corporate

Italpinas Dev’t Corp. Boosted An Increase Of Sales Reservation for May 2020

June 22, 2020

Eco-friendly Real Estate developer Italpinas Development Corporation, through its Cagayan de Oro Branch Office at Uptown Cagayan de Oro,  recorded a 467% increase in sales reservations last May 2020 (compared to the same month last year). This was another record high for the company, achieved despite the on-going pandemic.       “The first semester continues to be encouraging. We are not seeing any kind of reduction in terms of the demand in the market. The market remains quite healthy. We want to thank our valued clients and our committed sales force for showing their support throughout.” said Ms. Gladys M. Echano, IDC- Sales Director      The coronavirus pandemic has been, to say the least, grim for businesses. Widespread layoffs and furloughs have prompted about 17 percent of the country’s unemployment rate. But during this upheaval, Cagayan de Oro IDC Sales Office has been thriving because of dramatic shifts in consumer behavior on green building’s health benefits and investment purposes.      IDC said its property sales have been “encouraging” in the first semester of the year, giving the company confidence that it can at least match last year’s growth. The company believes in times like this IDC’s environmentally friendly developments are more relevant than ever. IDC will focus on optimizing its existing portfolio of investment properties namely Primavera City at Uptown Cagayan de Oro.       The company currently has two major projects.  Primavera City in Cagayan de Oro is a cluster of seven buildings to be developed in four phases. Miramonti Green Residences, on the other hand, is located inside Light and Industry Science Park in Santo Tomas, Batangas, and will be developed in two phases.      Citta Bella, the second phase at Primavera City, is the newest building. It is the next eco-friendly building that will rise at Primavera City’s Uptown Cagayan de Oro location, along the junction of P.N Roa Ave. and Masterson Ave.  The first phase at Primavera City, (called Citta Verde) is in ongoing construction, with completion targetted before the end of this year. Phase 3 is Citta Grande, which is now in permitting stages. The last Phase (Phase 4) will be Citta Alta.  With its unique design philosophy, IDC™ is committed to sustainable developments in harmony with the environment to bring value to investors, end-users, and the community. Being first movers in this field, IDC™ has proven its concept with the success of its projects.

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SEC fires news warning against bitcoin revolution

