The Chainsmokers mark first music release in two years

The Chainsmokers mark first music release in two years with new single “High”

Its music video navigates through a world where love is always fleeting

Following a two-year break from touring and releasing music, and nearly being replaced by two new guys, Grammy® Award-winning and Billboard Chart topping artist/producer duo The Chainsmokers have returned to unveil their highly anticipated new single “High.”

The song, which was co-written and co-produced by Alex and Drew, launches a new musical era for the band and kicks off the journey towards their upcoming fourth full-length album. The song’s official music video has also premiered today and follows the guys to death-defying heights as Drew chases his unattainable significant other through several surreal scenarios, and showcases navigating through a world where love is always fleeting.

The duo has also said of the single, “The song perfectly captures the spirit of today’s relationships, the lengths we will go for someone we love, and the lies we tell ourselves to continue on unhappily. However, underlying these dark and often contentious lyrics is a production that feels celebratory because we all know at the end of the day, we never listen to advice, we do what feels best for ourselves and keep telling ourselves it will be different this time.”

Over the last few years, the band took their time to write and record their fourth album, while also focusing on philanthropy and other entrepreneurial endeavors such as their venture fund, Mantis, and their TV/Film production company, Kick The Habit.

The Chainsmokers’ “High” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music.


DepEd reports 80% of personnel vaccinated against COVID-19, assures continuous initiative for vaccination

February 4, 2022 – The Department of Education (DepEd) shared that four out of five or 80.25% of teaching and non-teaching personnel were already vaccinated against COVID-19 in the latest vaccination report from the field.

Based on the national summary of DepEd’s vaccination status, the number of vaccinated now stands at 779,002 out of 970,730 personnel from field offices and schools. It is 7.7% (70,990) higher than the reported figure last November 2021.

“We are thankful to our teachers and personnel for their overwhelming support to our vaccination efforts. Our shared goal to get protected against COVID-19 will help us fast track our safe return to our classrooms, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

DepEd–Region XII (SOCCSKSARGEN) recorded the highest percentage of vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel with 96.30%, followed by DepEd National Capital Region and CAR with 93.29% and 89.41% immunization status, respectively.

The report also showed that 156,299 DepEd personnel are already registered to their Local Government Unit (LGUs), while 49,152 are unregistered due to various reasons.

In addition, nearly nine out of 10 personnel are already fully vaccinated at the DepEd Central Office. On January 18, some 320 personnel from CO received booster shots in cooperation with Pasig City Health Office.

Meanwhile, the Department assures continuous coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), and local government units to roll out vaccines among DepEd personnel.

“As part of the whole-of-nation approach, we are closely coordinating with the government to ensure that vaccines are available for our personnel. It is part of our shared responsibility to ensure that our learners, families, and communities are safe from the threat of COVID-19,” Sec. Briones said.

Undersecretary for Administration and DepEd Task Force COVID-19 Chairperson Alain B. Del Pascua also reminded all field offices, schools, and personnel to report and update their vaccination status using the DepEd Mobile App, which can be downloaded in App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).

Self-reported vaccination data from the DepEd Mobile App can be accessed at


DepEd drives employability for SHS grads through Oplan TAWID Program

February 2, 2022— The Department of Education (DepEd), together with Microsoft and CloudSwyft, has launched Oplan TAWID (Technology-Assisted Work Immersion Delivery), a focused skilling program to provide critical skills development and increase the employability of graduating Senior High School (SHS) Students across the Philippines.

“This is a great opportunity for our SHS students so they can see what lies ahead of them and to see what awaits them. Partnerships like these emphasizes the impact we can make for our learners to support them not just in school but after they finished their studies,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

Oplan TAWID aims to enhance digital literacy of learners through various partners, strengthen soft skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, and increase employability by linking students to employers for relevant industry immersions.

“One of DepEd’s learning delivery objectives is to liberate students from poverty. To attain this objective, we integrate technical-vocational courses with work immersion as a curriculum track for Senior High School Students to bolster their credentials if they decide to work after graduating,” DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado M. San Antonio shared.

