Saturday, March 20, 2021

FDA approves Sputnik V for Emergency Use

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sputnik V, one of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccines, today, 19 March 2021, as announced by FDA Director General Eric Domingo during the Department of Health (DOH)’s Special Briefing.

Authorized for limited use among Filipino individuals aged 18 and above, the non-replicating viral vector COVID-19 vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology through the support of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Both Gamaleya and RDIF were identified by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG VES), as one of its bilateral partners for the possible conduct of vaccine clinical trials in the Philippines. The DOST-convened Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) has reviewed the initial clinical trial data of Sputnik V, which served as one of the bases for the FDA’s approval of the vaccine’s EUA application.

As early as August 2020, the DOST-led TG VES has been in contact with Gamaleya and RDIF, through the assistance of both the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, in terms of COVID-19 vaccine development, and more recently, in Gamaleya’s submission of the required documents to FDA for their EUA application. 

The DOST welcomes this development as the country now has an additional approved  vaccine in its portfolio for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program. 

Here's What Makes TikTok A Powerful Learning Tool

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Beyond providing entertainment, TikTok also promotes informative and insightful content on its platform.

TikTok has become a great learning resource for everything, including useful lifehacks, unique science experiments, must-learn math tricks, quick and easy DIY projects, and motivational messages and advice. Because the app is so easy to use, creators have found it to be a convenient place to share knowledge and skills with a wide audience. Through this platform, educators have found a way to liven up lessons, making them more engaging, brisk, and easy to digest. At the same time, TikTok's short-form video format has made micro-learning appealing to users across all ages.

On the app, #LearnOnTikTok now has 76 billion views and counting, which shows exactly how much the community enjoys these videos that are informative, educational, and useful. At present, the #LearnOnTikTok community is made up of teachers, scientists, chefs, beekeepers, doctors, makeup artists, and other experts from varying fields.

Even health workers have taken to TikTok, as well as other social media platforms, to dispel misinformation about COVID-19 and the way people respond to the pandemic. As the vaccination roll-out continues across the world, the need to debunk misconceptions about COVID-19 grows in importance. This is what has prompted scientists and healthcare professionals to begin doing their part in educating others online.

TikTok is also doing what it can to further reduce the spread of misinformation, particularly in areas such as health and civic processes, through its new Know the Facts feature. This fact-checking feature aims to make users think twice before sharing any unverified video content on the app.

Want to learn something new today? These videos from TikTok might be able to teach you a thing or two.


This motivational video teaches you 5 things you need to stop doing if you want to be happy.

Math and Science

This quick physics lesson explains why some things sink while others float in water.


Looking for a new DIY project? This video teaches you how to make a cheap and easy wallet using duct tape.


There are a lot of great exercise videos that you can follow along with on TikTok, just like this full body workout.


Homecooked favorites, healthier dishes, and recipe hacks, TikTok has them all.

Learning never stops on TikTok! You, too, can indulge in an enriching browsing experience on the app today. Download TikTok on your iOS and Android devices to get started.

“Postman” Norman Fulgencio assumes post as PHLPost head, assures better service to the public

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Former Chairman Norman N. Fulgencio of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) was sworn in and has assumed office as the new Postmaster General and CEO on March 15, 2021.

The oath-taking was administered by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea and witnessed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go in Malacanang Palace.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the nomination of Postman Fulgencio as Postmaster General of PHLPost, a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) is under the Office of the President, last February 26, 2021.

The new Postmaster General wanted to be called “Postman” instead of the traditional PMG or Postgen in order to project an image of our mailman’s importance in the community and revive an era where the postal service provides the primary means of communication.

Facing an enormous task, “Postman” Fulgencio believes that PHLPost as an institution can innovate by bringing technology into its already established system.

“To start things right, we sincerely apologize for all our previous delays, unresponsiveness, mishandlings and other shortcomings. We are now revisiting our existing procedures to institute appropriate measures that will be implemented beginning April 5, 2021”, “Postman” Fulgencio said in a statement.

