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Aboitiz Group bolsters economic support for customers & clients amid GCQ & MGCQ

June 9, 2020

The Aboitiz Group is sustaining the economic “lifeline” it has previously extended to its business units’ customers and clients as most areas in the Philippines entered general community and modified general community quarantines (GCQ & MGCQ) beginning June 1. This move will ensure the unimpeded delivery of goods and services and mitigate the impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by stimulating economic activity. “The government’s directive to gradually lift the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon in light of the nation’s continuing battle against COVID-19 has allowed several essential businesses to return to operations one step at a time. As #OneAboitiz, we will continue to offer support to our customers and clients nationwide as we all navigate this “new normal” and prepare for the gradual resumption of business and overall economic activity once this crisis is over,” said Sabin M. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Power Aboitiz Power Corporation, which operates various power generation and power distribution facilities nationwide, announced that its sites will remain operational throughout the GCQ and MGCQ period, ensuring that its right mix portfolio of power assets are ready and able to meet the needs of customers nationwide.  “All of our sites for generation and distribution are operating despite the instituted lockdowns. Delivering adequate and reliable power supply is our way of spreading #PositiveEnergy in these challenging times,” said Emmanuel V. Rubio, AboitizPower President and CEO.  Currently, customers of AboitizPower distribution units Visayan Electric, Davao Light, and Cotabato Light enjoy the convenience of easy access to their monthly electricity information via the MobileAP mobile application (app). Available for free download, MobileAP allows customers to check their monthly electricity bills, view payment history, and access bill charts through their mobile phones.  Visayan Electric, the country’s second-largest privately-owned distribution utility, has particularly made transactions easier for its shareholders and customers alike. Shareholders were able to virtually join the company’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting last May 19, while customers enjoyed installment payment arrangements in line with the May 22 Energy Regulatory Commission advisory. A customer hotline has also been set up to receive inquiries on electric consumption and bill estimates. Banking & Financial Services Union Bank of the Philippines, meanwhile, has extended loan payment deadlines (including credit card, housing, and automobile loans) and the waiving of online InstaPay transfer fees via the UnionBank Online app until June 15. Via its financial technology arm UBX, UnionBank has also offered loans to small businesses coping with the impact of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)-related measures. During the early part of the ECQ, UnionBank announced an upgrade of its existing online app to enable users to directly transfer funds nationwide to remittance centers such as Cebuana Lhuiller, LBC, PERA HUB, and Palawan Express. This feature continues to be useful for clients who may need to transfer funds in areas under MECQ or GCQ. “This was a project we were talking about even before the lockdown. We were able to do it in just three weeks. This shows how the agile way of working has really taken root,” said Edwin R.  Bautista, UnionBank President and CEO. To help customers gain knowledge on the benefits of digital banking, UnionBank also rolled out “UnionBank Talks Digital,” a series of talks and educational sessions featuring banking industry leaders. UnionBank has also continued to deploy its 5G-enabled mobile banking kiosk “Bank on Wheels” to various parts of Metro Manila. It has also continued support to key industries like petroleum, food manufacturing, food packaging, food retail/ wholesale, logistics, brokerage, transport, health care and health-related firms to guarantee that the country’s supply chain is not disrupted. UnionBank subsidiary CitySavings has extended 30-day grace period for loan due dates falling within the ECQ and modified ECQ periods in compliance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. As of May 26, a number of CitySavings branches are already open nationwide with shortened operating hours to serve its customers. Food Pilmico Foods Corporation, the food business unit of the Aboitiz Group, is addressing the demand for food products in select areas in Metro Manila through its homegrown retail, wholesale, and solutions brand “The Good Meat.” Through “The Good Meat,” Pilmico started delivering pork meat, and eggs within Metro Manila.  “Our company remains committed to helping sustain the food value chain by consistently being present and delivering raw materials needed to continue food production,” said Tristan R. Aboitiz, President and CEO of Pilmico. Pilmico has ensured unhampered production in its flour, farms, and feeds facilities to contribute to food sustainability in the country.  “The flour and feed mills in Iligan and Tarlac, as well as farms, continue to operate, serving the needs of the customers despite challenges in logistics and distribution which can be attributed to COVID-19,” Tristan Aboitiz added.  The company continues to provide total customer solutions for baking, livestock raising and management needs through digital platforms such as Facebook communities for online consultations to ensure both customers and team members are protected while addressing customers’ needs. Pilmico also extends its online services to virtual or “e-customer visits.” Through video calls, key department managers and their teams provide extended business reviews and guidance to Pilmico’s clients.  One example is the Pilmico-Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Bake/Cook with Chef Webinar Series, an online avenue for learning and skills development for Pilmico customers, which include small- and medium-bakery owners and home bakers. Launched last May 26, the series will air three times per month via Zoom and Facebook until after the GCQ period. The series’ first episode was reposted on the Pilmico Flour Facebook page. Infrastructure and Land Lima Water Corporation, an Aboitiz InfraCapital unit, is ramping up its operations in Lima Technology Center with the imposition of GCQ in Batangas.  To support the ramp-up of locators’ water demand as quarantine measures relax, Lima Water has been constantly ensuring that its water and wastewater facilities within the industrial park are well-maintained and ready for adjustment. The water utility also introduced alternative payment options for locators for their convenience. In addition, to keep locators safely updated on the latest company information, announcements, and water quality results, Lima Water recently launched its company website, http://www.limawatercorp.com.  The Outlets at Lipa, AboitizLand’s commercial development in Lipa City, Batangas, observes strict sanitation measures during GCQ to ensure the safety and security of its customers and tenants. AboitizLand’s commercial establishments, The Outlets at Lipa in Batangas and The Outlets at Pueblo Verde in Cebu, have reopened to serve community needs following local GCQ directives. Retail shops are now open implementing strict safety measures and social distancing protocols. Restaurants also remain open, offering delivery and take-out transactions only.  In addition, AboitizLand’s residential sales team remains ready to serve the country’s housing needs amid the need for a safe and secure sanctuary. The company has adopted digital and contactless selling to make it safe and convenient for vecinos (clients) to purchase a home. Construction Aboitiz Construction, Inc.’s customers (most of which are key players in various industries) continue to do business with the company via video conferencing, chat applications, and other multiple digital tools. In preparation for the resumption of work in project sites, Aboitiz Construction has implemented strict safety protocols to ensure that all stakeholders and team members are protected from acquiring the virus.   “We continue to find innovative ways in keeping our clients warm and diligently update them on our business continuity plan, and process improvements as we become more agile and forward-thinking through the use of various digital tools,” said Felma R. Yap, Aboitiz Construction First Vice President - Business Development & Tender Planning. Yap’s team now hosts price reviews, holds issue resolution consultations, and relays cost improvement options for customers through various Web tools. About Aboitiz Equity Ventures Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) is the public holding company of the Aboitiz Group with major investments in power, banking and financial services, food, infrastructure, and land. Today, AEV is recognized as one of the best-managed companies in the Philippines and in the region, consistently cited for its commitment to good corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. With five generations of Aboitiz Group business success behind it, AEV continues to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities. The Aboitiz Group continues to contribute to the country’s COVID-19 response efforts. To date, the Aboitiz Group has contributed P1.85 billion for its COVID-19 response efforts. This excludes various payments waived, reduced, extended, or restructured to help customers cope with the impact of COVID-19. 

