Today's Top Stories

  • NPA torch houses, church in Opol, Misamis Oriental

    NPA torch houses, church in Opol, Misamis Oriental

    CAMP OSITO D. BAHIAN, Malaybalay City--Unidentified armed men believed members of the communist New People Army (NPA) set ablaze four houses and a church in the hinterland village of Opol, Misamis Oriental early Thursday morning. Capt. Rene Belmonte, Jr., the spokesperson of the army’s 403rd Brigade, said that the armed men were reportedly enraged when the villagers refused to extend food to them. He said that a village folk reported that the armed men were laughing and shouting: “Mabuhay ang NPA” (Long live, NPA) while fleeing from the area to an unknown direction. Belmonte identified the victim-owners of the houses as Edward Villarias, Ronny Tingkang, Edmar Burlat and Avelinon Sambulay, all village residents of Limonda, Opol, Misamis Oriental. He said that the church building belonged to the “Born Again Christian,” a religious sect. Municipal town Mayor Maximino B Seno, of Opol, condemned the atrocities and pledge to extend assistance to the Limonda victims. Belmonte said that a certain alias “Decoy,” of Guerilla Front 12, Sub Regional Committee 5 (SRC5), North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), reportedly heads the group. The group operates in the boundaries of Bukidnon, West Misamis Oriental and Iligan City, Belmonte said. On May 22, 2020, the group also attacked and killed an innoncent civilian in the village of Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon and engaged the pursuing government troopers in a brief firefight. Col. Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Brigade Commander, ordered a hot pursuit operation against the communist insurgents in a bid to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    May 28, 2020

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  • 57 stranded OFWs return home to Misamis Oriental

    57 stranded OFWs return home to Misamis Oriental

    MISAMIS Oriental--The provincial government of Misamis Oriental extended assistance to 57 returning Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW) who arrived here a few days ago after being lockdown in Manila in 40-day. Provincial governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano said that the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management extended the necessary protocol in the prevention of the COVID-19 virus to the returning OFWs. He said that 35 OFWs or Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) arrived on a “sweeper flight” in May 25 while 22 other OFWs arrived in the port of Cagayan de Oro on a “sweeper trip” May 26. The OFWs were escorted to the Barangay Isolation Unit in their respective towns where they will undergo a 14-day quarantine period under the supervision of the inter-agency task force, Dr. Jerie Calingasan, head of the provincial task force, said. An OFW identified only as “Teresa” said that she is relieved and happy to be home after a month of uncertainty while being on a lockdown in Manila. “I never would care being quarantined for as long as I am near my family unlike being caught in a lockdown with a mixture of fear, anxiety and psychological stress being away from the family,” Teresa said.

    May 28, 2020

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Mindanao Daily News

Ford Launches the New Everest Sport

May 25, 2020

Motoring

By: , Ford Philippines recently held the digital launch of the new Ford Everest Sport as it continues to expand its SUV portfolio with the addition of a new variant in its Ford Everest line-up. The new Everest Sport features an enhanced design and a host of driver-assist technologies that will help widen the appeal of the Ford Everest among customers who appreciate the vehicle’s versatility, safety, and capability. “The new Everest Sport supports the Everest’s position as one of the safest and most capable SUVs in the market today,” shares PK Umashankar, managing director, Ford Philippines. “We are confident that the new Ford Everest Sport will set another standard for mid-size SUVs in the market with its design and technology that match various needs and lifestyles.” The new Everest Sport is powered by a 2.0L Turbo Diesel Engine which offers 180PS of power and 420Nm of torque and is matched with Ford’s latest 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift™ – helping to deliver better acceleration, fuel efficiency, and smoothness across on-road and off-road environments.  The latest Everest variant is a standout on the road with unique black body exterior accents such as a new mesh grille design, an embossed EVEREST hood badge at the front, gloss black painted wheels and exterior mirrors on the side, black tailgate applique in the rear and a‘SPORT’ decal on the liftgate. LED projector headlamps, daytime running lights and 20-inch alloy wheels also come standard in the new Everest Sport. Inside its spacious cabin, the new Everest Sport features a unique blue stitching accent around the steering wheel, dashboard, seats, center, console, and door trims delivering a sporty premium feel. Adding value to the Sport is a standard leather seat with 8-way power driver seat function, smart keyless entry with push button start, and a power liftgate with hands-freefunction. For entertainment and connectivity, it is equipped with an 8-inch LCD Touchscreen, Sync® 3with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Connectivity, two USB ports, and 10 speakers.  The new Everest Sport also boasts of segment-leading features for optimal driver comfort, convenience, and safety which include Cruise Control, Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS), Rear View Camera, Rear Parking Sensors, and Electronic Stability Control with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Roll StabilityControl. Adding to all these are seven (7) airbags including side, curtain, and driver knee airbags. The new Everest Sport is available at a starting retail price of P1,868,000 and will be available in all Ford dealerships nationwide starting May 22, 2020. Customers who will reserve the new Everest Sport on or before May 31, 2020 will get a free 3-year scheduled service plan. It comes in four (4) colors: Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, and Deep Crystal Blue, a new color variant available to the Ford Everest and is exclusive to the new Everest Sport. Ford also introduced new feature upgrades to its Everest Titanium series to make the driving experience safer and more convenient for its customers. The Everest 2.0L Bi-Turbo Titanium+ 4×4 AT and Everest 2.0L Turbo Titanium 4×2 AT now come with LED projector headlamps, with the addition of high-mount USB feature for the 4×4 variant with no price increase.

