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The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) sustains its mission in fostering Filipino artistry and creativity through its annual excellence recognition program for the visual arts—the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence or MADE.

Guided by the theme “SPECTRUM: The Art of Possibilities,” MADE resumes in 2021, inviting Filipino artists to tap into the expansive realm of creativity and transpose their spectrum of ideas into works that mirror the human experience and reshape the world anew. MADE continues to be a purveyor of visual arts, amplifying the reach and voice of local talents and visionaries.

ART THAT PROGRESSES AMIDST CHALLENGING TIMES

Given the restrictions of holding on-ground events, MADE shifts to digital media through #SpectrumMADE2021, a yearlong social media campaign which aims to bring art experience and art education to its stakeholders amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. #SpectrumMADE2021 will also serve as the platform for entrants to get to know more about the Painting and Sculpture recognition programs.

To do this, a series of online activities were lined up throughout the year. These include webinars and artist’s talks to inspire new generation of artists, provide opportunities for the exposure of their works, and give updates about the 2021 MADE.

A CALL FOR FILIPINO PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS

The MADE Painting Recognition Program is open to all Filipino painters aged 18-35 years old who have not staged a solo exhibition. The MADE Sculpture Recognition Program, on the other hand, is open to all professional and amateur Filipino sculptors who have not won in any sculpture competitions of MADE in the past.

The deadline for submission of entries is on March 31, 2021. Interested participants may register online through bit.ly/MADE2021_paintingform and bit.ly/MADE2021_sculptureform.

At the height of an enhanced community quarantine in the country last May 2020, MBFI announced the deferment of 2020 MADE Painting and Sculpture Recognition Programs. As a result, all artworks submitted for the 2020 MADE will still be considered and will be judged alongside the entries submitted for the 2021 MADE.

Two (2) grand awardees for the Painting Recognition Program and one (1) grand awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program will be chosen by a distinguished panel of judges. They will each receive PhP 500,000.00 worth of financial assistance and fund for artistic development, plus the “Mula” glass trophy designed by visual artist and MADE awardee Noel El Farrol. The grand awardees will be recognized in an awarding ceremony during the celebration of Metrobank’s 59th anniversary celebration in September. The awardees will also become members of the MADE-Network of Winners (MADE-NOW), the alumni organization of past MADE awardees which implements pay-it-forward projects that benefit marginalized sectors.

Established in 1984 by the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian, MADE has served as a platform for discovery for the most passionate and persistent creative visionaries in the country. To date, more than 400 visual artists and design professionals have been recognized. A majority of them are now carving significant names in the local and even international art and design scenes.

ADVANCING THE PHILIPPINE CULTURE AND HERITAGE

Despite being confronted with a national crisis, MBFI remains true to its commitment of educating the public and creating awareness of culture and heritage through its Culture and Heritage Education Program (CHEP). CHEP aims to showcase the cultural significance of MADE’s art collection, address the need for classroom learning materials, and support formal and informal learning initiatives of partner institutions.

Various activities of CHEP in the form of lectures and workshops will be part of the #SpectrumMADE2021 campaign and will be implemented on the official Facebook (@MADECompetition) and Instagram (@metrobankartanddesign) pages of MADE.

For further details, please contact Badet Macaraig at telephone number: (02) 8898-8094 or email therese.m[email protected]

It is often said that one should not go to battle unarmed. In the long-drawn fight against COVID-19, knowing which tools to wield in response is critical: Rear Admiral Alberto “Abet” B. Carlos has thus chosen prudence, expertise, and effective leadership.

These are the qualities which he exercises daily as the current Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (J4) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as well as Chairperson of the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committees for the Frigate and Anti-Submarine Helicopters Acquisition Projects. These are the same qualities he was recognized for as a 2014 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier and 2019 Metrobank Foundation Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (ACES) recipient.

At the helm of AFP’s arm for logistics, RAdm Carlos’ role is critical in the ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic as major aspects are anchored on logistics—from procurement and distribution of supplies and equipment to inter-agency coordination. At the center of all these massive and interconnected operations is the J4 team.

“I have reached a position in the AFP that made me realize that the quality of my decisions and actions can affect the way my organization reacts to unprecedented challenges,” he shared. “The kind of direction, pace, planning, preparation, and due diligence that I exact on myself and those I work with has a direct impact on the situation on the ground.”

