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PCSO readies financial assistance to 6,241 Lotto and Keno Agents

May 26, 2020

Mandaluyong City. Good news to the thousands of Lotto and Keno agents.   PCSO Vice Chair and General Manager Royina M. Garma announced on Friday in a press statement that six thousand two hundred and forty-one (6,241) individual Lotto and Keno agents all over the country will receive financial assistance totaling Eighteen Million Seven Hundred Twenty-Three Thousand Pesos (P18,723,000.00). We, at the PCSO Board understand the plight of our individual Lotto and Keno agents.  That’s why, as our partners in raising revenues, we also have to look after their welfare during this global pandemic.  I have instructed our Branch Managers and all other concerned officials to immediately facilitate the release of the assistance, GM Garma added.   The grant of financial assistance was approved through PCSO Board Resolution 109 s. 2020 which was subsequently approved by the Office of the President. The assistance aims to augment and subsidize the needs of these agents and to lessen the burden of stress and anxiety during this difficult time of public quarantine. Qualified Lotto and Keno agents may coordinate with the PCSO Branch Office in their areas for details of the release of the said assistance. It can be recalled that since March 17, 2020, PCSO suspended lotto operations nationwide in order to protect the lotto agents, tellers and the gaming public from the deadly COVID-19 virus.

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DOF, LANDBANK, BMFI extend psycho-social support to Marawi survivors

May 25, 2020

Over 2,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the five-month-long Marawi siege that transpired exactly three years ago today, May 23, have been given psycho-social support (PSS) under the Gawad Angat BAYan (GABAY) Program, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project of Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), funded by the Department of Finance (DOF) under the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau-Interest Differential Fund (KfW-IDF).      Since the implementation of the program in January 2019, LANDBANK, as Program Manager, has partnered with Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BFMI), as Program Implementer, to conduct various PSS activities that have so far benefited 1,673 internally displaced adults and 455 internally displaced children in ten (10) barangays and transitional shelters in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.       The PSS activity, dubbed as Mashwara Para Ko Kapamulong (Conversations for Healing), is designed to provide space for community sharing and community-building among IDPs and other individuals affected by violence. It also aimed to identify and prioritize issues within the communities, and come up with common hopes and possible actions to address the identified issues.       “The LANDBANK GABAY Program embodies the Bank’s commitment to help communities grow and recover. Since the implementation of the program in 2019, we were able to give hope to many of our brothers and sisters in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, helping them rebuild their communities from the catastrophic impact brought about by the five-month-long siege in 2017,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said.      To continue the conversations with internally displaced adults, LANDBANK facilitated post-PSS activities, such as the Mashwara Corners, in partner-communities where participants shared their personal journeys since completing the Mashwara Para Ko Kapamulong activities. Meanwhile, for the internally displaced children, the Bank conducted a series of Children’s Festival which included games, storytelling and learning sessions.      A unique feature of the PSS program is the incorporation of eco-therapy where LANDBANK mounted various workshops and hands-on trainings on natural farming to share and emphasize its importance as an introduction to a sustainable way of living and healing.       As part of the main components of the GABAY Program, LANDBANK also held a series of trainings of trainers on PSS, with a total of 101 graduates. They eventually served as facilitators in the conduct of PSS activities and other interventions for the conflict-torn communities.

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KonsultaMD releases video app for 24/7 medical consultation

