Saturday, July 1, 2023

WITHIN A YEAR, ROBREDO’S ANGAT BUHAY SERVED 20.1k FAMILIES, 15.6K INDIVIDUALS “We are just getting started,” says the Foundation

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Angat Buhay Chairperson Atty. Leni Robredo leads the groundbreaking ceremony for a dormitory project at Central Bicol State University of Agriculture - Calabanga Campus last June.]

Angat Buhay Foundation, the non-governmental organization (NGO) founded and chaired by former Vice President Leni Robredo, has helped a total of 20,131 families and 15,636 individuals across 176 communities since it was established last July 1, 2022, according to a report released on Saturday during the foundation’s first-anniversary celebration.

“Nagsisimula pa lang tayo (We are just getting started),” said Raffy Magno, executive director of Angat Buhay.

From July last year to June 2023, Bayanihan e-Konsulta, the foundation’s flagship telemedicine program, assisted 7,706 unique patients with the help of 285 medical volunteers and at least a thousand non-medical volunteers. The program, originally for COVID-19 response, has expanded to mental health and other non-emergency medical issues as well.

At least 1,214 underweight and severely underweight children aged 6 to 59 months are also enrolled in the foundation’s nutrition program. The said program is present in seven (7) sites including Himamaylan in Negros Occidental and Maslog in Eastern Samar.

Angat Buhay also established 137 learning hubs nationwide to help non-readers and numeracy-challenged learners. Community learning hubs or CLH house equipment and learning tools for students, including trained teaching volunteers.

Learners go through a program that targets their skills in reading and math in specialized ‘Angat Basa’ and ‘Angat Bilang’ centers. In a year, at least 5,000 students have been enrolled in the program.

“Improving literacy and numeracy of Filipino students needs community-based involvement,” said Magno. “We enjoined the assistance of education experts and stakeholders in designing the modules, training, and evaluation system. In our monitoring, all hubs improve learners’ literacy while 95% of students improved in their numeracy from pre-test to post-test,” he also said.

Within a year, Angat Buhay also finished construction and turnover of dormitories in Infanta, Quezon and Camarines Norte and classrooms in Camarines Sur and Maasin, Iloilo.

More than 20,000 families affected by natural and man-made disasters from 93 displaced and affected communities were also given immediate relief and assistance and rehabilitation initiatives by the NGO since it was established.

Early this year, Angat Buhay also inked a deal to establish a disaster preparedness and response center to train volunteers for disaster response and serve as a headquarters for the foundation’s relief efforts.

In August last year, Robredo launched the Angat Bayanihan, a volunteer network that aims to empower people’s organizations and help them give back to their respective communities. Since then, Angat Bayanihan has mobilized 188 grassroots organizations and 13,705 individual volunteers, according to the foundation. The said network has conducted community kitchens, medical missions, and relief distribution, among others.

“Angat Buhay is now a movement, and we are sending a message to millions of Filipinos that they are not alone in demanding meaningful participation,” said Magno. “Ang Angat Buhay ay pagpapatupad ng adhikain ng bawat Pilipinong may tiwala sa kanyang sarili at sa kapangyarihan ng bayanihan (Angat Buhay embodies the aspiration of the Filipino who has faith in oneself and in the power of volunteerism),” Magno concluded. #

Friday, June 30, 2023

Pinoy archaeologist helps rewrite human history in Southeast Asia

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New findings from a cave in northern Laos add to a growing body of evidence that modern humans arrived in Southeast Asia over 80,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought. The groundbreaking findings were recently published in the prestigious journal, Nature.

Filipino geoarchaeologist Vito Hernandez (second from right, with camera) with his fellow researchers in Tam Pà Ling in northern Laos. (PHOTO CREDIT: Macquarie University / Kira Westaway)

Analyses of fossils and sediments from Tam Pà Ling (“Cave of Monkeys” in Lao) by an international team of scientists—including a Filipino researcher formerly from the University of the Philippines (UP) and currently at the Flinders University Microarchaeology Laboratory in South Australia—has pushed back the time when we know our species, Homo sapiens, was present in Mainland Southeast Asia.

The newly-discovered fossils provide unmistakable evidence of the presence of modern humans in northern Laos as far back as 86,000 years ago. This is almost 20,000 years older than most of the evidence from sites so far studied in Southeast Asia and adds further confirmation of a pre-60,000-year-old dispersal of modern humans into East Asia.

“This discovery is helping us better understand the distribution of our direct ancestors at a time when we know other populations of humans, now extinct, existed,” said Vito Hernandez, the Filipino geoarchaeologist who is part of the team that published these recent findings from Tam Pà Ling.

This research in northern Laos, including a previous discovery of now-extinct humans known as Denisovans present between 164,000 and 131,000 years ago in Tam Ngu Hao 2 (“Cobra Cave”) located in the same mountain as Tam Pà Ling strongly suggests that this part of Southeast Asia is an early human dispersal route. “This proves that our human ancestors also traveled along forests and river valleys apart from following islands and coastlines as they moved eastward to Australia, where they are controversially thought to have migrated as early as 65,000 years ago,” Hernandez explained.

“Analyses of the fossils in Tam Pà Ling suggest that these early modern humans were part of an immigrant population, but whether their genetic line successfully survives in current populations is yet to be determined,” he added.

Initially, fossils from Tam Pà Ling were hard to date, resulting in skepticism about previously-presented evidence from the cave. This led the geochronology and geoarchaeology specialists of the team to strategically apply their techniques to ascertain how the dated sediments relate to the fossils, and determine a precise age for both.

“The dating and the quality of fossil preservation is important as we’ve seen from research led by scientists like Professor Armand Mijares at the UP School of Archaeology, but as we’ve also seen from our research and other human evolutionary research like in Denisova cave in Russia, a very close collaboration between the Earth and Human sciences is necessary if we are to achieve a more complete picture of how humans evolved and settled into different parts of the world,” he elaborated.