Bolstering the government’s response capacity

COVID-19 presented a unique scenario that required new strategies, resources, and logistics requirements. With RAdm Carlos’ leadership, the J4 team took charge of the swift procurement of supplies, without which majority of response initiatives will be paralyzed.

“We had to act in haste but not in panic. Our soldiers are being deployed and we need to make sure that they are protected. We cannot simply ask them to compensate the lack of protection with pure grit and courage, which is not a rare commodity in the AFP. We need to protect them so they may protect the most vulnerable members of the community without disruption,” shared RAdm Carlos.

The J4 team’s duty covers logistics and transportation support as its contribution to the Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTFNCR). They mobilize troops to perform the unconventional task of transporting medical professionals and facilitating the acquisition, acceptance, and distribution of medical supplies to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

Part of this is Libreng Sakay, an initiative devised to transport health care providers, food and sanitation industry workers, military personnel and other front liners from their places of work to their homes and back. The J4 team sourced several buses that went to and from major hospitals in Metro Manila which helped ferry over 16,000 passengers.

Further, RAdm Carlos’ team spearheads the efforts of the Sub Task Group Logistics under the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). They handle demand and supply projections, allocation and delivery scenarios, and inter-agency collaboration.

The J4 Team provided transportation and fuel requirements related to setting up more than 80 quarantine facilities and allocated additional funds to transform a five-storey condominium building into a quarantine facility.

Additionally, as the AFP’s top logisticians, members of the J4 Team were tapped by the IATF to take a lead role in the Task Group on the management of returning overseas Filipino workers to help bring their kababayan home safely.

DOH’s ally in service

The Department of Health (DOH) needed reinforcement to face an unprecedented national emergency; RADm Carlos’ team came onboard to help.

The J4 team provided DOH more and bigger warehouses for storage of medical supplies, which also serve as a center for distribution and monitoring. They also took charge in sourcing the needed vehicles—117 military trucks—deployed to the DOH warehouse for distribution purposes.

Moreover, they offered extra pairs of hands to haul and distribute donated and procured items. The increase in the flow of these crucial provisions meant more front liners can perform their duty and help more Filipinos.

Ready to respond whenever, wherever

RAdm Carlos believes that an organization’s good practice defines its capacity to respond to any eventuality. The J4 team sets an example of how preparation and prudence spell a substantial difference in addressing a crisis.

Long before the pandemic broke out in the country, the J4 team had always made sure that the AFP has adequate and readily accessible resources should uniformed personnel be called to action.

As a prelude to COVID-19 response, RADm Carlos led the J4 in resource management for POL (Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants) of the AFP.

“How far and how long an operation can be sustained is dependent largely on the amount of POL that can be accessed throughout a military campaign. POL is the bloodline that enables troop movement and the critical transport of supplies,” emphasized RAdm Carlos.

With his supervision, the J4 generated a significant amount of savings on POL totaling more than PhP 380 million. Apart from this, RAdm Carlos was able to preposition in strategic areas around the country a total of 400,000 liters of gas and 1 million liters of diesel with an estimated value of PhP 65 million.

Fast forward to 2020, these measures made it possible for the AFP to swiftly respond and operate without downtime during the pandemic.

As he continues to lead his team during this crisis, RAdm Carlos believes there is much to be done for the Filipinos. He says, “achievements are good only if we apply them to actions for the greater good of the nation and the people we serve. Every serviceman of the AFP is giving his best, but this war is not just ours to fight. We have to work together to defend ourselves so that, very soon, we can reset the time, make the world turn again and go out and enjoy the life and liberties we once had.”

Through his example, RAdm Carlos hopes to bring to light the dedication of the military during this pandemic; that when the situation calls for it, one faces the challenge head on and inspires others to do the same.

GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI) and Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) reached out to thousands of families affected by the onslaught of recent typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. Implemented under its disaster relief and response program “Helping Hands,” the donation amounted to PhP 6 million.

GT Foundation and Metrobank Foundation, through its disaster response program “Helping Hands,” donate relief assistance worth PhP6 million to 60,000 individuals hardly affected by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. Photo shows Metrobankers in South Luzon branches distributing food, water and hygiene kits to residents of Lopez, Quezon on November 19, 2020.

