nation

Green, Sustainability Bond Markets poised for growth

February 12, 2020

The Green and Sustainability debt markets in the Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are poised for growth, with the “necessary foundations” for their development already in place. In a keynote speech at the ASEAN+3 Bond Market Forum Meeting at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila on February 5, SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong cited the “notable” issuances of bonds worth more than US$3.8 billion under the ASEAN Green and Sustainability Bond Standards in 2019 as positive indication of the market’s development. Last year’s issuances was six times larger than the $639 million issued in 2018, when the value increased by over 50% from 2017. Sustainability bonds accounted for $1.4 billion or 36% of last year’s total, up 14 times from just $100 million in 2018. “While ASEAN may still be a relatively small player in the global Green/ Sustainability debt market – with $330 billion raised in 2019 – the rate of growth in ASEAN appears to show the necessary foundations for the development of such a Green/ Sustainability debt market have indeed been laid, including the issuance of a clear set of guidelines for issuers to follow and which investors, both international and domestic, recognize as holistic and reliable,” Mr. Amatong said. Where ASEAN stands For now, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand dominate the ASEAN Green and Sustainability bond market. The Philippines has seen 15 issuances worth $3.04 billion by a range of private sector issuers, including renewable energy firms and banks taking advantage of both on- and offshore markets. Philippine banks particularly have had notable success in this market. Among them is Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), which has issued two Sustainability bonds and one Green bond totaling $742 million, of which $442 million is peso-denominated. Bank of the Philippine Islands also issued Green bonds under the ASEAN Standards to raise $300 million and CHF100 million, with the latter transaction achieving a negative yield.  Most recently, state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines entered the domestic Sustainability market, raising $352 million from the issuance of peso-denominated Green bonds in late 2019. In 2016, there were only three Green bonds outstanding in ASEAN, for a total of $252 million. Now there are at least 57 issues under the ASEAN Standards for Green, Social and Sustainability bonds for a total of $4 billion. In the Philippines, the private sector-led foray into the Green and Sustainability capital markets first relied on strategic support from development partners, particularly in the case of renewable energy producers. Overall, seven of the Philippines’ 15 Sustainability transactions have received some form of support or engagement by multilateral development finance institutions, namely the ADB and International Finance Corporation. ‘Necessary foundations’ in place Mr. Amatong cited the issuance of a clear set of guidelines for issuers among the “necessary foundations” for the development of the ASEAN Green and Sustainability debt market. “First, we at the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) recognized early on the potential of green and sustainable finance to attract international investors, who, generally speaking, have had more funds to invest than investible options,” Mr. Amatong said. “We at ACMF see this as an opportunity for ASEAN countries, many of whom have significant infrastructure development programs, to access as yet untapped sources of much needed financing. Resilient and adaptable infrastructure is particularly important to those of us in ASEAN since we are particularly at risk to the impact of climate change.” In this light, ACMF developed the ASEAN Green Bond Standards in 2017, in line with the Green Bond Principles formulated by the International Capital Market Association. Fundamentally, the Standards provide a framework to ensure transparency and allow investors to make informed judgments regarding an offering’s “green-ness” and sustainability. The Philippines adopted the Standards in August 2018, as the SEC issued the guidelines on the issuance of bonds for the financing or refinancing of new and/or existing projects that must provide clear environmental benefits, such as those relating to renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and control, environmentally sustainable management of living natural resources and land use, clean transportation, climate change adaptation, and green buildings. The Philippines likewise adopted the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards and ASEAN Sustainability Bonds Standards. In April 2019, the SEC issued the guidelines on the issuance of bonds for social projects aimed at providing or promoting affordable basic infrastructure, access to healthcare and education, and food security, among others, as well as those for social projects with environmental co-benefits. “ASEAN’s commitment to a sustainable future and sustainable capital markets goes beyond the issuance of standards and the debt capital markets,” Mr. Amatong said, as six of the 10 ASEAN members require publicly listed companies to issue sustainability reports. The Philippines, for one, requires publicly listed companies to disclose certain information in relation to their non-financial performance across the economic, environmental and social aspects of their organizations. The SEC issued the guidelines on sustainability reporting in February 2019. Mr. Amatong also cited the participation of five ASEAN members in international initiatives that seek to enhance sustainability risk management and the adoption by seven members of policies to mainstream sustainable finance. In March, the ACMF is expected to adopt a broader sustainable finance roadmap, which it intends to present during the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ meeting for endorsement. “All this is to say, that we think that ASEAN is off to a good start in its sustainability journey,” Mr. Amatong said. “But there is still so much we can do, and so much we need to do, to realize our shared goal of sustainable economic growth in the real economy supported by sustainable capital markets.” (SEC)