He assures the public that PHLPost is doing its utmost best to stay true to its mandate for better service.

“The postal service should be relevant and vital to the government in providing services to Filipinos here and abroad. It needs to play an active role and rise to the challenges”, Postman Fulgencio added.

In three months, he promises to push for the implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project to cover the digitalization of the entire organization, including the mail management system, corporate financial information system, financial counter system and human resource information system.

PHLPost will align with the government’s development plan to lay down a solid foundation for a more inclusive growth, a high-trust society, and a globally competitive economy.

Postman Fulgencio will also implement stringent measures or possible organization shake-up if his people cannot deliver what is expected on them.

Amid the pandemic, the postal agency assures the public that it will continue to deliver mails and parcels, checks, medical supplies, and other essential services.

Enjoy every moment of life without losing your true self

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Life is short, time is fast. No replay. No rewind. – Unknown

Might be you have planned your retirement at the age of forty or somewhere near around that but we’re asking just a simple question from you if you are so sure about your age of forty then why you have bought an accidental life insurance? You might have planned a long list of adventures which you will enjoy after achieving that milestone but during the whole of this process, you have forgotten to feel the happiness of each moment.

Everyone says live each day of your life as it’s the last. But no one is going to share with you how? But don’t worry here we are going to share it.

To enjoy each and every moment of your life you must try to understand that happiness is not something that comes from the outside world, it is something which emerges from your soul, from your inner side. So the very first step is to feel the happiness in the inner world of yours. To feel the inner happiness, you must have to reconnect with yourself and for this, you must spare some time for you in the entire day which is known as the ‘me time’. You may spend this time in a garden, a short walk, on the roof of your house or somewhere else. Now the very first question that must be ignited in your mind is, what to do during this ‘me time’? We are going to share with you a number of things that you will find out that you should spare the entire day for yourself.

Some of the activities you must do in your me time are:

1.Meditate even just for the five minutes only but you must calm down your mind and thoughts at least once a day. If you do not know how to meditate then just close your eyes and have some deep breaths. Try to control your mind to get distracted and control your thoughts.

2.See good in everything happened with you. Have a feeling of the blessing even for the little things in your life. Feel blessed for having some great friends, having a child, the recent success, for your health and many other tiny things happening to you.

3.Write something positive each day even it is of 40-50 words. You may write down a small moment of your day like exchanging a smile with your co-worker, for being greeted by an unknown person or something like this. It will make you feel very content. Try to write down this right before your bed and see the magic of this with a peaceful sleep.

4.Forgive everyone at the end of the day. One of the greatest author Norman Vincent Peale wrote in his bestselling book The power of positive thinking pray for the best even for the persons who have not treated you well during the day or in your life. Carrying hatred for anyone is going to harm you itself.

5. The author of another bestselling book Who will cry when you die, Robin Sharma wrote: every day be nice to a stranger. This stranger may be the liftman of your apartment/ office, the watchman or your co-passenger. You cannot imagine, the inner happiness you will get by treating the strangers in this way. You can make their day and yours also.

These are some of the small moments which gives you inner happiness and will help you to enjoy every moment of your life without losing your true self. Preserve your identity during this entire journey and always carry a meek smile on your face because these little moments are not little at all. The more you will start enjoying these small moments, the more inner happiness will start to follow your soul, the happy soul!

Author Bio

Phrona Brown is the author of this article, and she is quite experienced in writing different categories like social media, Health, Lifestyle platforms for marketing or startup. She guide about promoting your business on social platforms. For more details please visit

Who is Kurt Angle?

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Kurt Angle is a favorite person for those people who love wrestling. From the WWE to the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, he was the main attraction of the show. Besides that, the person is also recognized as a wrestler, a gold medalist Olympian, and a talented actor. In 1996 in freestyle wrestling, he won a gold medal that was a milestone in his life.

