  • The PhD by Research program is now ongoing with three students. The program will be bundled with a Dual PhD program with Curtin University, Australia soon
  • For the proposed MA in Writing and Literature, the elements of Outcome-Based Education are being incorporated into the course outlines, and the market survey data are being consolidated. 
  • In the proposed BS Data Science, the courses completed are Introduction to Data Science; Algorithms for Data Scientists; Real Analysis for Data Scientists; Optimization; Database Management for Data Science, and; Modeling and Simulation. In progress are 12 more courses, the undergraduate seminar, and the thesis.
  • In the upcoming MS in Quantitative Methods and Modelling (MSQMM), the proposal is around 80% complete, and the syllabi are currently undergoing review. The submission of the proposal to the curriculum committee is targeted by the end of 2020.
  • For the MS Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the team has completed a  review of similar programs in the U.S., surveys to companies and alumni, identification of learning outcomes, and courses to be offered. Currently in progress are a review of similar programs in Mindanao Higher Education Institutions (HEIs); course outlines of 24 completed courses in review and 17 courses in progress; the possibility of a Joint Program; and requirements for admission and graduation.
  • In the upcoming MS in Environmental Science from UPLB, UPMin is in the second year of the three years for full adoption and implementation. Foremost in the readiness list are four (4) items needed for senior faculty (Assoc. Prof. 5 and higher).


“Managing Anxiety”

The Office of Student Affairs Counseling and Testing Section gave a webinar on “Managing Anxiety” for employees and students on 27 November 2020. Dr. Gioia Fe Dinglasan-Ancheta, a psychiatrist from the DOH Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Davao City, as resource person. She said anxiety is normal, and ways to cope with anxiety include exercise, avoiding anxiety-inducing substances, and facing anxiety sources. In the ongoing Mental Health Helpline, eight additional students signed up in October-November 2020, bringing the total to 68 students who have signed up and availed of the services from April 2020 to date.

COVID-19 cases

Three staff members became close contacts in mid-November, and subsequent contact tracing forced some 20 personnel to go on a 14-day quarantine. Throughout the period, the UP Mindanao COVID-19 Response Team disseminated community messages by email to update personnel. The guidelines and precautions are included in the community messages and reiterated through various communication channels and formats. Also, the administration has implemented safety measures and devices in the buildings.

UP Mindanao in the News

“UP Mindanao To Establish Science Center” The Post The Philippine Online Student Tambayan, 12/5/2020. https://bit.ly/3oQKEgW

“Building Mindanao’s public health with UP” Mindanao Sun-Jun Aparece, 12/4/2020. https://bit.ly/37eM13q

“Science center for prediction, monitoring of diseases may soon rise in UP Mindanao” Business Mirror, 12/1/2020.https://bit.ly/37fyLLL

“3 Davao City projects put on the back burner due to pandemic” Manila Bulletin, 11/17/2020. https://bit.ly/3mfBEAg

“COVID-19 pandemic pushes back three major infrastructure projects in Davao City” MindaNews, 11/17/2020. https://bit.ly/3a8OBd4

“Davao City orgs, institutions mobilize relief drives for typhoon victims in Luzon” Davao Today, 11/13/2020. https://bit.ly/2K3BSxr

“Survey set for Davao MSMEs on coronavirus impact, recovery plan” BusinessWorld, 11/12/2020. https://bit.ly/3oNkNGN

“Survey to assess the impact of the pandemic on MSMEs” Mindanao Times, 11/13/2020. https://bit.ly/2Wd6b7j

“No UPCAT this year but “modified freshmen admissions system” for schoolyear 2021-2022” MindaNews, 11/11/2020. https://bit.ly/3a47tK8

“UPMin hosts webinars on the digital economy, food security” SunStar Davao, 11/01/2020. https://bit.ly/2Kmswg0


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