Saturday, December 10, 2016

National Digital Arts Awards 2017 Call for Entries with Brand Ambassador CyreneQ

Wazzup Pilipinas!

I've heard about Snapchat from a young OPM band when they were using it one night while we were waiting for other media friends for the intimate media gathering they organized. They were having fun doing selfies while manipulating them with several graphically animated enhancements that are somewhat humorous and laughable.

The only reason why I never continued using it was because none of my colleagues were using it, or I believe I was more into the other social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - my top three which is the same for almost everyone in the Philippines.

One probable reason was because posts had an expiration. This means they would not exist forever online. Your post will soon be gone unless you repost it. But I wanted the opposite, the more content that I publish, the better for exposure and media mileage.

I may be wrong when I later found out that there's an online influencer by the name of CyreneQ (Cyrene Quiamco) who's been very successful using Snapchat. I was amazed when she personally mentioned the amount that she earns through the use of Snapchat.

Learning she was a graphics artist before, I now know why she got into using Snapchat because of the numerous creativity made possible by the social app.

Bata Philippines Shoe Store Opens at SM Megamall

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The celebration started out with a series of flash mobs all over the SM Megamall. Models and Dancers (from Teens to Kids) were all suddenly coming at certain areas of the mall and showcasing their outfits, specifically their shoes, to attract customers who seem surprised and couldn't figure out what it was all for.

But the flash mobs were intentionally orchestrated to point to the large stage at the ground floor of the SM Fashion Fashion Hall where Bata Philippines has setup the area for a grand launch of the global shoe store brand. Finally we have in the Philippines the footwear provider that has been very popular in so many countries around the world.

These flash mobs were repeatedly done at different areas including the stage at the Fashion Hall ground were the models and dancers performed their routine moves to continuously excite the shoppers of what is about to happen at the grand launch which happens that day at around 4 pm on December 2, 2016. 

Thank you to the SM Retail of SM Supermalls for finally bringing Bata here in the Philippines.

Aside from the models and teen dancers, the most prominent scene stealers were the Kiddowockeez, a group of young kids, who were all great in dancing. Named after the award-winning but older group Jabbawockeez, these kids are impressive in their dance moves.

DOE Statement to Mindanao Power Sector

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Official Statement of Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Benito Ranque to Mindanao Power Sector

Will the Duterte Administration Succeed in Lighting Up Lanao Where Four Presidents Ailed?

It has been the long battle for Lanao to get its rightful share of electricity even as it hosts the highly coveted Agus hydroelectric power plants. Will there be light provided by a new leadership of the most contested LASURECO or Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative?

Task Force Lasureco (TFL) was organized under Executive Order issued in August 2014 that mandated the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to implement the rehabilitation measures of the electric cooperative, enhance management and operations to improve revenues.

The Task Force is responsible for installing kwh meters in households of all member-consumers within the franchise area, developing and cleansing the membership data base, and normalizing reading and billing operations apart from conducting the General Assembly and Election of the Board of Directors.

The Task Force is now chaired by Department Energy Undersecretary Benito Ranque.

During a Lanao local governments special meeting held last December 8 called by Vice Governor Mamintal Bombit Adiong Jr. a week after the ARMM LGU Summit was attended by President Rodrigo Duterte, DOE Usec Ben Ranque expressed that he will focus on getting the national government to support the electrification of Lanao del Sur,

"When there is no light, there is no water as well," said Ranque who hails from Medina, Misamis Oriental, was appointed as General Manager

Former National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Commissioner Solaiman Mutia will be his Assistant General Manager. Ranque is a Public Management graduate of Bukidnon State University.

Globe Signs P20-Billion Term Loan Facility with Metrobank

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To help finance network investments to expand coverage and enhance capacities

Globe President & CEO Ernest Cu (2nd from left) and Metrobank President Fabian Dee, (2nd from right) shake hands following the signing of 12-year and 15-year P20 billion term loan facility. The loan is intended to finance partial acquisition of San Miguel’s telecommunication assets. The transaction, which is expected to provide benefits to mobile internet customers, exemplifies the company’s continuous commitment and investments in improving the network and quality of service. These investments will help support the data needs of existing and new customers and allow them to enjoy their digital lifestyle. Globe Chief Finance Officer Rizza Maniego-Eala (left) and FMIC president Rabboni Francis Arjonillo (right) witnessed the signing.