May 23, 2020

Telehealth service KonsultaMD has released an app that allows customers to engage in teleconsultation with a licensed doctor anytime via voice or video without leaving the comforts of their own homes.     The app keeps the customer’s account information such as check-up history and remaining subscription balance and lets the users to top up their subscription as well as request e-prescriptions, e-labs, and e-referrals.     This contactless approach to health services is endorsed by the Department of Health as a way to relieve hospitals with non-critical cases and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus especially among vulnerable members of society.     “We understand how difficult it is for people with medical concerns to go to the doctor and face the risk of COVID-19 infection.  Yet there are instances when doctors and patients need to see each other to exchange information especially if visual assessment is necessary such as in the case of skin diseases.  Through the app, we’re giving our customers a viable alternative to face-to-face consultation,” said Maridol Ylanan, CEO of Global Telehealth, Inc., the company which operates KonsultaMD.     KonsultaMD, however, continues to offer 24/7 access to doctors over the phone.  Both voice and video calls may be used to seek advice on primary care, first aid, health and wellness, nutrition, mental health, and even for the issuance of e-prescriptions and interpretation of lab results.       KonsultaMD offers four affordable plans to choose from, ranging from P15 per week to P150 per month.  For the starter plan, an individual customer may enjoy unlimited teleconsult for only P15 for seven days.  This includes e-prescription, e-laboratory request, and access to partner benefits.  The personal plan provides the same benefits as the starter plan with one free video consultation and e-Medical Certificate for P60 per month valid for 30 days.     Those with family members, may prefer the partner bundle plan which costs P99 for two persons for 30 days with 2 free video consultations or the group bundle plan which is good for five people and costs only P150 for 30 days with four free video consultations.  Both plans carry all benefits of the personal plan.     Subscription may be done through the KonsultaMD app which may be downloaded from the App Store for iOS or Google Play Store for Android or by calling 79880 via mobile or (02) 7798 8000 via landline.  Calls to the mobile hotline are free for Globe and TM customers.     KonsultaMD is an affiliate of 917Ventures, a corporate incubator and wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom.

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Call and collect with ACE Hardware

May 23, 2020

Truly the helpful place, ACE Hardware continues to provide solutions to everything you need for your home repair projects with its Call & Collect service.     Your home improvement work will be a lot easier with high performance cordless drills / drivers in compact and lightweight designs; while ACE Exclusive hand tools are great for minor repairs like fixing a leaking tap, or repairing broken electrical sockets.     Give your home a fresh new look with lead-free and odorless ACE Paints and painting supplies. Prevent your home from rust and corrosion by spraying ACE Rust Stop paints direct to metal surfaces.     Replacing your lights with LED bulbs is also another way to update your home. Choose from ACE Hardware’s wide array of energy saving light bulbs and fixtures as well as durable and high quality extension cords.     How to shop with ACE Hardware’s Call & Collect service?  Just call or text participating ACE stores, wait for order confirmation and arrange preferred delivery service. Then your items will be delivered it to you immediately.     This service is now currently available in selected ACE Hardware branches located in SM Malls nationwide. In Metro Manila areas, you can Call & Collect at ACE stores at the SM Mall of Asia, SM Aura, SM City Fairview, SM Center Pasig, SM Sucat, SM Marikina, SM Novaliches and SM Muntinlupa. Selected ACE Hardware Call & Collect stores in North and South Luzon areas as well as in Visayas and Mindanao are also included.     You can also shop online for ACE products at www.acehardware.ph, ShopSM, Lazada or Shopee. For more details, you may also want to like our official Facebook page at facebook.com/acehardwarephilippines or follow our official Instagram account, @acehardware_ph.

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DOTr reiterates PUV transport protocols under MECQ, GCQ

May 23, 2020

Following the classification of high-risk and low-risk provinces and cities in the country, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is strictly urging the public to follow the imposed health and safety guidelines for public transportation to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in public utility vehicles.  “Areas under MECQ are still considered high-risk,” says USec Artemio U. Tuazon, DOTr’s official representative to the IATF. “Our message is to prioritize safety by urging people to stay at home. There is a need for discipline and to follow through safety precautionary measures such as mandatory quarantine, observing social distancing, wearing of face masks/shields, and observing proper sanitation and hygiene.”  Last May 16, cities of Metro Manila, Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City have transitioned into modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 31, while the rest of the country is under general community quarantine (GCQ).  For the DOTr and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the health and safety of the public still remains as their top priority, thus, the imposed limitations for movement and transportation among cities under MECQ.  According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a press briefing last May 12, the “modified” ECQ allowed resumption of select industries and businesses to open but only up to a maximum of 50 percent of their workforce, while more businesses in cities under GCQ were allowed to operate at full capacity.  However, according to guidelines presented by the IATF, public transportation such as trains, buses, taxis, jeepneys, as well as transport network vehicle services (TNVS) including Grab in areas under MECQ is still suspended due to public health safety risks.  The DOTr stressed that the transport protocols released by the department should still be strictly observed as some forms of private transportation will be allowed in areas under MECQ like company shuttles, but only half of their capacity should be filled. Personal vehicles (two persons per row), bicycles (one person only), motorcycles (one person only) and E-Scooter (one person only) are also allowed.  Under GCQ, all modes of public transport will be allowed, but on a reduced capacity to observe physical distancing and under guidance of strict safety protocols provided by the DOTr.  Tuazon also explained that allowing industries to operate again, despite no public transport by the IATF, was pre-conditional. “The guidelines of the IATF has made it clear that companies and business owners that do not have the capacity to provide transportation services to their employees should not resume operations as this will place their employees at risk,” Tuazon said.  “Meanwhile, in areas under GCQ where more businesses are allowed to re-open, the DOTr is strongly urging the public to observe the issued public transport guidelines. We do not want our public transport to become transmission vectors of the disease,” Tuazon emphasized.  Furthermore, as clarified by Roque, classifications under MECQ include limited movement within the areas for obtaining essential services and work, selected operations are only allowed up to 50% of workforce, limited transportation services for essential goods and services, and suspension of physical classes.  Meanwhile, areas under GCQ will have limited movements but the government and almost all industries will be allowed to operate up to 75 percent except amusement and those with mass gatherings, limited transport services with social distancing, and flexible learning will be allowed but without face-to-face learning.  

