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Saturday, February 13, 2021

PHLPost issues “Year of the Ox” stamps to celebrate Lunar Year



Wazzup Pilipinas!


The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) releases “Year of the Ox” special stamps to welcome the Lunar Year.

The lunar year of the Ox officially begins on 12 February 2021, the year of the Metal Ox.

The Chinese Zodiac has twelve representative animals, namely: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Previous years of the Ox zodiac sign are: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, and 2009.

People born in the Year of the Ox are known for their diligence, dependability, strength, determination and honesty. They are also known to be kind, gentle and steadfast.



PHLPost has printed 50,000 copies of the two (2) different colorful designs of the regular stamps which can be purchased at P12.00 and P45.00 per stamp.

Aside from the regular stamp, celebrate the incoming #LunarNewYear in red and gold with the #YearoftheOx 2021 souvenir sheets.

Stamp collectors can also purchase the special limited edition souvenir sheets of the industrious Ox, embossed with gold hot foil stamping as embellishment, aside from the circular perforation for Php200 each and can be bought together with official first day cover enveloped at Php218 per piece. The stamps can also be ordered and delivered door to door through PHLPost Stamps on Wheels.


The special “Year of the Ox 2021 Stamps” are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office, all Mega Manila Post Offices, Postal Area 2, San Fernando, La Union, Postal Area 4, San Pablo, Postal Area 5, Mandaue, Postal Area 6, Iloilo, Postal Area 7, Davao, and Postal Area 8, Cagayan De Oro. For inquiries, please call 8527-01-08 or 8527-01-32 or follow/like the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PilipinasPhilately/ for updates.

Denice Zamboanga Fires Back at Meng Bo’s Two-Round KO Claim



Wazzup Pilipinas!

Fresh from training in Bangkok where she has honed her skills since the pandemic lockdowns took effect in early 2020, ONE Championship female atomweight standout Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga took the time out of her busy schedule to fire back at China’s Meng Bo, who recently had some impactful words for the Filipina fighter.

Meng took aim at Zamboanga recently, with the Chinese star claiming she can finish “The Menace” inside of two rounds should they meet in the Circle.

Zamboanga is the #1-ranked female atomweight while Meng is ranked #2. Both women love to trade punches, both in and out of the ring, making this a potentially explosive showdown should the bout materialize.

“If we were in the ring together, without a shadow of doubt, I would beat her (Zamboanga) up and take her spot as the #1-ranked atomweight in the division,” Meng was quoted as telling the media.

“Denice is a stubborn and tough fighter, but if I was to identify her strength, she’s only good at punching, nothing else. I think my stand-up fighting techniques will be enough to give me the victory. I’m pretty confident that I can finish Denice with a flurry of punches and knock her out within two rounds.”


Zamboanga obviously did not take those comments lightly, and the 24-year-old rising star immediately clapped back with full bravado.

"It's cute that she thinks she can knock me out in two rounds. I'd like to see her try, let's see what happens. Meng Bo likes to talk a lot. But talking doesn't win you fights. She's just asking to be humbled,” said Zamboanga.

"Sooner or later, we will see each other in the Circle and the talking will be over."

Both Zamboanga and Meng are expected to be participants in the eight-woman ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix, set to take place some time later this year. Zamboanga and Meng could potentially meet in the tournament, should they advance through the brackets.

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced late last year that the winner of the tournament will go on to challenge reigning ONE Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee when she returns from maternity leave.

While Zamboanga declined giving out as bold a prediction as Meng, she did tell media that fans will be surprised.

"You'll just have to wait until we are together in the Circle. I don't really like to talk much unless provoked. I prefer to do my talking in the fight. I think it's going to be a surprise for everyone,” Zamboanga concluded.

“I just want to get back in there and compete.”




Zamboanga is currently training at Marrok Force gym alongside her older brother, fellow ONE Championship fighter Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga, and their friend Fritz “Kid Tornado” Biagtan. The Zamboangas look to remain in Bangkok for the time being, continuing their training until they receive a call for their next fight assignments from ONE.

PMVIC owners agree to Tugade’s appeal of lowering inspection fee amid the pandemic, waiving of reinspection fee for 1 year



Wazzup Pilipinas?!

As an act of solidarity and a way of heeding the call of motorists, officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announce that Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (PMVIC) owners have decided to heed the appeal of DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade’s to lower the current PMVIC inspection fee, level it with the current fee of PETCs while there is a pandemic, and waive for one year the reinspection fee for private and public utility vehicles (PUVs).

The move was announced in a virtual press conference today, 11 February 2021, led by DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation and concurrent Chief of Staff Giovanni Lopez, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Reinier Paul Yebra, Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, and other road transport stakeholders.

“Nais ko pong umpisahan sa pahayag na— narinig at naintindihan po ni Secretary Tugade ang hinaing ng ating mga kababayan, maging ang mga isyu na inihain ng ating mga mambabatas ukol sa pagpapatupad ng MVIS,” Asec. Lopez said in his opening statement.

“Dahil dito, nais ko pong ianunsyo na matapos ang mahabang negosasyon at diskusyon, matapos po ang sunud-sunod na dayalogo at mga meetings, napapayag ‘ho ni Secretary Tugade ang mga Motor Vehicle Inspection Center Owners na iparehas ang kanilang singil sa kasalukuyang singil ng mga Private Emission Testing Centers,” he added.

This means that from P1,500-P1,800, the PMVIC testing fee will be lowered to P600 for private vehicles. Nonetheless, the process will still cover all 73 inspection items, including smoke emission, for a comprehensive test of a vehicle’s roadworthiness. Meanwhile, the inspection fee for motorcycles will also be lowered to P500 and P300 for public utility jeepneys.

Aside from lowering the current PMVIC test fee, private owners have also agreed to waive the retest fee for one year.

Earlier, Secretary Tugade issued the appeal of lowering the PMVIC fees in adherence to the request of President Rodrigo Duterte and in order to strike a balance between keeping the roads safe and considering the financial difficulties being experienced by many vehicle owners at due to the present COVID-19 pandemic situation.

For the part of LTO, Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said that the latest development regarding the lowering of testing fees for vehicle inspection, which is a requisite prior to vehicle registration with the agency, will be effective immediately.

“Kaya ‘yun po ang aming ipatutupad at bibigyan po natin ng kaukulang directive or payo ang mga LTO offices na nagsasagwa ng registration or inspection para makatupad dito sa utos ng ating Mahal na Pangulo,” the LTO Chief said.

Moreover, while the move has gained the support of private stakeholders, they also maintain that MVICs are vital to ensure road safety and upholding the welfare of the people.

“In the same way that we responded to the call of the government about roadworthiness and made the investment without hesitation, we believe that this is a good and worthy program, “President of Vehicle Inspection Center Owners Association of the Philippines (VICOAP) Iñigo Larrazabal stated.

"In this case, in the time of pandemic that we agreed to lower our fees, we will still have to perform our mandate. And this is beyond getting paid. We take seriously our advocacy of road worthiness. We appeal also to the motoring public, this is a good chance for you to check if your vehicle is roadworthy - for the same amount of money that you pay [the old process]," he added.