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IPC Provincial Dealerships Resumes Operations Under GCQ Guidelines

May 19, 2020

Motoring

By: GILBERT Y. CHAO, Isuzu Philippines Corporation has re-opened a number of its provincial dealers as government eases quarantine measures. These dealerships are located in areas declared by the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) as being qualified to be downgraded from the strict Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) status to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), which means that certain non-essential economic and social activities may resume, but would still follow certain guidelines to minimize the public’s exposure to, and spread of, the deadly Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CoViD-19).     The following Isuzu dealerships are already open: Isuzu Isabela, Iguig, Naga, Calapan, Dumaguete, Bohol, Leyte, Cagayan De Oro, Butuan, Dipolog and General Santos.     In compliance with the IATF-EID’s guidelines for businesses within the GCQ-designated areas, these dealerships shall strictly enforce health measures such as social distancing and regular disinfection of showroom and service shop.     For onsite servicing and vehicle deliveries and pickups, physical distancing will still be enforced, as well as wearing face masks. Subject vehicles shall also be disinfected before and after servicing. For vehicles to be picked up for servicing, customers are advised to remove all valuables from the vehicle;     Before releasing to customers, brand new vehicles will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Vehicles that will be brought in for servicing, on the other hand, will be cleaned and disinfected prior to entering the service area and before releasing to customers.     The same operational measures shall be followed for other Isuzu dealerships that will open in other parts of the country once their areas are downgraded from ECQ to GCQ.     Isuzu clients are encouraged to contact the dealership’s hotline to book for sales and service appointment for faster transaction once in the showroom. For the list of dealer hotline, log on to www.isuzuphil.com for more details.     IPC and its nationwide network of 45 dealers have always kept the Filipinos’ health, safety, and well-being in mind. In this “new normal” forced upon the world by a global pandemic, IPC continues to be every Filipino’s responsible partner.

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Toyota Launches New Products and Services for New Normal Operations

May 19, 2020

Motoring

By: , Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) continues to deliver ever-better products and services to provide convenience and safety to customers amidst the country’s transition to the new normal. TMP’s digital platforms are constantly updated to make information readily available, and more features will be coming soon to meet every customer’s needs anytime and anywhere. TMP will also be offering more options and deals that will make car purchase lighter for customers.     TMP recently launched a dedicated webpage at https://toyota.com.ph/hereforyouwhich contains regular updates on dealer openings, frequently asked questions, the latest COVID-related news and announcements for customers, and links to assist our customers in any other inquiries they might have.      The Customer Assistance Center is also operational and is accessible at customerassistance@toyota.com.ph for any customer concerns and inquiries.     While some dealerships are still waiting for their respective local government units to allow resumption of operations, customers can check out their dream Toyota in the comfort and safety of their homes at https://toyota.com.ph/vehicles. Information such as vehicle specifications and features, price list, and current promos are also available here. For further inquiries on specific models, customers may leave their personal information in the inquiry form and choose their preferred dealer.  The virtual showroom will be available soon to provide our customers with the dealership experience in a better digital platform from making inquiries to looking at their preferred vehicles’ exterior and interior without having to leave their homes.     While some dealerships are still waiting for their respective local government units to allow resumption of operations, customers can check out their dream Toyota in the comfort and safety of their homes at https://toyota.com.ph/vehicles. Information such as vehicle specifications and features, price list, and current promos are also available here. For further inquiries on specific models, customers may leave their personal information in the inquiry form and choose their preferred dealer.  The virtual showroom will be available soon to provide our customers with the dealership experience in a better digital platform from making inquiries to looking at their preferred vehicles’ exterior and interior without having to leave their homes.     TMP values the importance of mobility and acknowledges the challenges that come with the new normal and GCQ. TMP will continue to provide flexible financing schemes, extended payment terms, and payment holiday terms to ensure that car purchase is lighter for our customers. Free services like periodic maintenance, insurance, and BactaKlenz vehicle sanitation will also be available so the customers get more value with their purchase.     Check out https://toyota.com.ph/news/ToyotaAdvisory for updates on advisories and daily dealer reopening schedule. For more Toyota updates, visit www.toyota.com.ph or check out Toyota’s official social media pages at ToyotaMotorPhilippines (Facebook and Instagram), and @ToyotaMotorPH (Twitter).