DOE Intensifies Gasoline Station Inspection for Consumer Protection

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Responding to concerns over methanol blends, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi directed DOE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos to conduct inspections and sampling of liquid petroleum products in various gasoline stations/retail outlets nationwide for compliance with existing Philippine National Standards for fuels, especially focusing on the presence of methanol in their liquid petroleum products.

Usec. Marcos and DOE-OIMB OIC-Director Melita V. Obillo personally led the inspection of fuel quantity and quality using the DOE-Mobile Monitoring and Testing Lab (MMTL) van together with Senior Research Specialists from OIMB.

Earlier, the DOE shared the information that contrary to the Philippine National Standard (PNS) for petroleum products, methanol is being used instead of ethanol. The presence of methanol in the gasoline can harm and cause corrosion in the engine.

In performing the inspection, the DOE-OIMB applied the standard operating procedures in sampling and testing to determine the compliance of petroleum products.

Further confirmation is being done in the geoscientific research and testing laboratories under the DOE-Energy Research and Testing Laboratories in its headquarters in Taguig.

Globe Telecom and iPhone 7 Customers Help in Mindanao “Rainforestation” Efforts

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Globe signs MoA with Hineleban Foundation, Inc. on five-year Rainforestation Program in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur

Leading telecommunications company Globe Telecom, together with its thousands of iPhone 7 customers, collaborates with Hineleban Foundation, Inc. on the Rainforestation of Six Mountain Ranges of Mindanao as part of the company’s commitment to sustainable development and good corporate citizenship.

At the same time, Globe signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Hineleban for a five-year Rainforestation Program composed of three key components, namely: reforestation, food security, and sustainable livelihood development. The foundation is a non-profit organization which advocates environmental conservation and livelihood development by preserving and restoring mountain rainforests and watersheds, as well as providing livelihood opportunities for indigenous people in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur.

Customers who received the new iPhone 7 under the Globe MyLifestylePlan were able to participate in various cause-oriented programs including environment protection and conservation through the Globe of Good bundle which allowed the company to make a donation on their behalf to partner groups, one of which is Hineleban.

“We believe everyone should lead a sustainable lifestyle, one which protects and preserves our natural resources so future generations can enjoy our country’s rich heritage,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications. “Globe has already established a name for its innovations in mobile and connectivity but it is equally important for the company to give back. We have to make our practices sustainable to keep providing top-notch products and services to the customers who trust us. At the same time, we’re inviting them to be part of our efforts.”

The Majestic Yule Ball by Portkey Events

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"The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to — er — let our hair down."- Minerva McGonagall on the Yule Ball
The Yule Ball scene from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is one of the most magical moment in the Harry Potter movies since it showed many of the movie characters at their best and most glamorous look. 

According to a website about the wizarding world of Harry Potter, The Yule Ball is a tradition of the Triwizard Tournament. It is a formal dance held on Christmas night of a tournament year and is opened by the tournament champions and their partners in the Champions Waltz.

At Hogwarts, where the Yule Ball was held in 1994, only students of fourth year and above were permitted to attend, though younger students could also go if an older student invited them to accompany them. It is normally led off by the three Champions and their partners; in Harry's fourth year, of course, there are four champions, and thus four couples leading off the Ball.

Portkey Events has arranged to hold something similar for their beloved Harry Potter fans who are mostly teens who adore the wizarding world. For the real Harry Potter fans, they would know that a Portkey is an object enchanted to instantly bring anyone touching it to a specific location. True enough, the organizers have been transporting its attendees to worlds beyond the Muggles.

Both organizers and attendees may be called geeks for knowing most of the facts and trivia about the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and everything about their most prominent students studying there to be full-pledged wizards and witches someday, including the many professors with distinctive personalities, but these are obviously the classy geeks who know how to dress up at their finest as seen during PortKey Events' Yule Ball that was held on December 4, 2016 at the Blue Leaf Events Place in McKinley, Taguig.

DOE's Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Awards To Honor 180 Energy Stakeholders

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Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi announced that some 180 establishments and energy stakeholders will be recipients of the prestigious Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Awards (DEAEEA) on 12 December 2016 at the Passion Restaurant, Maxims Hotel in Pasay City.

On its 34th year now, the DEAEEA is an annual event that recognizes the private sectors’ efforts to promote and implement energy conservation programs, which is one of the many activities of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) celebration of its National Energy Consciousness Month this December.

