Trucks dealer NZH International expands to Mindanao

July 27, 2020

QUEZON City-based NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. has established its first branch outside Luzon right here in Cagayan de Oro City. NZH Mindanao was inaugurated last Saturday (July 18) in its premises at the heart of the city particularly at Cugman Highway. It is now the fourth branch of the ever growing NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. which has maintained two more branches in the northern part of the country outside of its flagship dealership in Quezon City. According to NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. national sales director Robin Lu, they chose Cagayan de Oro as their stepping stone in other parts of the Philippines even in this time of pandemic since the government here has managed the COVID-19 crisis well so as to steer the economy as well. In the words of Maybelle Quilnat of NZH Mindanao herself, she opined that the administration of Mayor Oscar Moreno has recognized the continuing relevance of supply providers such as their business in keeping the economy float and at the same time managing the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Quilnat also said that NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. ventured into the Mindanao market particularly here in Cagayan de Oro City since it is the gateway to the northern part of the island. Quilnat said that industry vehicle providers such as their company are essential especially at this time of the pandemic to keep the movement of supplies stable. NZH Mindanao has a wide range of Shacman dumptrucks, transit mixers, tractor heads, wing vans and cargo trucks. She said that these are used in construction, freight forwarding, aggregates trucking and mining, among others. “Even during the time of pandemic, they continue to operate.” For his part, Moreno expressed his gratitude to NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. for putting their investments in Cagayan de Oro City in the midst of these trying times, saying they are not just helping to buoy up the economy but their transport conveyances are essential in all sectors. At present, Shacman heavy duty trucks are sold in more than 90 countries, the export and export volume ranking in the leading position of the industry, providing a full range of logistics solutions. Indeed it is here in the Philippines. Lu said the trend of the trucking industry in the country is for the logistics and construction sectors to buy durable equipment over less expensive but unworthy ones. He assured potential clients that NZH International Vehicle & Machinery, Inc. excels in after-sales service in all its dealerships nationwide.

