Friday, June 18, 2021

Liza Soberano, Katarina Rodriguez Call for Independence of Children Against Malnutrition

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On the occasion of the 123rd Philippine Independence Day celebration, Save the Children Philippines ambassadors Liza Soberano and Katarina Rodriguez call for public support to free around 3.6 million Filipino children aged five and below from stunting.

1 in 3 Filipino children is stunted2 and the Philippines ranks 9th in the world for having the most stunted children or those who are shorter in height for their age.

“It is heartbreaking that a lot of Filipino children are still left behind and are struggling to survive due to malnutrition. The plights of these malnourished children are exacerbated by the current health crisis but we drive inspiration that if we work together with everyone’s support, including civil society organizations, communities, the government, and the private sector, we will be able to provide a healthy future for the most affected and marginalized children,” said Rodriguez.

“Stunting is a silent emergency and is caused by prolonged or chronic undernutrition that starts even before or during pregnancy. It delays both body and brain development which may affect children's school performance in the long run,” explained Dr. Amado Parawan, Save the Children Philippines’ Health and Nutrition Advisor.

To help eradicate malnutrition in the country, Soberano and Rodriguez are leading a fundraising campaign called “Hope for their Future.”

Soberano, shared that every donation in support of Hope for their Future will allow Save the Children Philippines to monitor the nutritional status of young children especially that the first two (2) years of a child’s life is considered a critical window of opportunity for their growth and development.

This initiative is also knocking on the hearts of Filipino migrants and Overseas Filipino Workers who play an important role in nation-building and creating immediate and lasting change in children’s lives.

The child rights organization also recalled the invaluable efforts of Save the Children’s founder Eglantyne Jebb to free millions of children from starving to death during World War I.

Hence, in the last 40 years, Save the Children Philippines has made sure to be at the forefront of ending malnutrition in the country and successfully advocated for the enactment of Republic Act 11148 or the First 1,000 days law, in 2018, which will ensure care for pregnant women and their child, from the start of the pregnancy to the child’s first two years of life.

“Good nutrition starts at pregnancy. After all, what the mother eats, the child receives. By providing adequate access to health and nutrition services, we will be able to reduce the cases of malnutrition and save millions of lives,” said Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot.

Hope for their Future will be supporting Save the Children Philippines’ Project NURTURE which implements multisectoral nutrition programs and interventions to prevent cases of stunting among children, and provides guidance and support to parents, communities, and local government units.

“Through Hope for their Future, we hope to liberate malnourished children from the long-lasting impacts of malnutrition. Help us change the narrative of these vulnerable children by sending your donation at Your generosity and act of kindness can be life-saving,” appealed Soberano.

SMEs rally towards business growth with flexible digital solutions

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PLDT Enterprise equips businesses with digital innovations

The global health crisis has severely affected the business industry, from MSMEs to big corporations, especially when the mandated lockdowns in 2020 extended for months—leaving many business owners needing to pivot their operations and turn to digital innovations in order to survive, and thrive. To this end, PLDT Enterprise continues to equip businesses with digital tools and solutions to help them achieve growth despite the challenges of the situation.

PLDT Enterprise has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), JCI Manila, and PayMaya for the #UNBREAKABLETuesdays Virtual Forum Series and #UNBREAKABLETuesdays x eBossing Online Class Series, dedicated to empowering businesses through digital solutions.

Businesses pivot through the crisis

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, who gave the keynote speech during the recent webinar on how technology enabled enterprises power through the adverse effects of the global health crisis, relates how businesses have quickly pivoted to digital technology in response to the pandemic, thus making them unbreakable in this new chapter of business. Although digitalization is not without its sets of obstacles, enabling partners such as PLDT Enterprises have provided flexible solutions that allow MSMEs jumpstart their businesses, having them learn to navigate these tools and make them work with their business needs.

Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups, lauded the efforts of DTI in ensuring that businesses remain updated with digital technology by bringing in industry leaders. “We at PLDT Enterprise are committed to helping businesses and SMEs become unbreakable through our wide range of digital solutions. It is our goal to empower them with solutions that will enhance their resiliency and efficiency, so they can continue to grow despite the challenges the pandemic has brought.”