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Kawasaki Joins the Fight Against Covid-19 by Producing Medical Face Shields for Donation

May 19, 2020

Motoring

By: , Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has begun manufacturing medical face shields and gowns at our Kobe and Harima factories, and has been donating them to medical facilities since the 20th of April.     Up to 500 medical face shields can be made per day using the transparent pattern film used for steel processing, and up to 1,400 medical gowns can be produced per day based on the guidelines by Osaka University Hospital. We have been donating the supplies to Kawasaki Hospital (Kobe City) since 20th April, and plan to supply to other prefectural hospitals as well through the Hyogo Prefecture Hospital Bureau.     KHI would like to express their appreciation for the medical staff who have been devoting themselves on the frontlines. By utilizing their design, production and quality control techniques to efficiently produce medical face shields and gowns for donation to medical institutions, they hope to contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.     KHI also reaches out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. They sincerely hope that those currently suffering from the virus will recover quickly, and that the spread of COVID-19 will end as soon as possible.

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DOTr, LTFRB tap PayMaya for cashless payments, additional livelihood of PUV driver

May 29, 2020

Corporate

By: ,  The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have tapped digital financial services leader PayMaya to provide additional livelihood opportunities to drivers as well as access to cashless payment options to drivers and operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) as quarantine restrictions begin to ease in some parts of the country.  PayMaya is offering various taxi and transport operators and their drivers QR scan-to-pay capabilities via its mobile app, which will also give them access to a digital financial account that they can use for everyday transactions such as bills payments, airtime load reloading, and sending money to friends and family. As transportation services resume in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ),  the LTFRB recently issued guidelines mandating taxis and TNVS to adopt cashless payments such as PayMaya as a measure to help curb the further spread of COVID-19. “Cashless payments particularly in taxis and TNVS vehicles is part of our new norm, and we are glad that our drivers and operators have easy and convenient options such as PayMaya so that they can quickly implement this solution for the safety and benefit of their riders,” added LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III. Soon, drivers and transport operators may also receive contactless payments through credit, debit, and prepaid cards via tap-to-pay technology through the other digital payment solutions of PayMaya. Operators may also utilize PayMaya’s PayOut disbursement solution to easily distribute salaries and other incentives through their drivers’ PayMaya accounts.  In the past, PayMaya has also partnered with bus and taxi companies in Metro Manila and also in other areas such as Baguio and Cebu, such as in enabling transportation facilities such as the Araneta Bus Port in helping them accept cashless payments through credit and debit cards as well as via PayMaya QR.  Alternative livelihood opportunities for faster recovery  On top of helping drivers accept cashless payments, PayMaya will also soon enable them with additional livelihood options–such as offering airtime load purchases, bills payment, and even remittances if they also operate a sari-sari store or any physical store–through other upcoming products and services. “In the ‘new normal’, we must help everyone adapt to new and safer ways to lead our lives, and that includes the transportation industry. PayMaya is proud to support the government and transport operators not just in helping them accept contactless payments, but to chart the path towards their full recovery as well,” said PayMaya Founder and CEO Orlando B. Vea.  As the entire country conforms to the changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis across various sectors aside from transportation, digital and contactless payments will become not just a must but a strategic advantage for businesses in order to quickly recover. To know more about PayMaya's products and services for businesses and merchants, visit http://enterprise.paymaya.com.  PayMaya is the only end-to-end digital payments ecosystem enabler in the Philippines with platforms and services that cuts across consumers, merchants, and government. Aside from providing the payments acceptance for the largest e-Commerce, food, retail and gas merchants in the Philippines, PayMaya is enabling national and social services agencies as well as local government units with digital payments and disbursement services.   Through its PayMaya app and wallet, it is providing millions of Filipinos with the fastest way to own a financial account with over 40,000 Add Money touchpoints nationwide, more than double the total number of traditional bank branches in the Philippines combined.   Its Smart Padala by PayMaya network of over 30,000 partner agents nationwide serves as last mile digital financial hubs in communities, providing the unbanked and underserved with access to services.

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Globe continues support for frontliners and SMEs in new rollouts of Project HEROES for HEROES

May 28, 2020

Corporate

By: , Globe myBusiness is shining the spotlight on frontliners working in the service industry with the third and fourth roll outs of its unique collaboration with partner SMEs. The initiative dubbed  “HEROES for HEROES”  aims to extend aid to healthcare frontliners around the country who have been leading the fight against COVID-19, through the distribution of free meal packages produced by partner food SMEs to select partner hospitals. It also seeks to ensure continuity of operations and gains for local food businesses who have been hit the hardest by the onslaught of the pandemic. Under the campaign, Globe myBusiness provided meals for frontliners employed in more than 20 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) specializing in groceries, logistics, and medicines, such as Merry Mart Grocery, Kemp Mart, Unitop Supermarket, Ansaldo Logistics, and Amesco Drugstore. The meals were fully funded by Globe myBusiness and provided by partner restaurants like  121 Restaurant, Northpark Noodles, Bigg’s Diner, Burger Project, and Tuesday Kitchen. “While hospitals are taking care of COVID-19 patients, employees working in supermarkets, groceries, logistic platforms, and drugstores risk their lives daily to serve those under quarantine. We would like to express our gratitude to them by making sure they have the resources they need to stay healthy,” said Celeste Porto, Marketing Head at Globe myBusiness. Additionally, Globe myBusiness recently worked with partner organizations like Let’s Eat Pare Vendors’ Association (LEPA) and the Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI).  Together, they brought 1,500 meals prepared by Tita Adah’s Home Kitchen, Tito George’s Food Products, The Sweet Factory, PACE, and Mrs. Cheffy’s Catering to eight testing centers and quarantine facilities accredited by the Department of Health. These included Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, HOPE I and HOPE II - Community Caring Facility, Delpan Quarantine Facility, Dahlia Hotel, Quezon Institute, Makati Friendship Suites, and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (Ninoy Aquino Stadium). Project HEROES for HEROES is part of Globe’s ongoing efforts to support partners and customers in the fight against COVID 19. Learn more about how you can continue to #SupportLocalSMEs and be part of #OneGlobeVSCOVID via https://www.facebook.com/globemybusiness/.    

