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DOTr, LTFRB tap PayMaya for cashless payments, additional livelihood of PUV drivers

May 29, 2020

 The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have tapped digital financial services leader PayMaya to provide additional livelihood opportunities to drivers as well as access to cashless payment options to drivers and operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) as quarantine restrictions begin to ease in some parts of the country.  PayMaya is offering various taxi and transport operators and their drivers QR scan-to-pay capabilities via its mobile app, which will also give them access to a digital financial account that they can use for everyday transactions such as bills payments, airtime load reloading, and sending money to friends and family. As transportation services resume in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ),  the LTFRB recently issued guidelines mandating taxis and TNVS to adopt cashless payments such as PayMaya as a measure to help curb the further spread of COVID-19. “Cashless payments particularly in taxis and TNVS vehicles is part of our new norm, and we are glad that our drivers and operators have easy and convenient options such as PayMaya so that they can quickly implement this solution for the safety and benefit of their riders,” added LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III. Soon, drivers and transport operators may also receive contactless payments through credit, debit, and prepaid cards via tap-to-pay technology through the other digital payment solutions of PayMaya. Operators may also utilize PayMaya’s PayOut disbursement solution to easily distribute salaries and other incentives through their drivers’ PayMaya accounts.  In the past, PayMaya has also partnered with bus and taxi companies in Metro Manila and also in other areas such as Baguio and Cebu, such as in enabling transportation facilities such as the Araneta Bus Port in helping them accept cashless payments through credit and debit cards as well as via PayMaya QR.  Alternative livelihood opportunities for faster recovery  On top of helping drivers accept cashless payments, PayMaya will also soon enable them with additional livelihood options–such as offering airtime load purchases, bills payment, and even remittances if they also operate a sari-sari store or any physical store–through other upcoming products and services. “In the ‘new normal’, we must help everyone adapt to new and safer ways to lead our lives, and that includes the transportation industry. PayMaya is proud to support the government and transport operators not just in helping them accept contactless payments, but to chart the path towards their full recovery as well,” said PayMaya Founder and CEO Orlando B. Vea.  As the entire country conforms to the changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis across various sectors aside from transportation, digital and contactless payments will become not just a must but a strategic advantage for businesses in order to quickly recover. To know more about PayMaya's products and services for businesses and merchants, visit http://enterprise.paymaya.com.  PayMaya is the only end-to-end digital payments ecosystem enabler in the Philippines with platforms and services that cuts across consumers, merchants, and government. Aside from providing the payments acceptance for the largest e-Commerce, food, retail and gas merchants in the Philippines, PayMaya is enabling national and social services agencies as well as local government units with digital payments and disbursement services.   Through its PayMaya app and wallet, it is providing millions of Filipinos with the fastest way to own a financial account with over 40,000 Add Money touchpoints nationwide, more than double the total number of traditional bank branches in the Philippines combined.   Its Smart Padala by PayMaya network of over 30,000 partner agents nationwide serves as last mile digital financial hubs in communities, providing the unbanked and underserved with access to services.

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For the Human Race: Coca-Cola helps inspire renewed hope for a better tomorrow