It is expected that a total of 60,000 individuals from hardly hit-provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Quezon, Batangas, Rizal, Isabela, and Cagayan, including Marikina City were to be given packed meals and relief goods.

From November 19 to 26, Metrobank branches in South Luzon were mobilized to distribute relief composed of rice, noodles, canned goods, water and hygiene kits—all packaged in reusable pails. They were able to assist 400 families from Lopez, Quezon and Lucena, City; 400 families from Lobo, Batangas and Batangas City; and 800 families from Guinobatan, Albay. Relief distribution will take place in the coming days to assist 700 families in Camarines Norte and 500 families in Camarines Sur.

On the other hand, the same assistance was rolled-out by the Metrobank North Luzon Branches from November 20 to 25 assisting 600 families in Cauayan City and Ilagan City, Isabela, and 600 families in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

GTFI and MBFI also provided financial support for a soup kitchen implemented by Manila Broadcasting Company DZRH’s Operation Tulong. The first round of the feeding activity was conducted in Virac and Bato, Catanduanes from November 10 to 16.

Portions of the donation were also coursed through Philippine STAR’s corporate social responsibility arm Operation Damayan, Alagang Kapatid Foundation, RMN Foundation, Operating Blessing Foundation Philippines and the Philippines National Police’s food bank.

Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings sustain support in curbing COVID-19 cases through a renewed partnership with GoNegosyo’s Project ARK, now focused on running pooled Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing. Coursed through Metrobank Foundation (MBFI), the companies’ corporate social responsibility arm, and the Ty family’s GT Foundation (GTFI), PhP4.5 million was donated to implement at least 3,000 runs of pooled testing for select individuals in Pasay City. GTFI president Alfred Ty led a virtual coordination meeting with GoNegosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and Pasay City mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano on October 13 to discuss the initiative.

The pooled testing will compliment the local government’s efforts to screen micro and small entrepreneurs like carinderia and sari-sari store owners, public wet market tenants, and tricycle and jeepney drivers.

Earlier this year, MBFI and GTFI donated PhP10 million to purchase and distribute 22,220 antibody rapid test kits to the cities of Pasig, San Juan, Santa Rosa in Laguna, General Trias and Imus in Cavite and Lucban in Quezon. The kits were used to identify active COVID-19 cases and to determine recovered patients as potential donors for plasma therapy.

The donation is part of the consolidated PhP270 million contribution of the group to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The financial assistance has covered the following: construction of 10 molecular laboratories; purchase of personal protective equipment for healthcare and security frontliners; donation of RT-PRC testing kits to select government hospitals; support for Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation’s “Project Ugnayan;” implementation of feeding interventions to underprivileged families; installation of handwashing facilities to schools; provision of laptops and tablets to educators and learners; distribution of equipment for the reproduction of modules and learning materials; support the livelihoods of various communities and donation of 30 units of Toyota Vios to DOH for the mobility of healthcare frontliners and local government hospitals, among others.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) successfully conducted the very first Metrobank Foundation Fellowship in Public Service (FPS) Conversations last October 13, 2020. In celebration of the International Day on Disaster Reduction, the inaugural leg of the FPS webinar series focused on the theme, “Disaster Management.”

Dr. Carla Dimalanta, 2018 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Teacher, and Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Soldier, shed light on the interplay of equally crucial approaches in handling disasters such as preparedness, response, and recovery.

Dr. Dimalanta from the University of the Philippines Diliman highlighted the role of Geophysics in assessing geo-hazards and identifying vulnerable areas during her presentation entitled “Knowing Without Seeing: Geophysics in Disaster Management and Resource Assessment.” She shared how this knowledge, in turn, aids in the development of responses as well as equipping residents to better handle such phenomena.

Dr. Dimalanta is the only female Exploration Geophysicist with a doctoral degree in the country. Her work includes helping identify community-specific measures on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Baldomar of the Philippine Army presented the “Role of the Military during Humanitarian Emergencies.” He discussed how the military serves as frontliners in providing significant resources and extending aid to communities during disasters and calamities. One scenario he cited is the work done by the forces, in collaboration with other relevant organizations and the civil society, in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lt. Col. Baldomar has served in the military force for over two decades. His experience involves participation in several humanitarian emergencies and responses to various forms of disasters.