READ MORE
Indie-Siyensya extends deadline to Feb 25 

February 12, 2020

Indie-Siyensya extends deadline to Feb 25    Indie-Siyensya judges (L-R) Dr. Ruby Cristobal, Prof. Seymour Sanchez, and Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo with DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo and PSHS Western Visayas Campus DirectorDr. Shena Faith Ganela led the program launch of the 4th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition at the Regional Science and Technology Week Celebration last October 19, 2020 in Iloilo City.  MANILA, Philippines – Science filmmaking competition, Indie-Siyensya, is extending the deadline for submission of film entries to 25 February 2020.  The contest, organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), is open to all Filipinos who may join as individuals or in groups.  There are two categories: the “Youth Category” for high school, tertiary school and out-of-school youth aged 13-20, and the “Open category” for college students, teachers, and S&T professionals.  Entries must be short documentaries which should have a running time of under ten (10) minutes. The films must be relevant to the theme “Communities Beyond the Naked Eye” and should focus on the life and impact of insects, microorganisms, and other tiny living and non-living things.  Indie-Siyensya continues to promote science culture to the youth and the general public using film as a medium. According to DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo, it is the agency’s response to the growing demand for excellent science communicators in the country.  “This competition aims to use filmmaking in communicating to the public scientific concepts as well as in highlighting the critical role of S&T in national development to the public and to entice the youth to become part of the growing S&T workforce of the country,” Dr. Biyo said.  Entries will be judged based on the following criteria: Scientific Content, Execution of Idea and Film Techniques. Winners for each category will receive trophies and cash prizes worth 100,000 pesos for the Best Film, 50,000 pesos for the second prize, and 30,000 pesos for the third prize.  One entry will also win the Viewers’ Choice award, which will be given to the entry with the highest number of votes during the film screening period at various DOST events, amounting to 20,000 pesos.   For contest mechanics and other information, interested participants may visitwww.sei.dost.gov.ph or www.facebook.com/indiesiyensya. (30)    DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña graced theprogram launch of the 4th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.         Participants of the program launch of the 4th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.

