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29th Mindanao Business Conference 2020 | PCCI Mindanao endorses ‘Bubble Markets’ to revive domestic tourism

September 7, 2020

The affiliate chambers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mindanao will endorse to the national government measures aimed at capturing “Bubble Markets’ for the revival of domestic tourism in the region during the 29th Mindanao Business Conference on September 10-11, 2020. The first ever virtual conduct of Mindanao’s biggest business conference of the PCCI will be hosted by the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) through online live streaming via ZOOM with a record audience expected to participate in the online event despite restrictions on travel and gatherings brought by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “With theme, Mindanao: Journeying to the New Normal, we recognize the urgent need to boost confidence to overcome emerging challenges and capitalize on opportunities,” said Ma. Teresa A. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao. “This stems from a deep understanding of what the new normal presents so that responses to meet them are carefully crafted.” MinBizCon is an annual event organized by the PCCI that aims to create a venue for businessmen, key industry players, government executives, and other private sector leaders to discuss economic concerns and opportunities in Mindanao resulting to policy actions for the development of the region. Through PCCI Mindanao Resolution no. 2020-004 (A Resolution Endorsing To The IATF-EID Proposed Intervention Measures For Business Survival And Continuity of Mindanao MSMEs and Other Industries) the 42 local Chambers of Mindanao will be requesting the National Government’s immediate and urgent intervention to prioritize a package of proposed recommendations aimed at ensuring  the business survival and continuity of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in the manufacturing and industry, and agricultural sector. MSME’s constitute over 90 percent of the number of business establishments nationwide and in Mindanao. The resolution covers Health Care Capacity, Infrastructure, Economic Stimulus, Structural Reforms, Capacity Building, and Domestic Tourism. Domestic Tourism Among the measures to be presented by PCCI Mindanao to revive Domestic Tourism during the MinBizCon are the following: ·        For DOT to consider "Bubble" connectivity: Select safe markets from where tourists can travel to similar “Bubble” destinations. DOT to coordinate the guidelines for  identifying “Bubble” markets with the national, regional and local IATFs; ·        For Regional DOT offices to promote weekend staycations from nearby cities in each region, making up the safe "bubble" market, no foreign or other tourists from abroad allowed. DOT accredited and sanctioned hotels with strict safety protocols to be utilized in this recovery program; ·        For LGUs to start campaign to capture the Mindanao "bubble" market. Focus on road travelers with pre-arranged hotel accommodations. Pre-arranged tours would also be encouraged; everything online. ·        For DOT and LGUs to coordinate and endorse with IATF-EID the relaxation of travel restrictions for minors below 21 years old and senior citizens above 60 years old in areas where MGCQ is implemented, provided that accredited tourism destinations which are primarily for outdoor activities, strictly enforce all health and safety protocols subject to regular inspections and evaluation. The foregoing proposals were extensively discussed across all the 42 Local Chambers of Commerce in Mindanao during several Regional Consultations with PCCI President Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, PCCI Mindanao Area Vice President Maria Teresa R. Alegrio, and PCCI Regional Governors Arturo Milan (South Eastern Mindanao), Roderico R. Bioco (Northern Mindanao), Paul Gudmalin (Western Mindanao), Pete Marquez (Central Mindanao), Aldrin Ibbo (BARMM), Julie Senense (Eastern (CARAGA) Mindanao) and Loreta Sy (South Western Mindanao) with Promote NorMin Foundation President Elpidio M. Paras. (PCCI Mindanao) 

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Gabay Guro ties up with PayMaya to provide financial account for teachers