“What we aim to do in the Inaugural FPS Conversations is to raise the awareness of technological advancement as well as share knowledge acquired from years of experience and study, which contribute to the prevention and reduction of detrimental effects of disasters and calamites,” said Metrobank Foundation president Mr. Aniceto Sobrepeña. He added that the conversations allowed the participants to better appreciate the efforts towards ensuring an efficient and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected communities.

Approximately 200 participants from the academe, government, and civil society registered and participated via Zoom and Facebook Live. Next on FPS Conversations are topics including, How not to be a victim of Cybercrime/Online sexual exploitation and Integrating Genomics in Clinical Practice towards Precision Medicine.

To re-watch the full-length webinar, you may head over to this link bit.ly/33TeCcQ, or visit the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos Facebook page.

Ingenuity must thrive inside and outside the classroom and, even, amidst crisis. This is the wisdom that Ms. Ma. Regaele A. Olarte, 2016 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Teacher, strives to sustain, especially now as she, her students, and co-teachers find themselves at the center of changes due to the pandemic.

One of the ways she does so is by continuing to lend her expertise as a science educator and Education Program Supervisor in the Department of Education (DepEd) Division of Muntinlupa. Now, a normal day for her consists of balancing and assisting in the implementation of various programs and projects in her Division, performing the duties of a pregnant work-form-home mom, and pursuing her doctorate degree at the University of the Philippines-Open University.

Good news greeted Ms. Olarte and her family before the onset of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila—she is pregnant with her third child. While this has placed her in the list of high risk or vulnerable groups, she copes with the situation by helping others get through this crisis.

Having this full plate is as tough as it sounds. Ms. Olarte, nonetheless, finds fulfillment in dedicating her service for other people. “I continue to offer whatever kind of service I can readily give to help other people during these times, because in that way, I also help myself in equal measure. Whether completing my daily tasks or delivering services beyond my duty, I never get burned out because I put joy in everything that I do,” she revealed.

Learning goes on

On top of her regular work, Ms. Olarte designs and produces numerous advocacy materials promoting the importance of continuing education amid the pandemic.

Her experience in enhancing and modifying instruction materials can be traced back several years ago when she was tapped to be one of the national authors of the DepEd Learners’ Materials, Teachers’ Guides, and other curriculum materials as part of the shift to the DepEd K-12 program.

At present, she serves as both writer and validator of self-learning modules for distance learning. In this capacity, she also actively disseminates relevant information on module utilization and shares her knowledge on module development among other writers nationwide.

Some of the materials designed and produced by Ms. Olarte

Science for the community and the future

Ms. Olarte is perhaps best known for promoting invention-driven instruction and enhancing science education in her school and in Muntinlupa. In her class, she empowers her students to observe, innovate, and explore their potential.

In 2008, Ms. Olarte initiated a program called “Invention-Driven Instructional Design and Innovation Transfer (I-DID IT)” geared towards balancing formal classroom-based instruction with finding solutions to real-life problems. The name itself underscores the maker-oriented nature of the initiative.

With I-DID IT, learners become creators, builders, designers, and producers by generating ideas, designing investigations, and implementing sustainable solutions that benefit their community.

Students have won in various invention and project-making competitions both locally and internationally. They were even able to patent their brainchild through the support of their school and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This program is being implemented in the Division of Muntinlupa to this day.

Ms. Olarte believes that students’ curiosity and inventiveness continue to flourish despite the changes in the learning environment. She shared that through the Science Blog she started years ago, many students from all over country still reach out to her to consult about the conduct of scientific research and investigatory projects.

“This 2020 has shown us that the society is desperately in need of the next generation of problem-solvers, innovators, and inventors. By igniting the innate creativity and ingenuity of our Filipino learners, we’ll be able to “future-proof” our youth and create the resilience needed to meet global challenges, thus preparing our citizens for an ever-changing future,” she said.

Another notable impact of the I-DID IT program is the construction of the first-ever Chlorella Micro-farm in the Philippines, made possible by Ms. Olarte and her colleague and co-inventor, Jason Albaro.

This micro-farm is expected to yield algae harvest that can be turned into food supplements, medicine, and food fortification ingredients which will help address food security challenges in this new normal.