“Meantime, our life-threatening problems on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases due to unabated motor vehicle emissions and also the needless Filipino deaths yearly due to road accidents or crashes and of course, the equally urgent global problem on climate change cannot wait to be addressed anymore. Like COVID-19, it is also an emergency that we all need to address,” President of Clean Air Philippines Movement Inc. Dr. Leo Olarte expressed.

ePLDT Operations Center fortifies enterprise cybersecurity and IT management



Wazzup Pilipinas!


ePLDT, the industry-leading enabler of digital business solutions in the Philippines, introduces “eOC” or ePLDT Operations Center to further strengthen the cybersecurity of business operations and fortify the holistic IT management of enterprises today.

With the expertise of ePLDT’s existing Security Operations Center for cybersecurity, combined with its Managed Operations Center (MOC) for IT uptime management & monitoring, eOC ensures the IT resilience of companies and help them elevate efficiency.

Its expertise and global best practices for both cybersecurity and IT, adaptive platforms and knowledge bases, safeguarded by the Philippines’ leading data center operations, assures business owners who are obsessive-compulsive that its critical business operations are well taken care of.

Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups says that “the group assures that enterprises are safeguarded because ePLDT is also obsessive-compulsive in providing only the best services for our customers. eOC will definitely address all these issues as it brings together all your needs in an affordable package designed especially for your business.”

With the shift to digital technology brought on by the global health crisis, there has been an increase need to heighten cybersecurity and protection for business owners, especially with remote work as the new normal. ePLDT Operations Center is able to provide these solutions, with globally-aligned practices and the country’s foremost subject-matter experts ensuring safeguards are in place and the complexities of businesses are simplified.

The Security Operations Center (SOCaas) monitors and analyzes cyber security incidents through a combination of the right expertise, processes, technology, and threat intelligence. SOCaaS provides 24x7 threat visibility, prevents false positives and allows faster detection, while its response option minimizes the damage caused by a cyber security incident and stops it from spreading.

ePLDT’s Managed Operations Center, on the other hand, gives business owners further peace of mind by proactively determining the status and relationships of critical IT infrastructure through its threshold-based and AI-led prevention. IT teams, and even non-technical leads, can also save precious time and regain their focus with on-demand performance reporting and expert recommendations of ePLDT professionals.

Beyond Proactive Monitoring, ePLDT’s Managed IT experts also perform Problem Management, Incident Resolution, Change Management, Vendor Management and Knowledge Management services. With customer-specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs), ePLDT can remotely operate and manage the performance and uptime of enterprises’ critical machines.

“This is in line with ePLDT’s goal of simplifying the complexities of IT for businesses,” according to Nico Alcoseba, VP & Head of ICT Business for PLDT Enterprise. “The complex business landscape requires sophisticated and customized solutions, and eOC combats issues related to security threats, downtime, and even costly investments.”

For more information on ePLDT Operations Center, visit https://www.epldt.com/eoperations/

When Should CBD Flower Strain Be Used?



Wazzup Pilipinas!


The legalization of CBD products happened last 2018; since then, it has been booming in the market as a more natural take on medication. News and excitement have spread quickly. Now, you probably are asking yourself, should I try one?

I understand you have your reasons why you want to try CBD products. It might be just out of curiosity, or you want to be "in" with the latest trend, or a friend recommended it, or your doctor said so, or you already are a marijuana user but would like to try a different kind, etc. Whatever your reason is, it is up to you! It would be best, though, if you were very careful. Let us check further.



What Is A CBD Flower Strain?


One of the popular Cannabidiol products is the CBD flower strain. It is like a healthier version of marijuana. They came from the same genetics but with different strains. CBD or Cannabidiol is extracted from a hemp plant, while it is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol extracted from marijuana. It’s healthier because CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it will not make you "high," unlike the THC, which is psychoactive (read more).

Cannabidiol may also be considered healthier because of the health benefits you could get from it compared to marijuana. Studies, experiments, and researches have resulted in findings of CBS's medical properties. However, there are doubts about it since it is said that there is not enough proof of its effects. Though, many people have testified, confirming that they have experienced the said medical benefits.

CBD flower strains are consumed in different ways. One could be inhalation of vapor. Others include using it as a tea, sprinkle it in your food, and even use it in your bath! Just sprinkle it in your tub full of water.



So When Should I Use CBD Flower Strain?

As mentioned above, we may have varied reasons for wanting to try Cannabidiol products, which is okay. However, we must have the right reasons to maximize its effect. Following are our suggestions:



When You Feel Anxious Or Depressed

Cannabidiol is known to work as an anti-depressant. It is known to help with anxiety and depression. It helps regulate our mood.

There was one review in 2015 where it said that CBD is an effective treatment for different types of anxiety disorders, including the following:

● Panic Disorder (PD)

● Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

● Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

● Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

● Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


There is also a recent 2020 study where the experiment was done on people experiencing anxiety disorders. The CBD treatment has improved their ability to perform daily functions and lessen their anxiety and depression symptoms.



When You Feel Exhausted

Cannabidiol will make you feel relaxed. It will also help you to have a good sleep. So this also works for those who are experiencing insomnia. Less fatigue too!



When You Are In Pain

One of the most popular effects of consuming CBD is its ability to relieve pain. Hemp plants have natural strains that are packed with Cannabidiol. This means that using it will help you reduce the pain that you are feeling.

It has anti-inflammatory properties that could help you avoid or lessen inflammation. Moreover, Cannabidiol is anti-arthritic. This works for almost any pain.


When You Have Cancer

There was research in 2010, where it showed the effectiveness of CBD in preclinical models of metastatic breast cancer. They say that Cannabidiol reduced the proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells.

Moreover, a 2019 review focusing on pancreatic cancer where they saw that Cannabidiol helps slow down tumors' growth. It also reduces the invasion of tumors and induces the death of tumor cells.

It is also said to lessen the symptoms that you experience after chemotherapy. It may help you feel better.


When You Have A Neurological Disorder

Researches are resulting in Cannabidiol being useful in the reduction of migraine and seizures. It was also studied in preventing and alleviating epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Alzheimer's disease (AD).



When You Want To Stop Smoking Cigarette

Using CBD flower strain will help you stop smoking cigarettes. We all know the harmful effects of nicotine that is present in cigarette smoke. If you decide to quit but cannot do it right away, you may start using a substitute - use flower strains.

You get rid of the harmful nicotine, you benefit from Cannabidiol. You win!

Aside from the benefits of CBD mentioned above, others include:

● Anti-acne

● Reduces the risk of heart diseases

● Addiction management


These are only a few out of the many health benefits consuming Cannabidiol in flower strains can do. It is pure, so it has high CBD content, enough for you to feel its effects. Also, a flower strain may be inhaled through vaporization, so it reaches your bloodstream faster.

With the plethora of benefits, this substance contains, it's natural to suddenly have the need for it. However, it would be best to seek your doctor's take on the topic before making any hasty decisions.


Are There Side Effects?

This might be less of a topic because people don't talk much about this, for only a few. However, it is essential that you also check the side effects after knowing the benefits. It is for you to be aware of what might happen so that you will prepare. Following are the side effects of CBD:

● Possible tooth decay

● Dry mouth

● Vomiting

● Maybe in the long term, pulmonary disease

Is It Legal?

