todays top stories

IWG Phil. eyes business centers in Cagayan de Oro

January 25, 2020

DAVAO City--The Europe-based International Working Group Philippines (IWG Phil) eyed Cagayan de Oro City as the next possible working business processing center in Mindanao. IWG Philippines pioneered in the business processing services for companies around the world through updated operations and solutions delivered by company staff working in the “box.” Lars Wittig, Country Manager Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand, made the disclosure during the signing of the partnership agreement with the Damosa Land, Inc. in Davao City Friday. Wittig expressed the confidence of a bullish Mindanao economy following the success of the IWG Philippines operation in Davao City since 2016. He disclosed that the IWG has two existing business processing centers in Davao, which have been doing very well – the Regus Damosa Topaz Tower (2016) and the Regus Felcirs Centrale (2018). The IWG Phil. specializes in providing business process services to clients wanting to expand services by simply relocating workers without hampering the company operations. According to Wittig, there clients are both domestic and international companies, mostly based in the National Capital Region (NCR), whose management dispersed the operation outside the NCR due to congestion. In Davao City, the IWG Phil. has already 600 clients and the newly constructed offices in the 14-storey Damosa Building is already filled. The IWG Phil. occupies the entire fourth floor of the Damosa building whose business spaces are already full – one of the clients is the SVG partners, Wittig said. He said that the partnership agreement with the Damosa Land, Inc. is extending a franchise to the Damosa to exclusively develop and managed the IWG Phil. operations in Mindanao. Wittig said that the Damosa Land, Inc. is represented by Ricardo Floreindo Lagdameo, the company’s first Vice President. The Damosa Land, Inc. will manage exclusively eight IWG Philippine centers in Mindanao – the Cagayan De Oro IWG Phil. business center is one in the drawing board.

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BREAKING NEWS: Duterte threatens to terminate Visiting Forces Agreement

January 24, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) should the US Government rectify their error. The president was dismayed on the American Government's immediate cancellation of the US Visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa without justifiable reasons. But Senator Panfilo Lacson is quick to tell that there is no connection between Sen dela Rosa's visa cancellation with the bilateral agreement entered into by the United States and the Philippines. "A US visa is a conditional authorization granted to a foreigner. It may be cancelled without explanation or justification. The VFA is a bilateral agreement between the Ph and the US that went through some careful and diplomatic discussion. Pray tell, where is the connection," the senator said in his twitter account.  As for Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, he said "that agreement should always be subject to review. He (the President) can even say that 'times have changed and it is no longer needed by the country." Pimentel, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added the President may cancell the accord "with or without a reason." For his part, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said "I don't deserve this bargain but it is not all about me. It is about a one-sided foreign relations." Although Dela Rosa has also openly said he is backing the president's idea of terminating the visiting forces agreement should the American Government would not rectify its cancellation of the US visa of the senator. In President Duterte's speech in Leyte the president was fuming mad upon knowing the said visa cancellation of his close ally in government - Sen Ronald dela Rosa. "I'm warning you. This is the first time. Kapag hindi ninyo ginawa ang correction diyan, I will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Tapusin ko 'yan pu**** in*** yan," was the president's angry reaction on dela Rosa's US visa termination.

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Deadly Coronavirus kills 17; downs 530 in China

January 24, 2020

CHINA - The deadly Coronavirus has already claimed 17 deaths and 530 patients, according to a radio report in Wuhan, China, a city with recorded 11 million people. As a result of this deadly Coronavirus, Chinese medical practitioners are now wearing Hazmat-clad suit to protect themselves from cross-infection from the deadly virus believed coming from the animals. Wuhan City, a city with estimated 11 million people, is where the virus reportedly started according to medical historians and experts. The deadly virus from China has also reached Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and just recently the virus also penetrated United States. Radio Free Asia has just released on social media a 17-second clip filmed in Huizhou, southern part of Guangdong Province in South China. The first confirmed Coronavirus was from a small coastal city in China with a population of nearly five million people. Guangdong province has a total infected patients of 26 according to the Radio Free Asia. Based on initial investigation by Chinese medical doctors and scientists, the virus is believed coming from live animals traded in Huanan Seafood Market. This is among the largest marketplaces in Wuhan, where the confirmed cases of medical practitioners infected by the virus.  It was also earlier reported that there are now 20 cases of medical practitioners under treatment for possible virus infection.  The Chinese authorities advised people to just stay indoors to avoid this so-called airborne diseases brought about by the Coronavirus.

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P129,000 fake bills seized in CDO raid

January 24, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--About P 129,000 counterfeit bills was seized by the combined elements of the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) and agents of the Central Bank here Thursday morning. Armed with a search warrant, the law enforcers raided the house of a certain Roberto de la Serna in Tablon, Cagayan De Oro City and seized the reported fake money. Police Lt. Noel Oclarit, head of the CIDG team, said that the suspect has been in surveillance after the law enforcers received reports about the alleged production of counterfeit money in the suspect’s computer shop. Oclaret said that the raiding team found the bundle of fake P 128,000 Philippine peso bills during the raid on De la Serna’s computer shop. He said that the Central Bank agents examined and confirmed that the P 1,000-peso bills were counterfeit. Oclaret said that the raiding team also seized the computer, printers and other accessories needed in the production of printing materials. He said that the team also recovered a .38 caliber revolver with four rounds of live ammunitions. Annie Ladislao, the suspect’s mother-in-law has denied that her son-in-law is engaged in illegal activities. De la Serna owned a computer shop, a mini-mart, and printing shop, all with business permits. -0-

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SEC to 3 lending firms: 'Stop!'

