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LGUs, NEDA laud NSC revival

August 1, 2020

Cagayan de Oro, Aug 3 — Local officials and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the government’s think thank in Northern Mindanao has lauded the rebirth of the mothballed National Steel Corporation (NSC) in Iligan City. NEDA 10 Regional Director  Myla  Faye  Carino expressed full support in the revival of NSC saying the integrated steel plant will spur economic activity in the region, support downstream businesses, and create thousands of jobs for the people of Mindanao.  Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno has welcomed the development saying the proximity of Agus hydroelectric plants is an advantage and the cost of modernizing the plant is mitigated because the foundation of the plant is already there.  On the other hand, Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia has expressed optimism on the new NSC after it received the letter of intent from a European-led consortium to rebuild the old NSC back to its glory days as the country’s powerhouse in steel production and source of employment opportunities at this time of the global pandemic. The new 4-B euros integrated steel plant will be put up at the same site of the old NSC in Barangay Roxas, Iligan City.  Technical preparations are now being fast-tracked by a leading European developer of modern, state of the art steel facility.

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Digital TV is key to blended learning – NTC

July 31, 2020

THE regional director of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in Northern Mindanao believes that among all other platforms, digital television is the most doable medium for blended learning for the upcoming school year in the new normal. In a phone interview with this writer, NTC 10 director Ted Buenavista said digital TV has a wider reach and thus, cost-beneficial. Buenavista said that digital TV can be accessed in areas where signal for cellphone networks is unavailable, as long as there is electricity in the area. He pointed out that unlike cellphones where students or parents need to buy load now and then for Internet connectivity consumption while lessons are in progress, the learner needs only to make a one-time purchase of a setup box if his family’s television set is still an analog one. For households which already own an HDMI-ready TV, there is no need for any additional gadget. Buenavista continued saying that should this medium of blended learning be pursued, a digital TV content provider may ink an agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) or a private school for the provision of airtime. He said digital TV stations possess one more advantage over conventional radio and TV stations – their lone transmitter is already capable to create as many as ten channels on free TV. “For instance, one channel will be dedicated to first graders and so on and so forth until the tenth channel will be for Grade 10 students,” Buenavista explained. He said that subjects such as Mathematics cannot be fully explained over the radio since they are merely auditory. Analog TV stations can supposedly provide visuals but each station is limited only to one channel, and this is where the advantage of digital TV will come in. Digital TV setup boxes also have the option to record each class session and the student can replay it afterwards with no additional cost as compared to a YouTube-based lesson where cellphone users need to consume Internet data. Buenavista also said that digital TV learning can be sustained beyond the new normal. “In essence, it can be a solution to traffic congestion. Students – which make the bulk of our everyday motorists and pedestrians – will stay at home to learn their lessons,” he said. There is only one digital TV provider here in Cagayan de Oro City and that is JaoTV.

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Mindanao Integrated steel projects get greenlight: NSC in Iligan, Huili-SH in MisOr

July 28, 2020

Cagayan de Oro City, July 28 — In response to the call of President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to bring to life  the country’s economy, two big foreign funded steel projects in Mindanao are now on stream seen  to create thousands of jobs and open up downstream businesses amid the ongoing threat of Covid-19.  The coming of these twin steel plants in Mindanao, one for the revival of the old National Steel Corporation (NSC) in Iligan City  and another in Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental will place the country as the “steel center of Asia”. After years of hiatus, the defunct National Steel Corporation is being readied to regain its lost glory at this of pandemic with  a new, state-of-the-art fully integrated steel mill facility. Reconstruction of the old NSC into a modern steel plant is set to start soon  by a leading European supplier of equipment and physical plants to the metal industry.  City Mayor Celso Regencia has acknowledged last week the intent of a foreign-funded consortium in the amount of 4-B euros for the rebirth of the new National Steel Corporation. This development came as a big surprise  after a series  of failed investment proposals — mostly from Chinese groups — were presented before the pandemic to Mayor Regencia for  the plan to rebuild the defunct NSC.  Regencia expressed optimism the latest investment proposal would push through as it were considering the seriousness of the consortium to proceed amid the growing threat of Covid-19. “We are bullish with the development to re-construct the mothballed NSC as this would place Iligan City once again in the country’s industrial map”, he po said. The 400-hectare property of the old NSC is now owned by the city government of Iligan after undergoing a series of legal battles with bank liquidators.  Settlement for the buy-out of the property is now in the last ditch of negotiations with the consortium group. As a driver of economic growth, the new NSC is expected to generate thousands of jobs to the people of Iligan and the rest of the region.  The country has lost its presence in the steel industry sector after the old NSC had experienced a series of downfalls, latest of which was in the hands of Global Steel, an Indian steel manufacturing group.  With the revival of the old NSC into a modern steel making plant, the economy of  Iligan City and the rest of Mindanao will definitely shoot up to an unprecented level of progress, Regencia added.  On the other hand, Phividec has approved a China- funded integrated steel to rise at the 400-hectare property inside PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental. This was announced by PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority Administrator Atty. Franklin Quijano saying that China’s Huili Fund teams up with the CISDI Group Co. and Philippine-owned Simple Homes Development, Inc. for the project. The steel mill shall stand on the property for lease with option to purchase awarded to Simple Homes Development, Inc., a subsidiary of A Brown Co. Inc. (ABCI). These steel plants will level up the country into a leading producer of high  quality steel products  in Asia. Likewise, these  steel plants will definity provide tremendous contribution to the “Build Build Build” program of the Duterte administration as we cannot build a country without steel, Quijano said.  The world is shrinking due to pandemic, but we are bullish we can recover by creating job opportunities for our people  through these integrated steel mills, he added. The construction phase of the Huili-SH steel mill  is set to generate around 10,000 to 30,000 jobs. While regular operations command 3,000 employees. The Project will cost around USD 4.9 Billion inside a 400-hectare land area and will produce an approximate 5 Million Tons Per Annum of Flat Products such as steel plates, and Long Products such as billets, round bars, and wires.  The Project shall commence upon signing of Agreements.