The program follows the successful nationwide implementation of the “Building an Impactful Resume and Online Professional Brand” program where DepEd learners were upskilled on online skilling platforms and over 1 million LinkedIn profiles were created. 

“Closing those skills gaps is a critical, shared responsibility of leaders from both public and private sectors to ensure inclusive access and future success, whether it be for the workers of today or the workforce of tomorrow. With the right tools and solutions, each and every Filipino student today can be catalysts of positive impact for our nation in the future,” Microsoft Philippines Human Resources Director Grace dela Cruz said.

The program will provide training courses on in-demand 21st-century skills, soft skills, digital literacy, and much more with industry partners CloudSwyft and Audentes Technologies.

Microsoft is also offering virtual training courses and certification exams towards becoming a Microsoft Office Specialist or taking the Cloud Fundamentals Training Path via Virtual labs powered by CloudSwyft.

“Hands-on, practical learning is critical to preparing students to thrive in post education employment. CloudSwyft is proud to support this landmark program by providing its virtual labs platform – allowing students to simulate real-world exercises using advanced, expensive software tools through a virtual environment accessible on any device, anytime, anywhere,” Dann Angelo De Guzman, CEO of CloudSwyft, said.

DepEd will also be partnering with organizations in the country from the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) and finance industries to immerse learners in working for an established company and gain strategic professional experience.

The pilot test of Oplan TAWID will run from November 2021 to March 2022 and will later expand to different regions of the country.


On the expansion phase of limited face-to-face classes

February 2, 2022 – Given the President’s approval of the recommendation for the progressive expansion of face-to-face classes, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones has authorized all regional directors to commence the progressive expansion phase of face-to-face classes for both public and private schools.

Pending the issuance of a Revised Joint Memorandum for the expansion phase, the main protocols and standards in the DepEd-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular 001, s. 2021 shall remain applicable as appropriate, with the following main parameters for inclusion:

1. Expansion schools have been validated as compliant with the standards of School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT)

2. Schools must be located in areas under alert levels 1 and 2 based on the periodic risk assessment by Department of Health

3. Schools may already include other grade levels based on the capacity of schools

4. Schools or Division must have secured the concurrence of the Local Chief Executive in the City or Municipality where the expansion school is located, and the schools must also have taken the proper coordination with their respective barangay officials.

5. Students participating in the face-to-face classes must have the written consent of their parents.

6. Schools are given flexibility in contact time for teaching and learning, provided that meals are not taken in school except during managed recess.

7. Only vaccinated teachers may participate in the face-to-face classes, and vaccinated learners shall be preferred.

Following the directive by Secretary Briones for Regions to conduct the readiness assessment in all schools during the pilot implementation period, the Regional Directors have submitted a list of 6,686 schools nationwide that have passed the SSAT, of which 6,586 are public schools and 100 are private schools. This list will progressively increase as the rest of the schools are able to address their respective SSAT gaps.

Based on the COVID Alert Levels for February 1 to 15, 2022 as issued under IATF Resolution No. 159-A date January 29, 2022, a total of 304 public schools are located in Alert Level 2 Areas, including: 118 schools in NCR cities; 12 in Batanes; 106 in Bulacan; 33 in Cavite; 21 in Rizal; 5 in Biliran, and 9 in Southern Leyte.

As of today, no face-to-face classes are ongoing because the schools are on their mid-year break for February 2-5 under SY 2021-2022 Calendar. The Academic Quarter 3 is set to start on February 7, but certain divisions may start on a later date following the class suspensions during the Omicron surge and on account of Typhoon Odette in certain affected areas.

During the joint Execom-Mancom meeting held on February 2, 2022, the Regional Directors with areas under Alert Level 2 reported varying commencement dates for their expansion phases, as follows:

NCR – The original 28 pilot schools will resume on February 9, while the expansion schools will progressively start their classes from February 9 onwards.

Region II (Cagayan Valley) – The 12 recommended schools in SDO Batanes (now under Alert Level 2) are ready to implement the expanded face-to-face classes. The SDO is also securing the concurrence of the Local Chief Executives where the 12 schools are strategically located. Should the LGUs approve the conduct, face-to-face classes in Batanes will start next week (February 7-11).