January 24, 2020

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered three lending firms to stop offering loans to the public through online platforms without the necessary licenses. In a press statement, the SEC ordered Peso Tree, Pesoalo and Pinoy Cash Loan to stop offering loans after the Commission En Banc issued the order on January 21, enjoining the owners, operators, promoters, representatives, agents and any and all persons claiming and acting for and in their behalf to immediately cease and desist, under pain of contempt, from engaging in, promoting and facilitating unauthorized lending activities.   The SEC likewise ordered Peso Tree, Pesoalo and Pinoy Cash Loan to cease from offering and advertising their lending business through the internet and to delete or remove promotional presentations and offerings from the internet, including the lending applications they operate.   Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9474, or the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007, requires that a lending company be established only as a corporation. It further provides that “no lending company shall conduct business unless granted an authority to operate by the SEC.”   Any person who shall engage in the business of lending without a validly subsisting authority to operate from the SEC may face a fine ranging from P10,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of six months to 10 years or both, under Section 12 of the Lending Company Regulation Act.   Peso Tree, Pesoalo and Pinoy Cash Loan offered loans to the public through their respective websites, mobile applications, Facebook pages and other similar online platforms, based on the findings of the Commission’s Corporate Governance and Finance Department and Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD).   Certifications by the SEC Company Registration and Monitoring Department (CRMD), however, showed that Peso Tree, Pesoalo and Pinoy Cash Loan were not registered as corporations and that they were not issued the necessary certificate of authority to operate as lending companies.   The EIPD further found the online lending operators to have employed abusive collection practices by imposing high interest rates, onerous and misleading terms and conditions, making misrepresentations as to non-collection of charges and fees and subjecting their debtors to public humiliation and ridicule to the extent of violating their right to privacy to ensure prompt and full collection of indebtedness.   “Considering that the Online Lending Operators are not incorporated entities and have no Certificate of Authority to Operate as Lending Companies or Financing Companies, the lending activities and transaction are illegal and have to be stopped immediately by this Commission,” the order read.   “Finally, the Commission cannot turn a blind eye on the fact that the Online Lending Operator's violation in the instant case was aggravated by the fact that they conducted their business in an unscrupulous manner with evident bad faith, by charging their borrowers unconscionable interest rates, subjecting them to inhumane treatment using abusive and degrading language, and similar other harassment strategies in order to collect debts. This has to stop immediately.”   The SEC earlier issued cease and desist orders covering a total of 48 online lending platforms and their operators for engaging in the business of lending or financing without incorporating and securing a certificate of authority. More information is available on the Lending & Financing Companies page on the Commission’s website. (PR)

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Chinese New Year’s warning: Be on guard against toxic rat-inspired 'lucky' figurines

January 24, 2020

THE EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental and health group, has detected lead, a hazardous chemical, on some cute but toxic rat-inspired figurines. To mark the Chinese New Year of the Metal Rat, the group purchased 11 decorative rat figurines from retailers in Binondo and Quiapo, Manila for P100 to P200 per set and had them screened for lead, a heavy metal banned in paint formulations, using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device. “While five of the samples are luckily negative for lead content, six had lead above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm),” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. Out of the 11 samples, the group detected lead ranging from 874 to 3,798 ppm on six samples.  None of the 11 samples had product labeling information, and none of the lead-painted ones provided any lead hazard warning, “These adorable items can easily pass for toys, so it’s very important to ensure that such items are guaranteed lead-safe,” Dizon said. A child can be exposed to lead when she or he plays with a lead-coated item, bite it and ingest the lead.  Lead exposure may also happen if the item is broken or damaged, contaminating the household dust with lead that a child can ingest as a result of hand-to-mouth behavior. Lead is exposure is detrimental to human health, especially to the developing brain and central nervous system of a young child. Childhood exposure to lead, considered one of the “ten chemicals of major public health concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), can result to lower intelligence, speech and language problems, hearing loss, reduced bone and muscle growth, increased blood pressure, damage to the kidneys, and behavioral disorders. Last year, the year of the Earth Pig, the EcoWaste Coalition detected lead up to 5,042 ppm on three piggy banks.  In 2018, the year of the Earth Dog, four samples of dog figurines were found to contain lead up to 6,578 ppm. In 2017, the year of the Fire Rooster, lead measuring 5,032 ppm was uncovered in one lucky rooster figurine, while in 2016, the year of the Fire Monkey, lead up to 7,800 ppm was discovered in brightly colored monkey ornaments. To avoid buying lead-containing products, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers to insist on their right to product information and to refrain from buying items that carry no information and offer no assurance of safety from harmful chemicals such as lead. The group asserted that producers, importers, distributors and retailers should only make and offer for sale products that are duly labeled and certified as compliant to product safety regulations. /http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

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