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Belmont Manila, Savoy Manila, and Diversey Philippines collaborate for #SafeStay Health and Safety Campaigns

May 27, 2020

Corporate

By: , As we look forward to better days, Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila are getting ready for the “New Normal” as we implement our “#SafeStay… We Care” Health and Safety Campaign.  Caring for the well-being of our guests and team members shall always remain our utmost priority when we open our doors once again.  “Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis and these unprecedented and uncertain times, the team, through careful planning and coordination, have commenced a series of initiatives to ensure that we shall be ready for the “New Norm” and other Government-mandated protocols once we have resumed normal operations,” according to Savoy Hotel Manila and Belmont Hotel Manila - Area General Manager, Avinash Menon.  “Additionally, we would like to assure all our patrons and stakeholders that both our Hotels have been regularly and thoroughly Sanitized and Disinfected during the Enhanced Community Quarantine period, and shall continue in the same vein well into the foreseeable future.”      Soon, when the time is right, people shall be raring to travel, go out, and enjoy leisure time once again.  In anticipation of this, we are expecting that people shall be more safety-conscious and health is of paramount importance. This is why both Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila commit to adapt to and adopt enhanced cleanliness protocols to ensure a “#SafeStay-cation” for all our guests.  To further heighten our goal of providing a safe and healthy environment for all our guests, we have collaborated with Diversey, our partner for many years now, in cleaning, sanitation, and maintenance products and services.  Diversey represents the implicit belief that cleaning and hygiene are life essentials and “when life is clean, maintained, and hygienic the world works as it should”.  As a highly credible and established supplier, our Hotels have created safer, cleaner, and healthy environment across all facilities from our All-Day Dining, Fitness Center, Pool Area, Guest Rooms, to even our Employee Work Spaces.  Diversey never failed to deliver revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies that provide total confidence to our Hotel guests through the years.  As we welcome our guests back, the following “#SafeStay… We Care” measures will be observed:  ·Safe Welcome: -       Thermal scanning at our Hotel Entrances -       Social distancing during Check in / Check out process -       Luggage sanitation check  ·Safe Space: -       Regular disinfecting schedule of Guest Rooms, Public Areas, and facilities -       Public amenities such as the Gym and Pool areas will remain closed until further notice, in compliance with social distancing -       Meetings and congregations at the Hotel Lobby and other high-traffic areas shall not be allowed nor encouraged -       Guest-accessible sanitation stations are readily available -       Strict social distancing measures shall be observed in guest elevators; allowing only one individual at a time -       24-hour in-house Clinic operations  ·Safe Team: -       Our friendly team members, especially our frontline, will be required to wear PPEs, masks, hand gloves and were trained to observe strict hygienic measures at all times -       We are also ensuring the health and well-being of our guests prior to scheduling our team members on active duty  ·Safe Eats: -       Our Dining outlets shall be serving packed meals until further notice -       Dining operations shall also include Grab ‘n Go concepts and a ‘limited’ in-room dining service -       Contactless service and social distancing shall be strictly observed for In-Room Dining service -       Thorough disinfecting and sanitizing of our Kitchens and food preparation areas continue to be regularly conducted -       Outside food deliveries will be limited as safety precautions  ·Safe Sleep: -       High frequency touchpoints in guest rooms (knobs, light switch, telephones, remote controls, bathrooms) are thoroughly disinfected and sanitized during every cleaning process -       Housekeeping Services shall be minimized to a significant extent (once every 3 days or upon request) -       Room amenities shall include sanitizing kits -       Bed linens and towels are thoroughly disinfected and sanitized during the laundry process -       A “safe stay” clean seal shall be placed in guest rooms to inform guests that their rooms have been disinfected thoroughly and have not been accessed prior to their arrival.  “We shall endeavor to continually update you on forthcoming measures that we intend to implement, with the sole purpose of ensuring our Hotels provide a safe and healthy environment for all our guests”, assured Menon.      Advocating #SafeStay…  because we care! 