Hernandez was formerly part of the UP Archaeological Studies Program, now the UP School of Archaeology, where he obtained his Master of Science and taught undergraduate classes in Archaeology. He was also part of the Science and Society Program of the UP Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS), where he managed classes in Science, Technology and Society. “I hope to return after my research work in Australia and contribute to making our science serve Philippine society,” he concluded.


Freidline, S. E., Westaway, K. E., Joannes-Boyau, R., Duringer, P., Ponche, J.-L., Morley, M. W., Hernandez, V. C., McAllister-Hayward, M. S., McColl, H., Zanolli, C., Gunz, P., Bergmann, I., Sichanthongtip, P., Sihanam, D., Boualaphane, S., Luangkhoth, T., Souksavatdy, V., Dosseto, A., Boesch, Q., … Demeter, F. (2023). Early presence of Homo sapiens in Southeast Asia by 86–68 kyr at Tam Pà Ling, Northern Laos. Nature Communications, 14(1).

UPD-CS embarks on joint int’l study to fight snail-borne disease in PHL villages

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The University of the Philippines - Diliman College of Science’s Institute of Biology (UPD-CS IB) recently entered into an international research collaboration to fight a parasitic snail-borne tropical disease that affects millions of Filipinos across the country.

UPD-CS Dean Dr. Giovanni Tapang (seated, second from left) is joined by (seated, L-R) UPD-CS IB Director Dr. Ian Kendrich Fontanilla, CWRC Deputy Chief Engineer Guiya Chen, CWRC-CRSI Vice President Shiming Yao, UPD-CS IB Assistant Professor Dr. Ian Kim Tabios, and UPD-CS IB Assistant Professor Dr. Lerrie Ann Ipulan-Colet (standing, rightmost) at a courtesy call by CWRC-CRSI researchers last June 26. (PHOTO CREDIT: Dr. Ian Kim Tabios)

The UPD-CS IB has partnered with the Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute (CRSI) of China’s Changjiang Water Resources Commission (CWRC) on a joint project entitled, “Construction and Demonstration of Water Conservancy Combined with Schistosomiasis Control (WCCSC) in ASEAN Countries,” with support from the Asian Cooperation Fund.

Schistosomiasis is an often-neglected tropical disease that greatly impacts many agricultural villages in the Philippines, particularly poor and marginalized communities. In 2019 alone, it was reported that the disease affected some 12 million people across the country. The joint project aims to demonstrate the impact of water conservancy technology on the control of the snail vector of schistosomiasis in selected endemic villages in Leyte. The team will provide training to local health workers and engineers in the principles and applications of WCCSC.

Asian Video Industry is Set for Greater Growth as Opportunities Abound Beyond Traditional TV

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From mobile to streaming, CTV to FAST and gaming to e-commerce, diversification is the key to success in the expansive region.

Singapore, June 27, 2023 - (ACN Newswire) - The Asia Video Summit marked a successful return to Hong Kong, with almost 300 delegates attending the conference in person and virtually.

Hosted by the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), the Summit conversations centred around the key themes of "The Making of Korea and the Model for Who's Next?", "Video at the Crossroads", "Technology Taking Over", "The State of Video 2023" and "The Advance of Advertising", with a special opening session to set the stage, led by Henry Tan, Special Advisor, Astro, & Chairman, Astro Awani and Vivek Couto, Executive Director, Media Partners Asia with Louis Boswell, CEO, AVIA.

While recognising there are many important and challenging issues evolving in the industry, the mood was upbeat across the two-day summit. The conversation with Couto and Tan touched upon much of this and while recognising the importance of advertising on premium video which was growing, Tan also added that there was no better business than long term subscription, even if for now the mantra of streaming companies was to give the consumer full flexibility.

Discussing how Korea had generated such success in "How The Wave Was Launched", Peter Choe, CEO, Blintn said that the Korean "export mindset" had been a key factor while Hyun Park, Producer and Advisor, Studio Dragon, said that Korean writers were very good at changing their style of storytelling to capture the market. However, the most important was to understand what the consumer wants, and that's what Korea has become so good at, added Jeeyoung Lee, GM, Korea, Warner Bros. Discovery.

This focus on content continued with local experts on Chinese and Thai entertainment. In both markets, a good ecosystem of support and incentives was welcomed to nurture local talent. Cooperation within the region could possibly push growth across Asian markets, said Desmond Chan, Deputy GM, Legal and International Operations, TVB. There was particular optimism around the prospects for Thai content, and while recognizing this, Prof. Pirongrong Ramasoota, Commissioner, The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Thailand, stressed the importance of "light-touch governance" to allow "industry players to be more creative and innovative with their content."

The topic of monetization was also widely debated over the two days of the Summit. Gaming and e-commerce were seen as additional touchpoints and opportunities for cross-pollination with video to grow the consumer base. Ivy Wong, CEO, VS Media, shared that one-click purchase and seamless integration was what made e-commerce so successful in China, compared to other regions where consumers will have to go through several clicks to make the purchase. For William Wong, Head of Solutions Engineering, HK, Akamai Technologies, the key takeaway was not to focus on a single platform, but to diversify to capture different markets.

With the shift from linear to digital advertising, the time for CTV (Connected TV) could be upon us as "CTV is here to stay and will continue to grow. Dollars follow eyeballs. . . premium content with quality will earn more credible trust for our brands," opined Douglas Choy, GM of Inventory Development, The Trade Desk. Gavin Buxton, MD Asia, Magnite, added that collaboration was key in terms of cross measurement to take CTV onwards, with audience and ad experience being the key driver behind that.

Louis Boswell, CEO, AVIA, presented highlights from a recent commissioned research[1] that measured the impact of advertising in a premium OTT environment versus mass streaming video environments (UGC / video sharing services) including (1) consumers felt that premium OTT was higher quality (58% OTT vs 36% mass) and commanded higher attention than mass streaming video environments (49% OTT vs 35% mass); and (2) both product recall (10% uplift) and brand recall (12% uplift) were significantly higher for the same ads when shown in a premium environment.

Closing off the Summit with a positive outlook, Alexandre Muller, MD APAC, TV5MONDE, said that Asia was where there were growth and opportunities for the video industry. "There are definitely challenges but people are excited because we are looking for solutions," said Roger Tong, CEO, AsiaSat. "The bright spot is the diversity that we are seeing. . . There is so much diversity that it allows us to be more creative and if we maintain our creativity in solving the problems, then we will be able to perform better," concluded Tong.

