UP honored two UPLB projects in the 4th Gawad Pangulo: Award for Excellence in Public Service 2021 at a program held virtually on Dec. 16.
The UPLB projects are the “Establishment of the UPLB COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (CMDL) under Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19 (LB Kontra COVID-19)” with Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., as project leader and “UPLB OVCSA COVID-19 Initiatives or Lingap, Hatid, Kawingan, Kumustahan, Wellbeing Registry” led by Dr. Janette H. Malata-Silva, Jickerson P. Lado, Atty. Eleno O. Peralta, and Rocky T. Marcelino.
The Gawad Pangulo (presidential award) is given to initiatives that exemplify honor and excellence to enhance the University’s public service undertakings.
It aims to promote and encourage innovative practices of public service by the whole UP System.
This year’s awards theme is “Galing UP, Lingkod Bayan: Pagtugon sa Hamon ng Pandemya.”
As UP President Danilo L. Concepcion said in his congratulatory message given during the virtual program, this Gawad Pangulo is unique for addressing the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable sectors.
Pres. Concepcion commended and thanked the award recipients for embracing the University’s mandate to lead as a public service university.
Dr. Elena E. Pernia, vice president for public affairs of UP, explained the indicators that were used to measure excellence, namely: service orientation, impact on the community, innovation approach, and enhancement of teaching and learning.
The members of the board of judges who were introduced by Dr. Pernia at the program were Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr., Dr. Maria Luisa T. Camagay, and Dr. Ida Josephine ML. Siason.
Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. joined seven other chancellors of the UP System in commending the awardees of their respective constituent campus. A total of 15 projects were given the said award.
Setting up the CMDL
Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19 was composed of various UPLB offices that, among other activities, collaborated on the establishment of CMDL.
Foremost of these offices were the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, then led by Dr. Rex B. Demafelis, who supervised the technical details of the retrofitting of a BSL-2 laboratory into the CMDL, hiring of the staff and overseeing their training, and the certification of the CMDL as a subnational testing center for Laguna and nearby provinces.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development led by Dr. Marish S. Madlangbayan and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration led by Dr. Crisanto A. Dorado until Oct.31, 2021, were also instrumental in the retrofitting work and in mobilizing resources to establish the CMDL, respectively.
Playing an important role in the establishment of CMDL was the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs led by Dr. Serlie B. Jamias and the University Health Service (UHS), with Dr. Jessie Imelda Foronda-Walde, chair of the committee that establishment a COVID-19 testing center, and Dr. Myla Lourdes R. Avena, chair of the protocols committee.
Other committees also worked on other aspects of setting up the CMDL, which is led by Dr. Maria Genaleen Diaz, a faculty member at the Institute of Biological Sciences of the College of Arts and Sciences. Presently, CMDL has already tested around 50,000 individuals for COVID-19 infection.
Caring for the students
Lingap, Hatid, Kawingan, Kumustahan is a project that was based at the OVCSA, then a newly created office in early 2020 when the first quarantine period was implemented in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
OVCSA became a focal point for carrying out student care and repatriation under the leadership of Atty. Peralta, the former vice chancellor, and Marcelino, former assistant vice chancellor and officer-in-charge for student activities.
OVCSA was assisted by Zoilo Belano, head of the University Housing Office, which was then in-charge of the student dormitories before the establishment of the OVCSA. Belano continued to manage the student dormitories in the series of quarantine measures implemented early into the pandemic.
As of Nov. 1, 2020, Lingap, Hatid, Kawingan, Kumustahan has been under the care of Dr. Malata-Silva and Lado, vice chancellor and assistant vice chancellor, respectively.
Lingap, Hatid, Kawingan, Kumustahan took care of student repatriation and of providing food and other needs to students who were stranded in various housing facilities and dormitories inside and outside the UPLB campus.
Faculty members and staff were among those who volunteered to deliver food to the stranded students in an elaborate system that also included a “call center,” which saw to it that students’ food needs were provided in an efficient and timely manner.
The project also provided psychosocial support to students through tele-counseling, information, and a referral service. Guidance service specialists of OVCSA were at the core of this service provided by UPLB to the students.
The 4th Gawad Pangulo: Award for Excellence in Public Service 2021 was streamed on the Facebook Page of the UP Padayon Public Service Office. (Josephine M. Bo and Kyle Ramiel Dalangin)
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