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Pag-IBIG posts P16.11B net income in H1 2021; up 14%

August 30, 2021

Pag-IBIG Fund posted earnings of P16.11 billion in the first half of 2021 amid the challenges posed by the continuing health crisis, a 14% increase compared to the same period last year, its top officials reported on (Wednesday, 25 August).      From January to June, Pag-IBIG Fund’s gross income reached P27.14 billion while its net income amounted to P16.11 billion. Compared to the same period last year, gross income grew 13% and net income increased 14%, driven mainly by earnings from its housing and short-term loans (cash loans), and trading gains.      “We are happy to report that Pag-IBIG Fund remains strong amid the pandemic. The double-digit increase in our income figures proves that we remain as one of the best performing government corporations in the country today. This places us in a strong position to continue providing social services to more Filipino workers, in line with President Duterte’s directives as we continue to recover from the challenges caused by the pandemic,” said Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario, Chairman of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and of the 11-member Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees.      He added that as of July, Pag-IBIG Fund has so far released P52.22 billion to finance the acquisition of 51,206 homes for its members. During the same period, the agency released P25.42 billion in cash loans, helping over 1.18 million members answer their immediate financial needs as the health crisis continues. Savings from its members also reached P37.46 billion as of July, strongly driven by the agency’s popular MP2 Savings where members have collectively saved P15.83 billion.      Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti, meanwhile, emphasized that the agency’s gains shall redound to the benefit of its members.      He noted that under its charter, Pag-IBIG Fund is mandated to return at least 70% of its annual net income to its members in the form of dividends which are credited to their savings.      “The true owners of Pag-IBIG Fund are the Filipino workers. That is why it is our responsibility, as the administrators of the Fund, to manage their contributions prudently and excellently. Last 2020, we gave back 92.15% of our net income to members in the form of dividends, even though our Charter mandates only a 70% minimum. With our strong fiscal standing, our members can rest assured that our programs shall remain available to help them recover from the pandemic and that each hard-earned peso they save with us remains secure and continues to grow,” Moti said.      Earlier this month, the agency received its 9th consecutive unmodified opinion from the Commission on Audit (COA) for its financial statements for year 2020. This is the highest rating that state auditors give to a government agency or corporation, to mean that the financial statements of an agency are presented, in all material respects, in accordance with applicable financial reporting frameworks.

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Erring cops to face raps for falsifying swab test results

July 11, 2021

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Ten policemen from Basilan and Sulu, who tried to enter Zamboanga City, were arrested after authorities confirmed they were using fake swab test results. The report did not name the identities of the policemen involved but they came from Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) Major Shellamie Chang, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) spokesperson said the arrest of the policemen was made after the City Legal Officer recommended for their capture for using fake swab test results. City Tourism Officer Sarita Sebastian told newsmen that ten policemen allegedly tried to enter Zamboanga City using fake covid-19 documents. Major Chang reported that among the cases to be filed up include violation of Section 9, Paragraph B (Tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation) of Republic Act 11332 otherwise known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. The spokespeson of the military added that the erring policemen will also be charged for violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code for falsification of public documents. The “no swab, no entry” policy is emphasized under Executive Order No. 644-2021 issued by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar after the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) placed this city under general community quarantine (GCQ) effective July 1 until July 30. (PNA)  

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Smoke, not nicotine, causes deaths – health expert

June 8, 2021

Inhalation of smoke, not nicotine, is the culprit that causes smoking related deaths and diseases according to a Canadian health expert. “The nicotine itself is not the problem. The global health catastrophe we face is due to the way it’s delivered. In short, for anyone wishing to tackle the global toll of 20,000 lives a day lost due to cigarette smoking, we need to remember just four words: ‘it’s the smoke, stupid’,” Prof. David T. Sweanor, chair of the advisory board of the Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics at the University of Ottawa said. He stressed that contrary to popular belief, nicotine is not the substance that causes these deaths. “There have been many decades of research on the health effects of cigarette smoking, and we have known since at least the 1970s that the primary cause of the cancers, heart and lung disease is the repeated inhalation of smoke,” he said.  The professor made the distinction to differentiate the risk profile of non-combustible alternatives (NCAs) like vapes, heated tobacco products (HTPs) and oral products like Sweden’s snus which deliver nicotine without burning tobacco. He said by eliminating combustion or the burning process, these innovative products provide smokers less harmful alternatives to smoking. Sweanor said the human body is simply not designed to inhale smoke. It is the tar from combustion, and not nicotine, that contains carcinogens and toxicants. “We see similar disease patterns in those who cook food over open fires with poor ventilation and in firefighters exposed long-term to smoke inhalation,” he said. He likened nicotine to caffeine, saying it is a psychoactive substance that is addictive and gives assorted benefits to many users. He, however, noted that “by themselves, neither have significant health risks when used at normal dosage levels. But if obtained through a toxic delivery system such as smoking, great injury can be caused.” Sweanor said that making NCAs available to countries such as the Philippines will help millions of smokers reduce their exposure to smoke and illnesses. Mounting evidence from scientific studies around the world confirm that NCAs are significantly less harmful than traditional cigarettes.  According to Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians, e-cigarettes are at least 95-percent less harmful to humans than combustible tobacco. A February 2019 clinical trial by UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) found that e-cigarette was twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments such as patches and gum at helping smokers quit. NCAs offer a similar ritual and pleasure as cigarettes with less exposure to the dangerous toxins and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. “We now can get rid of cigarette smoking much as many countries have got rid of various infectious diseases and transitioned consumers away from a broad range of other overly hazardous products.  We can use science, technology and reason to draft regulations that can end cigarette smoking, and thus address the 20,000 daily deaths globally that are caused by that smoking.  We can make public health history no less significant than the eradication of smallpox,” Sweanor said. Citing Japan’s experience, Sweanor said the it reduced cigarettes sales by more than 30% in just over three years following the introduction of HTPs. “Product substitution works and appears to work better than any other strat egy we have used to date in reducing cigarette smoking. We have also seen this impact in Sweden, Norway, Iceland and other countries as well, and with a variety of low-risk non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes,” he said. He noted, however, that many governments can’t keep up with the advances in science and technology.  “They often fail to understand the absolutely enormous differences in risk between different nicotine products and inadvertently protect the cigarette business by seeing low-risk alternatives as a threat rather than an opportunity,” he said. “The combined offering in terms of consumer needs and wants, and the information, availability and pricing of the low-risk alternatives should ensure that the safer choice is an easy choice,” he said. “Viable alternatives to cigarettes can reduce cigarette consumption dramatically. We can seize the opportunity technology now makes available to end the cigarette epidemic,” Sweanor said. 

