Mock elections in universities, not reflective of the country’s sentiments – political analysts

Maris Federez   •   April 30, 2019   •   1968

(file photo)

As far as several Metro Manila universities are concerned, majority of their students have already decided on who to vote for in the May 13 Midterm Elections.

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the youth had been a force to reckon with in the last Presidential election and that they still could make a big impact on the May 13 polls.

Based on Comelec data, one third (31%) of the voting population is comprised by the youth, and that the candidates are being wise enough to woo the Millennials for their votes.

In the mock elections held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila and Baguio this April, Liberal Party candidates took the lead, followed by several independent and administration candidates.

The mock election at PUP Manila, on the other hand, showed that an independent candidate took the lead followed by opposition and administration candidates.

Meanwhile, Atty. Larry Gadon’s campaign had been proven effective among the students in De La Salle University Dasmariñas.

The Liberal Party, on the other hand, led in mock elections held at the University of Santo Tomas, the Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of San Carlos in Cebu.

Political analyst Edmund Tayao, however, said the mock elections have no enough bearing on the real elections, and that there is a big difference on the results of the national surveys and the mock elections in universities.

“Kung hihimayin mo ang resulta in terms of segments and sector in society, consistent yan, walang problema. Pero yung sasabihin mo na magiging significant sya sa overall result eh hindi yan ang lumalabas kung ikukumpara sa national surveys [If you will scrutinize the results in terms of segments and sectors in society, they are consistent. But saying that they will be significant in the overall result, it’s not what the national surveys had been showing],” he added.

Several mock elections are still being lined up in various universities. Other political analysts, however, said that mock elections do not reflect the real sentiments of the whole nation. – Maris Federez (with reports from Mon Jocson)

OVP purchases P14-M worth of COVID-19 test kits developed by UP scientists

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 24, 2020

The office of Vice President (OVP) Leni Robredo has purchased P14 million worth of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits developed by the scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP).

In a statement, the OVP said the test kits will be delivered to hospitals certified as laboratories for COVID-19 testing. These include San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, V. Luna Hospital, and Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory.

The testing kits will help in conducting a total of 10,000 tests.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) previously said the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) and Philippine Genome Center aim to increase test kit production as well as increase COVID-19 testing capacity per day.

“With the deployment of the test kits, UP-NIH will increase its capacity to run more tests per day, as each unit of the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit can run 25 tests at once and provide results within two hours,” the DOST said in the statement.

Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center Dr. Raul Destura said there is 8,000 to 10,000 tests produced daily and they aim to increase it by 16,000 tests per day by May 1. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Meet Yani, UP Resilience Institute’s COVID chatbot

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 9, 2020

The University of the Philippines (UP) Resilience Institute has introduced a chatbot as a new addition to their UP coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic Response Team.

“Meet Yani, the newest AI member of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team! Yani, short for baYANIhan and named in honor of our heroes in the fight against COVID-19, is ready to help you find the information you need,” UP Media and Public Relations Office said in a statement.

According to the UP team, Yani can provide information about the government’s health, education, transportation, and economic policies.

Yani can also provide other information including where the nearest hospital is as well as link individuals to psychological and psychosocial support.

Yani is ready to chat, in English or Filipino, every time individuals visit https://endcov.ph/. –AAC

U.P. mulls university-wide distance learning amid coronavirus crisis

Marje Pelayo   •   March 10, 2020

University of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed a major challenge among schools and universities in the country.

To address possible learning setbacks due to COVID-19, the University of the Philippines (UP) is considering the use of an online platform as an alternative to classroom school setting.

UP Executive Vice President Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said they might ask all 54,000 students in all eight UP campuses across the country to defer coming to school until the end of the term in May should COVID-19 further spread.

Herbosa said distance learning is what schools in other virus-stricken countries are doing at this time of coronavirus outbreak such as in the United States, Singapore and South Korea.

“All their classes are now online. May program tapos nakikita ng teacher ang mga estudyante. Nagdi-discuss sila, nakakagawa sila ng project. Nagsa-submit sila by email pero nasa bahay sila, (They have a program and the teacher sees the students [online]. They have discussions, they do their projects, they submit through email even if they are at home),” he said.

Herbosa said they are currently collaborating with their colleagues from the UP Open University who have been conducting distance learning to students in different places even to overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

The Commission of Higher Education (CHED), meanwhile, said they are leaving it to the administrators of State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) if they would prefer online classes.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera noted, however, that not all SUCs are capable or have the facilities to conduct online classes.

“We leave that to the SUCs to decide. Not all SUCs have capability to do online learning. Some are already doing it even before the spread of the virus happened. Shifting from residential to online or mixed delivery system also requires a process from the academic council all the way to the board of regents,” De Vera said in a statement.

“CHED does not have the authority to mandate a shift in delivery of programs. SUCs do it through their Boards of Regents using CHED guidelines,” he concluded.

UP Open University has been offering online courses since 1995 and celebrated its 25 years of quality distance learning in February this year. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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