business

DOTr reiterates PUV transport protocols under MECQ, GCQ

May 22, 2020

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 in accordance to the classification of high-risk and low-risk provinces and cities in the country,  “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 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 their top priority, thus, the continued limitations for movement and transportation among cities under MECQ.  In a press briefing on May 12 . Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said 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 remain 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 at half of their capacity. 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 stressed.  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. (DOTr)

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Phoenix SUPER LPG offers faster online ordering

May 21, 2020

Running out of LPG? Phoenix SUPER LPG lets you have your tanks delivered faster through its revamped online ordering system.     While the ongoing pandemic and community quarantine have limited everybody’s freedom to go and roam outside their homes, cooking at home has never been this important.     Every day, people have been showing off their home-cooked meals on social media, and while food businesses have been reopening one-by-one and adjusting their operations to enable food delivery, many quarantined Filipinos have discovered how fun, convenient, and economical it is to cook their own food while staying safe at home. Indeed, this is the new normal where home cooking gets back its former glory.     Thankfully, Phoenix SUPER LPG has made cooking at home easier and more convenient with its new and improved online order form. Accessible on the brand’s official Facebook page (facebook.com/PhoenixSuperLPG) through the “SHOP NOW” tab and website (www.phoenixfuels.ph/lpg/) through the “ORDER NOW” button, this new order-and-delivery system lets customers find the nearest Phoenix SUPER Hub in their area for faster delivery of Phoenix SUPER LPG products. The online form also gives the customers the updated product price upon ordering, and indicates the product’s availability. Through these features, confirmation of orders and fulfillment of transactions are made simpler, direct, and faster.     “Now that most of us are stuck at home, and dining inside restaurants are strictly prohibited, we recognize how important it is to have a reliable partner in cooking at home. Phoenix SUPER LPG has been advocating for the discovery of the joys in cooking for the past year, and we are taking this opportunity to show how we can help make everyone’s cooking experience safe, sigurado, and simple,” Phoenix LPG Philippines, Inc. President Henry Albert Fadullon said. “Throughout this quarantine period, we have been working hard to make our products and services become more visible and accessible both online and otherwise. This strategy includes the revamped online order form that we are launching today for our customers. Now, anyone can get their Phoenix SUPER LPG delivered to their homes faster and easier.”     Last year, along with the introduction of its brand ambassador Sarah Geronimo, Phoenix SUPER LPG launched its ‘Sarap Pala Magluto’ campaign that highlights the brands SAFE, SIGURADO, and SIMPLE cooking experience through its German-made SRG regulator. It features an inlet safety valve that stops LPG flow in case of leakage and an on-and-off switch for a tight and secure connecting system. It also has a reserve indicator that determines the content of the tank—so there’s no guessing about when customers need a replacement, and a snap-on mechanism that enables ease of use.     Aside from the online order and delivery form, Phoenix SUPER LPG can also be availed of by calling #SUPER (#78737) for Globe and Smart users. The brand has also been implementing strict health and safety protocols inside the Phoenix SUPER Hubs and during the delivery process by practicing non-contact delivery and regular sanitation of its personnel and equipment.

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Xavier Ateneo’s GRiD-DSS Project Lauded as Model for Local Governance of COVID-19 Pandemicv