Xavier Ateneo ready for online learning

July 23, 2020

While other universities in Cagayan de Oro are still in the process of preparing for modified learning this school year, Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan already started classes last July 6.    Xavier Ateneo, following CHED COVID19 Advisory No. 7 dated 24, May 2020, opened SY 2020-2021 for Higher Education Colleges and Basic Education (Grade School, Junior High and Senior High) last 06 July 2020 (03 August 2020 for Law and Medicine) using full online education and will implement Cautious Return to On-Campus Learning, if and when government allows.   Despite radical changes, XU’s enrolment rate was better than expected among its various pre-COVID 19 projections.     In an online conference broadcast live to the university social media accounts, outgoing XU President Fr Roberto C. Yap SJ assured parents: “I thank you for continuing to believe in Xavier Ateneo. We are really in an extraordinary time and extraordinary times call for creative and flexible moves so that we can continue to deliver quality Jesuit education to all our learners. We have really tried to provide the best possible mode and program under this pandemic. Xavier Ateneo is ready and we will do our best so that our students will truly experience excellence.”   Flexible Learning  Flexible Learning is a seamless combination of Home-based Learning and Cautious Return to On-Campus Learning that aims to minimize learning interruption, ensure learning continuity, and guarantee that minimum standards of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are met.     To begin the school year, Xavier Ateneo starts with Home-Based Learning. Xavier Ateneo has emphasized it is not rushing to implement the Return to On-Campus Learning in so far as public health and safety are concerned.    Home-based Learning features synchronous (real-time) classes held over the internet. This is allowed by DepEd and CHED provided (1) it is agreed upon by the students, (2) attendance is not required, and (3) classes are recorded for students who are unable to participate.    Xavier Ateneo recognizes the challenges posed by online learning and will utilize traditional instructional materials such as “low-tech” soft- and hard-copy learning packets for students to pick up or access over the internet when available.    Asynchronous (self-paced) learning will also be available for students through recorded classes. All requirements for both synchronous and asynchronous mode of learning are to be submitted online. Learn more about Flexible Learning by viewing this video.   Before starting the school year, Xavier Ateneo faculty underwent rigorous training and retooling to properly facilitate live online classes.      For learning platform uniformity, the Basic Education Cluster (Grade School, Junior High School, and Senior High School) uses Microsoft Teams.    Xavier Ateneo’s online classroom, XU eLearn, is utilized by the Higher Education Cluster (College, Graduate School, and Professional Schools of Law and Medicine).     Four Campuses of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan   While there is no definite date on the resumption of on-campus classes, Xavier Ateneo is already preparing for its eventuality by planning for the necessary and critical infrastructure adjustments for all four of its campuses (Divisoria, Pueblo, Macasandig, and Manresa).     No Tuition Fee Increase   To help parents cope with the present crisis, the university has opted not to increase tuition fees, matriculation and laboratory fees. Miscellaneous fees have also been reduced, if not entirely omitted, from the yearly billing. Future adjustments will be made accordingly should there face-to-face learning not be possible within the school year.    Xavier Ateneo Treasurer Lennie Ong said the reduction in fees have been made possible by operational changes for the school year such as reduced academic loads and class sizes.    Perks and Partnerships   Xavier Ateneo has been striking partnerships with various companies to help the XU community adjust to the new normal.    Parasat HD, in partnership with Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan, is now offering Study-at-Home discounted internet plans to help XU employees and students cope with the New Normal.     XU is in partnership with EO-Executive Optical for a 10% discount on their anti-radiation and multi-coated lenses, perfect for Flexible Learning which necessitates students to spend hours in front of their computer screens.    Various gadget sellers (Interpace Computer Systems, Power Mac Center, Acer, Samsung), and internet providers (Globe, Smart, Parasat HD) have also been tapped for discounts in their products and services.    XU students may also avail of various productivity applications available from Microsoft Office 365 for free.    Online Freshmen Orientation   Xavier Ateneo finished its first virtual freshmen orientation seminar on July 3.  Xavier Ateneans made #ORSEMOneBearHug, #eLearn, and #XavierAteneo trend in the Philippine Twitter space.    Like past orientations, a mass presided over by Fr Bobby was live-streamed in the official Facebook account of Xavier Ateneo.      The two-day event ended with a talent expo and a tribute to Fr Bobby who is set to become the next president of Ateneo de Manila University by August this year.    Despite being away from the familiar walls of the classroom, students were thanked by incoming XU President Fr Mars P Tan for continuing to study in Xavier Ateneo. “This is the new normal and we have to live with it.”      “We expect that under this new mode, you really have to push back your comfort zones.” Fr. Yap added.    “We will do our best to help and assist you to adjust, learn, and make the most out of the quality, holistic, Jesuit education which Xavier Ateneo will offer you under the new flexible mode of learning.” (RMB) Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan 80th Commencement Exercises (Photo by R. Amarille)

PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College | Flexible Learning is Key for Underserved Students