Among the PLDT Enterprise digital solutions that businesses have been availing of are BEYOND FIBER, PayMaya, Smart Bro, and Smart Enterprise Postpaid.

Solutions to strengthen businesses

BEYOND FIBER empowers businesses of all sizes with a reliable connectivity that enables them to go beyond and take the digital shift. With superior wi-fi powered by Cisco Meraki to securely connect work and guest devices, Curated Digital Solutions to accelerate digital adoption, and business-grade internet with the unique 90-90 advantage, BEYOND FIBER is the best choice for resilient connectivity in today’s new normal. The 90-90 service promise means that businesses can get the most out of their internet connectivity as BEYOND FIBER can provide a minimum of 90% of the subscribed speed at 90% service reliability.

PayMaya was ably represented in the webinar by PayMaya MSME Ecosystems Head Ms. Irish Kwan, who said that business unusual has become business “as usual.” PayMaya has helped businesses adapt, as it remains one of the biggest financial technology service provides in the country, leading Philippine partners for safe and secure payments both online and face-to-face, through bank payments, credit or debit cards, online payment, and use of QR codes. There are three business pillars in PayMaya: the PayMaya Consumer wallet, an app which has 28 million users, where one can do bank transfers, do top up online or over the counter; the second being PayMaya Enterprise, the enabler of online merchants, both micro and huge merchants, and the third being the Smart Padala, which is the largest agent network with 38,000 agents nationwide.

Another PLDT Enterprise Smart solution is Smart Bro, which runs on the fastest mobile network in the country. It offers wireless broadband connectivity which empowers users to work from anywhere even if they are in and out of the office. It also allows multi-gadget connectivity when you get the service with a pocket wifi or a router. All Smart Bro plans under PLDT Enterprise are 5G ready and can be bundled with Smart’s first 5G-enabled Pocket WiFi, the 5G Rocket Wifi – the best performing 5G device available in the Philippine market today, which allows subscribers to stay connected, be productive and multi-task even while on the go.

Smart Enterprise Postpaid is another offering which allows businesses to access voice, SMS and data services, powering their mobile with choice plans that fit one’s business needs and budget. With Smart’s fastest LTE network based on third party recognition, including Ookla, P3 and OpenSignal, one can stay connected with employees and customers with a superior data surfing experience. Its unlimited all-net calls, texts, and landline concessions lets one stay in contact with partners and staff, while having reliable enterprise support.

Best Practices in Digital Innovation

Toby Claudio, President of Toby’s Sports which has been in operation for 42 years, narrated the need of the company to reinvent and rediscover their business, which had to close for up to three months. There was a reconfiguration of business, keeping in mind that they were selling not just sports equipment, but a healthy lifestyle. “We had to innovate our way out of a crisis, strengthening ecommerce and giving various options as we re-engineered our retail concept,” he said, adding, “there is no excuse for any business now to learn ecommerce, to elevate its operations and harness innovation despite crisis.”

Toby’s Sports, the country’s largest store for sports and fitness with 65 stores nationwide, received the PLDT MVP Bossing Award in 2020, with the theme “Rediscovery, Reinvention,” in recognition of the company’s ability to pull through the global health crisis by adapting and changing to the current normal.

Other speakers were Nino Namoco, CEO of Del’s Apparel and Archit Anand, CEO and Co-Founder of Omnirio.

Del’s Apparel, which has been in operation for the last five decades, was able to credit the year 2020 as their best year yet, being able to adapt to technology innovations and using it to their advantage, as they provided health and safety wear which was greatly in demand during the global health crisis. Being able to know the pulse of the market, its business adaptability, grabbing opportunities, reliability, and most importantly, its use of technology innovations to their advantage have definitely helped their business thrive.

The #UNBREAKABLETuesdays Virtual Forum Series and #UNBREAKABLETuesdays x eBossing Online Class Series are projects of PLDT Enterprise in cooperation with DTI, the JCI Manila Business Academy and PayMaya.