When the micro-farm was still a project proposal in 2019, it bested entries from all over the world in the Zayed Sustainability Prize hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. It is an annual award recognizing “impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions” in health, food, energy, water and global high schools.

Ms. Olarte receiving the Zayed Sustainability Prize for the Chlorella Micro-farm project proposal in 2019

Ms. Olarte and Mr. Albaro received a grant from the UAE government to enable further development of the project. They are also closely coordinating with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and DOST for its sustainable operation.

Recently, Ms. Olarte presented the I-DID IT program to the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking during the Public Hearing on Senate Resolution Nos. 393 and 413. Also, her team created a website that details the project’s features, core thrusts, and activities.

Indeed, duty always calls, and Ms. Olarte is undeterred to respond whenever and however she can. She hopes that during this challenging period, her fellow teachers find joy in their ability to guide learners.

She has this to say, “remember that your labor is not in vain because every seed that you have sown in the lives of the students will eventually grow and bear much fruit in the future. Every act of selfless service can be much bigger and impactful than we realize. We can always choose to make a positive difference by tapping into our own strengths and abilities, sharing them, and matching them to the right opportunities.”

GT Foundation and the Catholic Church, through the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines sign agreement for 2021 Bags of Blessing (BOB). GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI) and the NASSA/Caritas Philippines signed a partnership agreement for the conduct of the 2021 Bags of Blessing through a virtual signing of Memorandum of Agreement on October 27, 2020.

The ceremony was led by GTFI executive director Aniceto M. Sobrepeňa and NASSA/Caritas Philippines national director Most Reverend Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, D.D. Joining them were GTFI deputy executive director Nicanor L. Torres, Jr., GTFI assistant executive director Irene D. Labitad, NASSA/Caritas BOT vice chair Bishop Gerry Alminaza and NASSA/Caritas BOT member Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.

Bags of Blessing is a GTFI-led nationwide gift-giving activity initiated by the late Metrobank Group Chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian. It is held every Chinese New Year as a way of sustaining the tradition of sharing prosperity among thousands of indigent families nationwide. In 2021, the program will also seek to provide aid to the hardest hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will reach out to 18,000 family beneficiaries through the distribution of food items in 33 sites nationwide.

The strength of a collective is a formidable response against any crisis. This is the wisdom that Police Brigadier General Rhodel Orden Sermonia carries with him as a public servant. For him, an initiative can achieve maximum impact only if it is inclusive and collaborative.

PBGen. Sermonia, 2003 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino and 2019 Metrobank Foundation Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (ACES) recipient, has long made community empowerment as his lifelong advocacy. “I believe that people’s mobilization is an important trust-building mechanism in thrusting a successful drive against criminality, terrorism, substance abuse, and, corruption,” he said.

As the incumbent Regional Director of the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO 3) in Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga, this rings true as he leads his comrades towards enhancing their programs for the community in the face of the pandemic.

In November 2019, PBGen. Sermonia took the helm of the PRO 3 and has since introduced several strategies to bolster their campaign against criminality in all its forms. All these are rooted in genuine partnership with the people and industry partners.

These include the establishment of the Joint Industrial Peace Concerns Office (JIPCO) to boost efforts to combat insurgency, and the Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) to promote youth development.

Further, part of their holistic approach to community development is providing equal focus on safety and environment through the Kaligtasan at Kalikasan (KALIGKASAN) program which was recently expanded to include food security and peace-building efforts.

The PRO 3 also has the Rektang Bayanihan program which provides support to vulnerable sectors across all barangays, as well as the Bahay Pagbabago Recovery and Wellness Program which promotes rehabilitation of illegal drugs users who have surrendered.

Taken together, these massive mobilization efforts targeted to the grassroots continue to provide concrete solutions to some of the challenges in the region. More importantly, these were adapted by PBGen. Sermonia and his colleagues to better serve the residents of Central Luzon as they grapple with the disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accelerating solutions towards food security

During this difficult period where disparities become more pronounced, PBGen. Sermonia equips his team to amplify interventions and better respond to the people’s call for help.

At the onset of the pandemic, the PRO 3’s programs were modified to mitigate the effects of the community quarantines especially among the urban poor as their livelihood and means to provide for their families were disrupted.