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SEC Issues cease and desist order against JOCALS688

June 4, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease and desist order against JOCALS688 Beauty and Wellness Products Trading, Inc. to stem its fraudulent investment schemes. In a separate order issued on May 28, the Commission ordered JOCALS688 to immediately cease and desist, under pain of contempt, from soliciting investments from the public or engaging in similar activities. The SEC further prohibited JOCALS688 from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks, and from transferring, disposing, or conveying in any manner all related assets to forestall grave damage and prejudice to all concerned and to ensure the preservation of the assets for the benefit of the investors. The cease and desist order covers the corporation’s operators, partners, directors, officers, salespersons, agents, representatives, promoters, and all persons, conduit entities and subsidiaries claiming and acting for and on its behalf. The SEC ordered JOCALS688 to stop their operations after finding they were engaged in the sale and/or offering of securities in the form of investment contracts without prior registration and the corresponding permit. “We urge everyone to stop investing to JOCALS688 especially today that the Commission has ordered cease and desist order against them already. To continuously keep our mandate which is to protect the investing public against these fraudulent schemes, please verify with the Commission first before investing your money in an entity which may not be licensed and regulated by SEC” Atty. Renato V. Egypto, SEC-CDOEO Director said in a statement. Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code, provides that securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the Commission. In the case of SEC vs. CJH Development Corp., the Supreme Court ruled that the act of selling unregistered securities would necessarily operate as a fraud on investors as it deceives the investing public by making it appear that the company has authority to deal on such securities. Under Section 64 of the Securities Regulation Code, the SEC may issue a cease and desist order without the necessity of a prior hearing if, in its judgment, an act or practice, unless restrained, will operate as a fraud on investors or is otherwise likely to cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public. Prior to issuing the cease and desist orders, the SEC has advised the public to avoid or stop placing their hard-earned money in JOCALS688. Atty. Egypto added that “We have done all sorts of information dissemination campaigns to inform and caution the public about JOCALS688 over radio interviews, sending emails directly to local officials and, releasing of information through our partners in the government and the media networks particularly about the issuance of Advisory against the said entity before.”  JOCALS688 registered as a corporation on October 9, 2019 to engage in the sale, distribution, marketing and trading of goods, commodities and merchandise such as beauty and wellness products, coffee, juice and herbal products. The company headquartered in Zamboanga del Sur named Joshua A. Calderon, Echochen M. Calderon, Noemie C. Ponce, Hanz R. Paler and Nino S. Agad-ad as directors in its articles of incorporation. In a certificate of incorporation issued to JOCALS688 provides that the corporation “shall not solicit, accept or take investments/ placements from the public neither shall it issue investment contracts.” The Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD), however, found that JOCALS688 enticed members to deposit a minimum of P10,000 to earn P13,000 after a month. Alternatively, one could become a member by purchasing a package of products for P3,800.00. Members could earn by selling the products. However, they could supposedly receive bigger returns by simply recruiting more people into the scheme. The SEC found the scheme to have satisfied all the elements of an investment contract. In this light, JOCALS688 must have filed a registration statement with the Commission and applied for a secondary license.  “Thus, in the absence of a secondary license, JOCALS688 should be restrained from offering or selling securities in the form of investment contracts,” the SEC concluded. The Commission also pointed out that the capitalization of JOCALS688 only amounted to P1 million while it promised investors a guaranteed 37% monthly income. “Clearly, JOCALS688's business model and capitalization cannot sustain the promised returns of investment, especially if no new investors will come in,” the SEC noted. “Pay-outs for investors are financed from investments of new recruits/ investors. This is a fraudulent scheme which will likely cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public.” The SEC earlier issued similar cease and desist orders against CROWD1 Asia Pacific, Inc., Lion City Finance Group, Inc. and Payasian Pte. Ltd. Corporation for engaging in unauthorized investment schemes.