The Asia Video Summit is proudly supported by Lead Sponsor Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Gold Sponsors BytePlus, InvestHK, INVIDI, Irdeto, Warner Brother Discovery and Silver Sponsors AsiaSat, Broadpeak, Endeavor Streaming, FashionTV, France24, Lightning, Magnite, MEASAT, Nagra, Paramount, Publica.

About the Asia Video Industry Association

The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) is the trade association for the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific. It serves to make the video industry stronger and healthier through promoting the common interests of its members. AVIA is the interlocutor for the industry with governments across the region, leads the fight against video piracy through its Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and provides insight into the video industry through reports and conferences aimed to support a vibrant video industry.

How To Maintain The Potency Of E-Juice In Summer?

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As summer approaches, e-juices owners may start worrying about the effects that warmer temperatures can cause on their stored batches of diy ejuice kit. High temperatures can break down many of an e-liquid's components—including flavors and nicotine potency— making it taste different or become less potent than when originally purchased. But fear not! You can keep your e-juice flavorful and powerful all summer with a few simple tips. In this blog post, we guide you through 6 essential steps for maintaining the strength and flavor of your liquid during the hot months ahead.

6 Ways To Maintain The Potency Of E-Juice In Summer

1. Store It In A Cool, Dark Place Away From Direct Sunlight

To keep e-juice fresh and potent during the hotter months, it's crucial to store it correctly. One of the most important things to remember is always to keep it away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can affect the flavor and potency of e-juice and make it less enjoyable to vape.

Instead, store it in a cool, dark place like a pantry, cupboard, or drawer. Keeping it away from heat sources, such as ovens or stovetops, can also help maintain its taste and quality. Following these simple steps ensures that your e-juice stays fresh longer and delivers an enjoyable vaping experience.

2. Keep It Away From High Temperatures And Humidity

If you want to keep your e-juice in top condition over the summer months, one simple tip to remember is to store it away from high temperatures and humidity. While it can be tempting to keep your e-juice in the sun or near a heat source, exposure to these elements can quickly cause your e-juice to lose potency and spoil, leading to a less enjoyable vaping experience.

Avoiding these conditions and storing your e-juice in a cool and dry place can help ensure that it retains its potency and flavor and stays fresh for as long as possible. So whether you're a casual vaper or a serious enthusiast, keeping your e-juice out of the heat this summer is a simple yet essential step for the best vaping experience.

3. Seal The Bottles Tightly To Prevent Exposure To Air

As the heat of summer settles in, it’s important to take extra precautions to protect your e-juice. One of the most important ways to do this is by sealing the bottles tightly to prevent exposure to air.

E-juice is notorious for being sensitive to external factors like heat and air, which can reduce its potency over time. Sealing the bottles tightly can help maintain their freshness and flavor, making your vaping experience even more enjoyable.

When you’re done using your e-juice for the day, cap the bottle tightly and store it away from excessive heat to keep it in optimal condition. By taking simple steps like these, you can enjoy your e-juice all summer long without any decrease in potency.

4. Use Amber-Colored Glass Bottles

When it comes to vaping, a key factor in enjoying your experience is maintaining the potency of your e-juice. During the summer months, the heat can negatively impact the quality of your e-juice and potentially diminish its flavor.

That's where using amber-colored glass bottles comes into play. These bottles offer a simple solution to protect your e-juice from the harmful UV rays that can break down the ingredients. Amber glass effectively blocks out light and provides an extra layer of insulation. By storing your e-juice in an amber-colored glass bottle, you can ensure its potency throughout summer.

5. Consider Refrigerating It For Longer Shelf Life

As the heat of summer sets in, it's important to be aware of its impact on your e-juice. High temperatures can cause your e-juice to lose potency, creating an unpleasant vaping experience. One way to help maintain the quality of your e-juice is to refrigerate it.

Storing your e-juice in the fridge can help to extend its shelf life and prevent loss of flavor. Keep your e-juice in an airtight container and avoid exposure to sunlight and high temperatures. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that you have a refreshing and enjoyable vaping experience all summer long.

6. Avoid Leaving It In Your Car Or Other Hot Environments

E-juice is a popular substance used in electronic cigarettes. However, did you know e-juice can lose its potency in hot environments? In the summer months, keeping your e-juice in a cool and dry place is important to avoid any unnecessary degradation.

One common mistake is to leave e-juice in a hot car which can cause the flavors to fade and turn stale. Additionally, direct sunlight can also damage the ingredients and reduce potency. It's best to be cautious and store e-juice in a cool room or dark container to maintain freshness. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your e-juice stays at its best and provides a satisfying vaping experience.

Why Is It Crucial To Maintain The Potency Of Your E-Juice In The Summer?

During the summer months, keeping your e-juice at peak potency is essential. As temperatures soar, the consistency and flavor profile of your e-liquid can be compromised if it is not stored properly.

E-juice comprises a delicate balance of ingredients, including vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, which can begin to separate or oxidize when exposed to heat. This can impact the flavor and overall vaping experience.

To maintain the potency of your e-juice in the summer, store it in a cool, dark place and avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or high temperatures. By taking these precautions, you can ensure a consistently enjoyable vaping experience throughout the summer months.


Bottom Line

To protect your e-juice from the effects of heat and ensure that the liquid's flavor and quality remain intact, you can take a few simple steps. First, keep it out of direct sunlight whenever possible. Secondly, store it in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Thirdly, if you’re carrying your e-liquid outdoors, keep it insulated or wrapped in thermally protective material. And finally, don’t leave it unattended in the car on hot days. Combining all these safeguards will ensure your e-juice maintains its potency throughout summer’s hottest months and beyond.

Spanish LGTBI+ animation shorts at Instituto Cervantes

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

DURING the month of July, Instituto Cervantes’ Vimeo channel will host the short-film series Zinegoak, featuring eight animation LGTBI+ stories by various Basque filmmakers. This film cycle presents personal stories, reflections, and testimonies that deal with gender identity, homosexual love and transsexuality, focusing on an underrepresented genre in cinema.

