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SEC Revokes Togachat Academy's Registration

February 6, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has canceled the corporate registration of Togachat Academy Philippines, Inc. for running an unauthorized investment program resembling a Ponzi scheme.   The SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) issued the order of revocation on January 23, after finding Togachat to have engaged in investment-solicitation activities by selling or offering securities to the public without the necessary license from the Commission.   In doing so, Togachat committed an ultra vires act prohibited under Section 45 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 68 (The Corporation Code of the Philippines) now Section 44 of Republic Act No. 11232 (The Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines), the EIPD ruled.   The company’s activities also constituted serious misrepresentation as to what it can do to the great prejudice or damage to the general public, a ground for the revocation of a corporation’s certificate of registration under Presidential Decree No. 902-A, according to the EIPD.   The SEC initially issued on July 17, 2019 an advisory warning the public against investing in Togachat. It then issued on December 17, 2019 a cease and desist order against the company, its officers, directors, representatives, salespersons, agents and any and all persons claiming and acting for and in their behalf.   Under its investment program, Togachat entices the public to avail of a package of Toga Credits, which investors may purportedly use to buy shares in Toga Limited upon its supposed listing on Nasdaq.   The company offers seven packages worth $100 to $100,000 in exchange for 200 to 500,000 Toga Credits. Investors may pay for a package in US dollars or the peso equivalent.   Togachat encourages a member to recruit another investor by giving him/her Toga Credits equivalent to 50% of what the new investor would avail of. Members may earn additional Toga Credits from pairing bonuses.   The company’s agents also claim that Toga stocks are traded on Toga Exchange, an internal platform of Toga Limited where the buying and selling of stocks occur.     The scheme falls within the definition of securities, particularly investment contracts, as defined under Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), according to the EIPD.   Section 3.1 of the SRC defines securities as “shares, participation or interest in a corporation or in a commercial enterprise or profit-making venture and evidenced by a certificate, contract, instrument, whether written or electronic in character.”   A security may take the form of an investment contract, defined under Rule 26.3.5 of the 2015 Implementing Rules and Regulations of the SRC as “a contract, transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits primarily from the efforts of others.”   “Said investment contract, being in the nature of securities, is required under Section 8 of the SRC to be registered before being offered or sold to the general public,” the EIPD noted.   However, records of the SEC show that no application for the registration of securities has been filed by Togachat with the Commission.   “More so, the act of respondent Togachat in allowing its members to discuss, orient and make the public familiar with its schemes and inviting them to join the company through its Facebook account posts constitutes public offering,” the EIPD noted.   In addition, the investment scheme of Togachat resembled a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays these returns to early investors out of the capital contributed by later investors, according to the EIPD.   “WHEREFORE, for violation of Section 45 of the Corporation Code of the Philippines [now, Section 44 of the Revised Corporation Code (R.A. No. 11232)] in relation to Sections 8.1 and 28.1 of the Securities Regulation Code and Section 6(i)(2) of P.D. 902-A, the corporate registration or Certificate of Incorporation/Registration of TOGACHAT ACADEMY PHILIPPINES, Inc. is hereby revoked,” the EIPD ordered. 

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CEB, DOH, BOQ coordinates efforts to curb NCovĀ 

February 2, 2020

Cebu Pacific is working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) on the necessary actions after the identification of the 38-year old Chinese female passenger confirmed to be positive with the Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) who took Cebu Pacific flights last January 21, 2020. "We are in the process of contacting passengers seated in the vicinity of the positive NCoV patient and are taking the necessary precautions to inform them so they can have themselves checked in case they show flu-like symptoms," the airline said in a press statement. "The cabin crew and pilots on affected flights have also been informed and show no symptoms of illness." "The aircraft used for both flights have been pulled-out of the line and are undergoing thorough disinfection." The airline said it is also implementing preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection across all its flights, including cleaning and disinfection of aircraft in between flights; wearing of face masks by all employees, frontline personnel and cabin crew while on duty; providing face masks to passengers who show symptoms of illness; when possible, isolation of passengers who manifest symptoms of illness in empty rows inside the aircraft during the flight; and coordination with health authorities in case there are passengers suspected of NCoV contamination for immediate turn-over and further observation The airline has also reduced its flights between the Philippines, mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau from February 3 to March 29, 2020 in light of the situation. Passengers who wish to check the status of their flights may do so through the Manage Booking portal in the Cebu Pacific website, https://book.cebupacificair.com/Manage/Retrieve/  for the latest updates as more information becomes available.

