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A Memorandum of Agreement signing was held between the University of the Philippines Open University (represented by Chancellor Melinda dP. Bandalaria) and its partners (represented by Dr. Koji Nakamura of United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability) at the Office of the Chancellor Conference Room at 2 in the afternoon last 19 May 2017.

Present as witnesses (from left to right) are Dr. Rizalita Edpalina of Kanazawa University, Ms. Maripres Sarinas, Dr. Consuelo dL. Habito, and Dr. Joane V. Serrano of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies.

This agreement is the second phase of the project Human Resources Development Program for the Sustainable Development of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Designated Site - Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) – a project between UP Open University (UPOU), Ifugao State University (IFSU), Ifugao GIAHS Support Committee and Provincial Government of Ifugao funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project will launch its second phase this coming 28 June 2017 at Ifugao State University, Nayon, Lamut, Ifugao.

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The three researches published in the fifth volume of UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) eJournal, Journal of Management and Development Studies (JMDS), were featured at the FMDS Research Forum on 23 May 2017 at the Audiovisual Room of UPOU in Los Baños, Laguna. These were the three of the nine researches that made it to publication after a series of top-notch peer-review process.

Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of FMDS, banked on the importance of disseminating research results as part of UPOU’s tripartite function. “Research is important in solving a lot of problems in the society… It is important that we make our voices, experience and stories as Filipinos and as Asian, be heard.” He congratulated the authors for their scholarship, and welcomed everyone, including participants watching online via networks.upou.edu.ph.

The first to share his research was Asst. Prof. Patrick C. De Leon from the UP Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga. His research, entitled “Assessing the Citizen's Charter Formulation and Implementation at the Bureau of Customs Port of Clark and the Clark Development Corporation,” was a study on the compliance of the two agencies with the information requirements on their Citizen’s Charter as stipulated by the Anti-Red Tape Act (RA 9485); the formulation and implementation of the Citizens’ Charter; and the compliance with the service standards. According to his research, both agencies failed the compliance assessment and his recommendation is for both agencies to supply complete information on their Citizen’s Charter, consider the needs and participation of their clients in the revision of their Citizen’s Charter; and publish their Citizen’s Charter in both English and Filipino language, or in any local dialect, to be more inclusive.

Mr. Rodmyr Datoon from Nagoya University in Japan, shared his research entitled, “Rural Industrialization and the De-Feminization of Rice Farming, the Case of a Village outside the Freeport Area of Bataan.” He presented the changes that the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) caused in the town of Mariveles, Bataan, where the first SEZ in the country was established. He specifically recorded the changes in the involvement of women in the livelihood of the community. The establishment of the SEZ provided women with an option in livelihood, but labor policies prevented them from having a long-term careers. The establishment of SEZ also affected the farming practices of the community to shift to broadcast method of farming where fewer labor is necessary, resulting to older women being unable to return to farming, and unable to earn a living.

The last speaker was Mr. Arthur Lagbas from the Integrated Research and Training Center of Technological University of the Philippines and a graduate of the FMDS Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM). His research on “Socio-Economics, Health Profile, Environmental Problems, and Perception of a Fishing Community in Panukulan, Polillo Island, Quezon, Philippines” was a description of the profile and environmental problems of a small barangay in the Polillo Island, Quezon. His study found that the community was highly dependent on natural forest, coconut and rice farming and fishing, but threats to the environment like illegal logging and dynamite and cyanide fishing exists. The problems affecting the community include the lack of safe drinking water, the lack of irrigation facilities for farmers, damaged roads, and lack of supplemental and alternative livelihood sources. The study also found that the community is supportive of plans and activities to improve their environmental condition, which indicates that community-based coastal resources management projects will be successful in the community.

Dr. Joane V. Serrano, Editor in Chief of the FMDS and Associate Professor at the UPOU FMDS and Director of the UPOU Information Office and Multimedia Center, closed the forum by thanking all the speakers and inviting everyone, especially those that were viewing the forum online via networks.upou.edu.ph, to submit their researches for publication to the Journal of Management and Development Studies, the official scientific journal of FMDS which started in 2012 as the FMDS Research Bulletin.