June 19, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued another warning against Bitcoin Revolution, which presents itself as a cryptocurrency trading program purportedly endorsed by government officials, businessmen and celebrities.  In an advisory dated June 16, the Commission urged the public to avoid or stop investing in schemes offered by Bitcoin Revolution or any other entities engaged in digital asset trading and promising ridiculous rates of return with little or no risk.  The SEC issued the warning after finding that Bitcoin Revolution continues to solicit investments from the public using the domain “the-bitcoinrevolution.com” without the necessary license.  Under the scheme, investors could supposedly earn as much as $1,000 from a minimum investment of $250 within a day, a 300% return on investment per day or a total of 9,000% per month.  Bitcoin Revolution also claims that some of its traders managed to become millionaires in less than two months by simply investing in its scheme that purportedly offers a unique automated trading system or platform with a success rate of as high as 99% per transaction.  The scheme involves the offering and sale of securities, in the form of investment contracts, because investors need not exert any effort other than to invest or place money in Bitcoin Revolution in order to derive income, according to the SEC.  As such, the investment contracts must have been duly registered with the Commission while Bitcoin Revolution and its agents must have secured the corresponding license to offer securities for sale to the public, as required under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code.  Aside from the missing registration and licenses, the quick and unrealistically high return promised by Bitcoin Revolution presents a red flag for a Ponzi scheme, an investment scam where investors are paid using funds contributed by the succeeding investors, according to the SEC.  The SEC has flagged the unauthorized activities of Bitcoin Revolution before in an advisory dated March 30, 2020.  Bitcoin Revolution remains unregistered with and unauthorized to solicit and accept investments or placements from the public nor to issue investment contracts and other forms of securities, the Commission emphasized.  The group also continues to manage its digital exchange platform without the proper registration with the SEC, in violation of the prohibition on the use of unregistered exchange under The Securities Regulation Code.  In addition, Bitcoin Revolution still does not appear in the list of entities registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in accordance with BSP Circular No. 944, Series of 2017, which provides for the Guidelines for Virtual Currency Exchanges.  Fake endorsements  An unregulated entity with unknown operators, Bitcoin Revolution is notorious for using fake endorsements from the likes of Senator Manny Pacquiao, former Senator and House Speaker Manny Villar, and television host Boy Abunda.  Only recently, the Department of Finance (DOF) alerted the public about false and fraudulent information about the Secretary of Finance supposedly promoting Bitcoin Revolution.  The DOF also took note of similar investment schemes fraudulently using the names of key Treasury and Finance officials in other countries to encourage potential investors to buy into their programs.  On May 19, the DOF issued a similar warning against another cryptocurrency scam, which alleged in an article that the government created a platform called Bitcoin Lifestyle and that the President was urging Filipinos to support it.  The SEC has been advising the public to take caution when presented with investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies and other new technologies, which unscrupulous individuals and groups have used to disguise their predatory investment schemes.  “The public must be mindful that cryptocurrencies are very volatile and the process of digital asset trading is highly speculative and involves a higher degree of risk and that the operations of such unregulated entities engaged in digital asset trading are completely unaccountable,” the SEC noted.  “Nevertheless, the Commission assures the public that it continuously monitors and oversees such entities and their activities in a way that it sees as proper in order to prevent the proliferation of scams and/or any other unauthorized or illegal schemes in the country.”  Strict penalties  The SEC warned all individuals and groups engaged in fraud of the strict penalties awaiting them for violating the laws, rules and regulations it enforces.  Those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of fraudulent investment schemes, for instance, may face a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both under The Securities Regulation Code.  Those who invite or recruit others to join or invest in such ventures may likewise incur criminal liability or be sanctioned or penalized in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of SEC vs. Oudine Santos (G.R. No. 195542, 19 March 2014).  Moreover, Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, penalizes those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts with two-month imprisonment or a maximum fine of P1 million or both.  “[T]he above laws are not aimed to hinder or pose significant risk to businesses and cryptocurrency projects but are intended for the protection of both the registered entities and the investing public from any anomalies and/or irregularities which tend to result from any unlawful or unauthorized operations,” the SEC noted.  The Commission encourages the public to visit the SEC website to see the advisories it issues regularly and to report unauthorized investment solicitation activities to the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department through email at epd@sec.gov.ph.  

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Safe and potable water comes to sitio Tipolohon

June 19, 2020

For years, residents of Sitio Tipolohon in Barangay Camaman-an have relied on either the pump-operated shallow well, the supply from Barangay Indahag, or water peddlers for their water needs. They purchase water at P7.00 per container or P350.00 for 5 drums. Piped water for their homes has therefore been a longtime wish for this populace.  But now, with Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Incorporated’s (COBI) East Transmission Line in place and with the construction of a 200mm uPVC Distribution Line already complete, the waiting is finally over. With a total cost of P1,826,448.49, this water supply system project under the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) Program commenced last November 6, 2019 and is partially funded by the LGU (P1,000,000.00) with the rest of the budget jointly subsidized by COWD and Vitens Evides International.  Aside from the 540-meter long distribution line, the project includes seventeen (17) units of 500mmꝊ meter stub-outs. As of date, with 86.29% of the project already completed, 7 meter stub-outs have already been installed.  This means that residents living along the areas where these stub-outs are located may now apply for their individual water connections. Once the installation of the additional 10 meter stub-outs will be completed, a total of 500 households will benefit from this water supply project.     Other completed projects include: ·         75mmꝊ pipeline extension with 4 units 50mmꝊ meter stub-outs at the Lutheran Relocation Site in Canitoan which is intended to serve the water needs of 60 relocated families from Barangay 36; and ·         100mmꝊ pipeline extension with 10 units 50mmꝊ meter stub-outs at Zone 8, Cugman intended to improve existing water pressure in the area. which can accommodate around 200 water connections.  These service expansion projects are aimed at providing more and more people with access to safe and clean water for their hygiene and sanitation needs.