The series will kick off on July 5 & 6, with the screening of the 8-minute animation film Azaletik azalera, released in 2021 by Mel Arranz. A multi-awarded short film, the work manages to materialize bodily intimacy, through detailed shots of the touching of skins, something hardly representable in real image cinema. The short film will be available for 48 hours through this link: The film series will continue on July 8 & 9, with La mesa (Adrian García Gomez, 2019), a short film that challenges the representation of men, love and masculinity, which can be accessed at

The second week of the cycle will feature Beti bezperako koplak (2016), another short film directed by various filmmakers that denounces male violence and abuse against women. Available for viewing on July 12 & 13 through On July 15 & 16 directors Paco Ramirez and Tanya O’Carroll will present their short film Thara (2018). The documentary, which depicts the life and difficulties of a Honduran transsexual woman, can be watched at

In the third week, on July 19 & 20, the animated documentary Dejarse crecer el cuerpo (2022) by Andrea Gudiño will be presented. It consists of six real testimonies of people with different, non binary gender identities and is an interesting approach to the different ways of conceiving identity and the relationship with one’s own body and love. It can be viewed at Following this film is Ezohikoak (2022, Alejandra Bueno) a film about the roles of women in Basque culture, which on July 22 & 23 will be shown at

On the last week of the film cycle, on July 26-27, catch Garelako (2015, Usue Egia), which is a call for freedom to all to define themselves and feel as each and everyone wants. It will be accessible at Lastly, the animated documentary Makun (2015, Emilio Martí), which depicts the harsh reality of detention centers for foreigners who left their countries to be themselves, will conclude the film cycle on July 29-30, and will be available at

The movies, presented by Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with Zinegoak Film festival, will be in Spanish or Basque with English subtitles. Admission is free. For further information and updates on this film series, please check out Instituto Cervantes’ Facebook site ( or the event page:

For further information about the cultural program of Instituto Cervantes please visit Instituto Cervantes’ website (, or Instituto Cervantes Facebook page

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Why Is AI Important and How Is It Used?

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AI is part of our daily lives. Businesses use AI as it provides faster and more efficient services, but how does it affect our lives? Read on to find out!
AI Technology and Reasons Why People Use It Explained

AI technology refers to any program that overwrites itself. Almost everything we use on the internet, even casinos like vulkanvegas.сom, uses artificial intelligence. There are many reasons why people use it—and by people, we mean the operators of the software program. We will discuss these reasons to fully understand why AI is a necessity and not just a fad.

Fast and Efficient

Computers are fast and efficient; there is no doubt about that. Artificial intelligence, with its capacity to think and overwrite itself, can make faster decisions.

If you use YouTube, you must know by now that there is no human being who decides what should be on your feed. The same goes for Facebook or TikTok. It is the AI that thinks about what is appropriate for you to view or what channels and videos you may be interested in.

Its speed, compared to humans, is unmatched, and it can process things so quickly. If you use a human to process things manually, they will take so much time and effort, which would be highly inefficient.

In addition to speed and efficiency, AI is also highly accurate. It is why many companies that use statistical models now rely on the technology to solve statistical problems. Surely, there is still a human element to how these machines work, but then their roles are pretty much relegated to managing big data and programming the AI.

Analysis of Data

Many people use AI to analyze data, and they want it to analyze data so quickly that they can make decisions at a fast speed. Artificial intelligence can analyze tonnes of information and uncover patterns in mere seconds. From here, the technology decides what to do.

Going back to the YouTube example, the AI processes what you typed on the YouTube search box and then presents videos to you later on — videos related to what you searched for.

This technology also takes into account other things you do online. It is why ads follow you no matter where you go. Many websites use what we call a pixel or a tag. These are codes inside a website that fire instructions to the AI about what you do.

Let us say you visited an online store, and that online store has a Facebook Pixel. That pixel knows that you visited that online store. That pixel also knows that you have a Facebook account. The following morning, you log in to your FB account and see an ad for that specific store. How did that store “follow” you to your website?

The store’s pixel notified Facebook’s AI that you visited the website. It knows that you have a Facebook account. Since you visited that website, Facebook naturally “thinks” that you are interested in the product.

If it so happens that the website has an ongoing ad with Facebook, FB Artificial intelligence knows that you visited that website. As such, it would show you the ad for that company. As you can see, the AI analyzed a pattern of your behavior so efficiently and also acted on it.

Business Reasons

People use AI for business reasons. Here are some common examples:

● Targeting Efforts – retailers use it to tailor their targeting efforts in relation to their marketing campaigns.

● Research – you can use AI programs to search for almost anything. For example, there are machines that scrape data from all Shopify stores. This will show you data about which products sell the most.

● SEO – Artificial intelligence machines can also analyze what drives traffic to websites. As a blogger or website owner, you can use them to tell you how to improve your search engine optimization efforts.

In a broad overview, here are some more reasons why businesses use AI:

● Efficiency in productivity;

● Speed and accuracy of conducting business;

● Expansion and scaling of a business;

● Improved monitoring of stats.

Businesses also use this technology to gain a competitive advantage. Today, some machines can draw, write, rewrite, and even create storylines and scripts for YouTubers.

AI can also help customers in so many ways. Today, it is not uncommon for customers to speak with chatbots. These chatbots use AI programs to operate. While they do not really speak the way humans do, they can navigate the knowledge base of a company and offer a particular solution to a customer.

If Artificial intelligence cannot find an answer to the customer’s inquiries, only then will this technology transfer the customer to a real human being for customer support.

Artificial Intelligence is getting better and better as days go by. Even car manufacturers now use to develop self-driving cars.

It takes a village and a lot of effort to build technology like this. Although people say that AI is dangerous, we are confident that folks who develop these systems know what they are doing. It was created by the smartest minds for all of us to make our lives easier and some processes more optimized.