For more information, visit #

Once just a dream, rail line connecting Manila to Bulacan now turning to reality

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What was just once a blueprint, the rail line that will soon connect Manila and Bulacan is now fast becoming a reality with the continuing construction of the PNR Clark Phase 1, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade said Monday, June 14, 2021.
Tugade led the inspection of the Balagtas Station and Calumpit construction yard site of the PNR Clark Phase 1, a project that saw many years of failed attempts to get off the drawing board. The transport secretary was accompanied by other transport officials and Bulacan local government executives.

To date, the PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos), the first segment of the massive North-South Commuter Railway Project, has an overall progress rate of 46.68% and is eyed for completion by the second quarter of 2024.

Sec. Tugade said the Duterte administration upon taking office, immediately started work to realize the vision of the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program and make the DOTR-PNR rail project a reality.

“Noong pumasok ang administrasyong Duterte, ang sabi ng administrasyon, gagawa at gagawa kami ng paraan upang ‘yung panaginip, ‘yung pangarap, ‘yung mga planong ginawa tungkol sa riles ng tren dito sa Bulacan ay maging realidad,” Sec. Tugade said.

Tugade likewise announced that the train sets to be used for the project will be delivered in December. Meanwhile, the training center for the rail line will be finished before the year ends.

Funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the PNR Clark Phase 1 is a 38-kilometer railway that cuts through the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Meycuayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos City in Bulacan. Once completed, the project will serve 300,000 passengers daily and is expected to slash travel time from Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan from one hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes.

To prove that the PNR Clark Phase 1 project is on track and on schedule, Tugade said he personally visited the Balagtas Station and Calumpit construction yard, barely a month after conducting a series of inspections at the project's Meycauayan and Valenzuela segments.


During his inspection, Sec. Tugade was welcomed by 70 former overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are now employed at the Calumpit construction yard as part of DOTr’s commitment to provide Filipinos displaced by the pandemic with jobs.

With movement restrictions imposed by states due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many OFWs lost their jobs and were forced to return home.

On the order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the DOTr reached out to former OFWs with offers of employment in the country under the Build, Build, Build Program of the Duterte Administration.

During the inspection, three (3) former OFWs expressed their gratitude to President Duterte and Sec. Tugade for the opportunity to work under the PNR Clark Phase 1 project.

“Maraming salamat po sa pagbibigay ng aming kabuhayan at maging parte ng world-class construction industry. Sana tuluy-tuloy ang proyekto ng ating Secretary Tugade,” said Aristotle Angeles, a former OFW based in the UAE and is now a deputy manager of the Sta Clara International Corporation, a sub contractor for the PNR Clark Phase 1 Project.

Tugade likewise stated that more employment opportunities prioritizing former OFWs, displaced public utility drivers, and conductors will be opened under DOTr projects.

“Pinipilit at sinisikap ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon na magkaroon ng proyekto at gawain ang ating mga OFWs. Ang inisyatibong ito ay alinsunod ‘ho sa aking direktiba na bigyang prayoridad ang ating mga mahal na OFWs, kasama ng ating mga kababayang tsuper at konduktor pagdating sa pagkuha ng mga empleyado para sa mga proyekto ng DOTr. Layunin nito na sila ay matulungan sa pagtustos sa pang araw-araw nilang pangangailangan, maging ng kanilang pamilya, kung saan hindi na nila kinakailangang lumayo pa o magtungo sa ibang bansa,” Tugade said before 70 former OFWs now working at the Calumpit construction yard.

“Bibigyan natin sila ng hanapbuhay, hindi lamang sa riles, kundi pati na rin sa Aviation, Maritime at Road sectors. Marami tayong proyekto sa Pilipinas, para sa Pilipino,” he added.

Tugade also recalled his Meycauayan and Valenzuela visits, where he was welcomed by at least 188 former OFWs working at the site.

At least 7,500 workers were employed during the construction of the project, while 2,500 additional jobs will be made available once the project becomes operational.

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