READ MORE
PayMaya firms up most rewarding wallet with Balikbayad campaign

February 6, 2020

New ‘BalikBayad’ campaign highlights perks and rewards going cashless Teen Royalties Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla push more rewarding payment experience to Filipinos nationwide   [05 FEBRUARY 2020] Digital financial services leader PayMaya intensifies its campaign to encourage more Filipinos to embrace the cashless lifestyle through the PayMaya app, firming up its leadership as the country’s most rewarding mobile wallet today.   Following the success of its Don’t Pay Cash. PayMaya! campaign in 2019, PayMaya has launched its BalikBayad campaign follow-up initiative featuring top young actors Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, which highlights the many cashback that users can get whenever they pay with PayMaya.   “The response to our Don’t Pay Cash. PayMaya! campaign last year has been overwhelming, and we’re glad that more Filipinos are discovering how easy, convenient, and ‘joyful’ it is to pay using PayMaya. As we work to bring even more features and services to PayMaya we’re excited to introduce the most rewarding mobile wallet in the Philippines today to even more users nationwide with the BalikBayad (a creative transliteration of “cashback”)  campaign,” said Mark Jason Dee, Head of Growth and Marketing of PayMaya.   In February alone, PayMaya users can get as much as P6,000 in cashback when they participate in the mobile wallet’s various promos for bills payment, buying load, paying for goods and services via QR, online shopping, and sending money, among many others.   PayMaya has also expanded the list of merchants and establishments under its PayMaya Preferred program, which gives additional cashback to users who scan to pay with PayMaya QR on top of the regular cashback that they usually receive.  Among these new partners are Landers Superstore, Mercury Drug, KFC, Robinson’s Department Store, Total Alabang and Valenzuela, and Toys ‘R Us.   These cashback help more Filipinos easily learn and experience the cashless lifestyle with PayMaya, which can help the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) attain its goal of increasing the share of digital transactions in the country up to 30% by the end of 2020.   Bringing back time and convenience   But aside from getting monetary rewards in the form of cashback , users are also able to make more time and experience greater convenience when they use PayMaya.   With PayMaya’s virtual card, for example, users can instantly gain access to a payment card which they can easily use for online shopping and other digital payments for a faster, more efficient payment experience.   PayMaya also recently introduced the ability to transfer money from users’ PayMaya account to other bank accounts, eliminating the need to physically wait in line at banks.   “PayMaya users can definitely look forward to even more features and services that will give them more convenient ways to pay as well as awesome rewards in the months to come,” Dee added.   Instant Rewards   Revel in a more rewarding cashless lifestyle by downloading the PayMaya app for FREE on Google Play or App Store and use the code PAYMAYAKATHNIEL to get a welcome reward. Sign up for an account today so you can take advantage of PayMaya’s great deals, promos and offers. To know more about the BalikBayad campaign and how you can get all of these exciting perks from PayMaya, visit www.paymaya.com/balikbayad or follow @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   PayMaya is the only financial technology 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. [END]       PAYMAYA SOLIDIFIES ITS POSITION AS THE MOST REWARDING MOBILE WALLET IN THE PHILIPPINES TODAY. Through the launch of its new “BalikBayad” campaign, PayMaya is encouraging more Filipinos to experience the convenience, safety, and rewards of going cashless through the help of iconic young actors Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Joining them at the official launch of the campaign were PayMaya Founder and CEO Orlando B. Vea (2nd from left), President Shailesh Baidwan (2nd from right), Head of Marketing and Growth Mark Jason Dee (rightmost) and Head of Brand and Marketing Services Heidi Garayblas (leftmost).     AN ACTION-PACKED “BALIKBAYAD” ADVENTURE WITH FRIENDS AND FOES. Local movie and TV celebrities Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla were officially unveiled as the newest brand ambassadors for PayMaya’s “BalikBayad” campaign through an action-packed video where they battle a common foe—cash. Present during the launch were the actors who played the “villains” in real life, led by veteran actor Rez Cortez (5th from right) along with his motley band of “goons” (seated). Supporting “KathNiel” during the launch, meanwhile, were they real-life friends Dominic Roque (leftmost), Ria Atayde (2nd from right), Juan Miguel Severo (2nd from right), and Joe Vargas (rightmost). Also in the photo are PayMaya executives led by Founder and CEO Orlando Vea (4th from left), President Shailesh Baidwan (4th from right), Head of Marketing and Growth Mark Jason Dee (3rd from right), and Heidi Garayblas (3rd from left).

