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Taxation Bowing Down to Social Justice | A Tribute to a Cooperative Champion: FELICIDAD L. RUIZ

October 31, 2019

Indeed, there are two things in life which all of us cannot escape from: death and taxes. Death is our marriage to eternity where a humble but firm cooperative leader is now – Felicidad L. Ruiz, a cooperative champion par excellence, who had leaped to the Great Beyond on October 30, 2019. Taxation is a fundamental power of the State that all must follow as tax is the lifeblood of the nation – yet, the cooperatives are tax exempt and such highest privilege had been well pronounced in a landmark Supreme Court Decision because of the firm stand of Madam Fely, the General Manager of DCCCO (Dumaguete Cathedral Credit Cooperative),      It that case of DCCCO vs. the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which was then so persistent in taxing DCCCO and even winning in the lower courts, the Supreme Court had categorically pronounced that DCCCO should not be taxed, stating that, “while the power to tax is very strong fundamental power of the State but such power must bow down to the principle of social justice.”      DCCCO under the leadership of  Madam Fely has been compliant in all undertakings and requirements of the Cooperative Development Authority especially in the use of surplus (not profits). One hundred percent (100%) or the maximum utilization/remittance of Community Development Fund (CDF) and Cooperative Educational Training Fund (CETF) for sustainable programs/projects in consonance with actualizing the 6th and 7th Cooperative Principles and Value of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives” and “Concern for the Community” – had shown that there is no need for cooperatives to be taxed as these allocation of surplus to improve the quality of life of the poor communities, i.e,, feeding the malnourished children, providing medical services to the indigent patients, providing scholarships to poor students, etc. – are by themselves more than taxation.      Indeed, cooperatives are tax exempt but they are tax-makers. A great portion of the surplus goes back to the poor members in the form of patronage refund or interest on capital.  As the members are earning, they are not exempted from paying their individual income taxes. Too, because of the cooperatives, they are able to borrow funds to put up their individual livelihood projects, i.e., “karenderya” to those women who know how to cook or jeepneys or “motorelas” for men who know how to drive.        These are indirectly creating employment providing livelihood opportunities to the jobless which when consolidated will be about  two (2) million jobs, based on the data bank of CDA. Directly employed by the more than 18,000 cooperatives nationwide is about 500,000 officers, staff and personnel.  In a country where 6,000 Filipinos are leaving every day to work in other countries leaving their respective families behind, the employment contribution of the cooperatives is just amazing.      Indeed, the blooming of the flowers may be very beautiful but such pales in comparison to the blooming of the cooperatives.  This truism has been reinforced by a recent study conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  No less than the head of the USAID’s Overseas Cooperative  Development Council (OCDC) Dr. Judith Hermanson, Ph.D. together with key staff, has met me recently to present a Report on the 3-month Study showing in their conclusions that “where there are cooperatives, the quality of life in the communities is better” and that the “Philippines is the Cooperative Leader in Asia and the Pacific.” Indeed, based on that Study, Transformative Cooperatives are the ones to rectify the dysfunctions of the present economic model which has benefited only one per cent (1%) of the world’s total population as the DNA of the cooperativism is PROSPERITY FOR ALL as it is members-owned, value-based and principles driven  and sustainable.       