7-Eleven invites Filipinos for a ‘grocery day’ with over 300 items in their anniversary sale

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Convenience store giant 7-Eleven Philippines marks another anniversary with a giving-back treat to customers this 7-Eleven Day. Happening on July 7 to 11, the 24-hour, five-day birthday sale is dubbed as the brand’s biggest bash, with discounts of up to 50% across over 300 item categories plus limited-time deals on its in-house eats like Crunch Time Chicken, City Cafe, 7-Fresh Siopao, and Big Bite Hotdog.

As 7-Eleven continues to lead the industry in store footprint, meal innovations, and service enhancements, 7-Eleven Day is another effort to show gratitude to its customers who continue to flock to the brand’s thousands of neighborhood stores. What’s more, 7-Eleven is positioning this year’s celebration as a ‘grocery day’ for the public with big discounts and deals available for pantry essentials and personal care items.

Pantry favorites that will be on sale include soft drinks, noodles, sweets, biscuits, chips, bread, and even alcoholic beverages. The same discounts and deals also apply to personal care products such as popular toothpaste, lotion, and soap brands, making the five-day event the perfect time to save and stock up for Filipinos.

Apart from the price markdowns on its grocery items, 7-Eleven is also slashing off prices from its in-house food classics.. Every order of one-piece Crunch Time Chicken will be sold at P10 off from July 6 to 11; City Cafe and Prima coffee selections in small cups are at P20 off on Jul 11; all variants of Big Bite Hotdog will only ring at the till for P23 on July 11; and the different flavors of the 7-Fresh Siopao – pancit crab, adobo, asado, and bola-bola – will have P6 discount on July 11 as well.

Rallying around the theme of customers “deserving” this special treat – 7-Eleven pulls all the stops to make this sulit sale event possible as it celebrates another year of being Filipinos’ convenience store favorite

Troop to the nearest 7-Eleven store nationwide from July 7 to 11 to avail of the sale items. To allow more people to enjoy the discounts, a quantity limit for each sale item per customer will be strictly implemented. Sale items per day may vary per store. For more information and updates, visit 7-Eleven’s website and social media pages.

Like us on 7-Eleven Philippines Facebook, follow @711ph on Instagram, and @711philippines on Twitter for more information.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Top 7 Best Rakhi Gift Ideas to India: Send Rakhi from USA and Experience Hassle-free Delivery

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Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, is a joyous festival that celebrates the bond between siblings. It is a time to express love, affection, and gratitude towards one another. If you are residing in the USA and want to send a Rakhi gift to your sibling in India, we have curated a list of the top 7 Rakhi gift ideas that can be easily send rakhi to india from usa. With the convenience of online Rakhi delivery services, you can make this Rakhi celebration memorable and special for your sibling in India.

1. Traditional Rakhi Sets: Embrace the Essence of Tradition

Traditional Rakhi sets are a classic choice for Raksha Bandhan. These sets typically include a beautifully designed Rakhi for your brother and a Lumba Rakhi for your sister-in-law. Along with the Rakhis, traditional sets often include roli and chawal, which are essential for the traditional Rakhi tying ceremony.

2. Personalized Rakhi Gifts: Add a Personal Touch

Personalized Rakhi gifts are a wonderful way to show your sibling how much you care. Consider personalized photo frames, custom-made mugs, engraved keychains, or personalized jewelry. These thoughtful gifts with personalized messages or names will make the Rakhi celebration even more special and memorable.

3. Sweet Treats and Hampers: Indulge in Delicious Delights

No Rakhi celebration is complete without sweets and treats. Send a hamper of mouthwatering Indian sweets like ladoos, barfis, or rasgullas to your sibling in India. You can also opt for a combination of sweets and dry fruits for a wholesome and delectable treat.

4. Gift Cards and Vouchers: Let Them Choose

If you are unsure about your sibling's preferences, gift cards and vouchers are a great option. They allow your sibling to choose their own gift according to their taste and preferences. Opt for popular online shopping platforms or specific brand vouchers to give them the freedom to select something they truly desire.

5. Fashion and Accessories: Enhance Their Style

Surprise your sibling with fashionable accessories that complement their style. Consider trendy watches, stylish bracelets, designer handbags, or elegant scarves. Choose accessories that align with their personality and preferences to make them feel special on Rakhi.

6. Personal Care and Wellness Products: Pamper Them with Care

Gift your sibling a luxurious personal care and wellness hamper to help them relax and rejuvenate. Consider spa kits, skincare sets, aromatherapy products, or fitness accessories. These gifts show that you care about their well-being and want them to indulge in self-care.

7. Online Rakhi Delivery Combos: All-in-One Joy

Simplify your Rakhi gifting process with online Rakhi delivery combos. These combos typically include a beautifully designed Rakhi along with sweets, chocolates, or small gifts. Opt for a combo that suits your sibling's preferences, and they will receive a complete Rakhi celebration experience in one package.


Sending Rakhi to India from the USA has never been easier with the convenience of online Rakhi delivery services. The top 7 Rakhi gift ideas mentioned above provide a range of options to express your love and make this Rakhi celebration unforgettable for your sibling in India. Whether you choose traditional Rakhi sets, personalized gifts, sweet treats, or fashionable accessories, your thoughtful gesture will undoubtedly bring joy and strengthen the bond of siblinghood. With hassle-free Rakhi delivery in India, distance is no longer a barrier to celebrate this special festival with your loved ones.

31st Grand AdClash partners with TechLife: Redefining lifestyle through ‘Smarter Ways’

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The Grand AdClash, an esteemed culminating competition organized by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines - Department of Advertising and Public Relations (PUP-DAPR), is gearing up for its highly anticipated 31st edition. After years of virtual activities, the event is making a triumphant return with a physical implementation on July 19, 2023, at SM Manila. Dubbed "Smarter Ways: Tech Solutions for Everyday Life," the 31st Grand AdClash aims to revolutionize the lifestyle through user-friendly home technology. In collaboration with TechLife, the event promises an exciting convergence of creativity, brilliance, and innovation.

