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Marcos Pushes for New Ecozones in Ilocos to Sarangani

March 4, 2021

Senator Imee Marcos has urged the government to approve the creation of new economic zones and freeports in the country, citing Mindanao as the “brave new world” of foreign investment. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, issued the call after the Department of Finance gave a cool reception to pending bills creating new ecozones in Ilocos Norte, Cavite, Surigao del Sur, and Saranggani provinces during a committee hearing Wednesday.  “Creating ecozones from Ilocos Norte to Saranggani take advantage of the country’s proximity to foreign investors based in China and Japan,” Marcos said. The senator added that Chinese and Japanese investors have already signified interest in investing $100 billion in Surigao del Sur. Marcos called “outrageous” a policy of the country’s economic managers to leave to the private sector the initiative of creating new economic zones to attract foreign investments. Marcos exposed during Wednesday’s hearing that 84 ecozones created since 2016 were initiated by the private sector, based on testimony of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). “So the score is 84 credits to the private sector, zero to our economic managers? What a pity!” Marcos said. Department of Finance (DoF) policy and research director Juvy Danufrata said during the hearing that the agency intends “to transfer the fiscal burden of the government” to the private sector. Marcos said that opportunities to generate revenue and create more jobs especially in the country’s far-flung provinces were being missed due to the “knee-jerk opposition” toward local governments seeking to establish ecozones. The inflow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the Philippines has dwindled from $8.7 billion in 2017 to less than $5 billion in 2019, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2020. “Compare that to the increase in FDIs in other ASEAN nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, and especially Vietnam which raked in $16.1 billion worth,” Marcos said. “Our foreign investment pie is shrinking, but our economic managers’ recipe for recovery has overlooked ecozones at a time the government is in dire need of more revenue. We must recover our losses,” she added. Marcos cited that Philippine investment growth faces a “triple threat” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US-China trade war, and the uncertainty brought about by the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill. The CREATE bill, now awaiting President Duterte’s signing it into law, will reduce corporate income taxes to as low as 20% but has “rationalized” incentives for local exporters, shortening the period of which they can be availed and subjecting these to regulatory approval. “There is no longer any reason not to approve ecozones, when the Department of Finance itself chairs the FIRB (Fiscal Incentives Review Board) which will decide on what companies will get incentives and what incentives will be applied,” Marcos explained. “The problem is that our economic managers see tax incentives as expenditures rather than investments in Filipino export potential,” Marcos said, after National Economic Development Authority assistant secretary Greg Pineda said during the hearing that the country lost 441 billion pesos to incentives. As the CREATE bill awaits the President’s signature, foreign investors have adopted a wait-and-see attitude for their new projects and plans for expansion in Philippine export industries, which make up 60% of the total annual investments approved by PEZA, the agency said. “This has resulted in job losses, with more than 27,000 workers laid off even before the pandemic,” Marcos said. “We must reconsider this draconian regime of no ecozones and constantly rationalizing the already meager incentives,” Marcos said.  

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Imee: First We Have To Convince Filipinos To Get Vaccinated

March 2, 2021

Senator Imee Marcos has warned that the government’s mass vaccination program against Covid-19 faces a major snag if it turns a blind eye to the high rate of hesitancy among Filipinos. “First order of business is to convince Filipinos to get vaccinated. Let’s make the best use of this endless vaccine delay and persuade our people, for their health and the safety of their family and friends, that they should get inoculated as quickly as possible with any FDA-approved vaccine,” Marcos said. “There is so much anxiety about side effects which are apparently rare and minimal - when the danger of infection is real and could be fatal. Any vaccination effort will fail with 46% to 47% of Filipinos skeptical or even against any Covid vaccines. Without a thoroughgoing information campaign preceding it, sayang lang (it will just go to waste)!” Marcos added. The high rate of vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos attended the arrival Sunday of the country’s first batch of 600,000 doses of Sinovac from China, as calls for more choices arose among health workers who are first in line to take the jab. “Vaccine hesitancy can complicate the storage and delivery of vaccines, resulting in higher costs or outright wastage,” Marcos explained. “A systematic registration process nationwide for willing vaccine recipients should already be in place, if the bulk of vaccines does arrive in the third and fourth quarter of this year. This will guide the logistical requirements for transport, delivery and storage in every LGU from Luzon to Mindanao,” Marcos said. “The public is also at a loss on what benefits they are entitled to in case of injury or death. To elicit a more positive response to vaccination, the government must clarify its indemnification policy and how the Php500-million budget for this will be spent,” the senator added. Marcos said the government’s information campaign can tap influencers from the health sector to showbiz, adding that the private sector can also be engaged to offer incentives to employees taking the jab, while respecting their freedom of choice. Vaccine hesitancy is not just a Philippine predicament, Marcos emphasized, citing the higher hesitancy rate of 58% in France, based on a survey by leading French newspaper Le Figaro.  