In a land where 73% of the economy is controlled by the Oligarchs and Cartels manifesting gross inequalities and the decline in social justice, indeed that historic Tax Exemption case championed by Madam Fely, that was a battle pursued as a test case for and in behalf of the entire cooperative movement and no doubt, the cooperatives won as per Supreme Court decision dated January 22, 2010 – when the more than 10 million cooperative members nationwide rejoiced! That historic decision had put to fruition the 10-year struggle and advocacy of Madam Fely and getting the much sought justice from no less than the highest court. Now that you had left us our beloved champion, we can only bow down our heads to express our utmost gratitude. We now must understand the truism that a cooperative without advocacy is like a night without stars.  Now that the cooperatives are again being taxed as big business are now apparently threatened as the cooperatives are harnessing their collective potential to rectify social wrongs as the Filipino people are now being awakened by our beloved President, let notice be served to one and all, that the cooperativism  in this country has proven to be the countervailing force against poverty, social inequity, social injustice, ecological turbulence due to climate change and against violent extremism. Totoo po talaga, “Kooperatibismo laban sa terorismo,” yan po ngayon ang panawagan sa isang bayan na meron ng mga Filipino Suicidal bombers.      For those who have dreamt, struggled, advocated and even died for it, social change has been so elusive all these years despite 14 years of martial law and two-people power revolutions.  The systems and structures breeding poverty are still as formidable as ever. But NOT ANYMORE under the present dispensation and people empowerment through cooperativism is now the path under the leadership of our beloved President.      Don’t you know that we have now some 53 cooperatives whose members were former combatants of the Moro National Liberation Fronts? Many were organized during the heights of the “Marawi Seige” and are now implementing livelihood projects. Don’t you know that some former commanders of the New People’s Army had already surrendered like Datu Subang in Surigao del Sur who is the chieftain of the 10,000-member Manobo Tribe? Together with TESDA and CDA, both offices have signed Memo of Agreement (MOA) to capacitate the surrenderees, to start a new life based on social justice through  cooperativism. Please refrain from taxing them “baka bumalik sila sa dati.” Even the people with disabilities are now organized into cooperatives and are serving in the “blind massage” parlors in big malls.  Tax mo kooperatiba nila? Wag! From liabilities of society before, they are now assets.      Indeed, when economic dictatorship of the oligarchs is grafted in the democratic government, the outcome is the toxic growth of poverty, ecological turbulence due to climate change and violent extremism.  Our ecological resources had been plundered no end as GAIA (mother Earth) has no more “lungs” (Where have all our 17 million of dipterocarp forest gone?); No more “veins” as 15 or the 25 major rivers in the country are dead while 10 of the 13 major bays are now biologically dead, to the detriment of our ecological people.        The only countervailing force is the harnessing of the collective power of the people through cooperativism whose spirit has been gallantly advanced by Madam Fely.      As the remains of our beloved cooperative champion will soon be buried, what comes to my mind is the 12th stanza of the 17th century poem written by Thomas Grey in a Country Churchyard, to quote: “Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid, some heart once pregnant with celestial fire, hands that the rod of empire might have sway’d, or walked to ecstasy the living lyre.”      To our beloved Madam Felicidad Ruiz, you had lived with us with that “celestial fire” as a cooperative leader par excellence for 43 years, creating a big breakthrough when DCCCO won over miraculously in the attempt to diminish the spirit of cooperativism which has now come of age as a transformative leading edge for a transformative future for people, planet, prosperity and peace, where ever you are, now with us, then with the stars and in the loving embrace of the Supreme Being, you must “walk to ecstasy the living lyre,” – with our firm salute, warm embrace and deepest love – DAGHANG SALAMAT for your amazing life in the Cooperative Movement!  Don’t worry, we will continue your fight and advocacy – all for the greater Glory of God.