The Ultimate Challenge

Senior students from PUP Bachelor in Advertising and Public Relations (BAPR) are at the forefront of the Grand AdClash. With their creative and strategic prowess, they will develop comprehensive integrated marketing communications (IMC) campaigns for TechLife. This year’s challenge will test their ability to address the brand’s real-time obstacles, centering on brand awareness, brand recall, and intense market competition. Four teams, fueled by their four-year residency in the program, have undergone rigorous groundworks in preparation for the approaching clash of brilliance.

Conquering the Missions

To claim the victory, the competing teams must excel in various missions. One of their key missions is to create a 360° IMC campaign that shall augment TechLife's overall awareness and product portfolio among the target audience. Moreover, the mission also necessitates the development of innovative strategies that would drive awareness, consideration, and conversion, while seamlessly integrating call-to-action (CTA) across the brand's social media and e-commerce channels. By executing these missions with precision, the teams will gain a competitive edge and increase their chances of reigning in this year's clash of brilliance.

Allies in Advancement

The 31st Grand AdClash has garnered support from an impressive lineup of sponsors and partners. SUNNIES Studios and SUNNIES Face headline as major brand sponsors, alongside esteemed names, such as Mister Potato, Everything But Cheese (EBC), Perfumo Scents, The Brewed Buddies, and NutriAsia. Media partners including IKOT.PH, Edge TV Philippines, Wazzup Pilipinas, Manila Bulletin, LionhearTV, SparkUp, Explained PH, Green Giant FM, The Philippine Star, and PressONE.PH are also in support by amplifying the event's reach.

Collaboration extends beyond sponsors and media partners. Academic and interest organizations within and beyond PUP, such as the Advertising and Public Relations Organization of Students (ADPROS), the PUP College of Accountancy and Finance Student Council (PUP-CAF SC), Bulacan State University Advertising Guild, Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM, PUP College of Communication Student Council (PUP-COC SC), DZMC - Young Communicators’ Guild, and PUP Journalism Guild, have enthusiastically joined this pursuit. Additionally, partnerships with Mapua Radio Cardinal, The Communicator, Laurel Publication - Bulacan State University Sarmiento Campus, P1NTIG, S1DLAK, and UniDOS are present in this grand endeavor by further enhancing the event's impact.

To keep in track with the latest happenings, follow Grand AdClash on social media.

#ADaptBeyondLimits #31stGrandAdClash

SSS, Burgos LGU inks MOA for the creation of “SSS E-Center sa Barangay”

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The Social Security System (SSS) and the local government unit (LGU) here inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the creation of SSS E-Centers in its 14 Barangays.

SSS Alaminos Branch Head Arch. Jose Alvin M. Altre expressed his gratitude to Burgos LGU for supporting the “SSS E-Center sa Barangay” Program.

“Most SSS transactions are already available online. However, we know that a large percentage of our population is having difficulty using digital platforms and are forced to visit the SSS branch office or engage with fixers. With the E-Center sa Barangay Program, we can bring SSS services closer to the Barangay level. They can go straight to the barangay hall since IT resources are readily available for them to access various SSS digital platforms,” Altre said.

As the father of Burgos LGU, Mayor Jesster Allan B. Valenzuela is delighted with the benefits his constituents will receive from the program.

“It is a big help to our citizens, especially those who reside from far places. They usually travel to SSS Alaminos just to inquire or ask for help from the branch personnel since they do not know how to file their claims online. With this program, I believe it will be more convenient and faster to complete their transaction with the help of our focal point person who SSS will train on the various SSS online transactions,” Valenzuela said.

Under the MOA, the SSS shall conduct orientations, training, and hands-on tutorials to the assigned LGU personnel and concerned barangays to man and supervise the operations of the E-Centers. SSS shall likewise provide timely and relevant feedback or updates on referrals and queries from representatives of partner offices.

On the other hand, the participating LGU and barangays are expected to create an E-Center within their Barangays with necessary IT logistics manned by competent personnel.

SSS online services available at the E-Centers are the application for Social Security (SS) Number; registration to the My.SSS Portal thru the SSS Website; access to member’s membership records; update contact details; enroll disbursement account through members’ Disbursement Account Enrollment Module (DAEM); apply for salary loan and ConsoLoan, if with past due short-term member loans. Further, filing of various benefit claims such as sickness and maternity benefits for self-employed and voluntary members; and filing of retirement, funeral, disability, and death claims are also available thru the members’ My.SSS account.

Monday, June 26, 2023

PARKonversations Live! "Pag-aaruga sa Luma: Safeguarding Our Built Heritage”

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Calling all architects, heritage workers, students, educators, and anyone interested! We invite everyone to attend the FREE seminar on Built Heritage Conservation, in celebration of the 452nd founding anniversary of Manila.

This PARKonversations Live! session titled "Pag-aaruga sa Luma: Safeguarding Our Built Heritage” will be held at Paco Park on 27 June 2023 (Tuesday), 2:30 p.m. Our guest speaker is Mr. Jeffrey “Foom” D. Cobilla, a conservation architect. He has been with Escuela Taller for 13 years where he helped manage its projects and activities such as the conservation of Malate Church, San Pablo Cathedral, Maintenance of Fort Santiago Front Wall, Paco Park, and skills development and short course programs, to name a few. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Architecture at the same institution, specializing in the conservation of architectural heritage.

Join us as we learn how we can actively safeguard and promote the nation's cultural heritage! See you in Paco Park!

*Participants who will join the seminar and answer the evaluation form will receive a certificate.

DepEd maintains ISO Certification for Quality Management Systems

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The Department of Education (DepEd), under the leadership of the Vice President of the Philippines and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte, has maintained its ISO Certification for Quality Management Systems (QMS) during the Surveillance Audit on its National QMS Pilot Offices performed earlier this month.

The Surveillance Audit was conducted on June 6-7 to determine if the established QMS of DepEd pilot offices was implemented, maintained, and sustained for continual improvement.

The TÜV NORD, being one of the world’s largest Inspection, Certification & Testing organizations, conducted the surveillance audit, has yielded no nonconformities for the DepEd NQMS Pilot Offices, namely, Central Office (CO), Regional Office (RO) IV-A CALABARZON, Schools Division Office (SDO) of Biñan City, Biñan Elementary School (BES), and Biñan Integrated National High School (BINHS).