Region III (Central Luzon) – There are 106 schools in four SDOs of Bulacan that are ready to start face-to-face classes on February 21, 2022.

Region IV-A (CALABARZON) – A total of 57 schools from eight SDOs in the provinces of Rizal (21 schools) and Cavite (36 schools) (under Alert Level 2) are slated to participate in the expanded phase of the limited face-to-face classes. These schools have complied with the requirements of the SSAT and are now in the process of securing concurrence from the LGUs. Expanded face-to-face classes will start on February 14, in time for the start of the third quarter.

Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) – In Southern Leyte and Biliran City SDOs that are in Alert Level 2, three schools of SDO Southern Leyte will start classes on February 7 while Maasin City (seven schools) and Biliran City (6 schools) will kick off on February 14.

The rest of the Regions, as well as Divisions in the above Regions outside of those already under Alert Level 2, are continuing their preparations for the expanded phase of face-to-face classes in anticipation of improvement in the COVID Alert Level in their respective areas.


DTI looks forward to RCEP ratification

Amidst the busy schedule of the Senate this week and the need to urgently act on other important local bills, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez expressed optimism that the Senate will eventually concur on the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement when it resumes session this year.  

“There are just many equally important bills and legislative reforms to be done, and we are really grateful to our hardworking legislators in pushing for their realization, and these include the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act and the game changing Public Service Act which are major reforms in keeping our business climate more attractive to foreign investments,” Sec. Lopez said.  

With respect to the Senate concurrence on RCEP, Secretary Lopez emphasized that this a very important trade agreement and crucial in enhancing the conducive business environment in the country. “RCEP complements our ongoing legislative and economic reforms especially as it pertains to a wider market opportunity in RCEP for investors coming in,” the Trade Secretary added.  

“While we understand the concerns raised by the groups of farmers on the RCEP Agreement, we have assured them including the Senators that these are well addressed in the Agreement. We also understand that some Senators need more time to study fully the RCEP,” the trade chief explained.  

Secretary Lopez recognized that support to the agriculture sector must be further enhanced not only for them to be competitive in the global market but also in ensuring the country’s food security. This can now be further realized with the bigger budget for the Department of Agriculture, that is, committed to help the agriculture sector. He also stressed that our trade agreements complement our national programs including those in agriculture and sustainable development.   

“It is always a holistic approach, we cannot afford to just focus on certain sectors. Our goal is a strong economy not only for businesses and investors but for the general welfare. And that means, more investments, more production, more jobs, more opportunities, poverty reduction, and inclusive growth,” the Trade Secretary stressed.  

Given the period until the resumption of the session of the Senate, Senators will have ample time to see not only the value and importance of the RCEP agreement but also an opportunity to figure out how to align pending legislative agenda to further support local industries and producers.  

“Our participation in RCEP is a matter of time.  The Philippines could not afford to miss this. It would be devastating to stay out of the Agreement. It will be costly, and we will be missing a lot of opportunities. It sends a wrong signal to the international community, and this may impact the country’s effort in promoting competitiveness of our local industries as well as our ability to attract foreign direct investments, especially when compared with our ASEAN neighbors that are already part of the RCEP. This may also affect other international trade engagements we are pursuing,” added Secretary Lopez.  

Recently, business organizations, industry associations and foreign chambers joined the urgent call for the immediate Senate concurrence of RCEP noting its advantages not only for the Philippines but in the region. Most economists and trade experts are also one in saying that RCEP will be a catalyst for economic development especially in the post economic recovery efforts of the region. 