CBD's legality has long been questioned as it is a close relative of marijuana. However, to clear things up, President Trump, during his reign in 2018, signed the Farm Bill, which made growing hemp and producing Cannabidiol-infused products completely legal.



Thursday, February 11, 2021

DOTr appeals to PMVICs: Lower your inspection fees, suspend collection of re-inspection fees for at least one year



Wazzup Pilipinas!

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has appealed to private vehicle inspections centers (PMVICs) to lower fees collected from private motorists for the inspection of their vehicles prior to registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and to suspend their collection of fees for re-inspection for at least one year.

PMVICs collect P1800 for each vehicle that will undergo testing and another P900 should the vehicle fail the initial series of tests and will have to be re-tested.

In his appeal, Secretary Tugade said PMVICs should lower their fees to the same rates being offered by Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) which is around P500 to P800.

Secretary Tugade issued the appeal after learning of the sentiments of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to strike a balance between keeping the roads safe by disallowing not roadworthy vehicles from being registered with the LTO, and the financial difficulties being experienced by many vehicle owners at present due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Ako ay umaapela at nakikiusap sa mga PMVIC owners— Ipakita at iparamdam ninyo ang pakikiisa ninyo sa administrasyong Duterte. Babaan ninyo ang inspection fee ninyo, i-lebel ninyo sa kasalukuyang singil ng mga PETC, at i-waive ninyo ang reinspection fee habang may pandemya. With this, we are not sacrificing the more stringent process of ensuring vehicles are checked for roadworthiness prior to registration. But we are also avoiding putting additional burdens on motorists,” said Secretary Tugade.

“Ang sabi ng palasyo, let us strike a balance between public safety and the needs of our countrymen, especially now that we are in a pandemic. Nakikiisa ako sa layuning ito ng ating pamahalaan. I will work for and with them to achieve this purpose,” Sec. Tugade added.

The concept of having a motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) prior to a vehicle’s registration with the LTO has been around for the past forty (40) years.

It is only during the present Duterte Administration that the MVIS was made operational through the assistance and in cooperation with accredited PMVICs.

The need to have proper tests to evaluate the roadworthiness of vehicles prior to registration, was highlighted by the alarming rate of registered vehicles involved in road crash incidents. Prior to the operation of PMVICs, vehicles being registered at the LTO are merely inspected for compliance with the Clean Air Act through a smoke emission test done at PETCs.

According to the Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS), in 2019, a total of 121,771 road crashes were recorded in Metro Manila. An average of 334 road crashes were also recorded daily. Of this, 372 people have died, while 20,466 were hurt.

In addition to a smoke emission check, vehicles being inspected at a PMVIC undergo an automated three (3) stage system that check for roadworthiness in 73 inspection points.

And unlike in the old vehicle inspection done by the LTO which is visual, the inspection of vehicles at a PMVIC is automated with limited human intervention. The testing equipment even require biometric access (fingerprint of the operator) to initialize operation.

Results of the testing done at a PMVIC are sent real time to the PMVIC’s local server and to the LTO’s IT system.

Corruption and tampering of results at a PMVIC is also reduced, if not removed, as the entire vehicle inspection process is fully documented with the use of closed circuit television cameras (CCTvs).

For Pinoy Contestant Lara Pearl Alvarez: Motherhood Not a Setback for Circle, Corporate Ambitions



Wazzup Pilipinas!


“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” is scheduled to premiere next month, and already, it has ONE fans abuzz with excitement.

The unique take on the iconic reality television show produced by Asia’s largest martial arts organization is a slight departure from ONE’s usual content of hosting martial arts extravaganzas.

Among 16 “candidates” chosen to participate in the competition is Lara Pearl Alvarez, a single mother born, bred, and based in Baguio City, Philippines. Alvarez recently talked about her experience participating on the show, and why she wanted to join “The Apprentice.”

“I just wanted to give my son a better life, that’s what compelled me to try and audition for The Apprentice. At the time, I didn’t really imagine I could get in. But I was determined to give it a shot. So when I got the news that I was accepted, I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe it. But I was super happy I got in, and from there, I was motivated to succeed,” said Alvarez.

“Participating on the show was incredible. The production was top notch and it was nothing like I had ever experienced before. Getting to visit Singapore and see the way locals live, see the beauty of the country, it gave me a deeper sense of pride for my own country. It gave me hope, not just for my own life, but for everyone else as well with all the difficulties we’re dealing with today. I definitely learned a lot from my time in the boardroom.”


When Alvarez got pregnant by her then-boyfriend at 22, it wasn’t exactly what she had planned for her life. Like many of her colleagues at Team Lakay, Alvarez had trained to become a martial artist, learning the discipline of wushu and wanting to compete.

The child’s father ended up abandoning Alvarez even before the boy was born. But with the help of her family, Alvarez took on the enormous responsibility of being a single parent.

With incredible determination, Alvarez didn’t let the circumstances keep her pinned down. She constantly worked to improve her situation. Fast-forward to present day, and Alvarez can’t wait to relive her time on The Apprentice, which she says will be an experience she will remember for the rest of her life.

“Flying to Singapore to film the show, it was my first time leaving the Philippines, my first time getting on a plane to fly out of the country. And to be joining a globally acclaimed TV show, I can say I was pretty mesmerized by the whole ordeal. It was a little overwhelming, but I was excited. At the same time, I missed my son terribly. I had never spent so much time away from him, nor left him in the care of others. I tried not to let it affect me, but every time I thought of him, it would bring me to tears,” said Alvarez.

“I’ve been through a whole lot, and everything I’ve done so far is for my son to have a better life. Up to now, I still can’t believe I was on The Apprentice. I’m glad I took a chance. It’s made me a stronger person, and a better mother today. I’ve gained more confidence in myself. I think I’ve proven that being a single mother is not a setback. It is far from a setback. It’s a blessing because I was able to push myself harder. It gave me the strength to push past my limits.”

“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” is touted as the toughest version in the show’s history, consisting of both business and physical challenges. The franchise itself has aired in more than 120 countries around the globe. The first season of ONE Championship’s spin on the reality show premieres in March and consists of 13 episodes.

Alvarez was one of 16 selected from a field of thousands of applicants to compete for a US$250,000 job offer to work directly under ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

“The Apprentice really showed me what’s possible in my life. I’ve definitely grown from the experience. It’s opening up a lot of doors that I just couldn’t see before, a lot of opportunities. Now I’m excited for what the future holds,” said Alvarez.

“I can’t wait for people to watch it. Many of my friends have shown their support for me. Since the trailer aired, there has been a lot of excitement. I’m thrilled I get to talk about it now and I have a lot of stories to tell as we go along. I know fans of both ONE and The Apprentice are going to love it.”

#CancelDarrylYap: Tililing is not worthy movie to be appreciated



Wazzup Pilipinas!

This Darryl Yap is the same "guy" behind VinCentiments. Not surprised why it exploits "crazy" and "uninhibited" just to make some noise.

If his strategy as a movie director is to create a buzz about his film, yes, it's working. But respect those people who are working so hard to fight for this cause, and those people who are struggling with it.

Don't support #Tililing.

Liza Soberano is a BS Psychology student --- which therefore signifies the knowledge she has towards her areas of expertise. Thus, attacking her by your minuscule proficiency in psychology is really bizarre.