According to WWE, he has unmatched technical skills in wrestling that have made him a champion in the field of the Olympics. As he started his career as a footballer, football's technicality helped him get the best results for his wrestling career. After a year of Olympic gold medal-winning, he joined the WWE as soon become the wrestling life sensation and have become a heat throne of this person who loves wrestling. His wrestling life has almost covered up his other skills.


The current age of Kurt is 52. He came to this earth in a Township of Pennsylvania, on December 9, 1968. After that, in the year 1998, he married Karen Smedley after a long love story, but this love story ends up soon they broke up, and Kurt moves on to his relationship with Giovanna Yannotti, who is an actress and whom he had married in the year 2012, and they were engaged in the year 2010. Giovanna Yannotti and Kurt share a beautiful love story. He met Giovanna Yannotti on the set of the 'end game’ in 2010, and they started dating each other. As Kurt was divorced previously so, there was no problem with their engagement, and they got engaged in the year 2010. Between their engagement periods, they had their first daughter Giuliana. Still, now, they are living their dreamy life. They soon got married, had their second girl child, and recently adopted a boy from Bulgaria and completed his family. So, in total, it can be said that he has a total of 6 children. 4 from his second wife and the other two from his first wife. So, it can be said that, like his career, he also has a dreamy love life.

Professional Career

Though Kurt Angle was an Olympic medal winner, his career was not in stable condition every time. He started his life in the 1990s, and he ends up in the year 2019. That was a big deal for the users most of the time. In the year 1996, he won a gold medal in the freestyle wrestling national Olympics taking place in the U.S.A. His technical skills and passionate wrestling skills had helped him get a gold medal in the Olympics. Later, in the year 1198, he joined WWE to show his wrestling skills to the world, and sooner we become the sensation of the viewers. Not just wrestling skills, he also has acting skills, and that has changed his life also. In the set of the 'end game," he met his love and started their life that is also a milestone of his life. Though he was the winner of the gold medal, still his career was not smooth. In the year, he has suffered a number of allegations against him. He got allegations to abuse his former girlfriend, but later, his girlfriend took back his charges against him. According to Kurt himself, he was used to drugs every day to take part in wrestling, and sooner he became a drug addict. Later he has to take a long medication to get back from the addiction so that he can lead his normal life. However, his story is similar to a film ad after getting a long allegation. Still, he is in his fans' mind, and still, he is a sensation for the WWE stars.

Net Worth

Unlike other WWE sensation, Kurt Angle also has a great net worth, an estimation that was taken place in the year 2010, his net worth is almost $25 million, and he has gathered this money with the help of the hard work that he has done in several years to make his career shiny. His net worth is higher than those other people taking part in the WWE wrestling tournament.

PLDT Enterprise launches Smart Bro 5G for businesses

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The country’s fastest mobile data network 5G broadband now available for growing business needs

The largest integrated telecommunications provider PLDT, through PLDT Enterprise and Smart, unveils the Smart Bro 5G Plans for business—equipping more enterprises with the latest in technology, running on the country’s fastest mobile network.

All Smart Bro plans today under PLDT Enterprise are 5G ready, with Smart Bro Plans 1899 and Plan 3500 which include 90GB and 200GB respectively. For a limited time, the group is extending an exclusive offer to include a free Samsung Tab A 8” with every Smart Bro 5G order to those who will pre-order starting March 10. With this introductory bundle, working from anywhere has been made even easier and with faster broadband speeds.

Jojo Gendrano, FVP & Head of PLDT Enterprise Core Business Solutions, emphasized how Smart Bro 5Gfor business plans “can unlock better efficiency and elevated ways of working for (our) customers, especially in the new normal hybrid and on-the-go work set ups, where most enterprises rely on strong internet connectivity.”

“Smart Bro 5G offers better internet speeds and more reliable internet connections. This allows users to benefit from ultra-fast downloads and application response. With 5G’s Enhanced Mobile Broadband (EMBB) capability, enterprises will be able to do more with their mobile broadbanddevices. We are certain that businesses will welcome this technology evolution, and we will continue to be in touch with our customers to further enrich enterprise 5G use cases,” he added.

