BSP Dgte urges public to avoid washing bills, coins

By Roi Lomotan

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) – Financial Literacy Learning Center Manager Dr. Greg Baccay III (2nd from right) explaining the enhanced anti-counterfeit measures of the Philippine banknotes during a PIA-IATF-EID “Straight from the Source” Press Briefing held on Sept. 8, 2020 at the IATF Media Briefing Area, BOM Office, Capitol Area Dumaguete City. (KAT/PIA7-NegOr) 

 Officials from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Dumaguete City Branch discouraged the public from washing paper bills and coins as a method of disinfecting money, as this will destroy the integrity of the banknotes.

BSP-Dumaguete City Branch Acting Deputy Director Juliet Gadingan and BSP Financial Literacy Learning Center Manager Dr. Greg Baccay III reiterated this reminder from their central office during the PIA-IATF-EID “Straight from the Source” Press Briefing yesterday.

“We don’t encourage people to disinfect the notes because iyahang security features mawalaMa-mutilate ang notes. Since naa naman ang virus dire sa atoa and everyday ga-handle ta ug kwarta, we just observe health protocols kanang handwashing ug disinfecting hands with alcohol (We don’t encourage people to disinfect the bank notes because it destroys the security features. Aside from this, it is also a form of mutilation. Since there is a possibility that the virus could circulate and we touch money every day, our advice is to observe health protocols especially handwashing and disinfecting of hands with alcohol),” Gadigan stressed.

Baccay also warned the public that doing such things can be considered as violation of Presidential Decree 247.

“For example, atong pasiritan ug alcohol or labhan or bas-on ug tubig (if we spray alcohol or wash it), that will actually mutilate or damage sa atong kwarta (our money). Remember, that is made of cotton and abaca. That will actually absorb moisture or water content,” Baccay disclosed.

PD 247 mandates that it is unlawful to willfully deface, mutilate, tear, burn or destroy in any manner currency notes or coins issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Gadingan also cited an initial conclusion made by the European Central Bank when they conducted a test on transferability and virus survivability through touch transfer in banknotes, where it was reported that transmission of virus by touching money is low and the risk of virus transfer seems to be possible on the first hour.

Maba ra kaayo ang probability na ma-transfer ang virus from banknotes to finger. The survivability result show significantly lower virus levels on cash banknotes and coins compared to stainless steel materials and plastic. Mas taas gyud ang survivability sa virus sa mga stainless steel and plastic rather sa banknotes and coins (The probability of transmitting the virus from banknotes to finger contact is low. The survivability result show significantly lower virus levels on cash banknotes and coins compared to stainless steel materials and plastic. The survivability of virus in stainless steel and plastic is high compared to banknotes and coins),” Gadingan explained.

Paper bills that are dirty, unfit, or worn out can be exchanged for clean and fit notes in any bank. 

BSP assures that fit notes circulating in the community have undergone disinfection procedures by the agency. 

TVETs in NegOr embark on alternative learning methods

By Roi Lomotan

 

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TESDA-Negros Oriental Officer in Charge and Public Information Officer Beth Aimee Tubog (center) shares some of the agency’s COVID-19 support interventions during the PIA-IATFF-EID “Straight from the Source” Press Briefing held Aug. 25, 2020 at the IATF Media Briefing Area, BOM Office, Perdices Coliseum, Dumaguete City. (KAT/PIA7-NegOr)

Technical-Vocational Education Training (TVET) Institutions in Negros Oriental embark on alternative learning methods for tech-voc learners during this time of pandemic.

TESDA Negros Oriental Officer in Charge and Public Information Officer Beth Aimee Tubog disclosed that the agency has certified 24 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) suitable for flexible learning while the province remains under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status.

Tubog said flexible learning systems can be delivered online, distance or modular learning, and blended learning which can be a combination of online with face-to-face learning while the other one is modular or distance learning with face-to-face interaction.

The TESDA official explained that the face-to-face sessions can not be avoided especially in courses related to agriculture or in programs that require hands-on experience.

In line with this, TVIs must strictly comply with the safety guidelines set by the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 as per Resolution No. 47.

“The observance of 50 percent face-to-face. Dili sila tanan. Usually ang atong training mokabat ang atong mga trainees to maximum of 20. When they do face-to-face, by 10s ra ni sila in every area. Naa man tay laboratory, naa man ta lecture rooms so dili sila mag-uban tanan. They will observe permanent seating arrangement in the classroom for the contact tracing (They must observe 50 percent face-to-face. Usually, in our trainings, we gather a maximum of 20 persons. When they do face-to-face, it will now be by ten in every area. We have laboratory and lecture rooms so they will be separated. They will also observe permanent seating arrangements in the classroom for the contact tracing), said Tubog.