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PCSO readies financial assistance to 6,241 Lotto and Keno Agents

May 26, 2020

Corporate

By: , Mandaluyong City. Good news to the thousands of Lotto and Keno agents.   PCSO Vice Chair and General Manager Royina M. Garma announced on Friday in a press statement that six thousand two hundred and forty-one (6,241) individual Lotto and Keno agents all over the country will receive financial assistance totaling Eighteen Million Seven Hundred Twenty-Three Thousand Pesos (P18,723,000.00). We, at the PCSO Board understand the plight of our individual Lotto and Keno agents.  That’s why, as our partners in raising revenues, we also have to look after their welfare during this global pandemic.  I have instructed our Branch Managers and all other concerned officials to immediately facilitate the release of the assistance, GM Garma added.   The grant of financial assistance was approved through PCSO Board Resolution 109 s. 2020 which was subsequently approved by the Office of the President. The assistance aims to augment and subsidize the needs of these agents and to lessen the burden of stress and anxiety during this difficult time of public quarantine. Qualified Lotto and Keno agents may coordinate with the PCSO Branch Office in their areas for details of the release of the said assistance. It can be recalled that since March 17, 2020, PCSO suspended lotto operations nationwide in order to protect the lotto agents, tellers and the gaming public from the deadly COVID-19 virus.

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PSBank Q1 net income: P646.2m

May 7, 2020

Money Matters

By: , THE Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), the consumer banking arm of the Metrobank Group, recorded a net income of PhP646.2 million for the first quarter of 2020. Net interest income grew 21.8% to PhP3.2 billion versus the same period last year while net service fees reached PhP458.1 million. Net Income for the first quarter of 2020 is lower by 5.1% on increased credit provisioning. Total loan portfolio as of the first quarter of this year grew by 3.6% to PhP165.0 billion coming from the strong demand in the first two months of this year prior to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period. This contributed to total assets growth of 1.8% year-on-year to PhP240.3 billion. Low-cost deposits improved by 10.2% reaching PhP60.6 billion. Gross non-performing loans is stable at 3.7%. PSBank’s balance sheet remains strong with capital of PhP34.8 billion. The Bank’s total Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 17.2% is well above the regulatory minimum of 10%. “PSBank has a strong balance sheet and capital position coming into this unprecedented situation. Cognizant of the potential impact of the pandemic to the economy, we decided to exercise prudence by increasing provisions to 150% versus previous year. During the quarantine period, the Bank continued to operate 80% of its branches while keeping in place precautionary measures to ensure that our customers and employees are safe. Both customer and IT support were further strengthened to keep our online banking services available 24/7, this being the alternative banking channel during these times,” PSBank President Jose Vicente Alde said. To assist customers during this period, the Bank put together an easy-to-use ‘Quick Customer Enquiries’ module in its website which shows information on daily branch schedules, fraud protection tips, loan payment grace periods, and how-to guides on banking services. PSBank ensured the availability of safe and convenient digital banking services for customers to still do their banking transactions: Check deposit using the PSBank Mobile Check Deposit facility launched in September 2019; Mobile and Online fund transfers via InstaPay and PESONet;  PaSend for mobile cash remittances withdrawable from over 1,000 combined PSBank and Metrobank ATMs nationwide; payment of bills via mobile or online; and 24/7 cash availability in PSBank ATMs. PSBank likewise made it easy for customers to reach the bank through various communication platforms: Chatbot “ISSA” via FB Messenger (Interactive, Speedy & Simpleng Assistant) for quick queries; “LiveChat” if customers wish to interact with our Customer Associates; and our 24/7 Customer Experience Hotline for phone-in concerns. (PR)

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PH seen losing $4.5B in cash remittances due to pandemic in ‘best-case scenario’

April 19, 2020

Money Matters

By: , The Philippines, in a best-case scenario, will likely lose some $4.5 billion (P228 billion) in cash remittance inflows from migrant Filipino workers this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said on Sunday. “Without the pandemic, we would have expected the aggregate incoming cash transfers from Filipinos overseas to grow by $1.5 billion (or by five percent) this year,” said ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto Bertiz III. “However, on account of the severe global economic devastation caused by the pandemic, we now project total remittances to reach only $27 billion this year, or down by $3 billion from $30 billion in 2019, assuming the best possible outcome,” Bertiz, a former member of Congress, said. Bertiz said migrant Filipino workers in the following sectors around the world are bearing the brunt of the economic destruction and job losses: ·      Shipping (both merchant and cruise operations) and shipping-related support services; ·      Aviation and aviation-related support services (including crewing operations, aircraft maintenance and catering); ·      Travel and tour operations; ·      Hotels, resorts and restaurants; ·      Gaming; and ·      Oil, gas and energy exploration and development (including related construction). “The foreign labor markets for Filipino workers – except for medical professionals and technicians – will shrink considerably this year, as the global economy declines,” Bertiz said. The collapse of crude oil prices to $20-$25 per barrel is foreseen dampening to a large extent the demand for Filipino workers – from engineers to construction workers – in the Middle East, Bertiz said. The kingdoms in the region heavily dependent oil and gas income are anticipated to spend less aggressively on new public infrastructure, according to Bertiz. “The global economic recession will also reduce the demand for Filipinos sailors as shipping traffic sinks,” Bertiz said. The Philippines is the world’s second-largest supplier of licensed ship officers and the top provider of unlicensed ship ratings or non-officer crew. Some 450,000 Filipino sailors serve on ocean-going bulk carriers, container ships, oil, gas, chemical and other product tankers, general cargo ships, pure car carriers and tugboats around the world. Global ports operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICSTI) earlier reported that shipping container volumes across its terminals in 20 countries fell by 10-15 percent in March alone, and are expected to decline further in April. Meanwhile, Bertiz said ACTS-OFW is counting on the government to provide financial assistance to Filipino workers overseas who have lost income under the “no work, now pay policy” of their employers. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration last week began accepting online applications for the $200 (P10,000) cash aid for Filipino workers abroad “who have experienced job displacement due to the host country’s imposition of a lockdown or community quarantine.”