5G technology is the next generation of wireless internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable internet connections than ever before.

There will be three things needed for users to enjoy and experience Smart Bro 5G: a 5G-ready SIM, a Smart-certified 5G enabled device, and be in an area where the Smart 5G network is available. 

“We will be bundling the Smart Bro 5G with the 5GRocket Wifi that will allow subscribers to enjoy personal portable broadband access on the go,” mentions Chet Alviz, VP & Head of PLDT Enterprise Wireless Marketing. He adds that “there are many benefits of 5G, and having this available to businesses supports our overall mantra to make a positive impact to every business.”

The 5G Rocket Wifi is the best performing 5G device available in the Philippine market today. Aside from being 5G ready and boasting a longer battery life, it is aptly positioned to power the digital lifestyle of clients of all sizes. The unit can connect up to 10 WiFi-ready devices simultaneously which is perfect for ensuring productivity even when on the go and for users with multiple gadgets. It is also Wifi 6-capable so aside from getting a higher maximum speed, it also guarantees performance and reliability even when numerous devices are latched on to it. Customers will also have a choice to connect their non-WiFi enabled devices like desktop computers as it also comes with a LAN port.

"We would like to enjoin our dear customers to experience the revolutionary 5G technology firsthand through our Smart Bro 5G plans, which will give businesses the best in wireless broadband to power their remote and flexible work setups," says Shyr Amador, Head of IoT & Connected Devices for PLDT Enterprise.

For the list of 5G-ready areas, please visit

To learn more, visit

The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’ Red Carpet Premiere

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ONE Championship™ (ONE) rolled out the red carpet for the stars of “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” at The Glasshouse at Andaz Singapore on Wednesday, 17 March.

In attendance were ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, ONE Championship Senior VP of Corporate Development and Strategy Niharika Singh, and Executive Producer of Refinery Media Karen Seah, as well as candidates Alvin Ang, Irina Chadsey, Joy Koh, Monica Millington, Jessica Ramella, Nazee Sajedi, and Roman Wilson.

Special guests in attendance included ONE Championship Group President Hua Fung Teh, Catcha Group Co-Founder and Group CEO Patrick Grove, and ONE atomweight star Ritu Phogat, among others.

"The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” will premiere tonight on AXN, the show’s official Asia broadcast partner, with additional free-to-air broadcasts across the continent to follow.

Attendees walked onto the red carpet in BOSS attire, primed for an epic night featuring an exclusive screening of the first episode, Q&A panels with the cast, and more.

DOST-SEI researchers find new insights in tech-driven science, math education

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Researchers from the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) recently unveiled new insights and recommendations into teaching science and mathematics in technology-enhanced classrooms.

Previous research has shown that computers, tablets, mobile phones, and other information and communications technology (ICT) can be more seamlessly integrated into classrooms by building up three key elements: teaching attitudes, or “will”; teaching ability, or “skill”; and access to ICT, or simply called “tool”. This Will-Skill-Tool (WST) model of technology integration in the classroom has proven useful for understanding how technology can better be used to complement and improve traditional blackboard and pen-and-paper teaching methods.

However, while studies on WST in general have yielded positive results and recommendations, little research has been done into how WST can be used specifically to improve the teaching of science and mathematics. This is an urgent concern, given the importance of these subjects to nation building and the country’s lack of development in these fields: according to the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the Philippines placed last behind 57 other countries in terms of scientific and mathematical competence among grade-schoolers.

“While past studies on the WST model focused on general effects of will, skill, and tool on ICT integration into teaching of a single subject area or general teaching level, [the DOST-SEI study] provided differential analysis of these predictors between two subject teaching areas (i.e., science and mathematics),” the authors wrote in their paper.

The researchers noted that “Will” is a more important factor for science teachers, whereas “Skill” is more important for mathematics teachers when it comes to integrating ICT into the classroom. They recommended that science teachers develop first positive attitude toward ICT as a foundation for their teaching skills, whereas mathematics teachers need more specific ICT skills training due to the technical nature of their work.