Asserting that the poster, title & the incorrect facial expression as something creative is something I cannot stand. It pains me to see people normalizing ableist language. + she doesn't have the #TILILING
mentioned.

Darryl Yap needs to apologize for doing this piece of shit and his work has always been rubbish but this ludicrous caricature of people with disabilities is extremely offensive.


This is a poster of a k-drama that deals with mental health. I really like how this poster promoted PBIO.  Mental illness should not be misinterpreted through movie posters that depict mental illness negatively.  

I stand with Liza Soberano  I thank her for defending against the use of ableist language.

Now that the trailer is out...naahhh. Exag naman. It looks plain...and it was mentioned in the trailer what "tililing" meant. May mura at paghubad rin. Same formula from their short videos. Nothing new.

There are different degrees of mental degradation. I don't think one poster can encapsulate all those cases. I think the whole purpose of the poster is to catch attention and not necessarily make a mockery out of ment disability. But for those sensitive to see such, it maybe because they either have friends, families or relatives with the sickness.

Really horrendous stuff exploiting plight of mentally challenged persons (MCPs)! To extent using horrific faces of movie’s actors to promote it!  Have we gone to the dumps to be insensitive to MCPs?  Oscar Winner “ One Flew OCN” set trend in dealing with MCP issues! Que horror!

Why can't movie producers hire RPsys or RPms to be consultants to prevent this kind of portrayal? It should be mandatory and the PAP should recommend it to the association of filmmakers.

Well, if it was attention they wanted, then, they surely got mine—but not in a good way.

if "tililing" is "continuous ringing of a bell," wouldn't that equate to tinnitus rather than crazy? 

Then I've been crazy for over 30 years (too many heavy metal rock concerts in the 80's) but more likely my BP meds and a regular jolt of cannabis tends to keep my inner ear swirling, so i've made peace with that 5,000 hz tone.

In the Philippines, though, 'tililing,' which is Filipino for bell, is also metaphor for someone certifiable or exhibiting psychotic symptoms like auditory hallucinations (like hearing a non-existent bell in your head).

And the audacity of people who keep on congratulating them for getting good traffic for using a very sensitive topic and admitting that the poster was made for publicity, that is something you shouldn't be proud of but there's this vincentiments page, shameless. 

Mental health professionals are fighting so hard to improve the system and common understanding related to mental health, and this so called "director" pokes fun about people with mental health challenges? 

Yes, I am offended.

There's wide spectrum of mental health disorders—and faces of actors w/ eyes popping & tongues sticking out, is distasteful & an egregious misrepresentation of those with different symptoms & diagnoses.

That poster just painted mental health issues with a broad,  stigmatizing brush.

This poster of this movie directed by Darryl Yap is offensive, insensitive, & callous.

This satirical illustration makes a mockery & a caricature of the plight of people suffering from mental health issues.

Mental health is no laughing matter.

IT IS NOT A JOKE! 


I'm not against the movie, it may or may not be an eye opener for everyone. There is a 50-50 chances, yet, I am against the poster itself. Masyadong insensitive for those who are fighting inside battles, for those who are mentally challenged. 

Hindi kasi pang-Comedy ang mental health issues. Masyado ng normalized, dahilan para lalong humina ang loob ng dapat humingi ng tulong dahil sa mapangmatang lipunan. Masyadong seryoso ang topic para magkaroon ng katawa-tawang poster. Seeing the trailer, they really made it into a comedy of sorts. Disappointed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Dusit International continues Middle East expansion with its first hotel in Kuwait



Wazzup Pilipinas!


Dusit Princess Mahboula Kuwait is slated to open in 2023.


Dusit International, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and property development companies, has signed a hotel management agreement with Al Fajer International Holding Company, a Kuwait-based private real estate company, to operate the Dusit Princess Mahboula Kuwait – the first Dusit-branded hotel in the country.

The new hotel will comprise 180 hotel rooms and 70 serviced apartments under Dusit International’s upper midscale Dusit Princess brand. The property is located in the Mahboula district, an industrial and commercial coastal area just 25 minutes by car from boththe city centre and Kuwait International Airport.

Slated to open in Q4 2023, the new property will be equipped to meet the needs of both transient and long-stay guests, including associates of local oil and gas companies seeking comfortable and convenient lodgings near their places of work. The property’s serviced apartments have been specifically designed for families.

Alongside an all-day dining venue, a specialty restaurant, and a lobby lounge, the property will offer a swimming pool, a 900 sq m gym equipped with the latest fitness equipment, and Dusit’s signature Namm Spa providing a wide range of wellness therapies and treatments.

Four meeting rooms with capacity for 120 people, and a ballroom accommodating up to 350 guests, will cater to the local corporate and events market.

Situated overlooking the Arabian Gulf just south of the Fintas district, the property will also put guests within easy reach of popular local attractions such as Al Kout Mall, Kuwait’s largest waterfront retail and leisure destination; and Kuwait Magic, a large beachfront mall with an indoor amusement park.

“In line with our strategy for sustainable growth, which includes expanding our presence in key destinations in the Middle East, we are delighted and honoured to bring our unique brand of Thai-inspired gracious hospitality to Kuwait for the first time, and enlarge our footprint in the region through this signing,” said Mr Lim Boon Kwee, Chief Operating Officer, Dusit International. “Prior to the pandemic, the Kuwaiti government stated its intention to dramatically increase the role tourism plays in the nation’s economy, and we are confident that the country will continue to grow as a destination for both business and leisure when the world is travelling again. With Dusit Princess Mahboula Kuwait set to open in Q4 2023, the property will be well-positioned to tap into both markets, and we look forward to making it a resounding success.”



Mr Taleb Hussein Ali Jarraq, Chairman of the Board, Al Fajer International Holding Company, said, “Our mission as a company is to contribute to the sustainable development of Kuwait through distinctive projects that champion quality, affordability, and diversity. By combining Dusit’s signature Thai-inspired gracious hospitality with local hospitality customs and traditions, Dusit Princess Mahboula Kuwait will certainly offer unique guest experiences in line with these values. And we are confident that, under Dusit’s management, the property will deliver enduring value to the Mahboula community at large.”

Dusit’s portfolio now includes 340 properties operating under six brands across 15 countries. In the Middle East, the company currently operates seven hotels and is on course to open two more this year.

Inspiro Enables Remote Workforce of 3,000 Agents with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)



Wazzup Pilipinas!


With Microsoft Technology, Inspiro quickly transformed to empower employees and continue providing the highest standard of service


Inspiro, the outsourcing specialist, recently joined hands with Microsoft to integrate cloud-based desktop services and servers into its operations, providing their remote workforce with innovative tools to continue delivering excellent customer service throughout the pandemic.

With COVID-19, the company was faced with the urgent need of enabling their existing employees to work remotely. In addition, they also needed to expand their workforce by an additional 2,000 to 3,000 agents to meet growing customer needs. But at the time, their IT infrastructure lacked the capacity to support the necessary changes, with most of their machines and devices running on physical servers and lacking a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

To quickly ensure business continuity, Inspiro looked to other options, such as desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), which would enable their agents to use company-issued devices or personal devices for work.

