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

May 16, 2020

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

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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Fraternitas Scintillas Legis donates hygiene kits to Oro trash collectors; Amaya View and Andreya provide meals

May 6, 2020

A different kind of frontliner. Count the garbage collectors as one of the frontliners of the COVID-19 crisis. They may not be in hospitals tending to the sick but they have been diligently doing their job and exposed to public places since Day One of the pandemic so there will be no clogging of trash here in Cagayan de Oro. Here in our beloved city, the contracted garbage firm is IPM. Last Wednesday (May 5), Fraternitas Scintillas Legis donated a total of 100 hygiene kits to IPM garbage collectors and for that, they were grateful. “A big thank you to Scintilla Legis fraternity of Xavier University College of Law for sharing your blessings to us. It is so heartwarming that you look up to us as one of the unsung heroes in this war against COVID,”  IPM stated in its Facebook account. The hygiene kits that IPM donated contain five kilos of rice, a bottle of vitamins, alcohol, rubberized gloves, soap and toothbrush. “Sila bya ang exposed kaayo yet wala silay saktong na recognition from us. Grabi ni sila ka exposed sa mga unwanted substances bisan basura from the hospital sila ghapon ni,” Scintilla Legis Fraternitas Xavier University chapter grand chancellor Jasper Alon said. Amaya View and Andreya’s Restaurant also provided 100 meals to the recipients. “Time and time again, our humanitarian capabilities our tested. We in Fraternitas Scintilla Legis believes that this is the best time to give a little of what we have to a particular sector which is instrumental in these trying times,” Alon said. The Fraternitas Scintilla Legis, otherwise known as Scintilla Legis, or simply FSL, is a law school-based fraternity in the Philippines. The name of the fraternity is derived from the Latin words scintilla which means spark, and legis which means law. It was founded in 1974 by seven students at the College of Law of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City. At present, the fraternity is composed of five chapters consisting of, Liceo de Cagayan, Silliman University, Bukidnon State University and Western Mindanao State University.

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LANDBANK rolls out SAP, relief packages for Bayanihan Law with zero service/handling charges

April 21, 2020

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) supports government agencies in the distribution of various social protection programs to poor households most affected by the ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) brought about by the COVID-19 threat.      In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), LANDBANK released cash grants totaling P16.34 billion to 3,721,833 Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) household-beneficiaries nationwide. The amount of P3,650 to P6,650 per beneficiary was credited to their LANDBANK Cash Cards.      Also together with the DSWD, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), LANDBANK started distributing to 18,602 Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) drivers in the National Capital Region amounting to P 148.816  million with each driver receiving P8,000 to help tide them over in these difficult times.       Under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), a total of P1.2 billion in financial assistance will be released to an initial batch of 250,000 beneficiaries from 2,773 private companies at P5,000 per worker. LANDBANK has already started releasing to the workers from the National Capital Region. It is also working with DOLE on the cash assistance for displaced land-based and sea-based OFWs due to COVID 19 pandemic under the DOLE AKAP for OFWs Program.      Meanwhile, through the Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), LANDBANK has started releasing to 52,043 small rice farmer totaling P260.215 million at P5,000 per farmer.  LANDBANK will continue releasing to the remaining farmers in the coming days.      Likewise, the social amelioration funds from DSWD to local government units (LGUs) have already been released through LANDBANK to DSWD and the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) Regional Offices for release to the LGUs.      “LANDBANK is one with the national government in carrying out urgent measures to support our people as we collectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the immediate delivery of social protection interventions and much-needed financial relief during these difficult times,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said.      LANDBANK also clarified that it is not charging or collecting any service or transaction fee in its SAP partnerships with the DSWD, DOTr, LTFRB, DOLE and DA. Aside from this, withdrawal in any LANDBANK Branch or ATM is free of charge. Likewise, online fund transfers thru InstaPay and PESONet are also free of charge during the ECQ period.      These LANDBANK programs were introduced in partnership with government agencies after it was designated as the disbursement arm of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the government for the implementation of Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”      This is in compliance with Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020, which specifies the guidelines for the provision of social amelioration measures, jointly issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture, Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).      Last month, LANDBANK rolled out relief packages to clients in the form of payment moratoriums. For credit cardholders and salary loan borrowers, as well as mortgage and housing loans, there is a 60-day grace period for payments falling due from March 18 to April 30, 2020, and a 30-day grace period for business loans and project finance loans for the same period. Loan amortizations of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries were also granted a one-year moratorium.      For details and updates, please refer to the official LANDBANK social media accounts   @landbankofficial (Facebook and Instagram), @LBP_Official (Twitter), and www.landbank.com.