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Imee: Kumbinsihin Muna Natin Ang Mga Pinoy Na Magpabakuna

March 1, 2021

Nagbabala si Senador Imee Marcos na malaking perwisyo ang hinaharap ng mass vaccination program ng pamahalaan kontra sa Covid-19 kapag nagbulag-bulagan sa mataas na bilang ng mga Pinoy na nag-aatubiling magpabakuna.  “Ang dapat unahin ay kumbinsihin ang mga Pinoy na magpabakuna. Gamitin na natin ang panahon na naaantala ang bakuna at himukin ang lahat na magpaturok para sa kalusugan at kaligtasan ng ating mga pamilya at mga kaibigan. Dapat tayong agarang mabakunahan ng alin sa mga aprubado na ng FDA," ani Marcos. "Nababalisa ang marami dahil sa posibleng side effects pero minimal at bihira lang naman - ngunit mas mapanganib ang banta ng impeksyon dahil ito'y nakamamatay. Mabibigo ang kahit anong planong pagbabakuna kung 46% hanggang 47% ng mga Pilipino ang duda o ayaw sa kahit anong Covid vaccine.  Masasayang lang yan kung walang masinsinang information campaign na gagawin!" dagdag ni Marcos. Sinalubong ng mataas na tinatawag na vaccine hesitancy rate ng Pilipinas ang pagdating ng unang batch ng Sinovac mula China na nasa 600,000 doses, habang humihingi din ng iba pang pagpipilian ang mga health workers na may unang prayoridad sa pagbabakuna. "Maaaring magdulot ng kumplikasyon sa pag-iimbak at pagde-deliver ng bakuna ang pag-aatubili ng marami at magbunga ito ng dagdag gastusin at pagsasayang sa mga bakuna," ani Marcos. "Dapat nakakasa na sa buong bansa ang masistemang proseso sa rehistrasyon sa mga nahahandang magpabakuna, kung darating ang bulto ng bakuna sa third at fourth quarter ng taong ito.  Magkakaroon ng batayan ang mga logistical requirements sa pagbiyahe, pagde-deliver at pag-iimbak ng mga bakuna sa bawat LGU mula Luzon hanggang Mindanao," ayon kay Marcos.  "Nagtatanong din ang publiko kung anong mga benepisyo ang kanilang mapapala sakaling magkaproblema sa kanilang kalusugan ang bakuna o may mamatay. Para magkaroon ng positibong reaksyon ang publiko sa bakuna, dapat linawin ng gobyerno ang sinasabing indemnification policy nito at kung paano gagastusin ang Php500-million badyet para dito," dagdag pa ni Marcos. Sinabi rin ni Marcos na kailangan ng pamahalaan ng mas agresibong information campaign na kalahok ang mga kilalang influencer mula sa sektor ng kalusugan maging sa showbiz. Puwede rin magbigay ng mga insentibo ang nasa pribadong sektor sa kanilang mga empleyado habang nirerespeto pa rin ang kalayaan na magdesisyon kung magpapabakuna o hindi, dagdag ni Marcos.  Binigyang-diin ni Marcos na hindi lang sa Pilipinas ang may agam-agam sa pagpapabakuna, halimbawa ay ang mataas na hesitancy rate na 58% sa France, base sa survey ng nangungunang French newspaper na Le Figaro.

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IMEE: Scrap Pork Imports

February 24, 2021

  Senator Imee Marcos has called on the government to prevent pork importers from taking over local market supply and pushing Filipino producers out of business. “The slaughter of our local hog raisers will begin if the Department of Agriculture (DA) succeeds in its push to raise the minimum access volume of pork imports from the present 54,000 metric tons,” Marcos said. In a Senate hearing last Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the government was considering pork imports that may exceed 400,000 metric tons. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that pork imports “may deal the coup de grace to our pork industry before Vietnam could release a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) later this year,” Marcos added. The spread of African swine fever has forced Luzon to import some 80% of its pork supply from the Visayas and Mindanao. Marcos said the government can bring down meat prices by subsidizing the cost of transporting pork products to Luzon, pointing out that the DA got the single biggest item for emergency and stimulus funding under Bayanihan 2, amounting to Php24 billion. “Many local hog raisers have already shut down their business. Importation amid the Covid-19 pandemic means more local jobs will be lost and surrendering the country’s food security to foreigners,” Marcos said.  