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Constantino "Tinnex" Jaraula on his first dose of SINOVAC

April 29, 2021

Despite my ambivalence towards vaccination, and complex perception on it's effects, I just had my first dose of SINOVAC this morning, with the positive endorsement of my PHC Cardiologist Dra. Normita Manapat and NMMC's Dr. BeeJay Rocha. I decided for it not because I want to be called a "hero" as now being "advertised" but just doing my duty as a citizen strongly mandated by PRRD. It is disastrous if one is infected with COVID-19 but it is worse if he infects others through his negligence!! (Tinnex Jaraula)

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In the COVID-19 vaccine race, we either win together or lose together

February 12, 2021

Joint statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus NEW YORK/GENEVA, 10 February 2021 – “Of the 128 million vaccine doses administered so far, more than three quarters of those vaccinations are in just 10 countries that account for 60% of global GDP. “As of today, almost 130 countries, with 2.5 billion people, are yet to administer a single dose. “This self-defeating strategy will cost lives and livelihoods, give the virus further opportunity to mutate and evade vaccines and will undermine a global economic recovery. “Today, UNICEF and WHO – partners for more than 70 years – call on leaders to look beyond their borders and employ a vaccine strategy that can actually end the pandemic and limit variants. “Health workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic in lower- and middle-income settings and should be protected first so they can protect us. “COVAX participating countries are preparing to receive and use vaccines. Health workers have been trained, cold chain systems primed. What’s missing is the equitable supply of vaccines.  “To ensure that vaccine rollouts begin in all countries in the first 100 days of 2021, it is imperative that:  · Governments that have vaccinated their own health workers and populations at highest risk of severe disease share vaccines through COVAX so other countries can do the same. · The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, and its vaccines pillar COVAX, is fully funded so that financing and technical support is available to lower- and middle-income countries for deploying and administering vaccines. If fully funded, the ACT Accelerator could return up to US$ 166 for every dollar invested. · Vaccine manufacturers allocate the limited vaccine supply equitably; share safety, efficacy and manufacturing data as a priority with WHO for regulatory and policy review; step up and maximize production; and transfer technology to other manufacturers who can help scale the global supply. “We need global leadership to scale up vaccine production and achieve vaccine equity. “COVID-19 has shown that our fates are inextricably linked. Whether we win or lose, we will do so together.”

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foodpanda expands shops service in Mindanao with Fit Mart

January 24, 2021

foodpanda Philippines receives a huge boost to its grocery delivery service in Mindanao as it partners with Fit Mart, one of the biggest grocery chains in the southern part of the country.   With foodpanda shops, grocery items are conveniently categorized, orderly presented, and are just a few taps away from being delivered in the comfort and convenience of your home. The Fit Mart and foodpanda partnership serve as a major addition to the broad offerings of the on-demand food and goods delivery service. Now, foodpanda will be able to meet the grocery delivery needs of even more online shoppers.   “foodpanda is delighted that Fit Mart is now in foodpanda shops,” says Ezra Espina, foodpanda Mindanao Cluster Head. “The partnership strengthens the shared mission of foodpanda, the country’s on-demand food delivery service, and Fit Mart, one of the biggest grocery chains in the region, to deliver everyone’s needs with quality service and offerings.”   Fit Mart was introduced in 1980 as a simple shoe store, named after the everyday lingo “Fit” was coined for every customer who deserved satisfaction. Since then, the business has grown to become a General Santos staple in grocery shopping, carrying a wide variety of everyday essentials and other items.               The partnership between foodpanda and Fit Mart reflects the commitment of foodpanda to having food and more delivered right in the safety and comfort of your doorsteps at home and workplaces. The tie-up also makes Fit Mart Gensan the first supermarket branch to be launched in foodpanda shops in Mindanao, with its many offerings now available on the user-friendly platform.             “We are hoping that this partnership will serve more people in General Santos City who rely on accessibility in terms of getting their essential needs,” says Retchie Santiago, FitMart Gensan Operations Manager.               As foodpanda continues to grow and develop its offerings, say goodbye to the inconvenience of physical shopping, and welcome the many rewarding experiences of grocery delivery with just a few taps and clicks.   To shop at Fit Mart through foodpanda, and to enjoy all the unmatched food and grocery delivery deals and promos of the on-demand food delivery service, download and order through the foodpanda app now at www.foodpanda.ph. Follow foodpanda’s official social media pages on Facebook at facebook.com/foodpandaphilippines and Instagram at instagram.com/foodpanda_ph.

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