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SSS taps PayMaya for Small Business Wage Subsidy and other loan disbursements

April 21, 2020

[18 APRIL 2020] Eligible employees under the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program will be able to conveniently receive the cash assistance straight to their PayMaya accounts once disbursements commence in May.   State pension fund Social Security System (SSS) has tapped digital financial services leader PayMaya for an easier and more convenient way to disburse proceeds from the national government's SBWS program and its other loan offers to more than 3 million member-employees affected by the current COVID-19 public health situation.  Eligible employers and their respective employees can now link their PayMaya accounts in the My.SSS online portal, so that they can conveniently receive their wage subsidies when the disbursements start next month. Depending on their location, eligible employees stand to receive P5,000 to P8,000 in subsidies from the government through the SSS. Employers have until April 30, 2020 to submit their applications at the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph).  To successfully receive their wage subsidies via PayMaya, employees must make sure that their PayMaya accounts are upgraded. For information on how to upgrade your PayMaya account, visit www.paymaya.com/upgrade.  The government has set aside a P51 billion fund in wage subsidies for small businesses whose employees were affected by the enhanced community quarantine and unable to work due to suspension of business operations in some industries.  “This is especially convenient and beneficial for employees in small businesses who were unable to work during the enhanced community quarantine period. More than ever, fast and easy access to funds for their daily necessities becomes critical at this time. We are happy to be part of government's thrust in using e-Money as a convenient tool for cash distribution,” said Orlando Vea, Founder and CEO of PayMaya.   The disbursement of wage subsidies and other loan proceeds is an expansion of the partnership between SSS and PayMaya, which together launched a more convenient way to pay for member contributions using the SSS mobile app in late 2019.   Promoting safe and convenient payments   After receiving their wage subsidies or loan proceeds in their PayMaya accounts, employee beneficiaries may immediately use the funds to pay bills, buy airtime load, send money to family, or shop online for basic necessities using their PayMaya app.   They may also opt to withdraw the funds at any Bancnet ATMs currently available using their physical PayMaya card or through the more than 30,000 Smart Padala centers nationwide.   Aside from offering convenience, utilizing PayMaya for various digital transactions is also a safer way to pay as part of physical distancing and health measures.  To sign up for a PayMaya account, all they have to do is download the PayMaya app in the Google Play Store or the Apple App store and register using their mobile number. For more basic information about opening and using a PayMaya account, visit www.paymaya.com/quick-guide.   PayMaya is the leading digital financial services company in the country that offers end-to-end payment solutions with the widest on-ground branch network. It is the first to give millions of Filipinos an e-wallet that allows them to pay cashless transactions at any time of the day, anywhere in the world, and from any device. 

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DOST-X Continues to Produce Face Shields, Donates them to Front Liners

April 21, 2020

Cagayan de Oro City - The Department of Science and Technology regional office 10 continues to produce additional Face Shields for COVID-19 front liners within the region. The agency's employee-volunteers were able to produce 1,000 pieces of Face Shields in their second-round of production on April 8, 2020. The distributions were done on the days that follow until April 17, 2020.      The face shields were donated to the City Government of Cagayan de Oro; Philippine National Police-X; Office of Civil Defense-X; Philippine Information Agency-X; Local Government Units of Lugait, Laguindingan, Magsaysay, and Jasaan; and Provincial Science and Technology Centers in Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, and Lanao del Norte.      Aside from the face shields, 3-ply and 6-ply Face Masks were also given to the four above-mentioned LGUs.      “Face Shields and Face Masks are very important to our responders and front liners in different critical areas in the province of Mis. Or. LGUs in both ends of the province: Lugait and Magsaysay are entry points of all persons and cargos coming to Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City, it is but right that those manning the quarantine areas are also well protected and equipped to efficiently do their tasks.”, said Misamis Oriental Provincial Science and Technology Director Junelyn-Louvena B. Ruiz.      The employee-volunteers were also able to come up with an infographic step-by-step procedure on how to make Face Shields using locally-available materials.      “The face shield is made of PVC Cover, PE insulation foam, and garter.”, Ms. Shevanie E. Magallanes, one of DOST-X’s employee-volunteers who helped in producing the face shields. (Julie Anne H. Baculio, DOST-X)

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