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SSS launches contribution payments through the SSS Mobile App with PayMaya

December 29, 2019

State-run Social Security System (SSS) has tapped digital financial services leader PayMaya to allow members to conveniently pay their contributions through the SSS mobile app.   With this partnership, individual members of the pension fund such as Self-employed, Voluntary, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) can now pay their contributions using their PayMaya account or any Visa, Mastercard, or JCB credit, debit, or prepaid card. In the next phase, PayMaya will accept employer's contributions (regular and household) and salary loan payments.   SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio and PayMaya Philippines, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Orlando Vea formally signed the agreement, making PayMaya as one of the 85 accredited collecting and paying partners of SSS, 35 of which are already Real-Time Processing of Contributions (RTPC) system compliant.   “We are very glad that we were able to add another accredited collection partner that will ensure fast, convenient and secure way of remitting the hard-earned money of our members for their future contingencies and retirement options to the pension fund,” Ignacio said.   “The public has been very much aware that we have been exerting all efforts to make SSS transactions hassle-free through our gradual shift to the digital platforms. This is one of our options to eliminate long queues in automated teller services in branches and other accredited partner agencies. In just one tap on your mobile phones, your contribution payments are remitted to the SSS,” Ignacio said.   For his part, PayMaya Chief Executive Officer and Founder Orlando Vea said: "Using digital technology in delivering social services to all Filipinos is a big leap for SSS and we are proud that they have tapped us in this initiative. Making public service more accessible to all Filipinos through digital financial services is in line with our thrust at PayMaya to push for digital and financial inclusion."   PayMaya is providing its universal payments platform to SSS to allow it to accept PayMaya as well as all card and mobile wallet payments through its mobile app and soon in its other online channels and branches.   For those without a card, they can simply sign up for a PayMaya account by downloading the PayMaya app on their iOS or Android devices and use the mobile number associated with their account when they pay via the SSS mobile app.   The Social Security Commission (SSC), the policy-making body of the SSS, approved the accreditation of PayMaya, the digital financial services arm of Voyager Innovations, after it had submitted and passed the standards and requirements of the RTPC system.   Members of the SSS who will use their PayMaya accounts or their debit and credit cards for paying their contributions should first download the SSS Mobile App in Google Play Store, Apple App Store or Huawei App Gallery. They can log-In using their existing My.SSS account’s user ID and password and generate their Payment Reference Number or Statement of Account in the SSS Mobile App by clicking the “Generate PRN/SOA” icon.   After the member has created his PRN, he needs to click the Pay button to display the two options: “Pay with PayMaya Account” or “Credit/Debit Card”.   If the member opted to pay using his PayMaya account, the screen will display the Payment Reference Number, amount, and convenience fee. The member is required to input his email address and password. PayMaya will send a One-Time Password (OTP) to proceed with the payment.   On the other hand, if the member opted to pay using his credit/debit card, the screen will display the monthly contribution, convenience charge and total amount. To complete the payment, the member is required to input the following: First Name, Last Name, Card Number and Expiry Date of the card.   For confirmation of successful payment, a pop-up message will display the PRN, amount, convenience fee and payment reference number. For credit/debit payment, the member has the option to indicate the member’s email address or mobile number to receive an email notification or Short Message Service (SMS) as confirmation of successful payment.   A convenience fee of 1.75 percent of the total amount to be paid will be charged to the member if he opted to pay using his debit/credit card while a P10 transaction fee will be charged for those who opt to use the e-wallet.   “This is only the beginning of our continuous effort to provide quality and convenient services to our members. Hopefully, we can soon use PayMaya for loan repayments and payments from employers not only in the SSS Mobile App but also even on the SSS website,” Ignacio said.   Based on the latest data, the SSS Mobile App has been downloaded 2.93 million times in Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Huawei App Gallery as of November 2019.   Aside from PayMaya, SSS members may pay their contributions conveniently thru online transactions offered by partner-banks and other collection partners. For the official list of online payment channels, members may visit the SSS website.