July 20, 2020

(This is our third in a series on what students, parents and the general public can expect when school opens next month for some of Cagayan de Oro's Universities and Colleges) Things are going to be a bit different when students of Cagayan de Oro's four universities resume classes next month. Most of the city's tertiary level institutions are shifting to online learning as the primary method of instruction in compliance with the guidelines issued by government agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Local Government Unit (LGU), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). With one notable outlier. PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College (COC), whose students primarily come from underserved families, will provide an innovative “4-10” scheme where students will have face-to-face classes four times every 14 days as soon as permitted and while complying with all guidelines for the resumption of classes. "Distance learning using purely online methods is just out of the question,” said Mark C. Macaventa, PHINMA COC Chief Operations Officer. “Most of our students cannot afford a stable internet connection, so we designed something that matches their needs and situation. We are also designing the system so that we can go full home study if required by IATF, CHED, or LGU rules by providing students with modules at the start of the semester.” But for PHINMA COC, face-to-face classes cannot truly be replaced. “Our research in PHINMA Education tells us distance learning is not really that effective especially for complicated and technical subjects,” he added. “Nothing matches face-to-face learning, but adjustments need to be made in light of the circumstances.” FlexLearning@PHINMAEd When the college begins student orientations on August 24, PHINMA COC will adopt FlexLearning@PHINMAEd. The system was developed by PHINMA Education to enable their students to sustain their education and preserve their quality of learning. "Although we face a huge uncertainty in this pandemic, we also see a great opportunity to face a meaningful challenge, bearing inspiration to our students in their quest for a better life. Life goes on," Macaventa noted. "And because it is imperative that we continue to move forward, we are poised to deliver a creative and efficient response." Among the salient features of the new system are the following; A maximum class size of 25 students (down from 50) to comply with social distancing, reduce the chances of infection, and provide students with close support and mentoring. A blended learning model consisting of in-campus learning that observes social distancing and off-campus independent learning for the tertiary level. Modular distance learning for Grades 1-12 where all learning activities will be done at home until the DepEd allows in-person classes. Remote teacher and peer support systems to help students through this adjustment. "Teachers will do regular check-ups via texts, messages, or phone calls when students are off-campus. We are already finalizing negotiations with mobile data providers to give the connectivity our students need," Macaventa noted. But even if the economic status of most of its students has precluded its adoption of distance learning using online systems, PHINMA Education still adopted online systems for ancillary activities such as enrolment and distribution of digital diplomas and transcripts of records (TORs). “We developed these systems so students and parents do not need to go to the campus for these matters,” he added. PHINMA Education Ever Onward Last semester, PHINMA COC had some 10,000 students in the tertiary level, about 5,000 in Senior High School, and approximately 1,000 students in their K to 10 program. It currently maintains a Main Campus at Barangay Carmen and a satellite campus at Barangay Puerto. Although the community quarantine measures mandated by the global pandemic has meant it had to suspend operations from March until August, the college still has managed to retain all of its 144 regular teaching and non-teaching staff as well as extend financial and non-financial aid to its 200 casual teaching and non-teaching employees. One advantage PHINMA Education has in dealing with the economic fallout from the global pandemic is the strength and flexibility in being a subsidiary of the Filipino-owned conglomerate, PHINMA, which has investments in education, property development, hospitality, and construction materials. PHINMA Education Holdings, Inc. (PEHI) owns and operates seven schools across the Philippines, including PHINMA COC, and manages one in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia. PHINMA Education has an 80 percent average first-time passing rate for licensure exams with some 81 percent of students getting hired a year after graduation. It has 94 board exam top notchers since its inception in 2004.  "The safety and welfare of our students are paramount, but the continuation of their academic journey is fundamental to their future success. FlexLearning@PHINMAEd will help us and our students continue to advance – ever onward," Macaventa assured. (RMB)