Philippine Stakeholders’ Venture into Digital Fashion in Japan

Chairperson of the Philippine Fashion Coalition (PFC) Carissa Cruz Evangelista met with the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and the Foreign Trade Service Corps Coordinating Office (FTSCCO) to discuss digital fashion and other emerging creative economy growth areas. PFC envisioned the alliance to center on international business models for benchmarking and use as strategic inputs to a roadmap establishing the physical, commercial and human resource infrastructure for digital fashion. The Coalition reached out to Special Trade Representative Dita Angara-Mathay, Commercial Counselor of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo for support in the operationalization of said plans. The Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Tokyo (PTIC-Tokyo) will serve as the group’s pilot overseas public sector partner in digital fashion industry development.  PTIC-Tokyo invited the Game Development Association of the Philippines (GDAP) and Animation Council of the Philippines Inc., (ACPI) to join the initiative.  

The Philippine Fashion Coalition (PFC) was established in 2020 to support an all-inclusive Philippine fashion industry in the areas of textiles, arts and craft; design; and creative services.  Last year, the Coalition presented advancing trends of global fashion to the legislative branch: hyper localization, sustainability and tech-celeration.  Hyperlocalization is grounded on the overarching principles of individuality and identity, brand mindset and targeted fulfillment of demands of future consumers. Sustainability tackles issues related to responsible capitalism. E-commerce, AI, data analytics, blockchain, metaverses and digital fashion serve as the main drivers of tech-celeration.   

In pursuit of industry objectives, PTIC-Tokyo organized three events in the last quarter of 2021. The first activity held last October 13, 2021 involved presentations by PFC, SIKAP and rejoinders from GDAP and ACPI to the ASEAN Japan Centre (AJC), on the collective vision of Philippine-Japan partnership for capacity building and business development in digital fashion. The second event was an AJC briefing on the general trends driving digital fashion in Japan. The third event held last November 16, 2021, was a firm-level briefing by Japanese digital fashion expert, Mr. Masami Odani, CEO of Avail Corporation. The webinar focused on the role of digital systems and data analysis in the reduction of production cost and present-day management systems.  Mr. Odani walked the group through Japan’s forays in digital fashion, starting with the sector’s historical evolution in Japan to its contemporary state of play. He underlined the philosophical perspective underpinning the fashion industry’s sustainability using the power of digitalization and innovation. The expert proceeded with a showcase of how software and digital tools optimized fit and cut of fabrics for apparel manufacturing and design and effectively illustrated the advantages and benefits of digital fashion software. All three events were attended by the officers and representatives of SIKAP, GDAP, ACPI, PFC, fashion school deans and leaders from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLSU-CSB), SOFA Design Institute in Luzon, Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U) in the Visayas, and the Philippine Women’s College, in Davao.  

DTI’s field Office in Japan Head Officer, Dita Angara-Mathay reported, “The lively exchange between Japanese presenters and Philippine participants during and after the events delved on the metaverse, the rise of a new breed of fashion designers and game developers, and how technology will the address present day limits of fashion while preserving traditional techniques of garment construction and design”. A quote from Richard Hobbs of Brand New Vision in a recent article best describes the emerging scenario. “What we have to do is create beautiful fashion and then convert it for gaming. I see gaming engines as a means to an end for fashion. Fashion doesn’t have to be part of the game, it could be using the tools the gaming industry created to create other experiences. People don’t necessarily want to wear a Balenciaga couture piece while they are running around shooting their friends. Gaming per se is one part, but gaming engines interconnected with really good avatars and really good fashion is where the future should be. We are at the very beginning of the discussion about the endless creative opportunities for designers and fashion professionals in the metaverse”.  

After the events, a few exciting initiatives are being explored. These include SIKAP and PFC plans to develop models for skins and accessories for avatars using the work of local designers and local brands. There are also discussions with a gaming and development stakeholders on a tripartite collaboration on the use of digital tools and dedicated softwares to optimize design, fit and fabric.  In Tokyo, DTI’s field office has touched base with service providers on the non-commercial use of patented software tools by facilities such as SOFA ISAT-U and Davao Fashion, for their respective capacity building programs.  