After evaluating viable scenarios and providers in the market, Inspiro opted to engage Microsoft and their Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) solution, a Microsoft Azure-based remote desktop to enhance operational capacity. In addition, they also chose Microsoft Teams for employee communication, collaboration, and engagement.

Inspiro chose Microsoft after a three-month evaluation of available cloud providers due to the ease of provisioning, operation, and DaaS maintenance.

"We chose Microsoft Azure because it is more cost-effective, offers our company more flexibility and scalability, and provides our agents with more productivity while using WVD," said Mark Mistal, Chief Information Officer, Inspiro.

"We used Microsoft Teams as the primary communications channel during the deployment and implementation phases of the engagement. Microsoft also provided Teams training and support to Inspiro employees to strengthen remote collaboration", added Mistal.

"Training was an insightful discussion as it led to a deep dive on how Teams can help in the day-to-day tasks, organizing meetings, and conducting training, among many others," said Rom Saldivar, Senior Manager for IT Operations.

Since adopting these solutions, Inspiro has enjoyed a successful deployment with approximately 1,900 Windows Virtual Desktop machines provisioned for its agents in the Philippines and the United States. The solution deployed further boosted client confidence as the company met its ramp target. It also resulted in 99.99 percent uptime in reliability.

Microsoft's solutions are now part of the company's daily business operations. WVD is utilized to support clients worldwide, with Microsoft Teams as the primary communications platform for collaboration and more.

Inspiro has decided to make their work-from-home arrangement permanent with the company's successful transformation, even after the pandemic passes. In addition to DaaS and Microsoft Teams, the company is currently looking at other opportunities to streamline operations using Microsoft's different toolsets.

“Far but not apart”, PHLPost releases Valentine’s Day stamps



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Today, February 10, the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) will start issuing Valentine’s Day postage stamps as part of its effort to make the season of the hearts more memorable inspite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Themed “Far but not apart”, this year’s stamp feature’s digital art of male and female person with facemasks overcoming physical distance by constant communication in whatever means to send messages of love and affection under a big heart shape ribbon.

The words “Pilipinas” and “Valentine’s Day” were also printed in the stamp. The price of P12 on each stamp is located at the upper corner. Young graphic artist Ryman Dominic Albuladora design and layout the stamps.

PHLPost has printed 25,000 pieces of limited Valentine’s Day stamps.


The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in limited face to face activities and gatherings.

“The celebration of Valentine’s Day might be a little different this year, but there are a lot of ways to show love and affection to our dear ones”, PHLPost said in a statement.

One way is to send flowers and letters of gratitude to someone special in our life.

Via its #ExpressPadaLove2021, post offices in Manila, Quezon City and some other areas will accept orders via door to door through its Domestic Express Mail Service (DEMS) of flowers, chocolates, stuffed toys and other gift items.

The public can also call for orders, through telephone numbers (02) 8527-0135/ 0927-245-0835/ 0906-8976930. Payments can made via Electronic Postal Money Order (EPMO) or G-Cash at Mobile No. 0935-3674207.Stamps and official first day cover of “Valentine’s Day Stamps” are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office, all Mega Manila Post Offices, Postal Area 2, San Fernando, La Union, Postal Area 4, San Pablo, Postal Area 5, Mandaue, Postal Area 6, Iloilo, Postal Area 7, Davao, and Postal Area 8, Cagayan De Oro. For inquiries, please call 8527-01-08 or 8527-01-32 or follow/like the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PilipinasPhilately/ for updates

5 Marketing Strategies and Tips For Start-ups



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Running a startup is both satisfying and stressful. There are many ways to reduce your stress when it comes to running a startup. The best way is to ensure that the startup is cash positive and profitable as soon as possible. Focusing on marketing will help you to achieve this goal.

Let’s check the best strategies to improve your marketing and make your startup successful.

1. Sell better by knowing your customer

As your start-up in new on the market, you have the opportunity to get to know your consumers better than the other old companies. You could sell your product at a cheaper rate compared to others as it is easier for you to price it appropriately while at the same time keeping the quality in check. You could show off your skills and talents through the way you sell your product. With comparison, the only thing you could achieve is the showing the customer the difference in the features of your product. Whereas, what you should actually do is exhibit your product in such a manner that the customer could see the benefit for himself/herself and would want to choose your brand over any other.



2. Keep proper track of your budget

Make sure to plan your budget well in advance. You should be well aware of what and how much your start-up could afford. Always see to it that the in-flow of the money is higher than compared to out-flow. This part could get little tricky for a few people as it isn’t easy to know the amount of money required to finish get the desired results. Therefore, it is essential to have a, well experienced person who could manage the accounts for your start-up.



3. Follow the audience

In this era of social networking and fast mode, it is very important to keep in touch with the latest trends and ideas roaming in the social media platform. You should follow your audience and keep a note of all the new demands. The social media platforms are a great way in which you could get to know your customers and build a, connect with them. This is not only pretty cost-efficient, but also an effective way of increasing your product name. You should also make sure that your website looks good, is modern and responsive and most importantly fast. You can opt for a hosting company that targets your geographic location even if you don’t live there. For example, if you are in the Philippines and your market is in the UK, you can go for the best UK web hosting companies to host your site.



4. Advertise as much as you can

A good advertisement can be a huge big asset to your start-up. Advertisements can be a little expensive at time, but it could be very helpful. Use as many platforms and social networking sites you can to advertise your product. This a market strategy, if people time and again hear about your product, see your product, find out from others about it, etc it somehow manages to stay somewhere in the back of their mind. Then may actually have no need of the product your selling, but due to the power of advertisements, they eventually end up buying it. This strategy makes sure that you and your product somehow manage to seep into the minds if the customer and make a place for yourself there.



5. Make the difference.

As your start-up is a new business, setting foot in the market, you have the power to stand out and attract more and more customers. Around 10 years back, market was way different than what it is now. You have all the facilities and the ability to do something new. Read about the companies that are your completion, try and plan things to make your start-up better, make use of the internet and use learn new marketing ways, etc. To sum it up, think outside the box and give the start-up your best shot.

ePLDT launches program in collaboration with Microsoft to increase employability for people with disabilities in Asia Pacific



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ePLDT launches program in collaboration with Microsoft to increase employability for people with disabilities in Asia Pacific

The program enables disability inclusive hiring where ePLDT is employer-partner


ePLDT, an industry-leading enabler of digital business solutions in the Philippines, announces its continued collaboration with Microsoft with its inclusion as employer-partner for the Microsoft Enabler Program to foster a disability-inclusive workplace within the ePLDT Group.

The Microsoft Enabler Program, launched in September 2020 across South Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, highlights Microsoft’s commitment to ensure inclusive-designed technological advances. It pioneers disability-inclusive workplace across the Asia Pacific region, giving utmost importance in building accessibility and a culture of inclusion at work.

The ePLDT Human Resource and Strategic Partnerships and Alliances Team is in coordination with Virtualahan, a social organization in the Philippines that enables PWDs to secure gainful employment by providing them with intensive digital skills and mentorship in collaboration with Microsoft’s enabler program.

“With ePLDT as employer-partner, we join Microsoft in its vision of and commitment to enabling and empowering persons with disabilities in the workplace, while steadfast in the belief that there are no limits with what people can achieve,” says Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups.