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LANDBANK Advisory (March 27, 2020)

March 30, 2020

Money Matters

By: , March 27, 2020   To Our Valued Clients:    I hope you and your family are safe and well. In this difficult time, we in LANDBANK are committed more than ever to do our share in providing you unhampered service amid travel restrictions and other necessary constraints. We understand your need for financial access, and so we have taken the following steps:    Branches are open While complying with the Enhanced Community Quarantine and other safety measures, majority of LANDBANK Branches nationwide remain open for your financial transactions. Starting March 23, 2020, all open Branches operate from 8:30 AM to 12:00 noon, until further notice. Please visit our website www.landbank.com and social media accounts for the updated list of open Branches.   Branches and ATMs are safe We are implementing screening procedures in our Branches prior to entry. Likewise, we are strictly observing social distancing inside the branches by limiting the number of customers on seating capacity. In the same way, social distancing is observed while queuing for our ATMs.   Cash availability While we encourage cashless and online transactions, we also ensure cash availability in all our ATMs should you need to transact via ATMs.   Payment extension We are giving a 60-day extension for all Salary Loan and Credit Card payments with due dates of up to April 15, 2020.    Free interbank fund transfer  LANDBANK waived fees for fund transfers to other banks via InstaPay and PESONet starting 6:30 PM of March 18 until 11:00 PM of April 30, 2020. LBP CARES Program For commercial loan clients, we are giving longer tenor and grace periods as part of restructured loan amortizations. New loans can also be granted to clients affected by the crisis.   Business Continuity Management We have activated necessary protocols to maintain normal banking operations as much as possible. A skeletal workforce of LANDBANK employees are reporting for duty in our head office, branches, and field units, while the rest are working from home, to ensure continued service delivery. The LANDBANK Board and Management continue to regularly hold online meetings to make decisions regarding ongoing developments and minimize operational disruptions.     During this time, we hope you stay at home and use our digital and online platforms for your banking needs. Our LANDBANK Mobile Banking App, iAccess, WeAccess, Link.BizPortal, Electronic Tax Payment System and Phone Access are available for your necessary transactions.   While we face an unprecedented crisis, rest assured of our commitment to remain in the frontlines and provide you uninterrupted service.  We are banking on the Filipino spirit that we can rise above this adversity together.   Thank you for your continued trust and support.   Sincerely,   CECILIA C. BORROMEO President and CEO Land Bank of the Philippines

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BSP expects PH economic recovery in 2021

March 23, 2020

Money Matters

By: Joann Villanueva, PNA, MANILA – Monetary officials forecast a rebound of the Philippine economy from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) by next year.       In an e-mailed reply to journalists’ queries, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its policy-making Monetary Board (MB) continues to see the services sector like the tourism, trade, and remittance channels to be greatly affected by the global pandemic.       The BSP said the economic hit further deepens following the implementation of a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12, after the initial quarantine for Metro Manila alone since March 15.       “The latest assessment assumes a U-shaped recovery with the impact of Covid-19 lasting until H2 (second half) 2020 but with the economy expected to rebound by 2021,” it said.       Economic managers place the preliminary estimates of Covid-19’s economic impact on the domestic economy this year to be around 0.3-1.0 percentage point.       This year’s growth target is between a range of 6.5-7.5 percent.       On Thursday, the MB slashed the central bank’s key policy rates by 50 basis points, bringing the total rate cut to date to 75 basis points, to help ensure the sustained growth of the economy and after noting the leeway given by the projection that inflation rate will remain within the government’s 2-4 percent target until 2021.       To date, the BSP’s overnight reverse repurchase (RRP) facility rate is 3.75 percent, the lowest since the 3.50 percent in July 2014.       The central bank said its officials are “prepared to use the full range of its monetary instruments and to deploy monetary policy and regulatory relief measures as needed in fulfilment of its price and financial stability objectives.”       “In calibrating its monetary policy settings, the BSP will continue to be data-dependent, guided by our inflation outlook over the policy horizon and the risks surrounding such outlook as well as data on demand conditions,” it said.       The BSP said its MB considers the latest rate cut as appropriate to support the country’s growth momentum and uplift market confidence against stronger headwinds.       “The BSP has already cut the policy rate by 75 bps thus far in 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation to determine if further reductions are warranted,” it said.       The central bank said its officials are also looking into a range of other supplementary measures that may be required to support non-inflationary and sustainable growth over the medium term.       These measures are aimed at ensuring adequate domestic liquidity and credit in the financial system as well as lowering borrowing costs for affected firms and households.       “These include, but are not limited to, recalibrating the interest rate corridor settings; suspending the term deposit facility (TDF) auctions as market conditions warrant; and ensuring banks’ access to liquidity-enhancing facilities such as the rediscounting facility,” it said.       The BSP said a combination of targeted and well-coordinated health, fiscal, and financial market measures will be crucial in limiting the economic fallout from the pandemic due to the medical nature of the shock.       “In this regard, we believe the National Government has ample fiscal space for such measures, as reflected in its low debt-to-GDP ratio,” it added. (PNA)