To further push the imminent intersection of gaming and fashion design sectors in the same market space,  PTIC-Tokyo who completed a year’s work on a development kit loan project to Philippine industry, STR Dita Angara-Mathay invited GDAP and PFC to come together in the formal and physical turnover of six development kits from one of the world’s most prestigious video game console developers in the Penthouse of the DTI International Building last January 31, 2022.  GDAP was represented by Chairperson Alvin Juban and President James Lo, while PFC was represented by Co-founders Carissa Cruz Evangelista and Jackie Aquino.  While thanking PTIC-Tokyo for its hard work on the development kit project, Alvin Juban said, “The development kits are very important in our organization’s pursuit to create better games for a bigger global market. These kits will allow us to expand our offerings from just mobile to consoles.”  

Carissa Cruz Evangelista added, “We are so grateful to DTI led by Secretary Ramon Lopez, PTIC-Tokyo, the ASEAN Japan Centre and the Philippine industry and academe groups that got together for this undertaking. We thank the Japanese companies that have shown interest in collaborating with our groups on opportunities for digital fashion and the creative economy. Our creative talents are our country’s greatest resource and need government’s full support. As the world learns, transacts, communicates, and evolves in the digital space, the Philippines must not be left behind. We need to move forward in finding our niche in emerging markets, especially those that will not only generate jobs and income but add to the prestige of our country”.  

James Lo, President of GDAP shared his thoughts on synergies between gaming and fashion design, “There are many avenues for various industries to be involved in the video game space, especially now, with the rise in prominence of eSports, cryptocurrency, and various metaverses. The space is no longer just for gamers anymore, it’s for everyone. This of course includes the fashion industry as fashion has always been a core feature in games as it establishes the visual identities of its characters. I expect to see more and more Filipino fashion and culture in Filipino-made games and beyond. The technology of today has made it easier for all types of creatives outside of the game industry, to not only bring their concepts and ideas to life in the digital space but to also profit from them. The gates to digital opportunities are wide open. All we need to do now is step through it”.  

The Philippine Fashion industry contributes 1.4% to the nation’s economy in terms of export. The Philippine animation and gaming industry revenue is projected to reach $123.6 million in 2022, (growing at 14% CAGR from 2016). The global animation market is projected to reach $381 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 12.1% from 2017 to 2025. The global gaming industry grew rapidly in 2020 and is on track to reach $219 billion by 2024.  

Globally, the creative economy accounts for just over 6.1% of global GDP, generating a revenue of $2.25 trillion annually. The digital fashion sector is a rising star in the creative economy. As Japan rises from its hiatus during covid, the Philippines may benefit from synergies between local stakeholders and global players such as Sega, Square Enix, Nintendo and Bandai Namco, as the Philippines has a plethora of creative talents in the fashion design, animation and the gaming space.  


IT-BPM sector urges Senate to ratify RCEP

MANILA, Philippines – The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) called on the Senate to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in a statement released Thursday, 27 January 2022. IBPAP represents over 332 member-companies and six partner associations engaged in the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and related sectors.  

According to Jack Madrid, president of IBPAP, “We believe that RCEP will increase external trade and spur more investments that create more livelihood and other business opportunities in the country.”  

He added that the stable regulatory environment provided by RCEP would improve the Philippines attractiveness to investors and accelerate the economy’s recovery, stressing that the country had the potential to be a manufacturing and services hub under the agreement.  

RCEP also promises seamless production networks among the members who will be tied to common standards, disciplines on intellectual property, rules of origin, customs process, e-commerce and competition policy. With stable and predictable rules, the Philippines could aspire to become a regional manufacturing and services hub, thereby creating much-needed domestic jobs. This framework will benefit the IT & Business Process Management Industry by making the country a more attractive investment destination and help expedite the economic recovery from the pandemic by creating more job opportunities,” he explained.  

The RCEP Agreement is an economic treaty brokered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member, and its dialogue partners – Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. It is estimated to be the largest trade bloc in the world, representing 30% of the global GDP.  

The RCEP Agreement was signed by the ministers of 10 ASEAN Member States and 5 dialogue partners last 15 November 2020. The Agreement took effect last 1 January 2022 for 10 Signatory States, for South Korea on 1 February 2022, and will be implemented by Malaysia on 18 March 2022.  

The Agreement was ratified by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last 02 September 2021, with the measure being deliberated in the Senate for concurrence.  

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