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“Quality and Honest Pricing” catapults Xiaomi Corp. to world prominence

October 26, 2019

BEIJING, CHINA - In a press conference here at Xiaomi (MI) Corp main office, the China-Asean Media tour delegation learned how the world-renowned smart phone manufacturer and internet company rose to prominence in international business and modern technology. Dr. Baoqiu Cui, Xiaomi Vice President  and chairman of Technical Committee commented that the secret of their company’s success and meteoric rise to prominence  is “Quality and Honest Pricing.”       Also at hand to give presentations of their product lines and technology were the officers of Xiaomi, Christine Wong, VP for Internation Affairs; Yong He, VP for Public Affairs; and Yuou Chen, Public Affairs Manager for Southeast Asia.Xiaomi Corporation ).      It was only a year ago when Xiaomi  launched operations in 80 countries and regions. Now it is a front-runner in mobile phone markets, smart hardware and ICT platforms in more than 30 countries and regions, (they have 4 stores in the Philippines, including one at the SM Mall in Cagayan de Oro City) is a Chinese electronics company founded by Lei Jun in 2010 and headquartered in Beijing. Xiaomi makes and invests in smartphones, mobile apps, laptops, bags, trimmers, earphones, MI Television, Shoes, fitness bands, and many other products.[ Ranked 468th, Xiaomi is the youngest company on Fortune Global 500 List for 2019.       The company was co-founded by Lei Jun and six partners:  Lin Bin, vice president of the Google China Institute of Engineering;  Dr Zhou Guangping, senior director of the Motorola Beijing R&D center; Liu De, department head of industrial design at the Beijing Institute of Technology; Li Wanqiang, general manager of Kingsoft Dictionary; Wong Kong-Kat, principal development manager;  Hong Feng, senior product manager for Google China, on April 6, 2010.      Xiaomi released its first smartphone in August 2011 and rapidly gained market share in China to become the country's largest smartphone company in 2014.  At the start of second quarter of 2018, Xiaomi was the world's fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer,  leading in both the largest market, China, and the second-largest market, India.[9] Xiaomi later developed a wider range of consumer electronics, including a smart home (IoT) device ecosystem.       Xiaomi has 15,000 employees in China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and is expanding to other countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Africa.  According to Forbes magazine, Lei Jun, the founder and CEO, has an estimated net worth of US$12.5 billion.  He is China's 11th richest person and 118th in the world.  Xiaomi is the world's 4th most valuable technology start-up after receiving US$1.1 billion funding from investors, making Xiaomi's valuation more than US$46 billion.      In the first round of funding, institutional investors included Temasek Holdings, IDG Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Qualcomm.       On 16 August 2010, Xiaomi officially launched its first Android-based firmware MIUI.       Xiaomi produces many products. Notably, it produces smartphones which run on their own version of Android MIUI firmware. Observers suggest that part of Xiaomi's rapid success rests on its ability to differentiate itself within the Android universe. The company has increased its range of products; its smartphones include: Mi Series, Mi Note Series(discontinued), Mi Max Series(discontinued), Mi Mix Series, Pocophone, Blackshark and the Redmi Series. As well as mobile phones, Xiaomi has started selling wearables, mobile accessories, and appliances such as television and speakers. In 2018 it was selling tablets, laptops, and smart-home devices.      Xiaomi operates on a vertically-integrated model that enables the company to sell hardware at cost or below in order to attract users and earn money by selling content.  Hugo Barra, a former Google executive who served Xiaomi's vice president from 2014 to 2017, characterized the organization as "an Internet and a software company much more than a hardware company".      Xiaomi also keeps its prices low or close to "bill-of-material" by keeping most of its products in the market longer, eighteen months rather than the six-month norm followed by many smartphone companies. This strategy allows Xiaomi to take advantage of price reductions in the prices of key components of its products. It enables the company to sell hardware with specifications comparable to high-end devices at a fraction of the cost.       The company's version of the Android operating system, the MIUI skin, with its design, app marketplace, and functionalities, has established a community of users  who form a crucial part of Xiaomi's customer base and contribute to the company's drive for market awareness. This ecosystem is a massive source of revenue as indicated in 2015, when sales from the platform reached $750 million.       The company focuses on India, the world's second-largest smartphone market.  Xiaomi announced on May 2, 2018, the launch of Mi Music and Mi Video to offer "value-added internet services" in India.  On March 22, 2017, Xiaomi announced that it planned to set up a second manufacturing unit in India in partnership with contract manufacturer Foxconn.  On August 7, 2018, Xiaomi announced on its blog that Holitech Technology Co. Ltd., Xiaomi's top supplier, would invest up to $200 million over the next three years to set up a major new plant in India.       Recently Xiaomi started to sell more simple goods such as sunglasses, caps, pillows, glass lunchboxes, cups, filters, bags, backpacks, luggage, screwdrivers, and umbrellas.       In 2019, the company announced launching more than 10 5G phones in 2020.

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Taiwan Excellence Returns at Taiwan Expo 2019