“Among science teachers, the importance of ICT integration in teaching should be highlighted first to increase their level of attitude toward ICT prior to skills development,” the researchers said. “On the other hand, ICT knowledge and skills should be a primary focus in providing teacher training programs for mathematics teachers who may have technical requirements to facilitate integration of ICT in teaching the subject.”

The study entitled, “Will–skill–tool (WST) model of technology integration in teaching science and mathematics in the Philippines,” was published on March 9, 2021, in the Journal of Computers in Education. It was written by Randolf S. Sasota, Ruby R. Cristobal, Imelda S. Sario, and Josette T. Biyo of the DOST-SEI; with Joselito C. Magadia of the School of Statistics, University of the Philippines – Diliman. Biyo is the Director of the DOST-SEI, while Cristobal is chief of the DOST-SEI’s Science Technology Manpower Education Research Promotion Division (STMERPD). Sario and Sasota are Supervising Science Research Specialist and Senior Science Research Specialist, respectively, under the STMERPD.


Read the study here:

Download PDF:

‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’ Premieres in Asia on AXN

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“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” premiered across Southeast Asia, China, and India with its inaugural episode Thursday evening. The show debuted on AXN, its official Asia broadcast partner, with additional free-to-air broadcasts to follow.

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, his Advisor Niharika Singh, ONE’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy, and Task Captain Dom Lau, ONE’s Circle and Ring Announcer, were all introduced in Episode 1 of the toughest “Apprentice” in history, which was shot in Singapore.

Meet the Candidates

The premiere also introduced the show’s 16 candidates from around the world: Alvin Ang, Clinton Tudor, Eugene Chung, Irina Chadsey, Jessica Ramella, Joy Koh, Kexin Ye, Lara Pearl Alvarez, Louie Sangalang, Monica Millington, Nazee Sajedi, Niraj Puran Rao, Paulina Purnomowati, Roman Wilson, Sho Takei, and Teirra Kamolvattanavith.

These global candidates are competing for a one-year, US$250,000 job offer to work directly under Chatri as his protege at ONE Championship.

First Physical Challenge: Relay Race

For the first time ever on “The Apprentice,” physical challenges have been included, which Chatri described as being designed to push candidates beyond their limits not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Chatri grouped the candidates into two teams. Roman, Paulina, Niraj, Alvin, Joy, Eugene, Lara, and Nazee made up the blue team, which became known as Team Conquest. Clinton, Kexin, Jessica, Teirra, Irina, Sho, Monica, and Louie made up the red team, which became known as Team Valor.

The teams competed in a relay race that featured escalating degrees of toughness, with Louie propelling Team Valor to victory.

First Business Challenge: “ONE at Home” Fan Experience

The drama shifted to the boardroom, where the candidates competed in their first business challenge. Nazee of Team Conquest and Clinton of Team Valor were chosen as Project Managers to lead strategy and implementation.

The teams were tasked with curating a “ONE at Home” essentials kit, featuring a bundle of ONE Championship merchandise for fans. Each team was also asked to create a marketing plan that would be pitched to Chatri and Niharika.

Clashing personalities dominated the cutting-room floor, as each team scrambled to piece together its final product.

Saved from the Chopping Block

In the end, Team Valor took home another victory. With Team Conquest losing the challenge, Nazee, Alvin, and Lara were sent to the chopping block, where they were grilled by Chatri on their performances.

In the biggest surprise of the episode, Chatri revealed this was a non-elimination challenge, and that no candidate would be sent home.

Episode 1 of “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” set the stage for the most unique and exciting iteration of the hit reality franchise to date.