The surveillance was for the ISO 9001:2015 Certification received by the Department in 2022 for its NQMS Pilot Offices that certifies the improvement of systems and processes and consistency in delivering quality services of DepEd.

For this year, Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Michael Wesley T. Poa led the Executive Committee in the audit for Top Management, together with the Quality Management Representative Undersecretary Gloria Jumamil-Mercado.

Undersecretaries Annalyn Sevilla, Revsee Escobedo, Nolasco Mempin and Omar Romero, and Assistant Secretaries Alma Torio, G.H. Ambat, Dexter Galban and Noel Baluyan were also in attendance as the agency’s representatives for Top Management.

Meanwhile, the pilot offices in RO IV-A (CALABARZON) were led by Regional Director Atty. Alberto Escobarte, Division Superintendent Manuela Tolentino (SDO Biñan), and School Heads Ms. Pilar De Castro and Mr. Oliver Caliwag (Biñan Elementary School and Biñan Integrated National High School).

Be a better LGBTQIA+ ally

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An 'ally' is a person who is associated with another as a helper. An ally can be a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity or struggle. An ally is also someone with privilege who stands up for the fair and equal treatment of others. In recent years, the term has been adopted specifically to a person supporting one or more marginalized groups.

As decent human beings, we can help advocate for the rights of others and create a positive change in society. Being an ally of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and more) community, you are capable of inspiring long-term change.

Allies are crucial in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment since the LGBTQIA+ community is not a majority of the population or workplaces. They can’t do it alone.

It’s important to remember that being an LGBTQIA+ ally shouldn’t stop once Pride Month is over because the fight for acceptance and equality continues. Despite the progress made toward LGBTQIA+ rights in the Philippines, challenges remain. It’s time to take steps to become a better ally. 

To show one's pride, here are things you can do to become a better LGBTQIA+ ally:

1. Question Your Own Biases
It takes time to overcome deeply rooted beliefs. Be willing to challenge societal norms and the heteronormative lens through where we see the world. Reflect on yourself and challenge your own opinions. You can develop a more inclusive attitude by consciously addressing your biases and stereotypes around gender and sexuality.

2. Be Informed
Understanding LGBTQIA+ terms, challenges, and history is crucial for you to be a successful ally. Recognize the many struggles and experiences endured by the community. Recognize that everyone's journey is different and that members of LGBTQIA+ have no responsibility to educate others.

3. Promote Diversity
In both personal and professional settings, promote diversity. Speak up if you witness opinions or behaviors that are homophobic or transphobic. Give your support to LGBTQIA+ artists, companies, and entrepreneurs. You contribute to a more inclusive society by establishing environments where everyone feels appreciated and respected.

4. Fight Discrimination by Speaking Out
Defend against discriminatory behaviors in businesses, public places, and schools. Be a proactive bystander. If you see an individual being subjected to discrimination or harassment, safely intervene, assist, and report cases as needed. By taking action, you firmly state that these kinds of behavior won't be tolerated.

5. Support LGBTQIA+ Rights
A powerful tool for change is advocacy. Encourage the groups promoting LGBTQIA+ rights in the Philippines. Share their experiences and stories on social media to strengthen their voices.

You may help end ignorance, which results in problems and actions that negatively impact the everyday lives and livelihoods of LGBTQIA+ individuals, by becoming an ally and demonstrating your support for them.

Let's continue the journey beyond Pride Month by collaborating to create a future in which LGBTQIA+ individuals may live genuinely and succeed without worrying about discrimination. 

Philippines yet to feel impact of lower capitalisation for foreign retailers

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Law setting minimal required investment may attract not the big retailers but small and medium-scale foreign businesses.

Over a year since the Philippine government enacted the law to lower the minimum investment for foreign retailers to enter the local market, the domestic retail sector has experienced minimal transformation.

Rather than witnessing an influx of new players, it is the established foreign retailers already present in the country that continue to pursue expansion, albeit after facing delays caused by the pandemic.

Under the amendment, foreign retailers now only need around $446,000 (P25m) of investments, down from the previous $2.5m requirement. If the foreign retailer has more than one physical store, each store must have a minimum investment of $178,000 (P10m). They are also required to maintain a paid-up capital of $446,000 (P25m).

Interestingly, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Chairman Paul Santos said this current floor amount for investing in the retail market “will invite not the big foreign retailers that the law presumably wanted to invite into the country.”

Interviewed by Retail Asia, Santos explained that foreign retailers are not too concerned about capitalisation requirements as they are with incentives and the economic environment that would allow their business to grow.

So, what is there to expect with the minimal capitalisation in force? “It would make the Philippines now attractive to small and medium-scale foreign retailers who may want to do business in the Philippines competing with Philippine small and medium-scale enterprises,” Santos said.

More insights from the PRA chairman on the trends for retail operations in the Philippines and the challenges of the sector were shared in this interview:

How has the Philippine retail sector performed in 2022?

Reports would suggest that 2022 retail sales performance was definitely a lot better than 2021 and 2020, mainly because movement restrictions were progressively lifted and people suddenly had the opportunity to go out again to their favourite shopping malls. But anecdotal evidence would suggest that the 2022 business is still lower than the pre-pandemic 2019 figures. But there seems to be some more reason to be hopeful because household spending was recorded to increase anywhere from 5.1% to 5.5% over the previous year. Moving on to 2023, they have reasons to be optimistic for better sales performance, and in the years ahead.

Can you name the significant changes in consumer behaviour in the country that shaped retailers’ operations?

The greatest shift in 2022 and earlier is that consumers are far more relaxed and far more accepting of e-commerce. Beginning in 2020, people had no other means to go out and shop except try e-commerce. As the years went on, consumers wanted to find ways or were looking for ways or looking for retailers who combine the ease of e-commerce with in-store shopping. In-store retailers should adopt e-commerce practices in their physical store businesses as well. It’s a cliche when people say omnichannel, but this is the direction that Philippine retailers are being dragged into.

What are the emerging trends among strategies employed by retailers in their businesses?