PBGen. Sermonia sought to find ways to alleviate the food crisis confronting the residents. The PRO 3 thus modified their Food Bank project. The Food Bank seeks to store up ample supply of food to so that when calamity strikes, the PRO3 can promptly mobilize relief operations for affected communities.

“I believe that access to food is a right and not a privilege,” shared PBGen. Sermonia.

The PRO 3 raised over PhP 14,300,00 worth of food and other essential items from various donors for the Food Bank.

The PRO 3 aimed to address the immediate needs of the communities through various relief operations

The efforts of PRO 3’s partners were able to soften the impact of the lockdown, especially during the first three weeks of the enhanced community quarantine. Such proactive response during that period proved to be significant, especially since the support provided Social Amelioration Program (SAP) was yet to be released and local government units were still reeling from the economic loss brought by the lockdown.

Further, PRO 3 joined hands with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to reach out to the members of the labor sector. On April 30, they distributed grocery packs, sacks of rice, and dressed chickens to around 2,000 locals comprised of market vendors, drivers, factory workers, and farmers across the region.

This activity was a prelude to another relief operation conducted during the national observation of Labor Day on May 1. Close to 210,000 families have benefitted from this partnership as of July 2020.

Related to this initiative is the Food Highway Project which led to the establishment of express lanes as well as a logistics system to facilitate faster and more secured movement of food products from the farmers and other food producers of Luzon to the buyers from the National Capital Region and other parts of the country.

The PRO 3 also decentralized the implementation of its KALIGKASAN Eco-Park and Urban Gardening programs to provinces to empower Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial offices to respond to the food emergencies caused by the lockdown. This meant that identified local spaces or lots were utilized for urban gardening.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) guarantees the duration of the lease for an agreed period at no cost to the police stations. To date, a total of 162 donors are registered in the entire Region 3 signifying that their lots are cultivated for gardening.

The PRO 3’s urban gardening programs seek to provide an alternative means for residents to provide food for their families

In support of these efforts, the Department of Agriculture (DA) brought its Kadiwa market to Camp Olivas on May 29, 2020. This sought to provide a market for the farmers and fisherfolks while providing affordable and quality produce and goods to the citizens.

Amplifying efforts to serve the community

PBGen. Sermonia and his colleagues aim to extend support however they can. They promptly implemented the barangay house tagging as part of the Patrulya ng Bayan program.

The barangay house tagging operates under four main objectives. First, it aids in contact tracing or identification of probable infected persons and those they got in contact with in the past two weeks. Second, it identifies indigent families who are entitled to various government assistance such as the SAP. Third, it similarly finds supposed beneficiaries of SAP but were excluded from the list for them to avail of PRO 3’s Rektang Bayanihan relief goods. Lastly, it also serves as an opportunity to spot criminal elements whose movements were hampered when the lockdown started.

Moreover, the PRO 3 carried out a police caravan to recognize the hard work of the region’s front liners. They stationed in front of different hospitals in Central Luzon and offered simple but welcome respite through lighthearted entertainment.

They also gave out personal protective equipment (PPEs) during the activity to express their admiration and snappiest salute to the medical workers who work round-the-clock to save lives.

A police caravan was conducted for the region’s medical front liners

Their Rektang Libreng Sakay program also provided means of mobility to locally stranded individuals (LSI), returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), persons in emergency situations, and other front liners. A total of 4,874 individuals across Central Luzon benefitted in the activity, foremost among which were returning OFWs who were assisted by the PNP, in partnership with members of the Global Peace Community Relations (GPCR).

The PRO 3 provided means of mobility through the Rektang Libreng Sakay program

Indeed, PBGen. Sermonia and his comrades demonstrate that every situation is rife with opportunities to serve, no matter how big or small the contribution is. The PRO 3’s stakeholder-centered responses not only enhance community relations but significantly support the citizens as the entire region strives to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic.

Metrobank Foundation donated PhP18 million to Southern Philippines Medical Center through Ateneo de Davao University for the establishment of a molecular laboratory in Davao City. Photo above shows the proposed design of the facility. Once constructed and equipped, it will be able to run 200 samples per day with a turn-around time of three operating days.