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Singapore's Science Observatory captures livestream on Annular Eclipse

December 26, 2019

PEOPLE witnessed the Annular Eclipse which is a rear phenomenon on Singapore Science Centre Observatory captured on a livestream. It is a type of phenomenon, wherein the moon was very far from the Earth. As such, the moon becomes smaller and it did not block the sun's entire view, thus forming what it seems to be a "ring of fire" effect.     This rare phenomenon was also seen in some areas in Guam, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Philippines and Northern Mariana Islands. Some parts of the Philippines also witnessed this rare phenomenon like in Davao Oriental, and in Balut and Batubalaki in Sarangani, Southern Philippines.   TRIVIA: Do you know that the Philippines last witnessed an annular eclipse on July 20, 1944 that traversed Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to Southern Mindanao? The next similar astronomical event in the country will be on February 28, 2063 or 44 years from now.  

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2020 NAST AND DOST AWARDS: Call For Nominations

November 29, 2019

The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Philippines, the highest recognition body on science and technology in the country is searching for nominees for the various NAST and DOST awards for 2020, namely;   I.      NAST PHL Awards 1.       Outstanding Young Scientists 2.       NAST Environmental Science Award 3.       NAST Talent Search for Young Scientists 4.       NAST Award for Outstanding Research in Tropical Medicine 5.       Geminiano T. De Ocampo Visionary Award for Medical Research 6.       Outstanding Book/Monograph Award 7.       Outstanding Scientific Paper Award   II.    DOST Awards 1.       NSTW Outstanding Science Administrator Award - Dioscoro L. Umali Medal 2.       NSTW Outstanding Technology Commercialization Award - Gregorio Y. Zara Medal 3.       NSTW Outstanding Research and Development Award a.       For Basic Research – Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal b.       For Applied Research – Julian A. Banzon Medal 4.       Magsaysay Future Engineers/Technologists Award (MFET)     Please take note that the deadline for the submission of nominations for all awards is on the last working day of November 2019 except for MFET award which is due on the last working day of July 2020.   NAST PHL is also accepting abstracts for the Call for Papers for the Scientific Poster Session with the deadline of January 15, 2020. Attached are the announcements on the awards for your information.   The nomination forms can be downloaded at http://nast.ph/index.php/about-nast/functions/recognition.          

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Hedcor turns waste to funds through Balik Baterya Program

November 20, 2019

A COMMON GROUND. Hedcor, OMMC, and PBSP sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their partnership geared towards advancing communities and the environment. Some wastes, like batteries, can be toxic to human health and the environment if mishandled when they are disposed. Because Hedcor continues to look for ways to improve the state of the community and the environment, it has forged a partnership with Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation and Philippine Business for Social Progress, Inc. for the Balik Baterya program. In this program, Hedcor gets to trade its Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULABs) to OMMC for proper disposal under accredited recyclers. Each ULAB disposed holds a trade-in value which will then be forwarded to PBSP to fund projects identified by Hedcor. Among various health and socio-economic projects, PBSP actively endorses projects on education such as the Learning Enhancement Assistance Package, known also as Project LEAP. This goal aligns with Hedcor’s desire of advancing communities through education. “This program doesn’t only help fulfill a company’s responsible business practices but also helps in terms of funding projects for the community,” said PBSP Regional Manager Garibalde Alvin Enriques. "The Balik Baterya program has been around for more than 10 years already, with over 260 partner companies." OMMC Representative Mark Lopez also expressed his gratitude over the interest in their program. “We really welcome companies who actively take part in the Balik Baterya program because it helps address community and environmental issues. I hope our partnership will be more harmonious in the long run,” said Lopez. In his message, Hedcor’s Assistant Vice President for Operations Leo Lungay also shared how program participants share goals. “Our operations depend on the status of mother nature, thus we are very active and dedicated in initiatives that ensure that sustainability is met,” Lungay noted. “Involvement in this program is one of those. And seeing the goals of your organization and this project, it appears that we all have the same objective--we are all for the betterment of the environment and the communities,” he added. Hedcor is a run-of-river hydropower arm of AboitizPower. It currently operates 22 hydropower facilities in North Luzon and Mindanao and holds a total gross capacity of 277.36MW of clean and renewable energy.

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