The UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies‘ Program on Social and Political Change and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance present a new discussion paper titled “Constitutional Performance Assessment in the Time of a Pandemic: The 1987 Constitution and the Philippines’ COVID-19 Response.”

The good news: quarantine measures have managed to decrease local transmission and flatten the curve in Western Visayas. The bad news: a surge in imported cases in the region has led to testing backlogs and strained quarantine facilities. Given this, UP Visayas researchers and ThinkWell Philippines recommend more preparations for local transmission outbreaks in the LGUs, maintenance of minimum public health standards, and a review of the repatriation protocols in terms of testing, tracing and treatment.

Figure 9. Breakdown of daily cases in NCR by LGU. The high number of cases in NCR that are not attributed to an LGU (i.e. unknown city) is not within statistical error.

The surge in COVID-19 cases in the country point to a very significant community transmission in the country, especially in the NCR and Cebu City. Because of this, the UP-OCTA research team cautions against prematurely downgrading the quarantine status in high-risk areas, as well as increase testing, boost aggressive contact tracing, improve treatment and establish more quarantine and other isolation facilities.

The University of the Philippines has issued an open call for entries to the PAG-AALAY webXHIBITION & FESTIVAL, an online video festival that will showcase stories of everyday Filipino heroes. The festival welcomes entries from all, amateur or professional, Filipino filmmakers, multimedia creators, and artists whose works capture stories of resilience, inner strength, and humanity of Filipinos.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Pag-aalay sa Panahon ng Pandemya”. The Festival will accept video entries that honor, remember, and immortalize Filipinos whose stories of selfless acts amid the COVID-19 pandemic reflect our values of heroism (bayanihan) and selfless offering or oblation (pag-aalay).