Research, Extension and Professional Staff (REPS) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) participated in the Second Colleges and Universities Public Service Conference (CUPSCON) held on 28-29 November 2017 at the University of the Philippines Cebu Performing Arts Hall, Cebu City. They were Ms. Emely Amoloza, University Extension Associate of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS); Ms. Luisa A. Gelisan, University Researcher of the Multimedia Center (MC);Ms. Rhonna Marie R. Vereña, University Researcher of the Faculty of Education (FED); and Ms. Eleanor P. Manipol, University Extension Specialist of the Information Office.

Ms. Gelisan and Ms. Vereña presented their paper titled "Teacher Development Program (TDP): Building Capacities Through Open and Distance eLearning." TDP is one of UPOU's community engagement programs in Mauban, Quezon implemented since 2005. The program grants scholarships to selected public elementary and high school teachers who then enroll in post baccalaureate degree programs either in education or in computer science offered by the UPOU. The degree programs were aimed at upgrading their knowledge in the subject areas that they are teaching. The scholars also participate in specific training programs aimed at enhancing their skills associated with effective teaching. Since its implementation, TDP has sponsored six (6) batches of scholars and has produced 101 graduates. Under the present batch, TDP6 or eCEP-TDP, 12 scholars started with their graduate degree programs this First semester of SY 2017-2018. The UPOU implements the program in partnership with Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd.; Mauban-Local Government Unit; Department of Education-Quezon; and UPOU Foundation, Inc. The TDP has received the International eAsia 2011 Award and the International Good Practice on Lifelong Learning.

Dr. Melinda dela Pena-Bandalaria, the current Chancellor of UPOU, conceptualized the program in 2005. She continuous to develop the program to keep it responsive and relevant to the changing needs of the community, teachers, students, and the educational system.

Ms. Amoloza presented her paper "Changing the Lives of Filipino Teachers and Students: Participants’ Perceptions on the PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program." The PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program goal was for the participants to acquire the essential digital skills for 21st century teaching, learning, and working. The program's aspiration is "changing the lives of Filipino teachers and students". The project initiated in 2012 and is being implemented annually. It has covered 557 schools and 109 municipalities; and trained a total of 18,566 individuals all over the country. Plans are underway for the project's implementation in 2018.

Ms. Amoloza and Ms. Gelisan, who were recipients of 2017 Fellowship Grants from the University of the Philippines, also served as moderators in the several concurrent sessions.

The CUPSCON was organized by the University of the Philippines System Committee in Public Service led by the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs. The conference aims to provide a platform to effectively harness teaching and research for extension and public service; to provide a venue for scholarly discussions on lessons and best practices for continuous improvement; and to document innovative initiatives that highlight higher education institutions' social responsibility and compassion. (ESPMANIPOL)