Capitol University: Preparing for the opening of classes under the New Normal

July 19, 2020

(This is the first of a series on what students, parents and the general public can expect when school opens next month for Cagayan de Oro's Universities) Things are going to be a bit different when students of Cagayan de Oro's four universities resume classes next month. In fact, when classes on all levels at Capitol University resume on Monday, August 3, 2020, there will be practically no students coming in through the gates of their main campus at Corrales-Osmena Ext and satellite campus at Gusa. "Capitol University has developed  CUDDLE (CU Dedicated Distance Learning Environment) which is CU's answer to the call for delivering quality education to our students without compromising their safety," said Dr. Fe Rosales-Juarez, CU Executive Vice President. "CUDDLE involves Flexi-Learning featuring many modalities, mostly online, but also includes hybrid learning, offline for students without connectivity- to cater to the needs of the times," Dr Juarez added. Flexible Learning Opportunities With CUDDLE, learning opportunites are made available to students in consideration of their present situation with regards to current IATF guidelines in response to the global pandemic. CU offers three learning modes: Entirely Online learning, Modified Hybrid Learning, and Blended Learning. Entirely Online Learning is for students who have the connectivity to access and fulfill all course materials online. For this coming school year, classes will be conducted via Google Classroom-CU's official Learning Management System Platform. CU uses Google Suite for educationwith each student and faculty given an institutional Google Account to maximize all its advanced educational features. Modified  Hybrid Learning is for students with unstable internet connections but can communicate via mobile phones or Facebook chat. Students can choose from either Entirely Offline (for those who do not have computers or internet access) or Mostly Offline (for those who have functional ICT equipment but no reliable intenet connection). Those opting for Entirely Offline can either pick up campus learning packets with printed and digitally-stored (USB flash disks to be provided by the student)  copies of the materials make a one-time download of the learning packets which they can comply with offline, and later upload online after they have fulfilled all learning requirements. On the other hand, Blended Learning is for courses that require competencies and activities not feasible through distance education. Minimal face-to-face classes can be scheduled when conditions allow. Students are only allowed to choose one modality which best suit their current situation and cannot change to other modalities within a semester. There will  be no changes to the present grading system as specified in the CU Student Manual. No tuition fee increase For the First Semester of school year 2020-2021, CU will not implement any tuition fee increase and will further realign some fees such as for athletics, library, et al for service which cannot be availed of during the current pandemic to further reduce the fees. "So far, we have managed to maintain our present employees despite the pandemic," Dr Juarez noted when asked about the economic impact of the community quarantine imposed on the city as a result of  the pandemic. "However, we still have to see how many students will be enrolling in the coming semester to say how we can face the near future and what is needed to be done to maintain the quality of education in our school," she added. Capitol University maintains two campuses. Its Main Campus at Corrales & S. Osmena Ext  for Graduate, Undergraduate and  Senior High School students, and its Gusa Campus for Pre-School, Grade School and Junior High School. Summer Pilot Program CU will not be moving into this new milieu unprepared. During the May - June 2020 hiatus when the city was practically at a standstill under the initial onslaught of the global pandemic,  CU piloted an online summer program involving 829 students to test the new teaching modalities. Training of its faculty was also done rigorously,  and is contuing at present.  "Fortunately we had some very positive results, especially with helping students develop a sense of personal responsibility and accountability for their performance, instead of leaving most of that burden on their teacher under traditional classroom teaching." Dr Juarez noted. In addition to testing the new modes of teaching, the program also included individual e-counseling for students, and an orientation for parents at the Gusa Campus on how to do home schooling once classes resumes this August. CU's online guidance counselling and consultation services for students facilated  by their Guidance Center will be available to support students especially regarding their mental and emotional health. These services can be accessed online, SMS or phone calls. Student support services and co-curricular activities that are appropriate under the current set-up are also being designed in pursuit of the development of CU graduates as the "Total Person."   About Capitol University Capitol University (CU) formerly Cagayan Capitol College was established in 1971 as a non – sectarian, co – educational private academic institution,  that operates with the authority of the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education. It was granted University Status by CHED on February 3, 2003 and was formally inaugurated as Capitol University with Atty. Casimiro B. Juarez, Jr. as its first University President on May 3, 2003. Capitol University was granted Autonomous Status per CHED Memo No. 12,  s.2019 effective June 1, 2019. Having evolved as one of the premier academic institutions in the country, CU continues its thrust towards excellence in the areas of instruction, research and community engagement in order to achieve its mission of developing the youth into “Total Persons”. In 2019, in preparation for the Golden Anniversary celebration of her Foundation (in February 14, 2021), CU reviewed her Vision-Mission with the purpose of making it more relevant and meaningful: VISION Accessible excellent education for enhanced quality of life. Mission Capitol University is committed to develop the youth into “Total Persons,” mature and responsible individuals who are intellectually, professionally, and technically competent, imbued with desirable attitudes, and steeped in moral and spiritual values, who will serve as catalysts for social transformation. Core Values of the CU Graduate Character Capitol University strives to develop the “Total Person,” one who has a strong foundation of integrity, courage, and moral virtue. CU prepares her students to be engaged catalysts of hope and change in challenging times by developing their social consciousness and ethical leadership skills. Competence CU seeks to transform students into professionals who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to enable them to respond to challenges and excel in the modern global arena. Commitment The Total Person is dedicated to excellence in all endeavors. CU ingrains among her students the value of hard work and a sense of responsibility, not only for their personal duties but also their role in the greater community. They know that the future of the country and the world rests in the work of their hands. Culture CU cultivates excellence in the arts, letters, and scholarly pursuits for the enrichment of the Filipino nation. CU also fosters progressive and tolerant individuals who appreciate and respect diverse histories, beliefs, and identities. Care CU engenders a culture of care characterized by showing concern, kindness, affection, and respect for other people. This begins by molding compassionate individuals with a sincere appreciation of the value of each person. Total Person development entails a balance between academic excellence and emotional intelligence thus, CU nurtures the capacities for high performance and high care. (RMB)