More information on the Apprentice and “How to Watch” can be found at:

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at

DOTr, PPA inaugurate three (3) port projects linking Palawan to other parts of PH, nearby countries

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Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, together with Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, inaugurated three completed port projects in Palawan – the Port of San Fernando in El Nido, the Port of Bataraza in Brgy. Buliluyan, and the Borac Port in Coron today, 19 March 2021, fulfilling the promise of the Duterte administration to link the island province to other parts of the country and to nearby countries.

The inauguration also marks the start of operations for the newly constructed seaports that aim to boost economic progress, not just of Palawan, but the whole of the MIMAROPA (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) region as well.

Also in attendance at the triple event were Palawan Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez, Palawan 2nd District Rep. Cyrille Abueg-Zaldivar, Palawan 3rd District Rep. Gil Acosta Jr., El Nido, Palawan Mayor Edna G. Lim, and other local and national officials.

The ports of San Fernando, Bataraza, and Borac are among the 424 completed seaport projects of the DOTr and PPA, under the massive "BUILD, BUILD, BUILD" infrastructure program of the Duterte administration.

“Ngayon ay magpasinaya tayo ng hindi isa, hindi dalawa, kundi tatlong Puerto, kasagutan sa pangarap ng Palawan. Kasama ang tatlong puerto na pinasisinayaan natin ngayon, sumatutal na puerto na ginawa ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon at ng PPA ay 19 ports ‘ho, ito yung nagawa na, kasama na rin ‘ho ang tatapusin. By any numbers, 19 is not small, it is not medium, it is big pagkat ang Palawan ay malapit sa puso ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte, ang Palawan ay malapit sa puso ng Duterte administration,” Secretary Tugade said.

“It took only the political will of President Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the cooperation of the local government to say enough is enough, let us put all our actions so that the dreams that we have will come true. And today, those dreams will have to be a reality because they will bring convenience and comfort not only to the people of Palawan but more importantly to the people of the Philippines and also to the people of the neighboring ASEAN,” Secretary Tugade added.

For his part, GM Santiago said that aside from the 13 completed out of the 19 seaport projects in Palawan, the agency also has four (4) more ongoing projects in the province.

“Dito sa Coron, bagamat nagawa na ang bagong pantalan dyan sa Borac, yung luma sa Coron town ay iimprove pa natin yan. Kailangang ayusin ang Port Operations Building dyan para mas maganda ang serbisyo ng PPA sa port users at kailangan continuously ina-upgrade ang ating mga pier, bugbog po talaga ang pantalan na yan sa dami ng biyahe. Dito naman po sa Aborlan ay kung papano mai-improve ang maliit na pantalan doon para makapag-silbi hindi lamang sa mga mangingisda kundi para masilbihan din ang mga deretsong kargamento as an alternate port po sa Southern Palawan other than Puerto Princesa,” GM Santiago said.

Meanwhile, Palawan Governor Alvarez commended Secretary Tugade and the PPA for the completion of the said port projects, which he noted as the government’s fulfillment of the ASEAN agreement for the enhancement of interconnectivity in the region.

“Kung walang political will mula sa isang Secretary [Secretary Tugade] na halos hindi na natutulog matapos lamang ang proyekto, hindi matatapos ang mga proyekto ni Pangulong Duterte,” Governor Alvarez said.

“Ang Palawan ay masyadong bantog sa Kota Kinabalu and the whole of Sabah, where we have 1.3 million Filipinos, sila po ay malayang pupunta rito sa Palawan pag konektado na tayo sa RORO,” the Governor added.

The completed projects at the Port of San Fernando include the construction of a Back-up Area with RORO (roll-on, roll-off) Ramp, a Causeway, and Access Road, as well as a reinforced concrete (RC) wharf with a RORO ramp.

Development works on the wharf, back-up area, and the port lighting system were meanwhile accomplished at the Port of Bataraza.