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NGCP donates testing booths, 10,000 rapid test kits to QC LGU

June 19, 2020

To aid frontliners in the battle against COVID-19, NGCP turned over 50 units of testing booths and 10,000 rapid test kits to the Quezon City local government, led by Mayor Joy Belmonte, on Thursday, 18 June 2020.  The testing booths and rapid test kits, including test administration and results interpretation, are part of the company’s continuing initiatives to support the national and local government’s COVID-19 response efforts.  As of 16 June 2020, the Department of Health has recorded the most number of COVID-19 cases in Quezon City with 2,689 confirmed cases, 953 of which are considered active or recovering.  “NGCP understands that this will be a long and hard-fought battle. We want to make sure that our donations will help ease the burden on LGUs and that our support will translate to direct results such as identification of COVID-19 cases. In this way, the process from identification to response and treatment will be expedited,” stated NGCP.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, testing will begin on Monday, 22 June 2020.  NGCP’s COVID-19 donations include a PhP 1 Billion donation of grocery items to over 1,000 LGUs and medical equipment to more than 300 hospitals and city/municipal/rural health units. The medical equipment donation includes ambulances turned over to UP-PGH, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Quirino Memorial Center, Philippine Heart Center, and Biñan Doctors Hospital. PCR machines, SteraMist disinfection/decontamination units, and closed suction systems were also turned over to various hospitals.  NGCP will also be constructing donning and doffing chambers, which are sterile holding areas used by medical frontliners to equip themselves with PPEs prior to entering isolation wards, within the hospital facilities of Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Rizal Medical Center, and East Avenue Medical Center.  Isolation rooms with negative pressure will also be constructed for Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center. Three (3) Class N isolation rooms and two (2) Class Q isolation rooms with negative pressure will be used for mild and severe COVID-19 cases, respectively.  Other earlier NGCP donations are the Meals on Wheels feeding program for indigent communities; a PhP5 million donation to Project Ugnayan which distributes supermarket vouchers to economically displaced families in Metro Manila; and earlier distribution of face masks and other PPEs to LGUs and medical frontliners.  NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto, Jr.

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Dynamic learning in difficult times