FLEx@Liceo U: Scaling the heights with Flexible Learning

July 19, 2020

(This is the second in a series on what students, parents and the general public can expect when school opens next month for Cagayan de Oro's Universities) Things are going to be a bit different when students of Cagayan de Oro's four universities resume classes next month. "Education should be all-inclusive," said Dr. Alain Marc P. Golez, Liceo U president. "We have reshaped our learning management system through flexible learning to help our students continue their education with minimal distractions from health protocols mandated by the global pandemic whichis crucial to their attainment of quality education."  Golez said Liceo U has reshaped the design and delivery of instruction to suit her students' unique needs and situation by considering  their individual access to technology and availability of devices, and how they can continue their education even if they  have limited or no access to the internet. Pilot Program and Survey Fortunately, Liceo U gained valuable experience with FLEx Learning when it piloted Online Learning in 2017 with her Physical Therapy Department.and in 2018, Information Technology, Psychology and Radiologic Technology also conducted some aspects of instruction online. In addition to the learnings and experiences  gained through this pilot program, Liceo U also conducted a student survey to determine the  best approach to fulfill their specific needs and expected learning outcomesthrough the Learning Management System Committee chaired by Dr Florecilla C Cinches and co-chaired by Dr Denise O Orong.. Founded in 1955 by the couple Rodolfo and Elsa Pelaez, Liceo U gained her University status in 1997-1998, and she has numerous LEVEL IV Accreditation Certifications from the PACUCOA.. Liceo U now has three campuses: RN Peleaz Campus (former Liceo Hospital) along Macapagal Avenue (formerly Patag Road), Main Campus on RN Pelaez Boulevard and Paseo Campus (for Senior High and Medicine-related courses such as nursing, , Physical Therapy, MedTech, Pharmacy, Radiologic Technology)     Home-based FLEx Learning "Liceo U will introduce Flexible Learningas the best approach offering the best outcomes for our learners' even as we continue to follow strict health precautionary measures," Golez noted. "It is designed to meet the needs of our students. Whether they’re connected to the internet or not, in school or in the safety of their  homes, no one is left behind. Liceo U will continue to offer accessible and inclusive quality education for all her students," he added. Liceo U's FLEx Learning is basically a Study-from-Home system will utilize either synchonous (real-time virtual conferencing) or asynchronous (self-paced learning) instruction. This includes but is not limited to the provision of printed and technology-assisted learning materials for students with limited or no internet connectivity. Real-Time Virtual Learning has been designed for learners' with reliable internet connections that would enable them to participatein real-time synchronized meetings through a prescribed online platform, with learning modules and materials to be accessed online, and virtual laboratory  (may require delayed laboratory return demonstration). On the other hand, Self-Paced Learning is for students with none or limited internet connection, thus access to materials/modules will depend on the student's availability to pick up the learning materials either through the use of a flash disk, or printed modules and materials at the campus, comply with the requirements at their own pace, and upload the completed compliances online after. School-based learning includes face-to-face (lecture and laboratory) sessions to ensure the achievement of the outcomes or competencies that require demonstration of skills with strict compliance upon the advice of the local and national government and their agencies: DepEd, CHED and the IATF. Liceo U will take further steps with school-based learning when the university administation determines that COVID-19 has been contained. FLEx Features FLEx @ Liceo U features Learner-Material Flexibility, Learner-Support Services and Trained Faculty for Virtual Learning. WithLearner-Material Flexibility students will enjoy real-time learning instructions, self-paced learning, and delayed laboratory demonstration with printed modules and learning packets prepared by departments. Learner-Material Flexibilityassures that all students learn through online and can work at their own pace within a given time framework using online and offline activities accessible through both personal computers or smart phones. Those with  limited online access can retrieve learning materials and modules through flash drives or materials printed by their respective departments. Liceo U's FreeLearner-Support Servicesis designed to meet the unique demands of online learning. It provides online personal counseling with peer-to-peer support, health and wellness, spiritual, legal, and ethical services, online libraries, bookstore services, technical support and online academic mentoring and advising. The University partnered with various online resources and platforms for teachers and learners to have seamless learning connection offline and online. Among these are Google, GSuite, Quipper, Microsoft, Edmondo, Zoom, YouTube and Facebook. While the University's libraries remain closed, Liceo U continues to support teachers and learners through its free online library resources. Even with the implementation of FLEx Learning, Liceo U assures that her trained experts in Online Teaching who are professinally competent to undertake online learning. "Liceo U faculty participate in ongoing professional development to stay current with advances in online instruction and latest educational technologies to meet learner's individual needs. Teachers lead classes with more effective and innovative online teaching methods to cater to 21st century learning skills," Golez noted. The university considers its faculty trained in Virtual Learning as indispendable in the enchancement of 21st Century Learning Skills. In 21st century education, skills enhancement is the priority of the University for the globally competitive learner. The University aims to further enhance critical thinking, collaboration, creativity with the inclusion of digital literacy in communication as important learning domains these times, Golez stressed. To ensure that all students regardless of their choice of Real-Time or Self-Paced Learning, have access to the support they need to complete their requirements, Liceo U has established the Liceo Educational Learning Center whichensures access to and proficiency in technology for creative integration to enhance delivery of instruction and reinforce educational needs. The center offers skills-based and curriculum-integrated professional development opportunities, collaborative initiatives with other curriculum departments, with software tools that are current and necessary for 21st century education. Enrollment ongoing till August 3 to 14 for  late enrollees, classes start August 3  (Medicine) and August 11 (all  levels). All-Inclusive Community During its latest academic year, Liceo U had enrolled some 10,000 students who were nurtured  by a teaching/non-teaching staff of some 500 employees. "We managed to survive the transition period for the mandated implementation of K+12 which was really tough and I am confident we can manage to meet the challenges posed by the New Normal, " Golez said. Expected Aftermath However, should  the global pandemic pan out longer than expected, Golez cautioned their students and employees to expect the present non-medical protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to continue, even if schools would already be allowed to re-open with face-to-face instruction. "Expect the present physical distancing, footbaths at the gates and classrooms, temperature checks, hand washing and mandatory face masks to continue," he warned. Meantime, the gates to all three campuses remain closed, with personal interactions for those doing business with Liceo U limited to a roped-off  Extended Service Area near each campus gates where the present health protocols are strictly implemented. (RMB)