Ms. Jeniffer de Passion-Guevarra was the forum’s emcee and moderator. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) has earmarked 20 June 2017, University of the Philippines’ (UP’)109th Founding Anniversary, to celebrate World Wood Day 2017. The UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) is spearheading this celebration with the UPOU Cultural Committee, in cooperation with the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS), with funding from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCAA).

Following the World Wood Day 2017’s theme, “Roots (Ugat),” the celebration will be done in three parts – a tree-planting activity to start the day at 8am; the wood carving competition by carvers from Paete, Laguna, Betis and Guagua, Pampanga, Hunduan, Ifugao and Narra, Palawan; and a Wood Forum on “Tree Nurturing” at 1 PM. All these activities will be held at Pook Ugnayan, UPOU Community Hub, UPOU, Los Baños, Laguna.

The exhibit, punctuating the wood carving competition, will feature all entries, and will run from 20 June to 20 July 2017 at Galeria Sinag, UPOU Community Hub. This will be launched at 11 AM with performances from Mr. Ebe Dancel, frontman of the band Sugarfree and composer of the Awit Awards 2016 Song of the Year “Bawat Daan,” and local UPOU talents like the Tempo Band and the V-Force Dancers.

These events are open to the public to achieve the event’s aim of promoting a strong sense of nationhood and pride in being Filipino through culture and arts; fostering regional participation in culture and arts; and expanding awareness and appreciation for the wood art in the host community.

Fourteen artworks bedeck the exhibit panels of Galeria Sinag of UP Open University (UPOU). These are works of the kids aged 5 to 13 years old who participated in the Art Workshop, incorporated in the conduct of the Organic Agri (OA) Farmers’ Market this 26-27 May 2017.

Dubbed “Sining at Organikong Agrikultura: Pinagsama para sa Pagsasakang May Konsyensya,” the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS)-organized OA Art Workshop featured the Four Principles of Organic Agriculture shared by Prof. Raymundo M. Lucero, Course Coordinator of the UPOU Continuing Education Program (CEP) in Organic Agriculture, and lectures on Basic Drawing, Oil Pastel Painting, Acrylic Painting and Poster Making by Mr. Dante Palmes, a visual artist, sculptor, art instructor and a Master of Fine Arts student in UP Diliman. The workshop and art competition, done on the second day, carried the four principles of OA as the theme – Care, Health, Ecology and Fairness. The top three entries, along special award winning pieces and the rest of the entries, now adorn the Galeria Sinag at the UPOU Community Hub in Los Baños, Laguna until 17 June 2017. After this date, the exhibit will be moved to Pook Ugnayan, UPOU Community Hub, and will still be open to the public.

Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of FMDS, commended the efforts of Mr. Larry Cruz, the Program Development Associate for CEP, for the successful conduct of the event and willed him to continue excellence in this advocacy and public service. When he welcomed the participants and opened the workshop on the first day, Dean Garcia shared how he also attended his first art workshop when he was their age. With most of the kids being tech-savvy, he shared how studying at UPOU can also be an option for them in the future.

The OA Farmers’ Market and the OA Art Workshop is part of UPOU’s support of the RA 10068 known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. The “Organic Agri Fair” was launched in December 2015 as part of the UPOU's 20th anniversary celebration, which gave birth to the “Organic Agri Farmers' Market” conducted every last Friday and Saturday of the month at the UPOU Community Hub. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

(In cooperation with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts)

"Buen ebanistas" (good carvers) has been the reputation
Of our Filipino craftsmen/women, generation after generation
The craft is more than 2,000 years old
Worldwide their works are good as gold

Witness the masterpieces of our talented artists
As they vie for top honors, who will score the highest?
Will the winner come from Laguna's Paete; Ifugao's Hungduan
Betis and Guagua in Pampanga or the Palaw'an of Palawan?

Unite with the World Wood Day celebration
Value our "ROOTS," our origin as a nation
Boost the confidence of our gifted kinsfolk
Personally tell them how you appreciate their artwork

Come join us on June 20, 2017, Tuesday, 11am
At the UPOU Community Hub Pook Ugnayan
Bring your family and friends
And enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience! (Susan Janette G. Ealdama)

Dr. Holgado  demonstrates  how a basic head and neck check-up is done on Ms. Pura Amoloza, a UPOU Employee.