On the other hand, projects completed at the Borac Port include the development of its back-up area, construction of concrete pavement, as well as the supply and installation of lamp posts, rubber dock fenders, and mooring bollards

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day in Guiuan, Eastern Samar to mark the 500th anniversary

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The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will conduct a special program in line with the annual Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day on March 18 in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

This is to mark the 500th anniversary of the Philippine-Spanish Contact which happened in the said town exactly 500 years ago on the said date. This was made possible through the recorded compassion and generosity of our ancestors exhibited to the starving, undernourished, and scurvy-stricken Magellan-Elcano expedition, the first to circumnavigate the world. It also happened to be the documented contact of our ancestors and the Spaniards.

According to NHCP Chairperson and concurrent National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) Executive Director Rene Escalante, “Unfortunately, a lot of Filipinos, as well as foreign nationals, do not know this episode in the history of the first circumnavigation of the world.”

To commemorate the cordial contact, the NQC adopted Humanity as part of the theme of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (2021 QCP), the branding of the thirty-four major quincentennial milestones in Philippine history which include the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan and the 500th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines. The committee, created through the Executive Order No. 55 in 2018 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, collaborated with the NHCP in installing historical markers in 34 sites in the Visayas, Palawan, and Mindanao that were part of the route of the first circumnavigation of the world in 1519-1522.

“We are glad that today, we are marking that episode through this historical marker we are about to unveil,” Escalante noted. “This marker shall be a perpetual reminder to those who will visit this place of our heritage of compassion which we are known at.”

The Municipality of Guiuan and NQC will also host a solidarity night commemorating the contact on March 18 in front of the historic Guiuan Church.

The Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day is an annual observance every June 30 by virtue of Republic Act No. 9187. It commemorates the compassion extended by the young Philippine Republic under President Emilio Aguinaldo to the last Spanish soldiers who were left out inside the Baler Church from June 1898 to June 1899. The NQC notes that the Philippines and Spain forged friendship 500 years ago in Guiuan and both parted ways in Baler bannering the same. These two events are hoped to serve as inspiration and motivation for both countries to continue friendship.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Supreme Court of the Philippines Institutionalizes Videoconferencing Hearings to Ensure Continuation of Justice Throughout COVID-19 and Beyond

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170,000 virtual hearings enabled nationwide and digital proceedings resulted in successfully processing 81,000 persons through Microsoft technology

The Philippines’ justice system has taken a significant digital leap forward as the Supreme Court of the Philippines formally institutionalized videoconference proceedings for all its courts nationwide.

Utilizing Microsoft 365—a unified communication and collaboration platform with innovative Office web applications, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security—transparent proceedings and fair justice is becoming more available for more Filipinos at all levels of the justice system, even amid the ongoing community quarantine throughout the nation.

The Supreme Court recently approved the Guidelines on the Conduct of Videoconferencing, allowing remote appearances in court proceedings from individuals across and even outside the Philippines.

"On January 16, 2021, videoconferencing was formally institutionalized, and the guidelines and the conduct of video conferencing became effective. For the first time in its 119-year history, the Philippine judiciary has blazed a new trail by allowing remote testimony from parties situated in even in different parts of nation and the globe," said Honorable Jose Midas P. Marquez, Court Administrator of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

The Supreme Court chose Microsoft to be one of its key partners in their digital transformation journey and invested in Microsoft 365 because the solution is cost-efficient and ensures security and compliance. Moreover, it is interoperable with the judiciary's other projects, and Microsoft supported the necessary skilling for their IT team throughout the pandemic.

"We are privileged to work alongside the Supreme Court of the Philippines in this historic achievement where remote appearances from parties across and beyond the country are now part of court proceedings. The leaders of the national judiciary aspire to provide Filipinos with innovative and accessible citizen services, and we’re fully committed to empowering them with the right technology solutions to do so—today and in the future,” said Microsoft Philippines Public Sector Director Joanna Rodriguez.

During Microsoft’s recent "Asenso Pilipinas: Building Digital Resilience" Summit, Marquez shared how the Supreme Court of the Philippines embraced innovation to spark digital transformation throughout the 27,000 courts across the country under its jurisdiction.