READ MORE
SEC Revokes Togachat Academy's Registration

February 6, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has canceled the corporate registration of Togachat Academy Philippines, Inc. for running an unauthorized investment program resembling a Ponzi scheme.   The SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) issued the order of revocation on January 23, after finding Togachat to have engaged in investment-solicitation activities by selling or offering securities to the public without the necessary license from the Commission.   In doing so, Togachat committed an ultra vires act prohibited under Section 45 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 68 (The Corporation Code of the Philippines) now Section 44 of Republic Act No. 11232 (The Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines), the EIPD ruled.   The company’s activities also constituted serious misrepresentation as to what it can do to the great prejudice or damage to the general public, a ground for the revocation of a corporation’s certificate of registration under Presidential Decree No. 902-A, according to the EIPD.   The SEC initially issued on July 17, 2019 an advisory warning the public against investing in Togachat. It then issued on December 17, 2019 a cease and desist order against the company, its officers, directors, representatives, salespersons, agents and any and all persons claiming and acting for and in their behalf.   Under its investment program, Togachat entices the public to avail of a package of Toga Credits, which investors may purportedly use to buy shares in Toga Limited upon its supposed listing on Nasdaq.   The company offers seven packages worth $100 to $100,000 in exchange for 200 to 500,000 Toga Credits. Investors may pay for a package in US dollars or the peso equivalent.   Togachat encourages a member to recruit another investor by giving him/her Toga Credits equivalent to 50% of what the new investor would avail of. Members may earn additional Toga Credits from pairing bonuses.   The company’s agents also claim that Toga stocks are traded on Toga Exchange, an internal platform of Toga Limited where the buying and selling of stocks occur.     The scheme falls within the definition of securities, particularly investment contracts, as defined under Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), according to the EIPD.   Section 3.1 of the SRC defines securities as “shares, participation or interest in a corporation or in a commercial enterprise or profit-making venture and evidenced by a certificate, contract, instrument, whether written or electronic in character.”   A security may take the form of an investment contract, defined under Rule 26.3.5 of the 2015 Implementing Rules and Regulations of the SRC as “a contract, transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits primarily from the efforts of others.”   “Said investment contract, being in the nature of securities, is required under Section 8 of the SRC to be registered before being offered or sold to the general public,” the EIPD noted.   However, records of the SEC show that no application for the registration of securities has been filed by Togachat with the Commission.   “More so, the act of respondent Togachat in allowing its members to discuss, orient and make the public familiar with its schemes and inviting them to join the company through its Facebook account posts constitutes public offering,” the EIPD noted.   In addition, the investment scheme of Togachat resembled a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays these returns to early investors out of the capital contributed by later investors, according to the EIPD.   “WHEREFORE, for violation of Section 45 of the Corporation Code of the Philippines [now, Section 44 of the Revised Corporation Code (R.A. No. 11232)] in relation to Sections 8.1 and 28.1 of the Securities Regulation Code and Section 6(i)(2) of P.D. 902-A, the corporate registration or Certificate of Incorporation/Registration of TOGACHAT ACADEMY PHILIPPINES, Inc. is hereby revoked,” the EIPD ordered. 

READ MORE
CEB, DOH, BOQ coordinates efforts to curb NCov 

February 2, 2020

Cebu Pacific is working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) on the necessary actions after the identification of the 38-year old Chinese female passenger confirmed to be positive with the Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) who took Cebu Pacific flights last January 21, 2020. "We are in the process of contacting passengers seated in the vicinity of the positive NCoV patient and are taking the necessary precautions to inform them so they can have themselves checked in case they show flu-like symptoms," the airline said in a press statement. "The cabin crew and pilots on affected flights have also been informed and show no symptoms of illness." "The aircraft used for both flights have been pulled-out of the line and are undergoing thorough disinfection." The airline said it is also implementing preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection across all its flights, including cleaning and disinfection of aircraft in between flights; wearing of face masks by all employees, frontline personnel and cabin crew while on duty; providing face masks to passengers who show symptoms of illness; when possible, isolation of passengers who manifest symptoms of illness in empty rows inside the aircraft during the flight; and coordination with health authorities in case there are passengers suspected of NCoV contamination for immediate turn-over and further observation The airline has also reduced its flights between the Philippines, mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau from February 3 to March 29, 2020 in light of the situation. Passengers who wish to check the status of their flights may do so through the Manage Booking portal in the Cebu Pacific website, https://book.cebupacificair.com/Manage/Retrieve/  for the latest updates as more information becomes available.