“Ato lantawon ang atong mga eskwelahan. We will visit the institution as to their physical set-up, health protocols, katong atoang mga requirement, mga sanitation, footbath, thermal scanner. They must have that present in their institution (We will also visit the institution and inspect their physical set-up, health protocols, sanitation, and other requirements such as the provision of footbath and thermal scanner. They must have that present in their institution),” Tubog added.

However, for courses such as center servicing, bookkeeping, and the like, TESDA hopes that as much as possible, lessons can be carried online for the safety and benefit of the learner.

Meanwhile, Metro Dumaguete College (MDC) President Dr. Delma Manila, who is also the president of the TVI association in Negros Oriental, noted that since March, TVIs have started preparing for alternative learning methods.

Citing MDC measures as an example, Manila said they initiated a survey for their learners asking them what method of learning they prefer.

She also shared that TVIs have developed a learning management system over the past months to improve the delivery of lessons during this pandemic.

She also commented that TVET sector in the province was not badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis, noting that TVIs have not expressed any intent to close while there is still COVID-19.

Manila also said TESDA did not cut off scholarship funds in schools which somehow helped TVIs cope with the negative effects of the pandemic.

So far, there are still some TVIs that have not been given yet the “go signal” to operate.

Tubog said TVIs should also seek the approval of their local government unit before they can proceed with their classes.

On the other hand, TESDA also extends additional cash incentives for their scholars as part of the COVID-19 support interventions.

Tubog announced that aside from the P160 daily training support fund and one-year GSIS insurance enrollment, scholars are also given P500 internet incentive and another P500 for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

DOST to deploy 20 RX Boxes in NegOr

By Roi Lomotan

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DOST Negros Oriental Provincial Director Atty. Gilbert Arbon (2nd from left) announcing the department’s plans to deploy 20 RX Boxes in Negros Oriental as part of their COVID-19 support interventions during the PIA-IATF-EID “Straight from the Source” Press Briefing held Aug. 18, 2020, at the IATF Media Briefing Area, Perdices Coliseum, Dumaguete City. (KAT/PIA7-NegOr)

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will deploy 20 units of RX Boxes in Negros Oriental as part of their COVID-19 support interventions.

DOST-Negros Oriental Provincial Director Atty. Gilbert Arbon explained that RX boxes are telehealth devices that can measure a patient’s temperature, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, heart rate, and electrocardiogram readings, and uterine construction, among others.

“Ang intention any originally was adto ni sa mga remote places na wala kaayong doctors but because of Covid-19 gi-repurpose ni siya and it’s now being deployed in selected hospitals. Some of these units will be deployed in our province (The intention of this was to originally deploy this in remote places where there are few doctors but because of COVID-19, this was repurposed and it’s now being deployed in selected hospitals. Some of the units will be deployed in our province),” Arbon said.

He added that since the device is remote-operated and attached to a computer, it will minimize the contact between the patient and the nurse or doctor, noting the latter can just monitor the patient’s vitals in a separate room.

A total of 100 units of Rx Boxes are expected to be deployed in Central Visayas and 20 of it will be distributed in Negros Oriental.

Arbon also announced that they have already endorsed some government hospitals in the province to be recipients of the Rx Boxes including the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital.

The DOST provincial director hopes the telehealth devices will arrive in September.

The RX boxes are product of DOST’s collaboration with the University of the Philippines-National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) in Manila, University of the Philippines-College of Engineering in Diliman Campus, Quezon City, and the Department of Health (DOH).

The department is also enhancing its Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER) as part of its COVID-19 support interventions.

Arbon said this is a web-based platform that could provide tools for modeling disease spreads in the country.

Through FASSTER, local officials can determine areas of a possible outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

“Gi-track ni siya then himuan ug scenario. It’s a simulation that could be used to determine (if an area can be) upgraded to General Community Quarantine or Enhanced Community Quarantine. Data analytics na siya. We will try to introduce this to Local Government Units pero murag busy pa ang LGUs karon (It tracks cases then it makes a scenario. It’s a simulation that could be used to determine if an area can be upgraded to GCQ or ECQ. We will try to introduce this to LGUs but I think they are still busy at the moment),” Arbon explained.

FASSTER is developed by Dr. Ma. Regina Justina Estuar of Ateneo de Manila University and her team in partnership with DOST-Health Research and Development (PCHRD).