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Joecals688 reaches out to Covid-19 frontliners in Oro, Misor

May 23, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City—A businessman and his team distributed relief goods and other assistance to hundreds of Covid-19 frontliners in the city and the neighboring towns in Misamis Oriental on Friday (May 22). Joshua Calderon, the CEO and president of Jocals688 Beauty and Wellness Products, Inc., and his team visited various checkpoints to personally handover the assistance to Covid-19 frontliners. Calderon said the assistance consists of facemasks, sanitizers, rice, and even cash were handed to Covid-19 frontliners “as our way of thanking our frontliners.” He said Joecals688, which has 29 branches nationwide—and had branched out in the US and Papua New Guinea—has already spent a total of Php2.5 million in assistance. “Amo kining gihimo isip pasalamat sa tanang frontliners sa ilang paningkamot aron kita malikay sa sakit sa Covid-19,” Calderon said.  

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SMC gets workplace ready, starts PCR testing of employees

May 21, 2020

San Miguel Corporation has begun testing its employees for COVID-19 as part of an extensive plan to reopen its workplaces safely and continue providing essential services to the public.     Swabbing is currently ongoing in key facilities of the company while work to build a dedicated testing lab is ongoing. Construction is already 60% complete.     SMC will also strictly implement workplace safety measures – from physical distancing, wearing of protective equipment, frequent hand washing to conducting temperature checks, among others – to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of its employees.     “We are prioritizing, first, our security and other maintenance staff, as they are the ones who take care of our workplace. After them, we test our colleagues whose duties require them to report to the office,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said. “Initially we are looking at only 20% of our head office population to report for work. Majority will still continue to  work-from home,” he added.     Ang said that testing at its other facilities, particularly its food manufacturing plants in Cavite, is also set to start. Throughout the enhanced community quarantine period, teams of stay-in workers have been working around the clock at San Miguel’s food facilities to continue essential food production.     “We will also test close to 8,000 manufacturing and operations and management front line staff. We are also lining up testing at our Visayas facilities simultaneously,” he added.     Visayas and Davao testing will be on stream toward the end of May or early June.     Ang said that once its dedicated PCR testing laboratory is up and running, the company would be able to test even more employees and help ensure their safe return to work.  PCR testing is the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19, because it is highly reliable and accurate.     “We are doing this in phases. The success with which we can quickly test a large percentage of our employee population over the next few weeks will be a key consideration in the timelines of our overall return-to-work plan. Currently, we are working with partner laboratories to process the tests, but once our lab is up, we expect to be able to process more tests quickly so we don’t burden the system and we can take care of our employees,” he added.     “Being able to test to identify who has the virus quickly, isolate them from the rest of the employee population and to monitor the workforce for indicative symptoms will allow us to emerge from this crisis strong.”     Ang also reiterated SMC’s commitment to continue helping government, medical front liners, local government units, and less-fortunate communities throughout the crisis.     Recently, SMC vowed to support all 17 Metro Manila LGUs in their efforts to expand Covid-19 testing in their respective areas. SMC is donating swab booths as well as PCR testing kits equivalent to 34,000 tests.     The company is donating an additional three sets of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing machines and RNA machines to key government hospitals. This is on top of five sets of the same machines donated to the Department of Health earlier, along with testing kits equivalent to 20,000 tests. This, according to the DOH, doubled the country’s testing capacity at the time.     Ang is also advocating for accessible testing—in particular, free testing for lower-income families, and affordable testing for everyone else, including MSMEs that have to test their employees.     SMC, whose major business include San Miguel Food and Beverage Inc.--made up of San Miguel Foods Inc., San Miguel Brewery Inc., and Ginebra San Miguel Inc--Petron Corporation, SMC Global Power Holdings Inc., and SMC Infrastructure, reported that its Group-wide Covid-19 response has reached P13.08 billion, as of May 12.     This includes a P500 million budget for medical equipment and supplies, P487 million spent on food donations including products and rice; P91.8 million in free disinfecting alcohol, P15.37 million in disinfecting powder, P11 million in free toll for medical front liners at its expressways, and P5.8 million in free fuel for government’s “Libreng Sakay” program for medical workers, among many others.     Also included are P8.77 billion in on-time payments of taxes and concession fees to ensure availability of funds for government; P3.09 billion pumped into the economy through full salaries for employees and payments to third-party providers, as well as a P100 million personal donation from the family of Ang.

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DOH-10 pursues battle vs ‘notifiable diseases’

May 21, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- Although the onslaught of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has eaten up huge amount of government resources, the Department of Health (DOH) – 10 has assured the public that the health department continues to attend to other “notifiable diseases” which pose threat to public health.      “Even with this pandemic, we still haven’t forgotten other infectious diseases affecting our population. In fact, some of these notifiable diseases are more harmful in terms of mortality and morbidity here in the region,” DOH-10 Regional Director Adriano Suba-an shared.     Notifiable diseases are diseases that must be reported to public health authorities at the time it is diagnosed because it is potentially dangerous to human or animal health.     As of Jan. 1 to May 16, DOH-10 has recorded 3,632 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, 2,736 cases of influenza-like illnesses, 664 cases of Typhoid Fever, 396 cases of Measles, and 291 cases of Acute Bloody Diarrhea. These are the top five illnesses currently monitored by the DOH with dengue as top one.     “For Dengue, we are still pushing for the 5S campaign: Search and Destroy, Self-protection by using repellant, Seeking early consultation, Support of fogging and misting in hotspot areas, and Sustain hydration,” Suba-an said.     As the looming monsoon season comes, DOH-10 urges everyone to have their children vaccinated, use the 5S in combating dengue, maintain a healthy Lifestyle, and utilize health  centers, as they continue providing free services such as consultation, immunization, family planning, prenatal services, and others. (VPSB/PIA10)