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SEC CDO reminds lenders to comply with 30-day Mandatory Grace Period for all loans

May 23, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission Cagayan de Oro Extension Office has reiterated the Commission’s directive for all financing and lending companies to provide borrowers more time to settle loans falling due within the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) period.  In an advisory issued on May 20, the SEC reminded financing and lending companies to strictly comply with Section 4(aa) of Republic Act No. 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal As One Act), its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), and other applicable laws, rules and regulations.  Section 4(aa) of RA 11469 provides the President the power to implement a minimum 30-day grace period for the payment of all loans while the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.  On April 1, the Department of Finance issued the IRR directing all lenders, including those under the supervision of the SEC, to apply an initial 30-day grace period to all loans with principal and/or interest falling due during the ECQ period.  The initial 30-day grace period shall automatically be extended if the ECQ period is extended by the President pursuant to his emergency powers.  “I would like to encourage everyone to report financing and lending companies who are still asking for payments to all principal loans and amortizations despite the directive provided by the Commission in response to this pandemic” SEC-CDOEO Director Renato V. Egypto said in a statement.  Accordingly, all financing companies, lending companies and microfinance NGOs shall apply the mandatory grace period to all loans with principal and/or interest falling due between 17 March 2020 and 31 May 2020.  Meantime, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued on May 6 Resolution No. 33, Series of 2020 directing all banks, quasi-banks, financing companies, lending companies, and other financial institutions to reckon the grace period from the respective due dates of qualified loans or until such time that the community quarantine is lifted, whichever is longer.  Under the IRR, all covered institutions shall not impose interest on interest, fees and other charges to future payments or amortizations. Borrowers may also pay the interest accrued during the grace period on a staggered basis over the remaining life of the loan.  The SEC-CDOEO directs all complainants to submit their reports through the following guidelines below:  1.    Completely and accurately fill-out the prescribed complaint form which can be accessed through this link: http://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies/complaints/ 2.     Attach proof or evidence to support your complaint (e.g. screenshots of text messages/emails of the lending institution seeking for payments) 3.    Submit one complaint form per respondent company 4.    Provide one (1) government-issued ID.  Complaints can be submitted through this email: cgfd_md@sec.gov.ph. For walk-in clients, SEC-CDOEO will accept reports and will submit them to the designated departments for actions.  All covered institutions are further prohibited from requiring their borrowers to waive the application of the mandatory grace period. Nonetheless, borrowers may still choose to pay their obligations during the ECQ.  RA 11469 provides that refusal to provide the mandated 30-day grace period shall be punishable with imprisonment of two months or a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P1 million or both, at the discretion of the court.   “Any violation or noncompliance shall be dealt with to the full extent of the law,” the SEC warned, noting that it is currently investigating financing and lending companies that allegedly refuse to comply with the Bayanihan Act, its IRR and other applicable laws, rules and regulations.  “We are in one with all the people in Northern Mindanao and the Caraga Region as our areas of responsibility to warn and impose appropriate legal actions to these lending and financing companies who do not follow such directives,” Egypto added.  

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