The University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication (CMC) conducted another earthquake drill on Thursday, February 15 as part of the College’s proactive measures to bolster disaster preparedness within its premises.
This drill was unannounced and placed particular emphasis on the crucial step of awaiting the sound of the bell before proceeding to evacuation areas.
“Ang pinakagusto naming mensahe talaga sa event na ito ay hanggang walang bell, walang kikilos. Kasi dati, ‘pag [may drill] nagbe-bell na agad. So, parang hindi alam tulóy ng mga tao kung kikilos na ba sila o hindi,” UP CMC Dean Fernando Paragas told DZUP.
(Our primary message for this event is that until the bell rings, no one should move. In the past, when earthquake drills occurred, the bell would ring immediately. So, people were unsure whether to take action or not.)
“‘Pag nangyari na ‘yung lindol, wala namang magbe-bell agad kasi ‘di pa makakatayô ‘yung mga staff na naka-duty do’n sa bell. So, hanggang ‘di pa nagbe-bell, walang dapat kikilos muna. So ‘yun ‘yung primary lesson dito,” Fernando added.
(The reality is that during an earthquake, the staff responsible for ringing the bell may not be able to do so right away. Therefore, until the bell rings, no one should move. That’s the primary lesson here.)
This time, participants congregated in designated evacuation areas as soon as the bell rang.
CMC staff and emergency response personnel, led by UP CMC University Researcher Alex Tamayo, conducted a brief lecture and demonstration on practiced evacuation techniques, including the duck, cover, and hold procedure.
For Leslie Jeanne Trinchera, a first-year Bachelor of Arts Communication Research student, the earthquake drill served as a reminder of the importance of swift and decisive action during seismic emergencies.
“I think this drill is important so that we can be more aware of what we should do during an earthquake,” Trinchera told DZUP.
“Especially since, most of the time, nagiging busy po sa acads so, minsan nawawala rin po ‘yung memory kung alin po ‘yung dapat gawin kapag nagkaroon ng lindol,” she said.
(Especially since, most of the time, we are preoccupied with academic tasks, so sometimes we forget what to do when an earthquake strikes.)
Graduating student Ae-J Mariano from the UP Department of Broadcast Communication said he was glad that the College conducted the unannounced drill.
“I feel secured that the College is taking steps. My biggest takeaway is you won’t know when it will happen. We should take drills seriously,” Mariano told DZUP.
CMC distributed whistles to its freshmen. Tamayo encouraged students to always have whistles handy, which could be helpful in times of emergencies.
Paragas told DZUP that a fire drill will be scheduled for March, which is Fire Prevention Month.
Naked runners from the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity will once again take part in the annual Oblation Run at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in Quezon City tomorrow, February 16.
This year, the Oblation Run will express the fraternity’s opposition to ongoing efforts to amend the 1987 Constitution, especially through People’s Initiative.
“Proposals for constitutional amendments have been on every president’s agenda since the Ramos presidency. The start of the year saw the emergence of a People’s Initiative campaign ostensibly aimed at amending the 1987 Constitution,” APO explained in a statement.
“However, the alarming revelation that individuals were shamefully offered a paltry sum of P100 in exchange for their signatures on the petition not only tarnishes the credibility of the campaign but also exposes its inherent illegitimacy,” they said.
“This tactic not only undermines the democratic process but also reveals an odious disinterest towards the proposed amendments among the Filipino public. It is indicative of a process driven more by hidden agenda than by a genuine desire to address the nation’s constitutional needs.”
The fraternity called for skepticism and critical scrutiny of the entire constitutional reform endeavor, urging stakeholders to remain vigilant against dubious methods that undermine the foundations of a democratic decision-making process.
Drawing from historical lessons, particularly during the Marcos dictatorship, the fraternity emphasized the risks associated with unchecked constitutional revisions. They also called on government to focus on more important issues instead.
“Efforts must urgently be placed on addressing the pervasive and deeply entrenched corruption, the highly problematic public utility vehicle modernization program, and the distressing surge in prices of vital commodities such as rice and gasoline,” they said.
“Rather than diverting attention towards self-serving initiatives like Charter Change, the government’s primary responsibility is to confront and rectify the critical challenges that directly impact the lives and livelihoods of its citizens, ensuring a just and thriving future for the nation.”
In the past, the Oblation Run was usually held in December. In 2020, APO called for the scrapping of the Kaliwa Dam project and encouraged the Filipino youth to push for stronger climate action on the part of the government.
Last year, after a two-year hiatus, the fraternity protested against the return of the Marcoses to Malacañan.
It’s a date… at the museum!
The Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman hosted a fundraising event on Valentine’s Day, February 14.
