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The Faculty of Management and Development Studies of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU-FMDS) recognized its course completers and top learners in the Continuing Education Program (CEP) Closing Ceremonies held on 03 December 2016 at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna. A total of 151 from 11 courses have complied with all the requirements for completion. Seventy-three learners received certificates for having completed their courses with distinction and high distinction. Asst. Prof. Rita C. Ramos, FMDS Secretary to the Faculty, facilitated the awarding of the certificates of completion/recognition.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña was the guest speaker in the closing ceremonies. When he was still the Director of the University of the Philippines-Institute of Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI) in the mid-1990s, Secretary de la Peña was instrumental in initiating Personal Entrepreneurial Development (PED) and New Enterprise Planning (NEP) -- the two longest running non-formal courses of UPOU. In his inspirational message, he emphasized the importance of self-motivation and self-improvement not only in one’s studies but also in creating a progressive society. Thus, he challenged the learners to share their knowledge and blessings for the benefit of the country. He added that the government is always there to help them accomplish that mission.

The following top learners served as course representatives who delivered their messages on behalf of their classmates: Joseph A. Pagtananan, Introduction to Electronic Commerce (eCom); Antonio E. Entrata, Jr., NEP; Liana Arianne P. Escanio, PED; Dianne Mae S. Guan Hing, Simplified Accounting for Entrepreneurs (SAfE); Jay Albert A. Ocampo, Integrating Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Policies, Plans and Investments toward Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (ICCA&DRM); Emilio B. Climaco, Organic Agriculture (OA); Pauline C. Capistrano, Responding to Climate Risks in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management (RCRANRM); Jonathan Louis G. Fajardo, Living in Harmony with Nature (Satoyama); Minerva Conchita L. Tan, Caring for the Child with Special Needs (CCSN); Analie R. Grayda, Financial Management in Nursing Practice (FMNP); and Billie Kim P. Nucum, Research Utilization in Nursing Administration (RUNA). They were introduced by the following Course Coordinators present in the event: Mr. Ramon Manuel T. Nisperos (eCom and NEP); Ms. Tricia C. Ascan (SAfE); Dr. Ricardo T. Bagarinao (ICCA&DRM); Prof. Raymundo M. Lucero (OA); Dr. Marie Grace A. Gomez (CCSN); and Ms. Bettina D. Evio (FMNP).

The course representatives shared their experiences as learners in their respective courses. They stressed how flexible and convenient distance education is for some of them who are unable to attend a traditional classroom set-up due to work and/or family obligation. They also expressed their gratitude to the whole FMDS-CEP Team, their Course Coordinators, classmates, family, and friends. Two of the messages were delivered via video from Singapore (Liana Arianne P. Escanio, PED) and Australia (Dianne Mae S. Guan Hing, SAfE).

Dr. Primo G. Garcia, FMDS Dean, delivered the opening remarks while Mr. Larry N. Cruz, FMDS-CEP Program Development Associate, gave the closing remarks. Ms. Jeniffer F. de Pasion, University Extension Associate, served as the Master of Ceremonies.

The UPOU's Multimedia Center, in collaboration with the UPOU's Information and Communication Technology Development Office made the event available online via live streaming at

21st Century Education in an Open World