Taguig City pilots virtual graduation rites through student-made robots

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) – Haven’t thought of a way to send off Batch 2020? Well, Taguig City has found a way through its “cyber-graduation” rites without sacrificing safety of its residents amid community quarantine.

The city held its first virtual graduation on Friday for the 179 graduates of Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano Memorial Science and Technology High School (SRCCMSTHS). The ceremony made use of toga-wearing robots that were made by the school’s Taguig Robotics Team. The team developed four remote-controlled robots made from recycled materials.

Live videos of the graduates were projected on the robots’ heads as their names were called for their diplomas. The high school graduates watched the ceremony from home through Facebook Live.

Officials from the City Government, the Department of Education, and SRCCMSTHS attended the rites, who also made sure they followed safety measures like wearing masks and social distancing.

Separate rites will be conducted for about 17,000 other graduates from the city’s 24 public elementary schools and 12 other public high schools, which will also make use of the robots.

“We know how deeply symbolic a graduation ceremony is for graduates and their parents,” Mayor Lino Cayetano said in a statement.

“This is why we came up with a program that can help them celebrate their accomplishment while respecting health standards and policies during the COVID-19 community quarantines,” he noted.

Meanwhile, cash incentives will also be distributed to 16,923 graduates from the city government as support for their families during this time of community quarantine.

Under the program, 12,931 Grade 6 graduates will receive ₱1,000 each, while 3,276 Grade 12 graduates will receive ₱1,500 each.

Those who showed academic excellence will continue receiving incentives given to them in the past school years.

As for top 1 students in 24 public elementary schools and 12 public high schools, they will each receive ₱15,000. Those who came in second will each receive ₱12,500 each. The remaining students in the top 10 will each receive ₱5,000 for those in Grade 6 while ₱7,500 for those in Grade 12.

Separate incentives will also be given for those students who topped their section. About 269 Grade 6 students will receive ₱2,500 each, while 77 Grade 12 students will each have ₱5,000.

Taguig City is one of the cities in Metro Manila that was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine starting mid-May and is expected to end by May 31 assuming COVID-19 cases do not spike again.

Cases in the city reached 378 as of May 21, data from the Health Department showed. Of these, 15 died, while 105 recovered.