May 29, 2020

MANILA – The human race is facing one of the biggest crises to happen this century; a health, social and economic calamity like we have rarely seen before. During this period, uncertainty and fear have gripped everyone—across nations, across faiths, and across cultures. Yet, it is clear, that to navigate this crisis, one must keep an optimistic spirit. And to remember that while we are physically apart, we are also emotionally drawn together in this common fight, certain in the coming of a better tomorrow. It is against this backdrop that Coca-Cola has launched “For the Human Race” a tribute to positivity, togetherness and the human spirit in these challenging times.  “The world today is in the midst of extraordinary and difficult times,” says Winn Everhart, Coca-Cola Philippines General Manager. “But we also acknowledge that this is a moment in which we need to come together and support each another anyway we can. This is a time for us to help uplift the spirit, bring needed encouragement, and inspire,” he said. “For the Human Race” – a timely and powerful message and movement A celebration of everyone that brings light into these dark times, this message and movement is a tribute to the men and women that truly go beyond. This includes non-government organization (NGO) volunteers involved in providing aid and relief to the marginalized; essential service staff such as drivers, food delivery riders, and store workers who continue to serve their communities despite the risks; and countless individuals who, in their own meaningful ways, are touching lives and inspiring others day-by-day. We see exemplary people like Neil Delgado-Garcia from Baguio. Despite being a person with disability, he hops onto his motorcycle to make vital deliveries, including volunteering to deliver food to frontliners. “Wala namang makakatulong sa atin kung hindi tayu-tayo din,” says Garcia.  It was upon seeing a restaurant prepare church-donated food for frontliners that inspired him to reach out and volunteer as a delivery rider. As a further act of kindness, Garcia would set aside the tips he would collect to buy coffee for the soldiers and police stationed at the checkpoints. Never letting his physical condition get in his way, his is an inspiring story of hope and an indomitable spirit against the odds. “Parang hindi tulong yung binibigay mo—saya. Sobrang ganda sa pakiramdam ‘yun,” he adds. Garcia tells his complete story in the Coca-Cola Philippines #ForTheHumanRace video. Coca-Cola’s long-held belief in universal togetherness, positivity and hope is the foundation of the “For the Human Race” movement.  “We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to those who continue to keep us all safe through the crisis, particularly those people on the front lines,” Everhart says.  “Every day, we are inspired and uplifted by countless acts of selflessness, kindness and courage from people across the Philippines and around the world. Please know that the good work you do serves to inspire us and that we are with you all the way in this fight.” More stories of hope for the human race will be shared in the Coca-Cola Philippines YouTube page. Supporting the community and responding collectively to the COVID-19 crisis Coca-Cola and their valued partners, including TOWNS Foundation, UP Medical Foundation, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Caritas Manila, McDonald’s Kindness Kitchen, Rise Against Hunger-PH, Philippines Business for Social Progress, and Jollibee Foundation, have been supporting relief efforts since the start of the crisis in the Philippines. This includes the company’s initial Php 150 million donation that translated into providing personal protective equipment (PPEs), food packs, and beverages to medical workers and local communities. To date, more than 50,000 medical workers have been provided with PPEs, critical protection they need in treating patients, a significant portion of which was coursed through the tireless efforts of UP Medical Foundation and the TOWNS Foundation. Together with Caritas-Manila, Rise Against Hunger and PBSP, the distribution of food packs to 39,000 vulnerable families are ongoing, addressing the urgent need for nourishment and sustenance. Additionally, over 500,000 liters of beverages have been distributed to 125 public and private hospitals, 99 local government units, 53 national government agencies, and 50 non-government organisations and foundations. Coca-Cola continues to coordinate with partners, medical facilities, and communities, and provide much-needed support.

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75th Cagayan Liberation Anniversary Feature Dodong's soap opera