The UP Open University (UPOU) Health and Wellness (H&W) Committee and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration (OVCFA) jointly organized a half-day forum on 28 April 2017 as part of the celebration of the Head and Neck Cancer Consciousness Week and World Immunization Week .

Asst. Prof. Rita Ramos, Chair of the H&W Committee, Registered Nurse and Faculty Secretary of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), opened the forum and welcomed the participants. She explained UPOU’s efforts to improve the holistic wellness of its workforce through the H&W Committee’s efforts in line with the Team Approach and Youthful Outlook for UPOU (TAYO) Flagship Program of the university.

The resource persons for the forum were Dr. Jan Warren A. Holgado, Head and Neck Surgery Specialist, and Dr. Teri-Marie Laude, a Family and Community Medicine Specialist, and Faculty Member at the College of Human Ecology of UPLB.

Dr. Holgado comprehensively explained the parts of the head and neck which are prone to the development of cancer cells, the causes and symptoms, as well as the necessary actions to do to prevent and treat cancer. According to Dr. Holgado, most cancers are preventable by avoiding risk factors like smoking, extreme alcohol intake, poor oral hygiene, eating highly processed food, prolonged sun exposure and others. In addition, he advised regular self-check and inspection of the neck, face and mouth, and immediately consulting a doctor for any irregularities.

Dr. Laude, on the other hand, delved into the importance of vaccination even among adults. She mentioned that vaccination can keep a person healthy and can mean the difference between life and death. Dr. Laude also stated that vaccines help prevent the spread of diseases so the entire community is also protected.

After both presentations, the audience was given a chance to ask questions. Free consultations were also done on some of the UPOU employees. Questions were also entertained from the online viewers as the forum was webstreamed over networks.upou.edu.ph, where a video of the forum is also available to the public. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

With the approval of the University of the Philippines’ Enhanced Hospitalization Programme (eHOPe) effective 01 January 2017, the UP Open University (UPOU) initiated programs to support its implementation among UPOU employees. This initiative is also part of the Team Approach and Youthful Outlook for UPOU (TAYO) Program under the Strategic Plan 2016-2019, which aims for a streamlined organization compliant with the University of the Philippines (UP) System and UPOU mandate, participatory governance, and healthy workspaces and workforce.

The eHOPE is an enhanced version of the Financial Assistance Program for Hospitalization Expenses (FAPHE), UP’s assistance to hospitalization set-up in 2010, which allows P200,000 hospitalization reimbursement for the lifetime of each UP employee. The eHOPE now provides a yearly P80,000 for hospital expenses covering medical diagnostic procedures laboratory examinations, prescribed drugs and medicines in accordance with the Generics Act of 1988 (RA6675), professional fees of Philhealth-accredited physicians and specialists based on the Relative Value Unit (RVU) set by Philhealth, and expenses for room and board for the duration of the confinement. In addition, a yearly P10,000 is provided for medication prescribed upon discharge of the UP employee.

In implementation of the eHOPE, the UPOU Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration (OVCFA), through the Human Resource Development Office (HRDO), has initiated the university’s partnership with hospitals within the vicinity of its headquarters in Los Baños. To date, UPOU has signed memoranda of agreement with the Los Baños Doctor’s Hospital and Medical Center and with HealthServ Los Baños Medical Center without the need for any initial deposit, provided a UPOU identification card and letter of authorization is presented to the hospital upon admission. Mr. Michael Lagaya, HRDO Chief Administrative Officer, is also exploring partnership with hospitals where other UPOU employees are based i.e. Quezon City, Calamba City and San Pablo City in Laguna.

Another initiative of the university is the exploration of coverage for outpatient consultation and medication. On 18 April 2017, HRDO invited two health maintenance organizations, PhilCare and CareHealthPlus, to orient the UPOU employees of their benefits. Mr. Lagaya emphasized that availing of these coverages is purely voluntary, and interested employees may coordinate with the HRDO. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Committee in collaboration with the Bureau of Fire Protection - Los Baños (BFP-LB) conducted a Seminar on Fire Prevention and Fire Drill on 28 April 2017 at the Audiovisual Room, Los Baños, Laguna. Although Fire Prevention Month is celebrated in March, UPOU DRRM Committee acknowledges the fact that fire doesn’t happen only in March or in Summer time but can actually happen anytime.