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DSWD taps PayMaya for distribution of AICS assistance

June 4, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has partnered with e-wallet application, PayMaya, to provide cashless distribution of financial aid to clients of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).    Under the AICS program, qualified indigent, marginalized, poor, or disadvantaged individuals or families may avail of any medical, educational, burial, or transportation assistance as immediate aid or safety net to help them recover from any crisis situation.    Through the partnership, clients availing of AICS can easily encash their cash aid from any of the 30,000 Smart Padala branches nationwide through their PayMaya accounts.    They may also use the funds in their accounts to pay for bills, groceries, or other daily essentials, purchase airtime load, or send money to other PayMaya users through the PayMaya app.    Last month, DSWD also tapped PayMaya as one of the featured payment methods in the ReliefAgad app. Beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) may choose to receive their cash aid through their respective PayMaya accounts.    The Department will continue to find innovative, safer, and convenient ways to improve its cash disbursement mechanisms to provide immediate assistance to Filipinos during the public health crisis. 

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2GO shifts gears to reunite OFWs with their families

May 30, 2020

2GO Group Inc shifts to higher gear its passengers’ service operations to support government’s directive to speed up the homecoming of over 24,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stranded in Metro Manila due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The group, which operates the Philippines’ largest integrated supply chain, said it is “ready, willing, and capable”’ of safely transporting the locally stranded OFWs and other individuals to the Visayas and Mindanao regions. In fact, 2GO has been supporting the Balik Probinsiya program of the government since it started.  Last May 24, two of its vessels -- the M/V St. Therese of Child Jesus and the M/V St.  Leo the Great -- left Manila with 1000 repatriated Filipinos on board who were finally on their way home after being held up in the capital while undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine since April.  2GO’s fleet of passenger ships has made numerous hassle-free trips between Manila to its 12 service ports in Visayas and Mindanao ranging from Bacolod down to Zamboanga.   To ensure safety and wellness of its passengers and crew, 2GO management has set in place strict health and sanitation protocols that are being enforced to the letter. New sea travel guidelines are also being implemented such as social distancing in the sleeping and dining areas, regular temperature checks and less contact with crew throughout the trip.  2GO can accommodate and bring home over 6000 individuals for this week’s sailings to Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan De Oro, Dumaguete, Ozamis, Iligan, Zamboanga and Nasipit.  All OFWs who wish to get on board must show proof that they have undergone the required quarantine and were given a clean bill of health by concerned authorities. Other required documents are ID cards showing proof of residence, passport with arrival stamp, and Bureau of Quarantine certificate. The OFWs can either coordinate with their respective manning agencies, or book directly with 2GO regarding their trip through email address bayanihan@2go.com.ph, or call 09065726255 and 095a16143362.  Passengers are encouraged to show up for boarding at least four hours before departure.  “We are proud to be a partner in all endeavors of the government to lift the people’s quality of life through efficient and affordable public service, notably in the transport sector. We are committed to delivering seamless movements of people and commerce at globally competitive levels”, said 2GO shipping head Dan Fernan.    

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

May 29, 2020

 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

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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