June 19, 2020

The pandemic has affected all industries all over the world, forcing change in the way things are done to cope with what is now called the “New Normal”. In the Philippines, this fundamental change is most evident and even pressing in the education sector with the approaching opening of the new school year. Schools and educators are now looking to new strategies to deliver quality education to students outside the classroom, especially to those in far-flung areas with even more challenging circumstances. These include online to TV and radio to printed modules. It is in this context that the CVIF-Dynamic Learning Program or DLP – a disaster-resilient, innovative, and low-budget teaching strategy – proves to be very effective. The brainchild of Filipino Theoretical Physicists and Ramon Magsaysay laureates Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido, the program is designed to train students to learn independently, effectively, and responsibly, even with minimal supervision from both teachers and parents.  It focuses on student activity and aims to produce students whose competence in the Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (STEM) disciplines are comparable to global standards. First implemented in 2002 in the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF), the Bernidos’ secondary school in Jagna, Bohol, DLP immediately yielded positive results. Students showed improved academic performance in class and on national scholastic aptitude tests and higher success rates in entrance exams in premier universities in the country and abroad. This, with zero homework and face-to-face interaction with a teacher for an equivalent of only 20% of school time. The program has since been rolled out in public and private schools all over the country. Davao Christian High School adopted DLP in 2005, and this helped the school successfully transition to online classes after the pandemic was declared, according to Desi Magnaye, Junior High School Principal. “Our transition to an online platform has been more manageable. We upload the activity sheets needed by the students for the day. These learning activity sheets are to be copied by hand, and once they are done, they submit a photo or PDF of their completed work via the online platform,” he explains. DLP has also been successfully implemented in the Alternative Learning System (ALS), the flagship program of the Department of Education that offers second-chance education to youth and adults who failed to complete basic education. The typical situation In ALS mirrors the challenges now faced by formal education: there are no classrooms and workbooks, teachers to cater to learners in different levels all at the same time. Face-to-face classes are held only once a week, and because of the learners’ financial circumstances, printed rather than online modules are used, and learners have to accomplish assignments on their own. With DLP, ALS teachers have been able to bypass these challenges. “DLP is the answer to all our problems,” exclaims Renato A. Cayetano Jr., district coordinator of ALS in Bacnotan, La Union. DLP’s Learning Activity Sheets trained ALS students to read and write, and this enhanced lesson retention, Cayetano says. “The activity sheet is easily understood without teacher supervision, which works well in far flung areas, and without need for varied instructional materials. It can be answered or studied even outside the classroom and at the learner’s convenient time, which is ideal for our working students,” he explains. Most remarkable was the improved academic performance of the students, he adds. In DLP, pre-developed Learning Activity Sheets is a key component. Indicated on a single page are the Activity Title, the Learning Target, and a short Concept Note similar to a digest of the topic to be learned, and several Exercises. The difference from a teacher’s lesson plan is that the activity sheet is designed to be copied, read, understood, and answered by the students independently, without prior lecture. The use of the activity sheets has also lightened the teachers’ workload, according to Windel Alvarez, ALS Mobile Teacher in Caramoan, Camarines Sur. “Our students learn according to their ability and availability, unlike in the formal school setting,” he says. They are motivated to learn, and answering the activity sheet improves their writing skill. Prior to the enhanced community quarantine, the students had been given their activity sheets to answer, so they continue learning during the pandemic, he says. Under DLP, 70-80% of the time the student learns on his own, with the teacher providing intervention only 20-30% of the time. By focusing more on student activity rather than traditional lecture, DLP has proven to be effective in addressing the challenges teachers and learners face in difficult situations, such as sudden interruption of classes and restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The immense challenges currently faced by the education sector necessitates looking into various methodologies to bring education to learners in a variety of contexts. For PLDT and its subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. and the PLDT-Smart Foundation, this means providing flexible learning options from online to on-air to offline through the Dynamic Learning Program, which the companies have been supporting since 2010. “The DLP provides tried and tested simple yet highly-effective solutions that can help teachers, students, and parents hurdle the challenges posed by the pandemic and even smoothly transition to an in-classroom set-up in the future,” says Ramon Isberto, the Public Affairs Group Head of Smart. On June 17-19, from 2pm to 4pm, private and public schools and even those in ALS that have adopted DLP will share best practices in a web forum entitled “No Learner Left Behind: Education for All in the New Normal.” Parents and teachers, especially those in the public schools, are invited to join the DLP web forum which will be streamed live via the Dynamic Learning Program Facebook page. Visit Dynamic Learning Program and Smart Communities on Facebook for details or email LearnSmart@smart.com.ph.

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LANDBANK releases second wave of cash grants to 1.3M beneficiaries

June 13, 2020

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) fully disbursed the second round of cash grants worth P6,741,409,650.00 to 1,335,711 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to support families heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The payout for the second wave of cash assistance to the LANDBANK Cash Cards of intended beneficiaries was completed on Thursday, June 11, 2020.  The beneficiaries may withdraw from more than 2,000 LANDBANK ATMs available nationwide free of charge, and the more than 20,000 ATMs of BancNet-member banks. They may also use their cash cards for cashless purchases in groceries, supermarkets and drugstores through the Point-of-Sale (POS) machines at the cashier or check-out counters. “Through the LANDBANK Cash Cards, we already delivered the second wave of cash grants to 1.3 million beneficiaries in an immediate, safe and secure manner. Rest assured that LANDBANK will continuously work with the national government to ensure that future beneficiaries will receive their emergency subsidies quickly, while strictly adhering to the quarantine measures in place,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said. LANDBANK’s distribution of cash grants is in line with the passage of Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act and the issuance of DSWD-DOLE-DTI-DA-DOF-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020 or the “Special Guidelines on the Provision of Social Amelioration Measures.” For more updates, please follow, like, and share the official LANDBANK social media accounts—for Facebook and Instagram: @landbankofficial, and for Twitter: @LBP_Official, and the LANDBANK website: www.landbank.com.

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