The event was opened by Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, Chair of the DRRM Committee and Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Education. He explained that the activity is part of the Climate Adaptive and Resilient UPOU (CAReUPOU) Flagship Program, and the fourth in the series of seminars that the committee is conducting. Other topics that will be covered in succeeding seminar will be on first aid and disaster response. He encouraged everyone to “apply what is learned to be prepared for disasters both in the workplace and at home.”

Ms. Pura Amoloza, Chief Administrative Officer of the UPOU Supply and Property Management Office and member in-charge for Fire Disasters, introduced the speaker for the activity. Mr. Jefferson S. Samson is a registered nurse who currently handles a Fire Officer III (FO3) position as the Chief Training Coordinator of BFP-LB.

Besides sharing about BFP’s mission and vision, Mr. Samson explained the basic chemistry, stages, components and classes of fire. According to Mr. Samson, it will be easier to know how to put out a fire when one knows the basic information about it. Mr. Samson emphasized the importance of the presence of a fire extinguisher at home and goes on to demonstrate how fire extinguishers should be operated using TPASSTwist the pin, Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle at the base of fire, Squeeze the operating lever and Sweep from side to side.

After his lecture, a fire drill was held and several employees from different buildings were given a chance to use a fire extinguisher. Mr. Samson was assisted by FO Luzviminda Banaag, and four other on-the-job trainees.

Mr. Michael Lagaya, DRRM Committee member and Chief Administrative Officer of the UPOU Human Resource Development Office, was the seminar’s emcee. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU), through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), released UPOU’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) Policies, Principles and Guidelines to guide the UPOU community in proposing and offering MOOCs.

The creation of UPOU’s policy on MOOC was conceptualized as part of the MOOCathon: The Conversation Continues, the second of the MOOC Workshop Series organized collaboratively by the OVCAA and Faculty Offices in 2014. Prior to this workshop, UPOU started its involvement in MOOC in 2012 with the birth of the uLearn Project to carry all UPOU’s MOOC initiatives, delivered through @ral, a platform developed by the UPOU Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS). Integrating the Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) framework to MOOC design and offering, UPOU came up with its own MOOC identity and platform -- the MODeL, which stands for Massive Open and Distance e-Learning, and is accessible via model.upou.edu.ph.

In 2013, UPOU offered its first MOOC on Android Apps Development, in partnership with SMART Communications. This was followed by the Technopreneurship course under the same partnership. UPOU has since offered 31 MOOC including:

  • 8 Child Rights Protection and Promotion
  • 13 Business Process Management
  • 6 eFilipiniana
  • Introduction to Inter-local Cooperation
  • Arts in the ASEAN Region
  • Oral Communication & Conversational Fluency in English, and
  • DE Readiness

The document released include the general principles and operational guidelines for UPOU MOOC offerings. It specified UPOU’s commitment as a public service university to provide opportunities for alternative access to quality higher education by distance education (DE); develop a system of continuing education for sustaining professional growth and improving technical skills; and contribute towards upgrading the quality of higher education through DE in the University and the educational system of the country by developing, testing and utilizing innovative instructional materials and technology and sharing these with other colleges and universities through cooperative programs.

UPOU has a mission to provide wider access to quality higher education and is mandated in RA 10650 or the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Act to assist and provide leadership to the development of ODL in the country, promote the best practices in ODL in the Philippines, and share knowledge and development activities, among others. Committed to providing a comprehensive and inclusive quality education in the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all, UPOU aligns this initiative in support of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nations.

UPOU’s efforts on MOOC development and offering is part of its openUP Flagship Program under the UPOU Strategic Plan 2016-2019. The openUP Flagship Program is among the public service initiatives of UPOU, adhering to the highest standards of academic excellence. These MOOC policies are applicable as basis and guide to the UPOU Community, and may also be a reference for other institutions planning to institutionalize the offering of MOOC. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of UP Open University (UPOU) conducted a Round Table Discussion on Sustainability Perspectives on 18 April 2017 at the UP Open University Headquarters, Los Banos, Laguna to advance sustainable science as a vital component in achieving sustainable development.