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NBl, GCash charges 3 suspects with cybercrime, estafa

May 21, 2020

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has arrested three individuals in Quezon City for violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act and Estafa, after they swindled money from hapless victims, whose identities were also stolen. The arrests were made possible with the assistance of GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines.     Law enforcers nabbed suspects Joselito Floresca, Antonino Guevarra, and Henry Lachica for stealing money from a number of individuals. The three suspects pretended to be GCash, Grab, Lalamove, or Mr. Speedy employees. They convinced their victims that their accounts were compromised and pretended to assist them in fixing their accounts.     They asked their victims of their personal details, including the account number, mobile personal identification number (MPIN), one-time password (OTP), authentication code, birthday, and e-mail addresses. Believing they are for real, the victims gave the details needed to gain access to their accounts.     Criminal charges will be filed against the suspects for violating Republic Act No.10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and Republic Act No. 315 (Swindling) of the Revised Penal Code.     “We at the NBI do not tolerate such mischievous acts, especially now that we are experiencing a national health crisis. We will continue to work harder to catch these fraudsters,” Atty. Jeremy Lotoc, NBI Agent-on-case said.     GCash helped the NBI find the three suspects by conducting its own investigation and submitted the report to the NBI.     “Security has always been one of the pillars by which GCash operates. We have placed various levels of security including MPINs, OTPs, and other security features. But there are individuals out there who take advantage of others through various means of trickery. We highly advise our users to be very vigilant especially during situations that they deem suspicious,” Chief Risk Officer Don Nino Santos said.     Santos also advised users to never share their information to others, especially to strangers. GCash launched its Customer Protect program last year. Under the program, qualified customers are assured of compensation for unauthorized financial transactions on their GCash app, GCash on Messenger or GCash Mastercard platforms arising from instances such as stolen mobile phones or identity theft.     “Even before it became a law, GCash has put a premium on the privacy of its users. For security reasons, we advise our users to never share their personal details, MPINs, and OTPs to anyone,” Santos said.     Santos vowed that GCash will work hand in hand with the authorities to catch more people committing acts of fraud against the company and its users.     “GCash is committed to protect the interest of our users, and we will continue to intensify our drive against individuals who put our company and our users in jeopardy,” Santos said.

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DSWD urges LGUs to complete SAP wave 1 distribution

May 21, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- Now at 96.49 percent completion of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) first wave distribution nationwide, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Sec. Rolando Bautista urged local government units (LGUs) to complete the distribution as well as the liquidation to gear up for the second wave of distribution during the Network Briefing, May 20.     In an interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Martin Andanar, Bautista said about P98 billion has already been distributed to 17.36 million beneficiaries throughout the country. In Region 10, DSWD is already at 99.47 percent completion of the SAP serving 624,925 families with a total P3,748,677,950 disbursement.     “Madaliin natin, tapusin na ang pagbibigay ng ayuda kasi ang implication ‘pag nagkaroon ng delay, hindi kayo makapagliquidate. May domino effect po ‘yan,” Bautista added.      (Let us speed up, complete the distribution of assistance because there are implications on that. If there are delays, you will not be able to liquidate. Such will have a domino effect)     The social welfare secretary said delays would also affect the validation of the beneficiaries for the second wave since it will take about 20 days to validate the names of the waitlisted as well as in ensuring that there will be no duplication of entries.      “May mga high-risk areas for COVID-19 pero sana po gamitin niyo [LGUs] ang alternative plan niyo para makapagbigay kayo ng ayuda on time (There are high-risk areas for COVID-19 but hopefully you [LGUs] will use your alternative plan so you can provide the assistance on time),” DSWD secretary said.     In ensuring a smooth and speedy way to distribute assistance for the second wave, Bautista said they already came up with a digital payment platform.      To enforce such, DSWD-10 launched the Offline SAP (OSAP) - an offline Social Amelioration Card encoding application for LGUs developed by the department to come up with a user-friendly application for SAC encoding by the LGU encoders.      Such aims to eliminate invalid data entries and provide convenience to LGU SAC Focal Persons in consolidating SAC data into CSV formats for uploading to the online SAP Information System.     The OSAP will be shared to the LGUs who will then use the said application to encode the SAC forms in their areas. DSWD-10 shall monitor that they will be able to use and access OSAP and to provide them technical assistance when necessary. (RTP/PIA10)

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Talakag farmers optimistic as govt eases rules on Covid-19

May 21, 2020

TALAKAG, Bukidnon--A group of farmers in the province of Bukidnon has expressed optimism that the agricultural sector in this town would soon be able to recover their losses as the government relaxes its rules on Coronavirus Disease 2019 Covid-19. Ryan Daño, president of the Miarayon Highland Farmers Association of Talakag in Bukidnon, admitted that many farmers and cooperatives in Talakag town have suffered losses when the government imposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in March this year. While they are issued foodlane pass from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 10, Daño said they are having a hard time importing their farm produce due to unavailability of sea transport. Daño and his members in the cooperative transport high value crops such as potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Zamboanga, Surigao, Dipolog, and other areas in Mindanao. He said the community quarantine caused by Covid-19 also affected the volume of demands of veggies in the local market. Meanwhile, Charlyn Boctot, a retired teacher and farmer, also expressed optimism that the local economy will gradually recover as the government relaxes its rules on Covid-19. “Tourism in Talakag is dead,” said Boctot apparently referring to the shutdown of major non-essential establishments. Prior to the implementation of community quarantine, she said that the town of Talakag has been the favorite hangouts of people from highly-urbanized cities such as Cagayan de Oro City. She said the town of Talakag has much to offer not just agricultural tourism. Aside from greenery scenes, she said the town is home to various handicrafts made by some native inhabitants.

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