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Phoenix fuels offered at 80% off on Limitless

December 26, 2020

Motorists can avail of Phoenix fuels at 80% off through discounted digital vouchers on Limitless, an app-based loyalty program. On December 28, 2020, from 12 AM to 11:59 PM, vouchers in denominations of P1,000, P500, and P100 can be purchased at discounted prices of P200, P100, and P20, respectively. “We want to end a challenging year on a high note by offering motorists a special treat. And by partnering with Limitless, on top of the huge discount, we’re also giving our customers utmost convenience and safety since the transaction is contactless, and the vouchers can be used anytime. That means you can avail of the discount now, and gas up using your voucher whenever you’re ready so that traffic congestion at stations can be avoided,” said Phoenix President Henry Albert Fadullon. The promo is available to all Limitless members who may purchase the discounted Phoenix fuel vouchers under the SHOP section in the app using GCash or GrabPay. The vouchers have no expiry, and can be redeemed anytime by presenting it at participating gas stations upon gas-up. The list of participating stations and the full mechanics of the promo are available on the Limitless app. Offering rewards and benefits for purchases at partner merchants including Phoenix, Phoenix SUPER LPG, and FamilyMart, Limitless is a lifestyle rewards program launched earlier this year. Aside from offering reward points for valid purchases, the program also gives members access to a directory of establishments and exclusive privileges. Those who are not yet Limitless members may download the app for free on the App Store, Google Play Store, and the Huawei App Gallery.

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Globe Rewards: Converting points into purpose

December 26, 2020

Globe prides itself with enabling customers to participate in ways to do a #GlobeofGood.  The recent calamities provided  new opportunities  for people to share their blessings with the typhoon victims in various parts of the country.  At least P1.5M Globe Rewards points were converted into cash donations for the victims of Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses through ABS-CBN Foundation and Ayala Foundation, Inc.    Year round, customers are able to use their rewards points to extend help to others.  As of end - November 2020, Globe customers have collectively raised P17 million by donating their Globe Rewards points to  benefit organizations and advocacies under Globe's roster of partners that customers have chosen to support. These advocacies champion the company’s vision towards national development and advancement: environmental sustainability, disaster relief, reforestation, child protection, hunger mitigation, education, animal welfare, marine biodiversity, mental wellness and medical support. Overall, Globe Rewards has provided 14,710  meal packs to underserved families within Metro Manila and those affected by the recent calamities; enabled the planting of 9,115 indigenous trees in Mindanao, helped provide medical care to 3,594 rescued animals, provided medical support to 631 cancer patients, provided 350 educational materials on marine biodiversity to youth leaders, provided connectivity to 239 public school teachers, helped with scholarships of 7 former drug dependents, facilitated the training of mental health frontline responders, supported child welfare programs and supported the LGBTQ+ community during Pride celebration. “We try to give our loyal customers as many options as possible to maximize their Rewards points, from data promos, food treats and digital vouchers. But we also know that together, these points matter and can help others. That’s why we are always on the lookout to support beneficiaries that represent our customers’ advocacies. We believe that the best reward for our customers is knowing that they made a difference.” shares Joey Kilayko, Head of Globe Rewards. This is one of the ways Globe  engages its customers by casting a wider net to create positive societal value and practice sustainable living. By simply donating the Globe Rewards points, each customer is able to pay it forward wherever they are.    For customers who want to help others, you may donate your Globe Rewards points to any of the 11 active beneficiaries in the Globe Rewards app.  Download the Globe Rewards app on your mobile device and click on the “DONATE” banner. Select your chosen organization and corresponding denomination then press “REDEEM”. A confirmation message will be sent by 4438 upon successful donation. Download the app via https://www.globe.com.ph/rewards.html#GRewardsApp. Globe remains committed to the 10 UN Global Compact principles and contributes to 10 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. To know more about Globe’s sustainability initiatives, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/about-us/sustainability.html.

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