Guests experienced a night of art, food, cocktails, and music at the second installment of the “Vargas After-Hours.” They were serenaded with jazz performances by Struggail and the Elileon Jazz Trio.
In an interview on “DZUP Balita,” UP Vargas Museum Curator Tessa Maria Guazon said that the event was inspired by the social events that UP alumnus Jorge Vargas used to organize at his residence in Mandaluyong.
“We are interested in the archival photos of Jorge Vargas and his family. He has many photos of gatherings at his house in Mandaluyong. And he hosted these social events which were themed. One of them, we found a photograph of a Mardi Gras ball in December 1953,” Guazon said in a mix of Filipino and English.
The Curator explained that the gatherings serve other purposes beyond throwing parties. “The goal of the ‘After-Hours’ is to open the museum to the public beyond the usual museum hours. It’s also a fundraiser for us to fund our self-initiated projects here in the museum,” she said.
“This allows us to introduce our permanent exhibition to a wider public. This is not just a party. We will start the event with a tour of our permanent exhibition on the second floor,” she added.
“Our public program series is intended to open the museum to more publics. It is geared towards making young people realize that art is important in our lives. It’s integral in our lives.”
Guazon noted that the event had pop-up booths where guests got photo souvenirs, tattoos, and tarot readings.
The Vargas Museum is one of nine museums and galleries on campus. Since 1987, it has been housing collections of art, books, and other memorabilia from Vargas, who was a significant political figure in 20th century Philippines.
“The museum has galleries for permanent exhibitions as well as temporary exhibitions. The galleries are also spaces for educational events such as workshops, lectures, symposia, and walkthroughs and talks by artists and curators. The library accommodates researchers, scholars, students, and artists,” it said on its website.
The University of the Philippines (UP) has announced that its employees can expect the first tranche of their annual incentive grant (AIG) to be credited to their payroll accounts beginning Wednesday, February 14.
According to a memorandum dated February 7 from UP Vice President for Administration Augustus Resurreccion, the AIG is a way to recognize “the dedication, productivity, and creativity of its faculty and staff in fulfilling the University’s goals”.
Qualified UP personnel expected to render at least four months of service to the University by the end of May 2024 are eligible to receive P7,000 each, on top of their basic compensation and other benefits.
Newly hires who have served less than four months in the University, will only be entitled to a prorated share of the grant’s first tranche, depending on the number of months served starting this year. They are eligible to receive up to P5,250.
The same rule applies to employees who have rendered active service but were separated or are expected to be separated from the University by the end of May.
Part-timers will also receive a share of the incentives, but they will only receive half of the benefits of full-time personnel, proportionate to their months of service.
University workers who are under preventive suspension, suspended or separated from the service for cause, on leave, absent without official leave, and hired without employer-employee relations are exempt.
Resurreccion mentioned that the payment of AIG shall be sourced from the constituent university’s revolving fund or savings from its internal operating budget.
“For those whose salaries are paid from other sources [except the General Fund], AIG shall be charged against the same funding source as their salaries, subject to all applicable government accounting and auditing rules and regulations,” he added.
A student-led protest was held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman on February 6, coinciding with the start of classes for the second semester of the academic year 2023-2024 and the 53rd anniversary of the Diliman Commune.
Students, faculty, and concerned sectors gathered at UP Diliman’s Palma and Quezon Halls to join the demonstration dubbed ‘First Day Fight,’ aimed at raising awareness about the challenges facing the country and the UP community.
These include issues surrounding the public utility vehicle modernization program, difficulties in securing units for courses, displacement of vendors on campus, and lack of designated spaces for student organizations.
“The rights of the people must be the priority of the state and the University over profit. Capital and commercial interests are rapidly encroaching, continuing to haunt the lives of many Filipinos. The national government’s drastic transformation of livelihood, public services, and spaces for the sake of profit disenfranchises the public from their own rights,” the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) said in a statement.
“The University is not separate from the wider struggle of the masses. With the opening of the new semester, the UP Diliman community continues to face the same issues it must address,” the USC added.
Rise for Education Alliance member Ted Narciso expressed dismay over the continued persistence of years-long problems within the University.
“Salubong sa bagong semestre sa atin ngayon ang samot-saring problema na kinakaharap ng buong UP community… Hirap na hirap [táyong] kumuha ng subjects. Every sem na lang, ganito táyo. Kailangan pa nating magmakaawa para lang makakuha ng units. Ganiyan ang nararanasan nating mga estudyante kada bagong semestre,” Narciso said.
(Here we are, as we face a myriad of problems at the start of the new semester… We’re having a hard time enrolling in subjects. It’s like this every semester. We even need to beg just to get units. That’s the experience we students have every new semester.)