May 21, 2020

While many Xavier Ateneo (XU) units were busy producing alcohol sanitizers and face shields, distributing relief goods for stranded students and vulnerable communities, and offering some of its buildings as quarantine facilities, a small group of faculty members silently worked together to help government better understand the health risks against the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. In mid-March, a volunteer-team led by Dr Gina Itchon (Professor of Public Health in XU’s Dr Jose P Rizal School of Medicine) and Engr Dexter Lo (Professor of Disaster Risk and Resilience in XU’s College of Engineering, and Director of Institutional Societal Engagement) started working with Dr Ian Gonzales (Head of Infectious Diseases Unit of the Department of Health – Region 10) on a project called Geospatial Risk Database (GRiD) of COVID-19 in Northern Mindanao. The objective is to establish a Decision Support System (DSS) for DOH10 to effectively manage, prepare, and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in the region. By end of March, the GRiD-DSS Project presented to DOH-10 the projected growth scenarios of Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) in Region 10. The PUIs was used as a proxy parameter in the analysis due to lack of COVID19 testing and confirmed cases in the region at that time. This was presented to the Incident Command System Group of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the official COVID-19 referral center in the region. The project was also showcased during the National Resilience Council’s (NRC) COVID-19 Knowledge Series Special Session: "Voices from the Frontlines: Bayanihan in Action" last April 28, 2020. Among the speakers were Hon Carlito Galvez Jr. (Chief Implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID19), Dr Manuel Dayrit (Former DOH Secretary), and Hon Oscar Moreno (Mayor of Cagayan de Oro City). Xavier Ateneo was given the honor to deliver a Statement of Support from the Academe sector. Engr Lo emphasized some features of the GRiD-DSS Project that make it effective for local government units (LGUs): “We (XU) remain in the background, serving as a decision-support for local government to come up with evidenced-based policies and strategies. We provide Engr Dexter Lo presents the GRiD-DSS Project to NMMC charts that speak a story of what’s happening, what’s going to happen, and what we should do now. We draw maps to guide what, where, and when our next critical move should be.” He also added that: “It is when we are able to pin down or trace the problem at the household level that our innovations also become empowering to people on the ground. Therefore, a geospatial approach is perhaps the most effective way to do this.” On May 5, 2020, the LGU – Cagayan de Oro (CdeO) released an Executive Order (E.O. 068- 2020) creating a Technical Working Group for the City’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Planning, which included Xavier Ateneo particularly because of its GRiD-DSS Project. A week later, on May 13, 2020, the United States Agency for International Development – Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (USAID-SURGE) Project in coordination with the CdeO Trade and Investment Promotions Center (TIPC) hosted an online COVID-19 forum among regional and local stakeholders and business leaders. XU’s GRiD-DSS Project was once again presented, with more recent outputs featuring a webbased mapping dashboard of the City Health Office’s (CHO) massive active surveillance operations. USAID’s Ryan Patrick Evangelista, who presented the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Planning Template, repeatedly lauded XU’s GRiD-DSS Project as an essential element of risk assessment prior to coming up with planning strategies. Two days later, on May 15, 2020, the NRC once again hosted an online Orientation and Consultation Session on geospatial risk database – decision support system for COVID-19, featuring XU’s GRiD-DSS Project. Present were the local chief executives and department heads (particularly City Planning and Development Office and City Health Office) of Zamboanga, Iloilo, Ormoc, and Cagayan de Oro Cities. Also present were Admiral Alexander Pama (former Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) and Hon Austere Panadero (Undersecretary for Local Government of the Department of the Interior and Local Government). Other academic partners of the NRC were also present: Ateneo de Zamboanga Universiy, Ateneo de Naga University, University of the Philippines Visayas, and Visayas State University. The GRiD-DSS Project was warmly appreciated by the participants. Mayor Ma. Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar (Zamboanga) and Mayor Richard Gomez’s (Ormoc) planning officers are interested in having a similar online dashboard system as decision support for their operations. NRC is currently planning to host a webinar training series on online geospatial dashboard as decision support system for LGUs and academic institutions, with XU’s Engr Engr Dexter Lo presents the GRiD-DSS Project to the City LGU’s Health Cluster Jefferson Vallente Jr (mapping component leader of GRiD-DSS Project, and faculty member of the Civil Engineering Department) as main resource person. In the midst of pandemics and disasters, Xavier Ateneo continues to rise above the challenges, using its facilities and human resources to address where there is a greater need. During the deadly Sendong flood in 2011, it was the same small volunteerteam of Engr Lo (then Director of the XU Engineering Resource Center) that immediately produced flood maps along the Cagayan de Oro and Iponan Rivers, which were featured by news agencies including the Al Jazeera. Engr Lo also worked with Dr Itchon (Director of XU’s Sustainable Sanitation Center) on trends of admitted medical cases during Sendong, which became an impetus of a more strategic health emergency system during disasters. Other team members of the GRiD-DSS Project are: Dr Ester Raagas, Dr Astrid Sinco, Mr Jameson Lim, and Ms Ma Victoria Trinidad (Risk Analysis and Communication component), Engr Augustini Paduganan, Ms Kate Ching, Mr Ildefonso Deloria, and Paolo Rosales (Geospatial Mapping component), Ms Amor Cajilla and Ms Meiyoshi Masgon (Database Management component), and Ms. Therese Rhea Rose Baliwag (Documentation).