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SMC starts delivery of donated testing booths, kits to NCR LGUs

May 16, 2020

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By: , MANILA – The San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has begun turning over its donation of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing booths, starting with the cities of Mandaluyong, Pasig, and Manila, fulfilling an earlier promise to help boost the testing capacities of all 17 Metro Manila local government units (LGUs).     A total of 24 testing booths were turned over to Mandaluyong Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto, and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.     The delivery of testing booths for other LGUs -- Quezon City, Caloocan, Malabon, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Makati, Navotas, San Juan, Taguig, Marikina, Valenzuela, Pasay, and Pateros – will continue this coming week.     Apart from the testing booths, the SMC is also donating PHP3 million worth of reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to each of the 17 LGUs, equivalent to 34,000 tests.     The company is also set to turn over an additional three sets of RT-PCR testing machines and automated RNA machines to key government hospitals.     “We are fully committed to helping all our Metro Manila LGUs increase their Covid-19 testing capabilities, in support of the national government’s expanded testing goals,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a news release on Friday.     Ang said with the donations, they hope to help boost testing, particularly in “our less-fortunate communities where many underprivileged families are extra vulnerable, due to their living conditions.”     He noted the importance of carrying out expanded testing and making it accessible to more people by offering it to poor families for free.     “We need to be able to find a way to make testing accessible to all. Everyone should have equal access, not just those who have the means,” Ang said.     At the same time, he batted for the regulation of the price of testing to make it affordable to regular Filipinos and small companies that have to test their employees before returning to work.     Along this line, the SMC is working with the local government of its home city of Mandaluyong to ensure that the cost to test in the city remains affordable.     Apart from its donations to the LGUs, SMC had earlier donated five sets of the same testing machines to the Department of Health (DOH) and testing kits, which can administer up to 20,000 tests.     According to the DOH, the donation effectively doubled the country’s testing capacity. (SMC PR)

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Fintech will drive ‘new normal,’ as cash may pose risks on health safety

May 16, 2020

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By: , The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the whole world to drastically change its old ways. Most of its population went into isolation to flatten the curve. In the Philippines, Luzon has been placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which meant limited mobility and fewer options for most people since businesses were closed down.      Since everyone is affected by a general anxiety of contracting the coronavirus, private citizens have also imposed upon themselves to observe safer and more hygienic practices to avoid transmission of the disease. While these were once deemed “alternatives” before the pandemic struck, they are sure to remain in the post-COVID world as part of the new normal.     One of these practices is cashless transactions. Digital payments are not a matter of convenience anymore. Given the circumstances, it could be a matter of life and death to those who are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.      “Now more than ever, financial technology (fintech) will play a big part in defining a “new normal” for the Philippines in the midst of a public health crisis. We believe that digital payments should be the bedrock of digital services, as we need to limit the social interaction between people and reduce risk of contracting the virus from common surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Chief Technology and Operations Officer Pebbles Sy said.      The World Health Organization (WHO) encouraged the public to wash their hands after handling paper money. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno echoed this sentiment in the country, saying that digital transactions have advantages in the face of a pandemic.     In fact, studies state that paper money increases the risk of coronavirus transmission since it can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses for several days. Thus, many governments from around the world such as China and the United States were reportedly forced to disinfect bank notes before recirculating them back into the economy. In Europe, even bank notes are being subjected to almost two weeks of quarantine, according to the Federal Reserve.     The risks introduced by cash also apply to the use of credit and debit cards in physical transactions. Doing business in the conventional way negates the efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, since this would mean that exchanging cards and receipts would violate social distancing rules even if it is just for a matter of seconds.      GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, provides a better alternative to cash as it offers reduced costs and efficiency of transactions, better transparency and security, offers greater convenience, and promotes financial inclusion.      “With most of the country under different levels of quarantine, digital finance is emerging as the core of services in the country. Everything from donation drives to food delivery services to public service utilities went digital. Businesses which have been forced to halt physical operations have used e-wallets like GCash to save themselves from bankruptcy,” Sy said.      GCash as a platform eliminates the issue of accessibility as well since anyone with a smartphone can easily join the growing community of people using digital finance. Its free app does not only innovate money transfer, but it also provides other services such as credit, insurance, and even investments.     Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), which operates GCash, is part of the portfolio companies of 917Ventures, the largest corporate incubator in the Philippines wholly-owned by Globe Telecom Inc.     GCash is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. For more information, kindly visit https://www.gcash.com/.