“We welcome this development, as ePLDT carries on and expands our initiatives together with like-minded partners like Microsoft,” according to Fe Arlene Villanueva-Bassig, ePLDT Group Head for Workplace Management. “With approximately 650 million persons with some form of disability across Asia Pacific, it is but fitting to create experiences and opportunities that everyone can fully participate in.”

The Microsoft Enabler Program is another step in company’s journey, that started in the 1990’s, to improve disability inclusion and accessibility. The launch was participated in and extended to by partners who all raised their hands to reinforce the commitment to pull this program of disability inclusivity together.

Andres Ortola, Microsoft Philippines Country General Manager, says, “We are firmly invested in making sure technology and innovation are inclusive and accessible to all Filipinos. Furthermore, we aim to close the digital skills gap across the world and the Philippines, to help individuals and communities find employment. This program provides crucial technology skills that are globally recognized and in demand. Having ePLDT onboard helps scale up its impact and ensure we empower everyone to achieve more regardless of how they communicate, see, hear, or move.”

ePLDT’s thrust is to develop deeper and more meaningful partner relationships beyond business. “This program is not new to us, since 2018, ePLDT has embarked in supporting the country’s Magna Carta rights for disabled persons. As part of this campaign we have started by creating conducive workplace environment, supporting Handicapped Care Association, Inc. in the Philippines,“ says Fay Ocampo, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances during Microsoft Enabler Program launch together with other APAC employer partners, supporting 6 Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) in Asia Pacific.

Microsoft’s partners in the region commit to extend opportunities for the PWDs by providing job shadowing, training, mentoring and internship attachments in technical roles. These opportunities will be offered in close coordination with the NPOs who will match the most suitable PWD profile, skills, qualifications and ambitions with the requirements.

For more information, visit epldt.com. 

Team Lakay's Stephen Loman Joins ONE Championship



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Mixed martial arts fans in the Philippines can look forward to yet another Filipino combat superstar entering the prestigious Circle very soon.


Team Lakay Head Coach Mark Sangiao confirmed late Tuesday night that his ward, former BRAVE CF Bantamweight Champion Stephen "The Sniper" Loman has joined the rest of his teammates at ONE Championship.


Loman is the longest reigning champion in BRAVE, but decided to vacate his throne earlier this year to seek a new platform.


"Stephen Loman is one of the best fighters in the Philippines. His all-around skills will be on full display in ONE Championship," said Sangiao.


"I spoke to Stephen and he's highly motivated right now. He can't wait to get in the Circle and put on a show. Of course, I'll be there for him, as well as all of his teammates at Team Lakay, every step of the way."


Loman captured the BRAVE title with a victory over Canadian-Indian Gurdarshan "St. Lion" Mangat in 2017. He has since defended the belt successfully on multiple occasions, headlining various events while emerging as arguably BRAVE's biggest star.


"It's an overwhelming opportunity, but I'm excited to join my Team Lakay brothers in the biggest martial arts organization in the world," said Loman.


"I'm excited to enhance my skills on this platform and showcase my style to millions of viewers across the globe. Of course, fighting in a new promotion and a new environment will be a challenge, but it's one I'm more than willing to face. I'm ready to show ONE Championship fans the best of Stephen Loman."


Team Lakay has established a commanding presence in ONE Championship, with former World Champions Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, and reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio leading the charge.


It has not been confirmed what weight class Loman is set to compete in. Details of Loman's ONE Championship debut have also yet to be announced, but he is expected to see action later this year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Discover majestic India with ‘India Road Trip’ by Radisson Hote



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Radisson Hotels is inviting guests to experience exciting road trips across India with safe, comfortable stays along the way. ‘India Road Trip’, a curation of road trip routes, is perfect for guests to plan their next adventure and enjoy special staycation offers at any of the Group’s operating hotels. From the famous Golden Triangle to breathtaking views of the Himalayas, palm-lined beaches to cities with impressive historical monuments, guests can choose from over 26 circuits designed to keep every kind of traveler in mind.

“India Road Trip is an extension of our India Unification Strategy that leverages the collective strength of our network. With 97 operating hotels across 60+ cities, we are destined to be within five-six hours of drivable distance from any location in India. Combining that with Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, makes us the perfect choice for a safe and enjoyable family experience,” said Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and Vice President Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group.

For a seamless planning experience, guests can choose from three categories of drivable circuits

14 Short distance routes of 50 kilometers – 300 kilometers (2-5 hours)
7 Medium distance routes of 250 kilometers – 550 kilometers (5-8 hours)
5 Long distance routes of 525 kilometers – 750 kilometers (9-12 hours)

Planning a trip across India is further made easy by exciting ‘staycation’ offers at Radisson Hotels including benefits like free daily breakfast and a set lunch/dinner for two, drinks for up to two guests per night and early check-in and late check-out (conditions apply). Radisson Reward members can enjoy an additional 10% discount. The offer will be applicable for stays booked until June 30, 2021.


To learn more about India Road Trip or to book a staycation at Radisson Hotels, visit - https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotel-deals/india-road-trip

Youths Present Vision, Solutions for Sustainable Quezon City by 2030



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Hosted by WWF-Philippines’ National Youth Ambassador, Robi Domingo, “QC 2030: Youth’s Vision and Solutions for the Future” convened representatives of the Quezon City local government and youth participants of the “Our City 2030: Youth Visions and Solutions” project to discuss sustainable solutions for the future of the most populated city of the country. Photograph © WWF-Philippines

Public high school students, Alternative Learning System (ALS) learners, and representatives from the local government, various businesses and civil society organizations (CSOs), gathered virtually on the 5th of February as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Philippines and Plan International Philippines hold an event to showcase youth’s vision and solutions for Quezon City’s sustainable development.

The event, titled ‘QC 2030: Youth’s Vision and Solutions for the Future’ also served as the culminating activity of the “Our City 2030: Youth Vision and Solutions” project, a three year initiative in partnership with the local government of Quezon City and Schools Division Office. Launched in January 2018, Our City 2030 is a collaboration between WWF-Sweden and Plan International Sweden and simultaneously implemented together with three East African countries namely Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. The project provided a platform for the youth to be engaged in urban development of their home cities by creating roadmaps towards 1.5C trajectories including mitigation and adaptation solutions on sustainable planning. 











Attended by more than 200 registered participants, the online event was hosted by WWF-Philippines National Youth Ambassador Robi Domingo and officially began with opening remarks from WWF-Philippines Executive Director Katherine Custodio and PLAN International Country Director Ana Maria Locsin.

WWF-Philippines, Our City 2030 Project Manager, Imee Bellen shared processes and results of the project since its inception, highlighting the array of key outcomes in the engagements of selected high school students, ALS learners, teachers including SPED educators, parents, youth leaders and city officials. This was followed by a discussion on the role of youth and education with Plan International Philippines Project Coordinator Marie Kristy Amador emphasizing the importance of leadership as an invaluable aspect of young people in terms of their capacity to assist the community and city like in disaster risk reduction management. Thereafter, the WWF-Philippines Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Program Manager, Dino Calderon held a short presentation amplifying the role education towards sustainability through the new learning concept that develop skills, knowledge, attitudes, values and action competencies.