September 2, 2020

Teachers all around the country will soon have easier access to a financial account and learning resources in one app as Gabay Guro, the flagship advocacy program for teachers of the PLDT-Smart Foundation, partners with PayMaya for its super app for teachers. Through the Gabay Guro app, teachers can soon easily sign up for a PayMaya account which they can use for various digital financial transactions such as paying for online and in-store purchases, sending money, paying bills, buying load, and paying government fees, among others. This will complement the existing features of the app, which provides them access to research materials, community-wide articles, rewards, as well as online lessons to help improve their teaching skills in the new normal. “Providing teachers a PayMaya account within the Gabay Guro app will help enrich the resources available to them, especially as they adapt to our new normal which is increasingly digital. Combined with various learning and other resources available within the app, we are confident that this new platform can help improve their day-to-day teaching lives," said Gabay Guro Chairperson Chaye Cabal-Revilla.  On top of these features, the app will also offer other capabilities such as the ability to receive badges that can be converted into MVP Rewards, availing of promos and training sessions from Gabay Guro partners and mentors, and access to livelihood programs.   Soon, they can also receive cash assistance, incentives, and loans designed for educators and even get additional livelihood opportunities in the e-commerce space through their PayMaya account within the Gabay Guro app. For his part, PayMaya Founder and CEO Orlando Vea said: “Having a digital financial account will help complement the wealth of resources for teachers that will be available in the app. As we all transition to digital, it’s important that we empower our teachers with the right tools and resources so that they are able carry out their work well, for the sake of all Filipino youth everywhere” added Mr. Vea.    "The Department of Education has always acknowledged the Gabay Guro program and the PLDT Group as an important partner of the education sector. We’re happy that the Gabay Guro app, together with PayMaya, will provide our teachers with a holistic platform that will empower and help them thrive in the new normal,” added Department of Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali.  Digital financial services for education  Enabling teachers with digital financial accounts and capabilities is just the latest way that PayMaya is empowering the education sector. To date, it has enabled over 50 educational institutions all over the country with cashless payments acceptance, allowing schools to conveniently accept tuition payments from parents at the comfort of their homes. At the same time, this mode of payment helps keep school personnel safe by eliminating risks of cash handling in light of the current public health situation.   These efforts are in response to the Department of Education’s directive to implement blended learning that utilizes both online and in-person modalities for education, where students are encouraged to utilize online classes, printed modules, and educational TV and radio broadcast as main learning channels this school year.   Schools enabled by PayMaya with end-to-end digital payment solutions such as PayMaya Checkout online payment gateway and the PayMaya One all-in-one Point of Sale (POS) device include major learning institutions such as the University of the Philippines, the Ateneo De Davao University (ADDU), La Salle Green Hills, Don Bosco Technical Institute of Makati Inc. (DBTI-MAKATI), Nord Anglia International School Manila (NAIS Manila), Malayan Colleges Mindanao (MCM), and University of Immaculate Conception (UIC), among others.   Aside from these digital payment innovations, PayMaya has also rolled out cashless payment ecosystems starting with the PayMaya-powered student ID card in schools including University of the Philippines-Diliman, LPU-Batangas, La Salle Green Hills, and STI, among many others. Students can easily link the PayMaya-powered student ID card to their PayMaya account and maximize for payment transactions even outside the campus at Bancnet-powered payment terminals and ATMs nationwide.   PayMaya is the only end-to-end digital payments ecosystem enabler in the Philippines, with platforms and services that cut across consumers, merchants, and government. Aside from providing payments acceptance for the largest e-Commerce, food, retail and gas merchants in the Philippines, PayMaya enables national and social services agencies, as well as local government units, with digital payments and disbursement services.  Through its app and wallet, PayMaya  provides millions of Filipinos with the fastest way to own a financial account with over 40,000 Add Money touchpoints nationwide, more than double the total number of traditional bank branches in the Philippines combined. Its Smart Padala by PayMaya network of over 30,000 partner touchpoints nationwide serves as last mile digital financial hubs in communities, providing the unbanked and underserved with access to services. To know more about PayMaya's products and services, visit www.PayMaya.com or follow @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.    Gabay Guro is spearheaded by the PLDT-Smart Foundation and PLDT Managers Club, Inc. The 12-year old program empowers teachers across the country though initiatives in seven key pillars. This includes scholarships, teachers’ trainings, classroom donations, livelihood programs, connectivity & computerization, teachers’ tribute and digital innovations.

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PCCI Mindanao officers designated ARTA Champions