In his welcome message, Dr. Primo G. Garcia, Dean of FMDS, said that sustainable development is a “global concept anchored on sustainability which takes into account the well-being of future generations.” Given the complexities of sustainability as an area of inquiry as well as a field of endeavor, he added, it is important to explore the concept from the scientific, philosophical and social movement perspectives.

Dr. Osamu Saito from the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) shared his expertise on sustainability from the point of view of the natural sciences. Dr. Saito presented a definition of sustainability science as an interdisciplinary approach that connects basic and applied research towards providing a solution to a problem. He enumerated notable publications in ecosystem, biodiversity and natural resources management which have dominated research in sustainable science. He said that fewer studies were done on sustainable urban and rural planning as well as architectural design innovation.

Dr. Saito also explained that sustainability science is concerned with examining the interaction between society and nature and is best approached through problem driven and problem solving methods, multi criteria assessment and systems approach, multi-, inter-, or transdisciplinary characteristics and adaptive management and social learning which are also adopted in other fields but are particularly vital for sustainability science. According to him, the key to further strengthening and promoting sustainability science is through integration, cooperation and collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This entails developing a relationship between science and society wherein research goes beyond scientific inquiry to include co-creation of knowledge for action.

Moving from the natural science perspective, the round table discussion tackled sustainability from a philosophical point of view with Dr. Richard Bawden of Western Sydney University doing his presentation via videoconferencing. Dr. Bawden opened his presentation by highlighting the importance of surfacing our philosophical assumptions about sustainability as well as practices of sustainable development. He suggested that if we are to pursue sustainability, we need to examine first our currently held beliefs and assumptions about the nature of sustainability because these would influence how we treat our research and actions towards it. The biggest challenge in promoting sustainability according to him is the lack of worldview consciousness, appreciation and transformation.

The last perspective to be discussed was sustainability from the social movement perspective by Dr. Alexander Flor, Dean of UPOU’s Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS). Dr. Flor traced the origin of sustainability from the “baby boomer” generation which questioned the narrow focus on economic growth and science at that time. From the Cartesian-Newtonian science perspective, scientific knowledge is seen as a tool to make humankind masters of nature where nature is a mechanical system that can be manipulated and exploited. This perspective is viewed by the sustainability movement as an antithesis to sustainability. An alternative to this view is a systems model that includes economic, social and environmental values. Sustainability from the social movement perspective inspired the contemporary discourse on sustainability advanced by the United Nations and the more progressive bilateral agencies.

The round table discussion was wrapped up by Dr. Jean A. Saludadez, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration of UPOU. The outputs and insights from the activity will be used for the improvement of the proposed PhD program in Sustainability Science in terms of its nature, intent, as well as current and future directions. FMDS’ thrust, courses and programs are geared towards the promotion of sustainable development in our communities (Paula Grace Muyco).

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of the UP Open University (UPOU) and current President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), represented the Philippines to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Stakeholder’s Meeting on 06 April 2017 at Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Dr. Bandalaria was among the 17 overseas participants from 16 institutions in 10 countries. At the meeting, she presented the Asian MOOCs, a portal that integrates the MOOCs offerings in the Asia Pacific, especially those offered by AAOU member institutions. Asian MOOCs was launched in October 2016, during AAOU’s 30th Annual Conference in Manila, Philippines, which UPOU hosted.

According to Dr. Bandalaria, Asian MOOCs was developed with an aim to advance and promote openness and innovation in education; encourage, support and assist AAOU members to offer MOOCs; and promote open education through MOOCs. The Asian MOOCs portal is coordinated by the Asian MOOCs Steering Committee within the AAOU, chaired by the Philippines through the UPOU.

Other initiatives and developments in MOOCs within Asia and Europe were also presented at the Meeting, which aimed to share information and discuss the scope of the ASEM Network of MOOCs program; specify the roles and responsibilities for each project in the program; and discuss directions for each projects in the program. These directions includes the co-development and management of MOOC contents; case collection in quality assurance ; development of quality assurance guidelines for MOOC contents ; and the publication of the collection of best cases in social recognition and usage for MOOCs in ASEM region.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. ASEM operates with 53 partnerships from 30 European countries, 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. ASEM addresses political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. This ASEM MOOCs Stakeholders’ Meeting is hosted by the Ministry of Education of Republic of Korea, and organized by a national-level agency under it, the National Institute for Lifelong Education (NILE).