On May 9, the Philippines will hold its 17th presidential and 16th vice presidential elections. These elections will decide the country’s future, and the voters have an enormous responsibility to choose a better life for all Filipinos. And to do this, voter education is the key.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Office of the Student Regent, in partnership with the UP Office of Student Development Services (OSDS), the UP Media and Public Relations Office (MPRO), and the UP National Service Training Program (NSTP), has launched “Hirang ng Bayan,” a comprehensive voters education program consisting of UP’s various initiatives to help educate its community and the general public in line with the upcoming 2022 elections.

The satellite facilities of the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center in Visayas and Mindanao are now capable of sequencing samples, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Tuesday.

In a statement, UP-PGC executive director Cynthia Saloma said the mutations of the virus remain unpredictable.

“We need genomic biosurveillance to help keep our health system ready for any possible new variants and to track the behavior of existing ones. PGC’s network in Luzon, and now Visayas and Mindanao supports this,” Saloma said.

The Sakunwari board game is one of the outputs of UPRI’s Woke4COVID Project.

Woke4COVID Project aims to raise awareness, enhance disaster risk management, and help Filipinos arrive at informed and science-based decisions in dealing with COVID-19 and other disaster risks through the development of information, education, advocacy and training materials in multiple media, and in different languages.

The UP Resilience Institute (UPRI) recently launched a board game called Sakunwari, a multi-lingual, tabletop and role-playing game set in a time of complex disasters, reflecting current issues we face today like climate change and the ongoing pandemic.

According to Dr. Kristoffer Berse, UP Associate Professor and UPRI’s director for Research and Creative Work, who led the development of the game, Sakunwari was developed as part of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team’s WOKE4COVID project.

Following the Typhoon, in Memorandum RAG 2021–53 dated December 20, 2021, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Philip Gonzalo asked concerned units across the UP System to reach out to affected students. These units advised students to file applications, especially those with no records in the Student Learning Assistance System (SLAS). The University will document students needing support and fast-track financial aid processing.

“In terms of projections, we hope na baka third week [of February] o sa March, bumaba ito (number of new COVID-19 cases). Hinihintay lang kasi natin ‘yong provinces,” said Jomar Rabajante of the University of the Philippines (UP) Pandemic Response Team.

(In terms of projections, we hope that by the third week of February or March, the number of new cases has decreased. We’re still waiting for the provinces.)

Rabajante said that currently, the bulk of new COVID-19 cases come from the provinces since the National Capital Region (NCR) is already in a “declining phase.”