May 29, 2020

FILOMENO “Dodong” Avanceña Bautista Jr. was 14 and a second year high school student when the war broke out between Japan and the United States on Dec. 8, 1941. At Misamis Oriental High School that Monday morning, as he stood waiting for the flag ceremony to begin, students and teachers seemed lost and disoriented. He noticed that people were saying goodbye to one another, acting as if they would not meet again. He kept hearing about the surprise bombing by the Japanese of the US naval facility at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the subsequent bombing of American installations in the Philippines. “We were all told to go home and join our families,” Dodong recalled. But members of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, of whom he was one, were told to wear their uniforms and help in various civic activities, like directing traffic in what was then formally known as Cagayan, Misamis. Soon Cagayan, the capital of Misamis Oriental, was involved in the war. Citizens volunteered as peace officers, air raid wardens and coast watchers. By then the army and police were preparing for the Japanese invasion. All business establishments in the vibrant commercial hub of Misamis Oriental closed shop. Except for civilian volunteers, no one was allowed on the streets. Heads of families scrambled to procure food supplies and essential items for their households in preparation for evacuation to rural areas. “There were two activities that were prevalent during that time—profiteering and evacuation,” Dodong said. Panic gripped the citizenry of the town. The government ordered nightly blackouts. Army trucks and commandeered buses rumbled in the darkness as the military mobilized. Private vehicles were also commandeered by the authorities. Establishments owned by the Japanese in Cagayan were looted and closed, their owners arrested by the authorities. Within a few weeks, order and stability in Cagayan were gone. Many families had left and moved to the rural areas. Dodong’s father also decided that it would be safer for his family to leave Cagayan. In May 1942, the family moved to their farm, some 10 kilometers away from the town center of Balingasag, also in Misamis Oriental (46 km from Cagayan). The family stayed on the farm for several months until an indigenous tribe, the Magahat, forced them to move to the town proper for their safety. A few days before, they had heard that a family that sought refuge in a rural area not far from where they were had been massacred by the Magahat. In Balingasag, Dodong would come into contact for the first time with Japanese soldiers, an encounter he would never forget. By this time, the US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) had been largely subdued. The first Japanese soldiers to arrive in Balingasag were part of Task Force for the Pacification Group. They were headed by Captain Okumura, an English-speaking, US-educated officer. Dodong remembered him as looking dignified and possessing a very strong personality. The task force was accompanied by Filipino USAFFFE officers, led by Capt. Jesus Yamut. At about the same time, a guerrilla group was forming in the area. The less than a hundred armed fighters were headed by USAFFE officers Captains Clyde M. Abbott and Pedro Collado. The guerrillas would later meet the Pacification team of Okumura and two Japanese soldiers. They tried to arrest the Japanese but Okumura resisted and attempted to evade capture by hiding inside the Santa Rita parish church in Balingasag. Guerrillas gathered outside the church and soon there was an exchange of gunfire. The Japanese were outnumbered but the old church was as strong as a fortress. The guerrilla officers decided to burn down the church to flush out the Japanese, despite the objections of Fr. Clement Risarcher, SJ, the parish priest. As the church burned, Okumura and his men went up to the belfry. Dodong, who lived very near the church, saw Okumura and his companions jump out of the burning church and try to hide behind an acacia tree. But the guerrillas repeatedly fired at them and all three were killed. “Captain Okumura’s life ended on top of a wheelbarrow… where he was mutilated,” said Dodong. The guerrillas, it seemed, did not plan to take the enemies as prisoners of war. Remembering war’s cruelty, Dodong seemed to understand why Filipinos acted in this manner: “Brutality is always the consequence of injustice. Whenever a Filipino family was affected or a member of the family was killed by the Japanese, you would always look for an opportunity to hit back. There was no such thing as forgiveness—it was more about vengeance.” Dodong’s father, Filomeno M. Bautista Sr., fearing reprisal from the enemy garrisoned in Cagayan, decided to move his family from Balingasag to the next municipality, Lagonglong. Here they would stay until the country’s liberation from the Japanese. Dodong said their stay in Lagonglong was generally peaceful, interrupted occasionally by Japanese patrols near the coastline. Wartime business With their almost idyllic situation, the family attended to its economic needs. Dodong’s father, who was a government scholar at the Philippine School of Arts and Trade (now Technological University of the Philippines) in Manila, tried making laundry soap. The essential household item was no longer commercially available, so there was quite a demand for the product. But the ingredients they needed were no longer available. “The most important ingredient was lime (apog) and it had to be made near the beach,” Dodong said. Limestone or coral had to be gathered near the seashore, then burned in a process similar to making charcoal to extract the lime. Dodong found an old woman who lived near the beach and manufactured lime. Fearing they would be spotted by Japanese patrols if they met near the beach, Dodong and the old woman transacted business without meeting face to face. The old woman would leave the lime powder at a designated place for him to collect and he would leave the payment by one of the posts of the old woman’s hut. It was all a matter of trusting each other to keep his/her end of the bargain. Reflecting on this relationship later, he expressed his eternal gratitude to the old woman whose name he never even knew. Because of her help, Dodong’s family was able to make quality homemade laundry soap that they sold or bartered for fish, meat, root crops and bananas. The cottage industry sustained the family until the liberation in 1945. Some 68 years after the country was liberated, Dodong’s memories of the war remained vivid, his experiences unforgotten. He said the war had its good and bad points. Although he witnessed cruelty many times during the war, he also saw several positive things. He said the war strengthened the people’s faith in God. He also found that those who had least in life had the biggest hearts, sharing their meager resources with whoever was in need. Dodong, who turned 87 on May 26, is my maternal grandfather. I am one of his 14 grandchildren from his six children.  (First prize winner Celine Marie B. Itchon was a senior high school student at St. Mary’s High School in Cagayan de Oro when she wrote this story in 2013. She was mentored by her dad, Eduardo S. Itchon Jr., who happened to be her teacher. Our grateful thanks and appreciation to Mr. Mike Villa-Real of Philippine Veterans Bank and Ms. Bianca Kasilag-Macahilig for graciously permitting us to republish this gem in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Cagayan’s Liberation on May 12, 1945)