"At present, all courts are authorized to conduct videoconferencing hearings bringing the total to 2,715 courts. I am pleased to note that from May 4, 2020, to January 8, 2021, while parts of the country are still on varying forms of a lockdown and with hardly any mentoring, almost 170,000 video conferencing hearings in both civil and criminal cases have already been conducted by our judges with a success rate of 80%."

According to Marquez, the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) at the onset of the pandemic brought challenges across all judicial levels.

In the early months of the pandemic, Community Quarantine and reported infections of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) with COVID-19 in different detention facilities restrained the movement and travel of PDLs, judges, and court personnel. At that time, Marquez said, the judiciary worked with a skeletal workforce and was mandated only to act and resolve matters filed before the courts electronically.

“This was as much as we could do as we did not have any official regulating platform to mount video conferencing hearings which was badly needed at that time”, Marquez Said.

The Supreme Court evaluated various tools in the market that will enable them to launch virtual court hearings immediately. After assessing the full spectrum and balance of Microsoft 365 with their security, privacy, and compliance requirements through collaborative workshops, the Supreme Court decided to avail the solution for a trial.

With the substantial capability to launch virtual hearings, the Honorable Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta issued Administrative Circular 37-2020 for the pilot testing of hearings of criminal cases through videoconferencing in select courts in cities nationwide on April 27, 2020.

In just over a week of the pilot testing, 4,683 PDLs were released, and after two months, 21,375 videoconferencing hearings were conducted by judges. As of October 2020, more than 81,000 PDLs and children in conflict with the law were released through virtual court hearings.

Moving forward, the judiciary is aware that there are still improvements to be made, and enabling more technology will allow the courts all over the country to be more efficient, effective, and responsive. “This should reduce, if not totally eliminate, the biases that could stall exponential technological developments to enhance and expedite the administration and dispensing of justice,” according to Marquez.

He added that with more people gaining access to the internet and accustomed to technology, virtual access to justice could be a reality in the country sooner than later.

New ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’ Director’s Cut Trailer Released Ahead of Asia Premiere

Wazzup Pilipinas?!

“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” will very soon make its highly-anticipated debut on our television screens. Filming for the show was completed in late 2020, and post-production is all but complete with the show ready for distribution.

The latest iteration of the iconic reality television series is set to air across Asia on Thursday, March 18, on AXN, the show’s official Asian broadcast partner, and on TV5 in the Philippines, followed by a global launch in June across broadcast and streaming platforms.

ONE Championship released a new “Director’s Cut” trailer over the weekend ahead of the series’ Asia premiere, where fans are treated to an exciting sneak peek into what is being called the “toughest” version of “The Apprentice” in history.

Lasting just under two minutes, the new trailer highlights bits and pieces of all the intense action and drama that transpired on the show’s inaugural season.

Not Your Grandfather’s Apprentice

“This is a competition where only the strong survive. This is not your grandfather’s Apprentice,” ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, the series’ showrunner, bares in the last few seconds of the trailer.

“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” invites 16 candidates hand-picked from around the world to participate in a series of business and physical challenges, as they compete for a US $250,000 job offer to work directly for Sityodtong as his protege in Singapore.

Because of the aforementioned physical challenges, which is a first on any Apprentice version, ONE believes they have the winning formula for the most exciting and dramatic reality show competition. From the looks of the trailer, the physical challenges were indeed very tough for the show’s competitors, in addition to the cutthroat boardroom sequences.

Of course, an Apprentice show would not be complete without its guest stars. Making an appearance on the trailer are ONE Championship athletes Brandon “The Truth” Vera and “Super” Sage Northcutt, who join other martial arts legends on the show. Also featured as guest stars are CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world, including Grab CEO Anthony Tan, Catcha Group CEO Patrick Grove, Zilingo CEO Ankiti Bose, Philippine cross border digital and e-commerce payment firm QuadX CEO Dino Araneta, and more.

Filmed entirely in Singapore, during the COVID-19 pandemic no less, “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” is a production marvel. The first season consists of 13 episodes and fans are definitely excited to finally see what it’s all about.

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