PMI releases first Integrated Report on performance and headways in its smoke-free future vision

July 6, 2020

Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) has published its first Integrated Report, a comprehensive overview of the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and its progress toward delivering a smoke-free future—including the company’s ambition to switch more than 40 million adult smokers to its smoke-free products by 2025.  PMI said its Integrated Report 2019 demonstrates the role of the organization's strategy, governance, and performance in the creation of value over the short, medium, and long terms. The report further shows PMI’s approach and important progress in various ESG areas, while setting new and ambitious targets for 2025 that complement the company’s prior aspirations.  “Clarity of purpose is essential for the internal alignment of any company. Since we announced our smoke-free commitment in 2016, we have made enormous progress in terms of organizational capabilities, the integration of sustainability into every aspect of our transformation, and our business,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI Chief Executive Officer. “PMI’s Statement of Purpose reaffirms our commitment to deliver a smoke-free future for the benefit of people who would otherwise continue to smoke and, hence, to global public health. It is clear to all of us at PMI that the biggest positive impact our company can have on society is to replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives; this is at the very core of our corporate strategy and sits atop our sustainability priorities while we are progressing well on all others,” Calantzopoulos added.  The report cited PMI’s Philippine affiliate, PMFTC Inc., for its strong commitment to the development and growth of local communities. In particular, the company’s corporate social responsibility program Embrace, which involves charitable giving, social contributions and community investments that focused on access to education, women empowerment, economic opportunity, and most especially disaster preparedness and relief efforts. “As a leader in the tobacco industry and a top taxpayer in the Philippines, PMFTC has a responsible role to play in spurring economic development, empowering communities and sustaining our environment,” PMFTC President Denis Gorkun said. “We are proud of our company’s caring and giving culture. We are equally proud of our employees who champion the values of social responsibility as can be most recently seen in our societal response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorkun added. In the report, PMFTC was cited as being in the forefront in providing relief assistance during disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and floods. More than 25,000 individuals received help in the past earthquake incidences in Batanes and Mindanao; and another 7,384 families benefited from relief items during the Taal volcano eruption in January this year. In these community efforts, “PMFTC employees were at the core of relief operations.” mentioning the company employees “spirit of volunteerism and compassion for the community.”   On top of helping communities, PMFTC has placed the safety and protection of its own employees a priority. Some 150 displaced employees were provided immediate assistance in the recent Taal volcano eruption. The Integrated Report 2019 also demonstrates how PMI is focusing its resources on developing, scientifically substantiating, and responsibly commercializing smoke-free products that are a better choice than continued smoking, with the aim of completely replacing cigarettes as soon as possible. The company believes that, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.  It also highlights the company’s most material sustainability topics, including the health impacts of the company’s products, an aspect often not captured by external ESG assessments.  The report focuses on this key area, and describes how the company is working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use by replacing combustible products with scientifically substantiated reduced-risk alternatives.  From the previous sustainability reporting, PMI’s evolution to integrated reporting helps investors make the connection between the product-focused sustainability initiatives, which form the core of the ESG strategy, and the financial performance over time. The report also enables the company’s stakeholders to better evaluate the company’s progress in achieving its purpose. PMI’s Statement of Purpose, adopted by the company’s Board of Directors earlier this year and published in its 2020 proxy statement, is also available in the Integrated Report.


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