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DA-ACPC readies partners for KAYA program implementation

May 29, 2020

Malaybalay City, May 28 - The Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) Provincial Management Officer Kristine Cyvill Gregorio conducts briefing on Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) Program to President Jesus Antonio G. Derije of Central Mindanao University, Musuan, Bukidnon and Regional Technical Director for Operations Carlota S. Madriaga of DA-RFO 10. KAYA, a new loan program of the DA-ACPC will finance capital requirements of start-up or existing agri-based enterprises of young entrepreneurs and agri-fishery graduates aged 18-30 years old. Each borrower may loan up to P500,000 which is payable for five years with zero interest rate, with not more than 3.5 percent management fee thru partner lending conduit GFIs, rural banks, coop banks and viable NGOs. DA-ACPC will engage government financial institutions (GFIs) such as the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and non-GFIs to implement said program. Interested applicants may contact hotline numbers 09065055442/09474308576 of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) of DA-RFO 10 or thru 09559557333 of ACPC. # (ATCabig)

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New drug ‘czar’ is Northern Mindanao’s Regional Director

May 29, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The new anti-illegal drug “czar” was the former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional director in Northern Mindanao. President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Wilkins Malinawan Villanueva’s appointment as PDEA Director General effective May 22, 2020 replacing Aaron N. Aquino, the PDEA regional office here said Friday. A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), “Maringal,” Class 88, Villanueva held various sensitive positions, mostly in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign in the last 20 years in service. He obtained various anti-illegal drug training and assignments abroad that include the United Nation’s mission in Kosovo. Villanueva also studied at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok, Thailand, Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau and in Roswell, New Mexico, USA. The appointment of Villanueva, as PDEA Director General, signals the government’s intensified no-nonsense war against the illegal drugs in the country.

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DA-10, CMU launch hybrid rice derby and techno demo to enhance rice productivity amid COVID-19

May 28, 2020

MUSUAN, MARAMAG, BUKIDNON, May 26 – The Department of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao (DA-10) in partnership with Central Mindanao University (CMU) and nine seed companies launched the 50 hectares hybrid rice derby and technology demonstration in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon to boost rice productivity to attain rice sufficiency. DA-10 OIC-Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado and CMU President Jose Antonio G. Derije led the event in support to DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra sa COVID-19 program. President Derije acknowledges the strengthened partnership between CMU and DA in the agri development of the university. “The hybrid rice derby and techno demo aims to increase national agri-fishery output through intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate inputs, modern technologies to increase levels of productivity across all commodities to ensure food productivity, availability, accessibility and affordability amidst the threat of COVID-19 pandemic,” said RED Collado. He further explained, through DA’s Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), a quick response measure that addresses food security concerns amid the pandemic, focuses to intensify campaign for the adoption of hybrid rice technology among local farmers, which intends to produce more rice to increase the national sufficiency level from 87 percent to 93 percent. Region 10 targeted for 94 percent sufficiency level, a 12 percent increase from its preceding year target with various mitigating programs implemented to boost rice production. RED Collado further shared, the project pursues to convince farmers to plant hybrid rice by showcasing the best farming technologies and practices through the collective efforts of DA, CMU, PLGU and the private sector. Through the best farming practices, farmers can feasibly adopt to increase their efficiency and productivity. The techno demo will demonstrate the effect of various planting approaches which include mechanical, manual and direct seeding to yield using top hybrid rice varieties provided by participating companies. The techno demo will cover 45 hectares, giving each seed company five hectares, to be planted with their most leading varieties, using their own cultural practices protocol. The remaining five hectares will be utilized for the one common protocol for all cultural practices which will be adopted to all entry varieties. Machineries and equipment will be provided by DA-10, while seed companies will provide the seeds, fertilizers and labor in each farming activities, including technical assistance. The preparation of the techno the demo area will be handled by CMU.# (ATCabig)

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