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FDA grants license to operate to Jocals688 Beauty & Wellness Products Trading, Inc.

May 21, 2020

MANILA - The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has finally granted Jocals688 Beauty and Wellness Trading, Inc. license to operate. This was announced to the Mindanao Daily News today by Mr Joshua Alforque Calderon, President and CEO of Jocals688 Beauty & Wellness Products Trading, Inc. "Actually March 5 pani pero now lang nahatag ang certificate. March 5 naa nami FDA LTO number unya April 14 nagpagawas ug advisory ang SEC nag ingon nga wala daw me FDA LTO busa sayop jud ilang akusasyon," Calderon explained. Calderon said this new development signals the company's ultimate goal to distribute their products all over the country and expand to the world in the next 2 to 3 years. "We are always envigorated to helping the Filipinos all over the world become beautiful, healthy and wealthy, the reason that we are massively expanding in just one year after we opened in July last year," says Joshua Calderon, the company's President and CEO. He said in an interview with MDN that he wants the company to stay for more than fifty years with the members siblings continue operating and spreading the goodness of the company in terms of beauty and wellness. "Nangandoy kita nga moabot pa ang Jocals688 sa singkwenta ka tuig ug mamahimong mga anak na nato ang magdumala niini uban usab sa mga anak sa mga miyembro." Roger Gelacio, the company's marketing manager also told MDN that he was a living witness how the company was massively expanding in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. "Isip marketing manager sa maong company kanunay kitang kuyog sa atong presidente kung adunay mga product launching and office blessing. Gani, natuyok na nato halos and tanan nga mga strategic areas para madali mapalapad ang operasyon sa kompanya," Gelacio said.     COPY OF FDA LTO

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SEC orders CROWD1 to stop illegal investment scheme