Sustaining its mission to aid the government in responding to the need for expanded testing for COVID-19 and for other emerging and re-emerging infections, the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) signs a memorandum of agreement with Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) for the construction of a fully equipped molecular laboratory with negative pressure at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City. MBFI donated an amount of PhP 18 million to construct the laboratory, capable of testing 200 samples per day for an 8-hour shift and with a result turn-around time of three operating days.

A virtual signing ceremony was held on October 1 with the presence of MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, AdDU president Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, and SPMC OIC Medical Center Chief Dr. Ricardo Audan.

The facility will be established and operated in accordance with all applicable laws, including the standards of the DOH, Food and Drug Administration, and other applicable regulatory agencies and shall be accredited by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) as a COVID-19 laboratory facility.

To date, MBFI has supported the construction and equipping of 10 molecular laboratories in the country amounting to a total of PhP61 million. These include the largest molecular laboratory capable of detecting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases at the former Philippine Red Cross Headquarters in Port Area Manila. MBFI also supported the “Test, Trace, and Treat” Network through the Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc., the healthcare arm of the Ayala Group, in building seven Biosafety Level 2 modular laboratories in Qualimed hospitals. Another molecular laboratory will soon be inaugurated at the Manila Doctors Hospital through a donation from GT Foundation—the Ty family foundation.

Said donation is part of the consolidated PhP220 million contribution of Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The financial assistance has covered the following: purchase of personal protective equipment for healthcare and security frontliners; donation of RT-PRC testing kits, through Manila HealthTek, to select government hospitals; support for “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; donation of antibody rapid test kits through GoNegosyo’s Project ARK; construction of molecular laboratories; and donation of 30 units of Toyota Vios to DOH for the mobility of healthcare frontliners and local government hospitals, among others.

The National Teachers’ Month (NTM) held from September 5 to October 5 carries on with the tradition of honoring the significant role of educators in society. With the theme “I teach for a better future,” the celebration puts the spotlight on teachers who are at the center of the reforms and innovations as the whole nation navigates a new normal—with their commitment to ensure continuity of learning among students stronger than ever.

Every year, the NTM celebrations are led by Metrobank Foundation, Inc., the Department of Education (DepEd), and a consortium of organizations from the government, business, academe, media, civil society, and other industries. This 2020, it once again engages the public to honor the teaching profession and say thank you to their teachers, mentors, and coaches in a month of appreciation.

This 12-year movement began in 2008 when former DepEd secretary and currently De La Salle Philippines president Br. Armin Luistro conferred with Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña and proposed the idea of a month-long observation to heighten public consciousness and participation in the World Teacher’s Day celebration every October 5.

What began as a simple idea has evolved into a nationwide movement. Since its inception, NTM marked several milestones: in 2011, Presidential Proclamation No. 242 was signed, officially declaring “the period from September 5 to October 5 of every year as National Teachers Month.” In 2016, the Republic Act No. 1073 was also signed, formally designating “October 5 of every year as National Teachers’ Day” which likewise serves as the culminating event of NTM.

Different activities, same celebration

The NTM activities and treats for teachers might be different this time around but the purpose that drives the campaign has not changed.

Throughout the month, partners and other participating organizations organize their own events and offer exclusive treats for teachers. Among those providing opportunities for personal and professional development through webinars and virtual workshops are Microsoft Philippines, Knowledge Channel Foundation, World Vision Foundation, City Savings Bank, Synergeia Foundation, Bato Balani Foundation, Pru Life UK, Globe MyBusiness, and Smart Communications.

Further, some organizations are running specialized events. Museo Pambata Foundation is hosting a teachers’ online party and Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) is inviting the public to write to their teachers through a letter-writing contest.

Meanwhile, several companies are also offering special treats and discounts. These include the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Enchanted Kingdom, Manila Doctors Hospital, and Global Eyecare Center Davao.

Interested teachers may check their social media channels for more information on the said events and treats.

Towards a better future for Filipinos

The pandemic has certainly upended lives and brought many changes. NTM continues to stand in solidarity with educators nationwide whose role is crucial in helping realize a better normal and, most especially, a better future for Filipinos.

DepEd Region I will take the lead in the culminating celebration of NTM on October 10, 2020, making way for the opening of classes on October 5, 2020. They will adopt the theme “Gurong Pilipino para sa Batang Pilipino.” The event will be streamed live on Deped Philippines’ official Facebook page.

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