A short visual presentation allowed few student facilitators of the “Our City 2030” project to share their learnings and experiences in their participation to the project as well as the enhanced vision statement of these youth for Quezon City by 2030 that put more details on transportation, health, socio-economy, education, security and leadership sectors.

Days before the culminating activity, a total of seven solutions developed by the youth were exhibited online for public voting of their top three solutions. These most voted youth ideas are: (1) An online news app called QuteC, which aims to make current events digestible for the youth while filtering out fake news; (2) a clean up drive and workshop titled Clean, Clean, Clean, that aimed to streamline regular cleanup activities; and the (3) Commuter’s Haven, a proposal for redesigned bus and PUV stops that are well-kept, prioritize safety and are made from recycled materials. Presentations of these top three solutions were done by the student representatives from Judge Feliciano and Justice Cecilia Munoz-Palma High School, respectively.

A panel of Quezon City officials were invited for a live dialogue with the student presenters. Present were Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, Education Affairs Unit Head, Ally Medalla, EPWMD Head Andrea Villaroman, Youth Development Office Head, Maricris Laureta as well as Dr. Maria Teresa Namoro, Chief of Schools Governance and Operations Division of Quezon City Schools Division Office. Students impressed the panel with their developed solutions while also responding to the clarifications raised by each panel member. They were also able to express their sentiments on the need of support from the city government to further enhance their ideas and realistically achieve the goal of their innovations.

“I had a great time with my group mates and my batch mates when we thought of our solution [based] from the vision and roadmaps of our batch--we were able to get along as we were the same age and had similar ideas. During the presentation, we were really nervous that the panelists might ask us difficult questions but we managed to get through it because of our unity as a team”, said Daniella Arca, a Grade 9 student from Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma High School and one of the student presenters.

With the solutions of the participating youths of the Our City 2030 project now presented, the role now falls on the local government to consider and incorporate them into their city plans. Words of support were offered by the Quezon City government through Councilor Delarmente and Quezon City SDO Superintendent Dr. Jennilyn Rose Corpuz, CESO VI.

“We hope to mitigate the impacts of climate change through the power of the youth. This project aims to contribute to the creation of climate smart and sustainable cities. We recognize the need to provide young people with more platforms to participate in the process of climate change,” shared Quezon City District I Councilor Hon. Dorothy Delarmente, on behalf of Quezon City Mayor Hon. Joy Belmonte.

“I am fascinated by the level of collaboration of the stakeholders in this program from different sectors, from the local government to the learning institutions and even individuals who are education advocates. As they say, there is strength in numbers, and as the number continues to grow, so too does the push towards achieving the goal of education on sustainable development through the city,” added Dr. Corpuz.

To cap off the event, an award ceremony was held to recognize the Top 3 Most Innovative Solutions and to also appreciate the unwavering support of the local government and academic partners of the “Our City 2030” project from June 2018 until February 2021. Closing messages followed after from WWF-Philippines’ Head of Climate and Energy Programme Atty. Angela Ibay, EPWMD Head Andrea Villaroman, and QC-SDO Dr. Maria Teresa Namoro, thanking everyone involved in the project and emphasizing the role of the youth in the journey towards sustainability.

Future city planning will need to consider sustainability as the effects of climate change continue to take their toll. As the Philippines moves into the future, the youth are prepared to meet the environmental challenges that face the places that they call home. Support WWF-Philippines, and help build a fair and sustainable future for all.

Online sexual abuse of children rising amid COVID-19 pandemic



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Save the Children Philippines has raised concern that more children are at risk from online sexual abuse and exploitation amid the COVID-19 pandemic as families resort to easy money due to deepening poverty, while children are still not allowed to leave homes.

With the theme "Bagong Normal: Ligtas na Internet for All,” the annual Safer Internet Day for Children in the Philippines calls on public and private stakeholders to join the campaign in making the internet a safer and better place for all, especially for children and young people.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said the pandemic is no longer a health crisis but a child rights crisis that must be addressed with urgency.

“Online sexual abuse and exploitation of children is a silent pandemic that has permanent, and devastating effects on children’s mental health and psychosocial well-being,” said Muyot.

He called on the local government units, schools, and communities to strengthen the protective and legal services to ensure that children are safe from online sexual abuse and exploitation.

Cases of OSAEC in the Philippines increased by 264.6 percent or 202,605 more reports during the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine from March to May 2020, compared to the 76,561 cases during the same period in 2019, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), citing data from the US-based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Save the Children Philippines supports Malacañang’s call to strengthen the campaign against OSAEC by monitoring the strict implementation of Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.

The child rights organization is joining the month-long campaign activities at the National Capital Region and Mindanao to raise awareness on protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Wilma Banaga, Child Protection Advisor of Save the Children Philippines, said that parents, guardians and other relatives must understand that they have the responsibility to meet the needs of children, and to protect them from any form of abuse and exploitation.

“Parents and other adults who are taking care of children should provide the necessary support and guidance to help protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation particularly now that they are increasingly going online because of the pandemic,” said Banaga.

Save the Children Philippines is a member of SaferKidsPH, an Australian government initiative to reduce the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the Philippines, being implemented along with The Asia Foundation and UNICEF. SaferKidsPH works with children and their families, the Philippine government, civil society and the private sector to ensure that children are safe and protected online.

Philinsure To Push Digitalisation Efforts; Protecting Filipinos Amidst COVID-19


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Singapore-headquartered Insurtech, Igloo, today announced an official partnership with Philippines-based insurance broker Philpacific Insurance Brokers Inc. (Philinsure). This partnership kicks off with the digitization of Philinsure’s insurance products offering accessible and affordable insurance to Filipinos in the country to support their need for security and protection. As the partnership evolves, Igloo and Philinsure will be providing more insurance products to better protect the families in the Philippines.



Mr Raunak Mehta, Chief Commercial Officer of Igloo, said, “This pandemic brought about an urgent need for traditional industries to tap technology, and this is especially evident in the insurance sector in the Philippines. This partnership with Philinsure aims to support a very important sector in the Philippines, such as small business owners whose work have a very real and immediate impact on their communities. We want to be able to provide them with affordable and relevant protection to give them the confidence to focus on their business and their livelihood.”



With a digital insurance penetration of less than 1 per cent, the availability of insurance protection in the Philippines is largely offline which limits their reach, especially in these days of the pandemic. Igloo sees a lot of potential in driving this digitally to provide highly customized and relevant solutions to the consumers in the most accessible, scalable, and affordable manner. Leveraging its technological capabilities, Igloo is able to deliver operational efficiencies and lower costs for its insurance partners, and provide value-adding products to the customer base of its distribution partners.



Gordon Alan “Dondi” Joseph, CEO of Philinsure, shared, “We are excited to be working with Igloo as part of our effort to better drive our CSR advocacy to serve Filipino families, wherever they are in the Philippines or in the world. We also see that working with Igloo will help us achieve greater efficiencies in our post-pandemic digitization program. We look forward to working with Igloo to widen our CSR advocacy through its digital platform that is capable of providing a simple, effective means of protecting and therefore empowering the Filipino Family."



According to UNDP Philippines, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) comprise 99.5 per cent of the nation’s business establishment, employing approximately 63 per cent of the country’s workforce. Igloo’s partnership with Philinsure is part of Igloo’s larger mission to provide affordable insurance to the masses.