A lot of the changes occurred among retailers. A lot of it occurred in the back office. Prior to 2020, many retailers have been adopting more technological solutions to make their back-office operations more efficient. Now, with the pandemic and the lockdown occurring immediately thereafter, there was a need to make these processes available everywhere outside of their offices. The greatest change amongst retailers, apart from the increasing pace of automation in the back office, is the adoption of cloud solutions to transfer as many of these processes to the cloud as possible. Of course, there are some processes that can’t be moved to the cloud like warehousing logistics, stocking the stores, displaying stores, displaying in the stores themselves dealing with customers. But whatever could be moved to the cloud, our retailers did so.

In 2021, the Philippine Government passed a law that amended the Retail Trade Liberalisation Act of 2000 to ease the requirements for foreign retailers to enter the domestic market. How has this changed the retail landscape in the Philippines?

On the change, it has not yet, actually happened. What we’re seeing would be existing foreign retailers already doing business in the Philippines expanding their presence. But according to my knowledge, this has already been planned long before the epidemic but was just postponed.

The PRA has always held that investment in Philippine retailing is not just about liberalizing the market. A lot of it has to do with economic motivations. For example, before a foreign retailer would be putting up investment in the Philippines in terms of direct market operations, it would want to see for itself if the Philippine retail economy and the Philippine consumers could support or buy the goods and services that it is trying to sell. So liberalisation in and of itself, is not a guarantee that businesses would invest in the Philippine market.

That being said, when the Philippine economy started to improve, beginning in 2010, you started to see a lot of foreign you see started to see more and more foreign retailers entering the Philippine market simply because looking at the Philippines as a track record, it made sense to do so. According to testimony delivered by a government office, when they inquired about the potential of foreign businesses doing retail business in the Philippines, a lot of the respondents said the original limit set by the retail trade liberalisation law was no barrier to them doing business in the Philippines. What they were more concerned about were other issues that other foreign investors raised with this office like infrastructure, energy costs, the rule of law, the ability to repatriate profits at will and so on.

For example, in Thailand, they have the equivalent retail trade restrictions on foreigners. Notwithstanding this barrier, you still see a lot of foreign retailers doing business in Thailand because of its higher GDP compared to the Philippines. On that score alone, foreigners still decide to do business in Thailand, because simply put, they think they can make money because the market can obviously afford what they’re selling.

How can local brands stay competitive amidst the entry of foreign businesses?

Well, I think for domestic businesses, one advantage they have is that they are already doing business in the Philippines. They are presumed to be more familiar with Philippine tastes and quirks, if you will. So they have that advantage of being a first mover of being already in place when these foreign guys come forward and do their business in the Philippines.

Foreign businesses also have the advantage of confidence to operate beyond their comfort zones. They’re prepared to do so. They have their own skill sets that they think will allow them to compete in a foreign environment because of the brands they represent or the brands that they own. They have brand values and brand attributes that the target market wants. If the domestic retailer or brand is not attuned to the tastes, wants, likes and dislikes of their market, they will succumb to competitive pressure.

What’s your outlook for the Philippine retail industry?

Retail growth is assured, I think in the near to medium term because of this population growth. Some are saying that 2023 probably will be the year where their annual retail sales will be equal to or more than in 2019. The only clouds that we see on the horizon are basically inflation and political and economic uncertainties brought about by the war in Ukraine. We’ve seen supply chain disruptions during the pandemic and even after, so retailers are being more flexible and more resilient in the way that they source their goods from overseas or from domestic manufacturers.

All of us thought, coming into 2023, that inflation would have been short-lived. Inflation doesn’t seem to be letting up. Wages aren’t going up yet because the government is afraid that if wages are increased, especially with a statutory minimum wage, that will simply stoke inflation even further. The tools that the government has at its disposal to clamp down on retail inflation is short of a government decree compelling businesses to keep their prices at a certain level. I don’t think they have that many tools left to persuade businesses not to increase prices because of their own inflationary pressures.

At the same time, because of the prevalence of e-commerce in the country, retailers are now taking that cliche omnichannel more seriously than ever before. It’s the Holy Grail of retail operations. That would be the trend moving forward in 2023 onwards, to be able to compete not only with their fellow domestic businesses but also with foreign competitors as well. Philippine retailers will need to adopt more and more omnichannel techniques in order to compete effectively this year and in the years beyond.

DepEd highlights learner socio-emotional support directions in first 2023 Research O’Clock episode

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The Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the agency’s directions and initiatives to strengthen learner socio-emotional support in the first episode of Research O’clock last Tuesday, June 13.

“All of these efforts are intended to help make our learners more resilient, make them understand their mental health needs, and hopefully make them advocates for socio-emotional well-being amongst themselves and champions of such advocacy within their schools and their community,” Assistant Secretary for Operations Dr. Dexter Galban said.

ASec. Galban noted the Department’s efforts in recognizing socio-emotional skills as an integral part of learning and recovery, such as the Career Guidance Program (CGP), National Drug Education Program (NDEP), Barkada Kontra Droga, Oplan Kalusugan (OK) sa DepEd, and Health Learning Institutions (HLI).

While focusing on learning recovery activities, Galban also revealed the endeavors of DepEd in reviving the After School Sports Program; leveraging the Parents-Teachers’ Association; expanding the Barkada Kontra Droga Plus initiative, Building and Strengthening new and existing partnerships, and the Mental Health Program for the holistic development of the learners.

Meanwhile, Dr. Helen Maasin, a researcher from El Salvador City, Region X (Northern Mindanao), shared her study on Project Digi-SEL or Digital Media as a Tool for Social Emotional Learning Opportunities which addresses the national result of the least mastered skills in Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP), namely, concern for others and information, media, and technology.

On the other hand, Dr. Ronnel King, an associate professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, recommended creating socio-emotional learning (SEL) programs which include having explicit SEL instruction, SEL integrated with academic instruction, youth voice and engagement, supportive school, and classroom climates, and focus on adult SEL, among others.

The Research O'Clock 2023: Improving Basic Education Through Research will air six episodes in June, July, August, September, October, and November 2023.

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