May 20, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered CROWD1 Asia Pacific, Inc. to immediately stop soliciting and accepting investments from the public under a scheme disguised as a digital marketing business. In an order issued May 12, the SEC directed CROWD1 to cease and desist, under pain of contempt, from engaging in activities of selling and/or offering for sale securities in the form of investment contracts or other similar schemes without prior registration and permit to sell. The SEC also ordered CROWD1 to cease from promoting its investment scheme in social media and other online platforms. Furthermore, the Commission prohibited CROWD1 from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks, and from transferring, disposing, or conveying in any manner all related assets for the benefit of the investors. The cease and desist order covers the corporation’s operators, partners, directors, officers, salespersons, agents, representatives, promoters, and all persons, conduit entities and subsidiaries claiming and acting for and on its behalf. The SEC issued the cease and desist order after finding that CROWD1 has operated “a fraudulent investment scheme consisting of the sale and/or offer of inexistent securities in the form of investment contracts to the public.” CROWD1 solicits and accepts investments from the public by offering what it describes as educational packages for a minimum of P6,000 and as much as P240,000. To entice the public to invest, CROWD1 promises member-investors five different bonuses: streamline bonus, binary pairing bonus, fear of loss bonus, matching bonus, and residual bonus from games and gambling apps. CROWD1 likewise touts a pairing incentive payable in Euros to encourage member-investors to recruit new members. Representing itself as a digital marketing business, CROWD1 claims it generates income from online games and facilitates the generation by its members of residual income from its affiliate gaming companies such as AFFIGLO and MIGGSTER. The SEC, however, ruled that CROWD1’s scheme involved the sale and/or offer of securities in the form of investment contracts and, thus, required a secondary license under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC). Rule 26.3.5 of the 2015 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the SRC defines an investment contract as “a contract, transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits primarily through the efforts of others.” An investment contract is presumed to exist when a person seeks to use the money or property of other persons on the promise of profits. Also, a common enterprise is deemed created when two or more investors pool their resources even if the promoter receives nothing more than a broker’s commission. In this light, the SEC held that CROWD1 is engaged in the sale and/or offer for sale of securities in the form of investment contracts. The Commission also ruled that the act of CROWD1 of publishing and making presentations on its investment/ business scheme through its website, Facebook, YouTube and on-ground events, and inviting investors constituted a public offering as defined under Rule 3.1.17 of the 2015 IRR of the SRC. Section 8 of the SRC provides that securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC. CROWD1 neither secured a secondary license to operate as a broker/dealer, registered as issuer of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds or proprietary/ nonproprietary shares, nor registered any securities pursuant to the SRC. CROWD1 only registered as a corporation for the primary purpose of engaging in business process outsourcing services. The SEC, however, emphasized that the certificate of incorporation granted to CROWD1 explicitly prohibited the corporation from soliciting, accepting or taking investments or placements from the public as well as from issuing investment contracts. The Commission initially advised the public to exercise caution in dealing with individuals and groups representing CROWD1 through an advisory dated April 28, after gathering information about the corporation’s unauthorized investment-solicitation activities. Acting on numerous complaints, reports and inquiries, the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) conducted an investigation, which included surveillance and field operations, for possible violations of the SRC and its IRR. The EIPD was then able to establish substantial evidence that CROWD1 was selling and/or offering securities to the public in the form of investment contracts without the required secondary license from the Commission. Based on the findings and evidence gathered, the SEC proceeded with the issuance of a cease and desist order against CROWD1.   “[I]t is clear that CROWD1 is not authorized to sell or offer its educational packages to the public because they are securities in the form of investment contracts, and CROWD1 does not have the requisite license from this Commission,” the order read. “This undoubtedly warrants the issuance of a cease and desist order because the act of CROWD1 in selling/ offering unregistered securities operates as a fraud to the public which, if unrestrained, will likely cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public.” The SEC earlier issued similar cease and desist orders against Lion City Finance Group, Inc. and Payasian Pte. Ltd. Corporation for selling and/or offering to the public securities in the form of investments contract without the necessary licenses. Lion City obtained funds from the public allegedly to finance its various business transactions and operations. It promised a pure passive income of at least 10% a month and issued postdated checks to investors covering the amount of the guaranteed return on investment. Payasian, meanwhile, enticed investors to buy Paya Coins and hold them for six months in order to receive 30% additional Paya Rewards. The group also offered referral rewards. END

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ASPAP: E-games beef up economy with billions

May 20, 2020

A huge gapin the national budget brought about by the pandemic is pressuring authorities to intensify revenue generation efforts.  Members of the Accredited Service Providers of PAGCOR (ASPAP) today cited the significant role of offshore gaming operations to help the nation rise from the crippling effects of COVID-19.                           No less than House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman, Representative Joey Salceda had estimated that POGOs contribute around P94.7 billion annually to the country’s gross domestic product. He pointed out that tax collection from POGOs in 2018 and 2019 alone reached P22.4 billion, inclusive of value added tax (VAT) from rent and from workers consumption.  PAGCOR’s own forecast provides a more compelling reason to allow the resumption of POGO (Philippine Online Gaming Operator) operation, ASPAP spokesperson Atty. Margarita Gutierrez said. It projects annual collection of fees to reach P10 billion, while withholding taxes on both foreign and local POGO workers are estimated at P12.25 billion.                                                    Add to that rental VAT payments for offices and housing (around P3 billion), Department of Labor and Employment permits (P6 billion), and fees of direct hired agencies (P3 billion), PAGCOR says the annual collections from taxes and fees from POGOs should be around P34 billion.                        Furthermore, an estimated P33 billion would be injected to the local economy by foreign POGO workers through their daily expenses, rental payments for offices and houses totalling P21 billion, and P16.4  billion in wages for staff, the total contribution of POGOs to our country could  reach as high as P104 billion per year according to PAGCOR. "Revenues which POGOs pump into the economy are way beyond the regulatory fees and taxes directly paid to the authorities," Gutierrez clarified.  With government’s deficit expected to balloon to P1 trillion due to the pandemic, Gutierrez said the income from offshore gaming and the ripples of benefits it would bring could provide the additional resources for critical corona virus response programs.                                     “We are committed to fully support the country’s roadmap to economic recovery and we hope that all sectors will pour their efforts toward this goal,” she said. 

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