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Bong Go reiterates call for establishment of Department of OFWs for migrant workers

May 16, 2020

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By: , The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has negatively affected the world economy resulting to significant losses of jobs for Filipino workers overseas. As the health crisis continues to threaten the lives and livelihood of many workers abroad, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has renewed the call for the establishment of the proposed Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFWs).      “Simula noong nakaraang taon pa, nanawagan na ako na sana’y mapadali ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa ating OFWs sa pamamagitan ng pagtayo ng isang departamento na mamamahala sa pag-aalaga ng kanilang kapakanan,” he said.      “Noon pa lamang ay marami nang mga issues ang kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayang nagtatrabaho abroad. Ang paglipat-lipat ng ahensya ay naging pabigat na proseso sa kanila mula sa pagkuha ng kanilang mga permit, hanggang sa pagbigay ng tulong para maresolba ang mga problemang hinaharap nila sa ibang bansa,” Go added.      “Mas lumala pa ngayon dahil sa hirap na dulot ng COVID-19 crisis. Kung mayroon pong DOFWs, mas mapapadali sana ang koordinasyon ng mga ahensya at may iisang departamento na tututok sa mga pangangailangan nila,” he stressed.      The creation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos is one of Go’s priority bills filed just more than month after being elected as Senator in 2019 and is also part of the Duterte Administration’s priority legislative agenda. The House of Representatives has passed its version last March of this year. However, its Senate counterpart is still pending in the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.      “Ako ay nanawagan sa mga kasamahan ko sa Senado na sana ay maipasa na ang panukalang itayo ang ‘Department of Overseas Filipinos’,” Go said.      Under his proposed Senate Bill (SB) 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019, Go said that the measure aims to make government more efficient and responsive to the needs of Filipinos abroad. The bill aims to put concerned government agencies dealing with OFW concerns under one umbrella.       “Tungkulin ng ating pamahalaan na pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng ating mamamayan na nasa abroad. We should make sure that all Filipinos in distress, here or abroad, are given timely assistance and that measures are also undertaken to protect their welfare, especially in times of crises,” said Go.      The proposed measure aims to also address perennial issues, such as the need to ease the coordination among offices concerned with OFW affairs; immediate legal assistance to OFWs in distress; lack of full migration cycle approach in promoting migrant’s rights from pre-employment, onsite and reintegration services; and lack of shared database system that contains all information of all OFWs to aid in tracking their status and fast track delivery of assistance to distressed workers.  Currently, services and information are scattered throughout several offices.      “Katulad ngayon, madaming dinadaanan pang iba’t ibang ahensya bago makaresponde  ang gobyerno sa mga OFWs na humihingi ng saklolo. Iba-iba ang concern, iba-iba ang kailangang lapitan pa mula DFA, OWWA, MARINA, at iba pa,” Go said.      “Nalilito ang ating mga OFWs sa pangkasalukuyang sitwasyon. Sa oras na kailangan nila ng saklolo, hindi na nila alam sino dapat lapitan kaya sa media o Facebook sila nananawagan,” he added.      “If mayroon na tayong department for OFWs, iisa na lang ang lalapitan at iisa na lang ang makikipag coordinate na departamento. Magiging mas maayos ang pagresponde sa mga krisis at mas mabilis nating matutulungan ang ating mga kababayang humihingi ng saklolo,” he stressed.      The proposal also aims to strengthen and streamline the government’s capability to respond to the needs of OFWs and help ease their burden in the future.      “Kawawa po talaga ang mga OFWs ngayon. Hindi naman po natin akalain na ganitong kalawak ang epekto ng COVID-19 sa kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino lalo na mga OFWs. Huwag na po natin silang mas pahirapan pa. Let us learn from this COVID-19 experience,” he said.       Go stressed that the challenges currently faced by OFWs and the difficulties experienced by the government in responding to their needs show the relevance of the proposal to establish a department with a sole mandate to handle the concerns of our “modern day heroes”.      To ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of response to OFW concerns, the bill proposes that the following agencies and their powers and functions, funds and appropriations, records, equipment, property, and personnel be transferred to the new department to be established: Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO), International Labor Affairs Bureau of the Department of Labor and Employment (ILAB-DOLE) and National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO).

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Indoor Summer Fun at Toy Kingdom

May 16, 2020

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By: , With more kids staying home this summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a break, rest and spend some quality time with the whole family. Stay at home and let Toy Kingdom bring the fun into your doorstep with their wide variety of amazing toy finds now available for purchase at Lazada.     Little chefs will love the Kid’s Dough Cooking Set, Ice Cream Set and Motion Air Sand Deluxe Cookie Maker. Ryan’s World Treasure Chest, on the other hand, will surely thrill the little pirates.      Keep your kids’ minds creative and inspired with games from Cogo in city and farm themes. Board games like Uno, Monopoly, and Pictionary Air are great for family bonding and fun; while table games like Air Spring’s pinball shoot and air soccer will keep kids active and sporty.     Tech-savyy kids, on the other hand, can also enjoy an ultimate home entertainment experience with Toy Kingdom’s PS4 mega pack and various home video games.     Experience an enjoyable summer fun at home with these toys from Toy Kingdom. Check out these amazing finds and more available at https://www.lazada.com.ph/ and wait for your items to be delivered right into your doorsteps.  Also, don’t forget to stay home to help in the fight against COVID-19.     For more updates visit www.toykingdom.ph and follow ToyKingdomPH at Facebook and Instagram.

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