In an interview with DZUP, Samahang Manininda sa UP Campus President Narry Hernandez voiced concerns about the impact of recent administrative decisions on small vendors within the University.
“Ito rin ‘yung magiging dahilan ng unti-unting pagkawala ng kabuhayan ng mga maliliit na manininda sapagkat binibigyan ng pagkakataon ng administrasyon na makapasok ang malalaking negosyante dito sa loob ng Unibersidad, samantalang dapat maisaalang-alang ng administrasyon ‘yung mga serbisyong ibinibigay ng mga maliliit na manininda sa napakatagal nang panahon,” Hernandez told DZUP.
(This will also be the reason for the gradual loss of livelihood for small vendors because the administration is giving opportunities for big businesses to enter the university premises, when the administration should be considering the services which small vendors have been providing over a long period of time.)
UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II addressed protesters during the program at Quezon Hall, promising to engage in formal discussions on the issues raised.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was inked on January 30 between the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Batanes Provincial Government, and Batanes State College (BSC), formalizing their collaboration related to the sustainability of Batanes and its membership in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO).
The MOU details the obligations of all parties for the long-term tourism sustainability of the Batanes Islands through the implementation of research programs, extension projects, and similar undertakings. It will be effective until October 30, 2026.
It covers the areas of governance, resident satisfaction, destination economic benefits, employment and human resources, tourism seasonality and visitor satisfaction, energy management, solid waste management, wastewater management, climate change, accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusivity. These are key issue areas which Batanes must monitor within the next three years as an INSTO member.
Batanes became the first destination in the Philippines to be included in the INSTO last year, largely through the efforts of UP Diliman multidisciplinary research group Batanes Tourism and Hospitality Monitoring Center (BTHMC).
“We are very happy that we are entering into this partnership with the provincial government of Batanes, as well as the Batanes State College,” UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II said during the signing ceremony at the BSC Amphitheater in Basco, Batanes.
“You are the first international tourism observatory in the Philippines. You should take pride in that. You are already part of history,” Vistan said in a mix of Filipino and English.
BSC President Djovi Regala Durante expressed his optimism for the partnership. “Three or four years from now, we shall look back to this very moment and proudly say that we have moved to advance sustainable tourism in Batanes.”
Batanes Vice Governor Ignacio Villa underscored the broader impact of the endeavor, aspiring for its benefits to extend not only to Batanes but also to communities worldwide.
“Our sincerest gratitude to the UNWTO INSTO and UP for giving us this rare opportunity and recognition. May this advocacy and undertaking be successful and fruitful. And may it benefit not only the people of Batanes, but of all peoples,” Durante said representing Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco.
Vistan was joined by other University officials. They were UP Vice President for Administration Augustus Resurreccion, BTHMC Project Director Mary Anne Ramos-Tumanan, former UP Diliman Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT) Dean Edieser Dela Santa, and four more members of the UP technical team.
Batanes as the country’s first INSTO member
On June 16, 2023, Batanes was chosen as the first INSTO member in the Philippines, thanks to UP Diliman’s BTHMC.
The BTHMC is composed of researchers from the UP Diliman AIT, UP Diliman College of Home Economics Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management, and UP Diliman College of Engineering Institute of Civil Engineering.
Dela Santa recounted the journey of the UP-hosted multidisciplinary group which started before the pandemic struck. “It’s been a long journey,” he said.
“Activities started in earnest in 2019 with stakeholders mapping, obtaining ethics clearance, and obtaining endorsements from local and national officials,” he added.
“Together with our friends from Batanes, particularly the provincial government, a [technical working group or TWG] was created and this was supported by an executive order issued by the governor herself. During the pandemic when we could not travel to Batanes, virtual TWG meetings were held that allowed us to maintain contact with the people of Batanes.”
“There was really a lot engagement with the stakeholders from the very beginning, during the pandemic, and afterwards.”
According to the UNWTO, the BTHMC is “committed to supporting the sustainable development of tourism based on evidence and a participatory approach. These commitments are instrumental in building a sustainable and resilient tourism sector that benefits the local people, the Ivatans, as well as visitors, while ensuring environmental and cultural conservation.”
“The observatory joins UNWTO’s growing international network of observatories, all of which are dedicated to creating inclusive and healthy spaces for both visitors and host communities, while promoting the responsible management of tourism,” it also said.
In last year’s announcement of Batanes’ inclusion in the INSTO, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili emphasized the importance of measuring indicators to ensure tourism sustainability.
“For any destination, measurement is important as it provides a better understanding of where a destination stands and where it wants to go,” Pololikashvili said.
“For a destination like the Batanes Islands, such measurement work is even more relevant as it will help to preserve the uniqueness of the islands and build a responsible sector that benefits the local people and visitors alike,” he added.