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PSBank bares new mobile app feature that allows TD placements from home

July 15, 2020

AS the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the country into what many call the new normal, social distancing and stay-at-home protocols have become part of the Filipinos’ way of life. With the limitations and restrictions of the COVID-19 community quarantine, easy and secure access to banking services has become a great need for Filipinos.     In response to this, Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), the consumer banking arm of the Metrobank Group, has launched its PSBank Mobile Time Deposit (TD) placement, a digital service that allows clients to open Peso Time Deposits from the comfort of their home, 24/7, with just a few taps on their mobile phone.   With the new service, clients no longer have to worry about visiting the bank or risking exposure when it comes to growing their hard earned money in the new normal. They can easily invest their excess funds via PSBank Mobile App and enjoy higher rates and gain better returns even from their home.   The PSBank Peso Time Deposit is an investment option for customers who may have excess funds and are willing to set them aside over an extended period of 30, 60, or 90 days, with guaranteed fixed-rate returns. It earns higher interest rates as compared to traditional savings accounts. At PSBank, interest rates for TD placements are based on the client’s total TD balance. The higher the balance amount, the higher the interest rate.   To open a PSBank Peso Time Deposit account, clients simply need to log-in to PSBank Mobile App, tap on ‘Place Time Deposit’ from the ‘Create a Transaction’ menu in ‘View My Accounts,’ and enter the Amount, Term, and Maturity Instruction.   A minimum placement of PhP10,000 is required to open a Peso Time Deposit account. Clients may nominate either a Checking or a Savings account as the source for the investible funds and where payouts of principal or interest earnings will be credited upon maturity. Clients may also opt to transfer funds from their other bank accounts to their PSBank account to fund their TD placement and start earning more.   This addition to PSBank’s digital service offerings is part of the Bank’s commitment to continuously evolve with the changing and growing needs of its customers. By utilizing the mobile platform, the Bank aims to provide a versatile app that could service its clients in ways most convenient for them, and that is attuned to their changing lifestyle.   For more information, call our 24/7 Customer Experience Hotline at (632) 8845-8888, visit https://www.psbank.com.ph or https://www.facebook.com/psbankofficial/.  

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Suspension of MisOr budget: ‘Anti-people, ill-advised’

July 8, 2020

MISAMIS Oriental--Provincial Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano of Misamis Oriental on Saturday described the court order suspending the disbursement of the province’s approved 2020 budget as “anti-people” and “ill-advised.” Emano expressed the fear that the delivery of basic services is endangered following a court order restraining the provincial government to disburse the approved 2020 Budget effective Monday. A regional trial court in Cagayan De Oro City issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting the provincial government from disbursing the approved 2020 Budget Ordinance effective June 29, 2020. The governor said that the TRO was “inappropriate and unfair” at the time when the country in general, and the provincial government in particular, is waging a war against the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are saddened by the issuance of the TRO when the provincial COVID Inter-Agency Task Force is fighting an unseen enemy that requires enormous financial logistics,” Emano said in a statement. He said that the effect of the prohibition of the disbursement of the 2020 budget is now crippling some vital services of the province.   Emano cited the medical needs of patients confined at the eight provincial hospitals and the maintenance and security of “COVID-19 patients in isolation units” in several towns. Emano accused the political opposition of “adding insult to injury” at the time when the people of Misamis Oriental are suffering as the country battles a nationwide health emergency to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the political opposition led by Vice Governor Jeremy Pelaez filed a petition for the issuance of the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the ground that the 2020 Budget Ordinance was “not posted as required by law for its effectivity.”

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(Photo) Stranded battleship

July 8, 2020

Shows a battleship anchored at the wharf of Subic Bay believed to have been stranded for almost 3 months now due to Covid 19 restrictions July 5, 2020, Photo by Gerry Lee Gorit

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