September 2, 2020

PCCI, Anti-Red Tape Authority MOA to implement Ease of Doing Business Act   The affiliate chambers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mindanao have hailed the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between PCCI and the Anti-Red Tape Authority. “This will considerably lighten the burden of businessmen who have to deal with the maze of documentary and other requirements when dealing with government,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao. “PCCI Mindanao also welcomes this opportunity to be arbiters in helping our members expedite transactions with local and national government.” The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Anti Red Tape Authority (ARTA) signed on August 27 an agreement designating PCCI and its local chapters nationwide to receive complaints from the business sector against violation of Republic Act No. 11032(Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Delivery Act of 2018). Signing the agreement were PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico and ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica. The signing was held at the conclusion of the 29th Visayas Area Business Conference held virtually on August 27-28, 2020 and hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Yujuico welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, which he describes as putting premium on the role of PCCI as partner of government in ensuring transparency, accountability, and efficient delivery of services in government. “I truly welcome this opportunity to work and partner with ARTA to ensure that the law is implemented and observed by the local government units and other agencies concerned in the delivery of services, especially in applying for business permits and clearances,” Yujuico said. RA 11032  (Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018) seeks to establish effective practices, aimed at attaining an efficient turnaround of the delivery of government services, the prevention of graft and corruption in government, to promote transparency, reduce red tape and expedite business and non-business related transactions in government. Among the initiatives of ARTA that PCCI welcomed are the enforcement of the 3-7-20 day rule on the automatic approval of applications; the Citizen’s Charter which outlines the list of services offered by the frontline agencies including the steps, documents, fees, and a feedback mechanism; and the establishment of the National Business One-Stop Shop to co-locate, unify and automate the functions of these agencies. Yujuico said that common concerns of business are the delay in the processing of business permits and clearances which usually take longer than one month. With this law, applications with LGUs and national government agencies which are not processed within the 3-7-20 (working)-day rule are "automatically approved by operation of law." “We would not be able to attract new business or investors if we will not correct this systemic process, which actually gives undue burden to our businesses. It should have been addressed long time ago. Nonetheless, we are here to help ARTA successfully implement the law,” Yujuico said. Under the agreement, PCCI’s Area Vice Presidents and Regional Governors are deputized as “ARTA Champions”. Its local chambers are authorized to receive complaints and conduct review before endorsing to ARTA for appropriate action. PCCI has 42 affiliate Local Chambers of Commerce in Mindanao headed by PCCI Mindanao Area Vice President Maria Teresa R. Alegrio, and PCCI Regional Governors Arturo Milan (South Eastern Mindanao), Roderico R. Bioco (Northern Mindanao), Paul Gudmalin (Western Mindanao), Pete Marquez (Central Mindanao), Aldrin Ibbo (BARMM), Julie Senense (Eastern (CARAGA) Mindanao) and Loreta Sy (South Western Mindanao). PCCI shall also conduct seminars and information sessions to generate public awareness. ARTA, on the other hand, shall ensure that complaints endorsed by PCCI are acted upon and promptly, and will provide PCCI the information materials to educate its businesses on the provisions of the law. Likewise, ARTA shall seek the recommendations of PCCI on matters relative to the improvement of regulatory systems, policies, and procedures of various NGAs and LGUs. (PCCI Mindanao)

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Sun Life Foundation responds to pandemic challenges with Rise Brigher PH

August 27, 2020

Sun Life Financial-Philippines Foundation, Inc. (Sun Life Foundation), the philanthropy arm of Sun Life Philippines, is responding to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic with a program that promotes financial security and health.   Dubbed “Rise Brighter PH,” the program will consist of Sun Pera-Aralan 2020, a financial management program specifically created for public school teachers, and Sun Life Barangay Health Stations which will serve as accessible sources of primary healthcare to be built in poor and distant municipalities. Each program aims to touch 125,000 lives in the next five years.   “As Sun Life Philippines marks its 125th anniversary this year, Rise Brighter PH is our way of honoring our lifetime partnership with the Filipino people and letting them know that we remain at their side in these trying times,” said Sun Life Philippines CEO and Country Head Benedict Sison who is also Chairman of the Sun Life Foundation. “We have seen Filipinos rise above trials many times over, and we are confident that together, we will prevail.”   Sun Pera-Aralan 2020   Sun Pera-Aralan 2020 is a behavior-based financial management program which makes use of the Peso Sobre tool in helping public school teachers manage their budget, extend their salary until the next pay day, and eventually lessen indebtedness. The program also provides access to volunteer Sun Life advisors whom they can consult for free, as well as a Facebook community where they can share experiences and find inspiration in their fellow teachers.    Initially mounted last year, Sun Pera-Aralan has proven effective in helping public school teachers handle their finances. Reports gathered from the initial batch consisting of 10,224 public school teachers showed that they were not only able to budget better, but even had surplus funds at their discretion when the lockdown was implemented early this year.   This 2020, Sun Pera-Aralan will be implemented in public schools in (areas) with the help of AHA Behavioral Design, Inc. and in coordination with the Department of Education.   Sun Life Barangay Health Stations   Meanwhile, with the importance of health care coming to light amid the pandemic, Sun Life Foundation, in partnership with Health Futures Foundation, Inc., will also endeavor to provide basic services to the poorer sectors of society through the Sun Life Barangay Health Stations.   A total of eight Sun Life Barangay Health Stations will be constructed throughout Batangas within the year. Each will provide curative services, as well as preventive and promotive initiatives such as immunizations, consultations, follow-ups and health lectures. A community-based health and wellness program will also be established, while local health personnel like barangay health workers and health cluster leaders will be provided relevant training so they can efficiently sustain the barangay health station.   “The Sun Life Foundation’s projects are anchored on our company’s purpose, which is to help Filipinos achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. We earnestly hope that helping fulfill these needs, Rise Brighter PH will empower beneficiaries in their journey towards recovery,” said Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. and Sun Life Foundation President Alex Narciso. “Moreover, may it give them hope that despite the challenges we’re currently facing, a brighter future is still in the horizon.”

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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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