The partnership seeks to strengthen Igloo’s foothold in the Philippines market as it expands the variety of verticals it serves from on-demand customer platforms to banks, fintech, and logistics firms. Since its entry into the Philippines with its collaboration with Southeast Asia’s largest and fastest-growing hotel management and booking platform, RedDoorz in 2019, Igloo has also partnered with the UnionBank of the Philippines in August last year. The insurtech has also widened its insurance partner base to include Mercantile, Pioneer, PGA-Sompo Insurance Corporation, and United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corporation.



Igloo looks to evolve its product offering by investing in the development of new products to cater and fit the ever-changing market needs. Apart from these existing products, Igloo aims to work with partners to launch new policies such as home, business, internet security, pet insurance, and those focused on single diseases such as dengue and COVID-19. With these plans in mind, the team looks to hire more people in their Philippines office as it expects the number of policies sold via its platform in the Philippines to grow 4x this year. The company is also looking for strategic investors for their upcoming funding round, which is expected to close by Q1 2021.



Igloo, founded by Mr Wei Zhu in June 2016 to provide affordable insurance for everyone, is a full-stack insurtech firm, employs big data, dynamic risk assessment, and expedited claims management, to provide partners with widened distribution networks and allows consumers access to customized insurance solutions. To date, Igloo has sold over 100 million policies in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia

PHLPost launches Express Pada-Love on Valentine’s Day



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“Romance can be far, but not apart”, a message the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) will try to convey amid the pandemic as it plays Cupid on Valentine’s Day via its “Express Pada-Love program” from February 8-14.

“The celebration of Valentine’s Day might be a little different this year, but there are a lot of ways to show love and affection to our dear ones”, PHLPost said in a statement.

One way is to send flowers and letters of gratitude to someone special in our life.

Via its #ExpressPadaLove2021, not even Covid-19 can stop PHLPost from sending Love this Valentine season. PHLPost will accept orders of flowers, chocolates, stuffed toys and other gift items on February 8-11 for Express delivery on Valentine’s Day.



Following physical distancing and safety protocols, on February 08, PHLPost will accept orders through its Valentine’s Day booths selling flowers, novelty and food items at the lobby of the Manila Central and Quezon City Post Offices.

PHLPost will deliver the items via door to door through its Domestic Express Mail Service (DEMS) anywhere in Metro Manila. They can also call for orders, through telephone numbers (02) 8527-0135/ 0927-245-0835/ 0906-8976930. Payments can made via Electronic Postal Money Order (EPMO) or G-Cash at Mobile No. 0935-3674207.

On February 10, PHLPost will launch its Valentine’s Day stamps at 3:00 in the afternoon and this will be featured live on Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/PilipinasPhilately.

The cartoon style Stamp illustrates two people in facemask romantically spending time together to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a distance.

On February 14, the Postman will deliver Valentine’s Day orders of flowers, chocolates and novelty items. The program will be featured live on Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/PilipinasPhilately.

Catering to a healthier 2021



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For many of us, the new year offers a chance to reflect on the ways we would like to improve our lives. Something at the top of many people’s new year resolutions list is being healthier and eating better.

For food manufacturers, ‘new year, new me’ resolutions present a surge in people looking for healthier options. In fact, the demand for healthier products in Asia Pacific has been on a steady rise for some time and is set to continue growing post-COVID-19. New research from FMCG Gurus on behalf of BENEO shows that there is an overriding demand for healthy ingredients as consumers’ increasingly want to eat healthier, due to the pandemic.

In addition, the same research showed that people are increasingly becoming more vigilant about the threats posed by serious and common health conditions like diabetes as they appear to be more vulnerable to the virus. The past months have shown that people with diabetes or a badly controlled blood sugar level suffer more from COVID-19. With the region accounting for about 251 million diabetics, there’s a clear need for healthier alternatives that can help consumers better manage their blood glucose levels.

The good news is that scientific studies have showed that reducing blood sugar levels is relevant to health and the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes. To enable that, carbohydrate-based foods with low or reduced glycaemic properties should be the preferred food choices.

Low glycaemic diets are characterised by low blood glucose levels and correspondingly low insulin levels, which allows for a more balanced blood glucose response. This supports health and wellbeing in the long term, and benefits people of all age groups who thrive for a healthy diet and lifestyle.

With a growing body of research pointing towards blood sugar management as a powerful tool in the war against diabetes but also obesity, and more consumers now realising its potential, the food and drink industry has a clear opportunity. By incorporating BENEO’s range of ingredients from nature, they can create products with lower glycaemic indexes – a key requisite that allows for better blood sugar management and better overall health.

Effective blood sugar management without compromising taste

It is important to look at the quality of the carbohydrates we consume – and carbohydrates that help to keep the blood glucose level under control are the way to go. There are two effective ways to minimise the glycaemic effect of food products. The first is to modify the glucose supply with fully available, yet low glycaemic carbohydrates such as Palatinose™ (isomaltulose); ensuring the carbohydrate energy enters the body in a balanced way. The second is to reduce overall glucose supply by sugar replacement, using partially (e.g. the sugar replacer ISOMALT) or non-available carbohydrates (e.g. the prebiotic fibres Orafti® Inulin and Orafti® Oligofructose).

Derived from the sugar beet, Palatinose has a mild sugar-like sweet taste. It supplies the body with the same amount of energy as other common, high glycaemic carbohydrates, but in a more balanced way. The slower yet complete digestion and absorption of Palatinose™ is characterized by a slower, longer lasting, and steadier blood glucose response, without the significant drops in blood glucose associated with conventional high glycaemic sugars. This lower and more balanced blood glucose response results in less insulin release and an improved metabolic profile, which helps consumers who want to manage their weight as part of their new year’s resolution.

Alternatively, better blood sugar management can also be achieved by replacing available carbohydrates with partially (e.g. the sugar replacer ISOMALT) or non-available carbohydrates (e.g. chicory root fibres).

ISOMALT, the only sugar replacer from beet sugar, has a very low effect on blood sugar levels and does not trigger insulin release to any significant extent. With its sugar-like taste, this bulk sweetener can replace sugar in a 1:1 ratio in various applications. Aside from being the number one sugar replacer in sugar-free hard candies worldwide, it is also popular in products like chewing gum, baked goods and cereals.

BENEO’s functional fibres inulin and oligofructose, are also additional options when looking to reduce the glucose supply of foods. They are both prebiotic fibres, naturally derived from the chicory root, and they both have a mild and pleasant taste. Partially replacing high glycaemic sugars, these chicory root fibres effectively reduce the glycaemic response of foods while still offering excellent sensorial taste and texture. At the same time, inulin and oligofructose also enrich foods with prebiotic fibre content, thus helping consumers to reach the recommended level of dietary fibre intake and boosting digestive health.

To a healthier year ahead



BENEO’s portfolio of ingredients such as Palatinose™, ISOMALT, Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose has proven that their benefits can help manufacturers produce foods that are both healthy and tasty to consumers, helping them to keep their blood glucose levels at a lower, more balanced level. With the interest in healthier food products continuing to grow, the time is now for manufacturers to start adapting their recipes to meet this demand, making it easier for consumers fulfil their new year’s goals of a healthier lifestyle.
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