October 23, 2019

With Technology and Smart City Concept  The Taiwan Excellence Pavilion is creating a major buzz during the Taiwan Expo 2019, held in Davao for the first time, as visitors are treated to some sterling products and hi-tech gadgets. The overwhelming response received during the first edition of the Expo urged the participation of Taiwan Excellence this year as well. The two-day expo on the 8th and 9th of November will showcase products from more than 15 brands in the field of AI Robot, Unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAV), and smart city solutions.  Taiwan Excellence is the highest mark of distinction bestowed upon the best of Taiwanese innovations since 1993 and has honored many innovators over the past 27 years. The aim of the award is to encourage continual innovation in product quality, design and image; and winners of the coveted title are selected on multiple strict criteria including their R&D, design, product quality, and marketing model. In recent years, Taiwan Excellence has made itself known in the Philippines through various activities such as Taiwan Excellence 3x3 Hoop Challenge, exhibitions in shopping malls and leading trade shows. These hands-on interactions are a hit with Filipinos and have helped to extend the reach to businesses and consumers. Taiwanese technology has always been well regarded internationally and Taipei City was even ranked by Business Insider as Asia’s most high-tech city for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018. Taiwan’s solid R&D, excellent design track record and production capabilities are instrumental in its success and Taiwan Excellence recognizes the best of the best. During the two-day event, the Taiwan Excellence pavilion will prove to be a major highlight as it showcases a range of tech products that define the innovation of Taiwan. Coming to Taiwan Excellence Pavilion, visitors will have a chance to individually interact with a series of breakthrough technologies, which span across various categories, including information and communication technology (ICT), home appliances, leisure & health care and smart building solutions. These state-to-the-art technologies are invented to bring a more convenient life and satisfy Philippine consumers. Sharing Smart City Solutions In conjunction with the exiting products on display, the Taiwan Excellence Pavilion organized a smart city seminar, Transform Cities with Technological Solutions from Taiwan, to share Taiwanese experience in this area with Philippine counterparts. Davao has become a well-developed tourist destination in the Philippines and one of the most booming tourist destinations that tourist want to visit. Besides, the government is gearing up to improve its competitiveness in tourism by investing more and more resources for tourism-related service and facilities. During Taiwan Excellence smart city seminar, there will be companies, such as GEOSAT Aerospace & Technology providing smart agriculture solutions with Unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAV) and Cal-Comp Technology offering AI smart robots for SM Group and 7-Eleven in the Philippines, to share their technological solutions for the smart city. We anticipate to provide different ideas for city planning or city transformation and give people better living or touristic experience by innovative technology and eco-friendly solution from Taiwan.   About Taiwan Excellence The symbol of Taiwan Excellence honors Taiwan’s most innovative products that provide tremendous value to users worldwide. All products carrying this symbol have been selected for specific Taiwan Excellence Awards based on their excellence in design, quality, marketing, Taiwanese R&D and manufacturing. Initiated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), R.O.C. in 1992, the symbol of Taiwan Excellence is recognized by 100 countries. About Taiwan Excellence Mark  The Taiwan Excellence logo is inspired by the pursue of “perfection” and the six interwoven arcs represent the close ties Taiwan has with the global economic system and the interconnectivity of today’s industries while the red color represents the vitality of Taiwanese companies. The six arcs are independent on their own but yet come together to form a strong collective image to represent the way Taiwanese industries complement each other to form a whole. The Taiwan Excellence logo has been registered in 102 countries to date.

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Security Bank optimistic on sustained regional growth in Mindanao

October 23, 2019

Security Bank Corporation (SBC) held the final leg of its first economic forum roadshow in the gateway of Northern Mindanao and brought together experts who highlighted key areas for sustainable and inclusive development in the region. The symposium also marks the bank’s fifth and last economic forum for 2019. Security Bank continues to see promising investment opportunities in Mindanao with the region’s impressive economic growth, which spurred demand for several infrastructure projects and real-estate developments in the area. “We always keep a close eye on the exciting developments in Mindanao. Since 2016, there has been a gradual increase in GDP share of the region. More economic hubs in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, look at Mindanao as an investment destination in the South,” said Security Bank Assistant Vice President and Chief Economist Dan Roces.  Host city Cagayan de Oro (CDO) has been tagged as one of the most competitive cities in the country, as well as a growth-driver of Northern Mindanao. Dubbed as a city of trade links in the South, CDO makes for a strategic choice for businesses, as it is an entry point of goods to over 22 million consumers and serves as the most efficient exit for Mindanao’s agricultural and industrial products. Earlier this year, its gross regional domestic product increased by 7.0% from 2018, owed to the accelerated growth of their service and industry sectors. Security Bank President and CEO Sanjiv Vohra said, “Security Bank has an active presence in Mindanao. Today's economic forum is a testament of our continued support in the region.” Vohra, who visited Davao last month, also expressed how the region’s success in its industries has contributed to the economic growth of the country. “CDO has continued to impress with the city’s ability to support transportation infrastructures (land, sea and air facilities), economic zones, and other economic support structures from both government agencies and the private sector. The city has been able to offer more employment opportunities contributing to the South’s overall growth. Security Bank is here to support the continued progress of Mindanao’s 2nd largest city, through our 4 branches in CDO out of 30 in Mindanao,” Vohra added. Topics covered during the forum included Cagayan de Oro’s investment and development potential, challenges to economic policy in Mindanao, and Mindanao’s position in relation to the Philippines, the ASEAN, and the rest of the world. The forum showcased comprehensive presentations from Jhon Louie Sabal, Faculty member of the Department of Economics at Xavier University; Romeo Montenegro, deputy executive director of Mindanao Development Authority; and Robert Dan Roces, assistant vice president and chief economist of Security Bank. Security Bank has organized a series of fora in five emerging business centers across the country to provide in-depth discussions on Philippine economic growth and investment climate – both from economic and political perspectives. This roadshow is just one of the many ways the bank has supported national development initiatives, especially in key growth areas. The bank has actively supported businesses, including small and medium enterprises, in Mindanao, and has created opportunities through its diverse portfolio of products and services. Aside from its client-centric initiatives, Security Bank has also brought its BetterBanking promise closer to different communities through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. To date, Security Bank Foundation, Inc., the bank’s CSR arm, has turned over 111 classrooms to 21 schools, and has trained 384 teachers in Mindanao as part of its “Build A School, Build A Nation: The Classrooms Project” program. Over the years, Security Bank has maintained a constant presence in Mindanao in line with its transformative, long-term mission to enrich lives, empower business and build communities.