READ MORE
SSS launches contribution payments through the SSS Mobile App with PayMaya

December 29, 2019

State-run Social Security System (SSS) has tapped digital financial services leader PayMaya to allow members to conveniently pay their contributions through the SSS mobile app.   With this partnership, individual members of the pension fund such as Self-employed, Voluntary, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) can now pay their contributions using their PayMaya account or any Visa, Mastercard, or JCB credit, debit, or prepaid card. In the next phase, PayMaya will accept employer's contributions (regular and household) and salary loan payments.   SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio and PayMaya Philippines, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Orlando Vea formally signed the agreement, making PayMaya as one of the 85 accredited collecting and paying partners of SSS, 35 of which are already Real-Time Processing of Contributions (RTPC) system compliant.   “We are very glad that we were able to add another accredited collection partner that will ensure fast, convenient and secure way of remitting the hard-earned money of our members for their future contingencies and retirement options to the pension fund,” Ignacio said.   “The public has been very much aware that we have been exerting all efforts to make SSS transactions hassle-free through our gradual shift to the digital platforms. This is one of our options to eliminate long queues in automated teller services in branches and other accredited partner agencies. In just one tap on your mobile phones, your contribution payments are remitted to the SSS,” Ignacio said.   For his part, PayMaya Chief Executive Officer and Founder Orlando Vea said: "Using digital technology in delivering social services to all Filipinos is a big leap for SSS and we are proud that they have tapped us in this initiative. Making public service more accessible to all Filipinos through digital financial services is in line with our thrust at PayMaya to push for digital and financial inclusion."   PayMaya is providing its universal payments platform to SSS to allow it to accept PayMaya as well as all card and mobile wallet payments through its mobile app and soon in its other online channels and branches.   For those without a card, they can simply sign up for a PayMaya account by downloading the PayMaya app on their iOS or Android devices and use the mobile number associated with their account when they pay via the SSS mobile app.   The Social Security Commission (SSC), the policy-making body of the SSS, approved the accreditation of PayMaya, the digital financial services arm of Voyager Innovations, after it had submitted and passed the standards and requirements of the RTPC system.   Members of the SSS who will use their PayMaya accounts or their debit and credit cards for paying their contributions should first download the SSS Mobile App in Google Play Store, Apple App Store or Huawei App Gallery. They can log-In using their existing My.SSS account’s user ID and password and generate their Payment Reference Number or Statement of Account in the SSS Mobile App by clicking the “Generate PRN/SOA” icon.   After the member has created his PRN, he needs to click the Pay button to display the two options: “Pay with PayMaya Account” or “Credit/Debit Card”.   If the member opted to pay using his PayMaya account, the screen will display the Payment Reference Number, amount, and convenience fee. The member is required to input his email address and password. PayMaya will send a One-Time Password (OTP) to proceed with the payment.   On the other hand, if the member opted to pay using his credit/debit card, the screen will display the monthly contribution, convenience charge and total amount. To complete the payment, the member is required to input the following: First Name, Last Name, Card Number and Expiry Date of the card.   For confirmation of successful payment, a pop-up message will display the PRN, amount, convenience fee and payment reference number. For credit/debit payment, the member has the option to indicate the member’s email address or mobile number to receive an email notification or Short Message Service (SMS) as confirmation of successful payment.   A convenience fee of 1.75 percent of the total amount to be paid will be charged to the member if he opted to pay using his debit/credit card while a P10 transaction fee will be charged for those who opt to use the e-wallet.   “This is only the beginning of our continuous effort to provide quality and convenient services to our members. Hopefully, we can soon use PayMaya for loan repayments and payments from employers not only in the SSS Mobile App but also even on the SSS website,” Ignacio said.   Based on the latest data, the SSS Mobile App has been downloaded 2.93 million times in Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Huawei App Gallery as of November 2019.   Aside from PayMaya, SSS members may pay their contributions conveniently thru online transactions offered by partner-banks and other collection partners. For the official list of online payment channels, members may visit the SSS website.

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.