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CDO leads the way for Minda industrialization with summit

October 21, 2019

MINDANAO is about to be transformed into the country's largest industrial hub and the city will be right at the heart of it.   Local and foreign industry leaders will be gathering here in Cagayan de Oro City for the Philippine Industrial Summit in Mindanao next month.   Leaders from various government bodies and foreign embassies are also invited to take part in the summit.   "Mindanao is on the roll. It's only proper to host the summit in the island," said PIEMO Industries Association president Augustus Adis.   Together with Phividec Industrial Authority administrator Franklin Quijano, they decided to launch the first ever Philippine Industrial Summit in Mindanao.   Their goal is to help fasttrack the country's industrialization in general and Mindanao in particular, gathering local and foreign industries and government institutions.   According to Adis, the island can provide dependable power for continuous processing and production.   Furthermore, it has an abundance of fuel and infrastructure which can help ensure that products are transported within the island, nationally and internationally.   So far, the Philippine Industrial Summit in Mindanao has gotten support from the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), the Japanese and Chinese consulates of Davao City, Philippine News Agency (PNA), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).   Cagayan de Oro - being one of the largest regional contributors to national GDP - make it the perfect location for the summit.   The Philippine Industrial Summit in Mindanao will be held November 26 to 27 at Limketkai Luxe Hotel. There will also be an exhibit and job fair at Limketkai Event Center.   To register for the event, visit industrialsummitph.com. For inquiries, contact 08279848513 or 09394360280 or industrialsummit.ph2019@gmail.com.

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IPC Signs MOA with JZGMSAT

October 14, 2019

Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) and the Jacobo Z. Gonzales Memorial School of Arts and Trade (JZGMSAT) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last September.      This was the second MOA signing between IPC and JZGMSAT. The first was on July 3, 2017, wherein IPC donated three mock-up/cutaway engines, and implemented its Diesel Engine Technology Training Program to JZGMSAT students enrolled in the Automotive Servicing course.      In the September 3 MOA signing, IPC turned over two Automotive Lifters, another mock-up Isuzu engine, and five computers. The addition of the Lifters are seen to help the students accomplish their NC3 Automotive Servicing accreditation. After the signing, JZGMSAT trainees performed a demonstration of their servicing skills. Alumni of the JZGMSAT Automotive Servicing course were also on hand to convey their special message during the formal signing ceremonies.      IPC President Hajime Koso remarked during his speech before students and guests at the signing ceremony that, as IPC has remained true to its mantra of being “Your Responsible Partner”, it has always prioritized efforts to contribute “to the progress of society.”      “Without a progressive society, no business will grow. IPC’s goal, then, is to help create a knowledge-sharing culture in the Philippines. That is why, we invest on knowledge. Knowledge inspires innovation. Innovation, on the other hand, is the key to a progressive, healthy economy,” Mr. Koso said.      IPC first trained 12 CALABARZON-TESDA Automotive Trainers on Diesel Engine Technology at the IPC Plant in June 2017, in preparation for the first MOA between IPC and JZGMSAT. The full implementation of the training program for the initial batch of 114 JZGMSAT students was held July 2017 to May 2018.      The training program covered topics such as: Direct and Indirect Fuel Injection; Valve trains; Carbon Dioxide Reduction Technology; Common Rail Fuel Injection, and; Engine Management System.      The new MOA will add the Isuzu PUV Modernized Jeepney Model Product Review to the training program scheduled for 2020. This includes topics on the main features and specifications of the modernized Isuzu PUVs, and a familiarization of their drivetrain and under chassis components.      Under the new MOA, IPC will also provide an opportunity to qualified JZGMSAT students for possible employment in Isuzu dealerships that need technicians. The MOA signing was witnessed by representatives of IPC, JZGMSAT, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Signing the MOA were IPC President Hajime Koso, JZGMSAT Vocational School Administrator III Benito Reyes, and TESDA Regional Director Florencio Sunico, Jr.

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