Secretary Cusi said “The awards will be given to outstanding establishments and energy managers who have undertaken or who are responsible for conducting energy efficiency and conservation programs that redounded to considerable savings in their energy consumption.”

Various establishments from the industrial, transport and commercial building sectors will be awarded during the annual event.

For aspiring candidates for the DEAEEA, Sec. Cusi clarified that "Companies are required to submit their energy consumption reports which will be subsequently deliberated by the DEAEEA Technical Evaluation Committee."

The DEAEEA Technical Evaluation Committee with representations from the DOE, Philippine National Oil Company, National Power Corporation, Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), Petron Corporation, Chevron Philippines Incorporated, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Energy Efficiency Practitioners Association of the Philippines, Philippine Energy Conservation Center Incorporated and Energy Development and Utilization Foundation Incorporated rigorously evaluates the energy consumption reports of the recipients of the DEAEEA following a set of guidelines and criteria.

Videos: JaDine Launched as New Brand Ambassadors of Lenovo Philippines

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Even if you are not a fan of Pinoy Love Teams, you probably have noticed that there seems to be an influx of brands all wanting this particular love teams as their brand ambassadors or endorsers. The impact that they could give a brand could become phenomenal as die-hard fanatics would be the very first ones eager to share every information or happening about their favorite love teams, and would also emulate what their idols would do, eat, use and even talk, just to be called "in" with them.

True enough, I see fan clubs making tremendous efforts in retweeting my Tweets, Liking and Sharing all my other social media posts about their idols, and writing comments to share their own thoughts. Some of them would even bash criticisms from other people like they are the bodyguards of their idols who would defend them no matter what.

But all of these viral or trending news about their idols would have not been possible if not for the existence of smartphones connected to social media through the use of the Internet. Everything is already beyond the radio, television, newspaper and magazine as we all now fully embrace online content as the "in" thing when it comes to sharing news and information.

Thus smartphones have become one of the most in demand product in the market. An individual may even have two or three smartphones eventhough there are dual-sim models. People just can't get enough of wanting more than just one as there are so many brands, and models, out there with excellent features we all want to own for ourselves.

Among these brands is Lenovo which has recently come out with the world's first Tango-enabled smartphone with their latest model called the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Theis model provides users with an elevated Augmented Reality (AR) experience with Google's Tango technology which enables the user to map physical spaces and overlay it with virtual effects, track objects, and map indoor spaces.These abilities allow for more types of apps, experiments, and designs to offer a lot more possibilities with our AR experience aside from the existing 25 Tango-enabled apps on Google Play like the Solar Simulator app that automatically scales the entire solar system to fit inside your room, the Raise app which gives you a virtual 3D pet, and Lowe's Home Improvement app which allows for a sort of Interior Design creativity.

At a launch held on November 26, 2016 at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia, the launch was even made more special with the introduction of JaDine as the newest brand ambassadors of Lenovo brand. Not only of a single product model but of the entire product line of Lenovo.

Friday, December 9, 2016

#ManokNgBayan: Chooks-to-Go Honors MVP, Smart in new Gilas Pilipinas Partnership

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It looks like the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team has a new favorite roasted chicken brand and that's Chooks-to-Go, the brand that advertises their roasted chickens do not need any sauce to taste good because they are already great as they are. 

If you could still remember, the Gilas Pilipinas team used to have a partnership with another chicken brand but with a different way of cooking. Actually, both chicken brands do have their own special qualities which makes them both a favorite among Filipinos. The heart of the team could not offer their heart or "puso" to two chicken brands as they are now under the sponsorship of Chooks-to-Go. Chooks-to-Go now joins Smart to reinforce Gilas’ campaign in its quest to qualify for the 2020 Olympics

The new partnership was launched on December 5, 2016 during the “#ManokNgBayan” event held at the Makati Shangri-La hotel, which Chooks-to-Go hosted for MVP, Smart and Gilas Pilipinas. But the new partnership between Chooks-to-Go and Gilas Pilipinas was just a part of the celebration for the event also was menat to honor MVP himself. It is the night when they honor Manuel V. Pangilinan who supported the Gilas Pilipinas team via the Smart Communications telecommunications company brand.

The man of the night, MVP, was there to also answer questions aside from the numerous and lengthy photo ops on stage. Coach Chot Reyes was there together with the Gilas Pilipinas team. A Q&A was also held with MVP himself a part of the panel together with Coach Chot and two of the Gilas Pilipinas players.

The night was capped off with raffle prizes and a song number from the Sandwich OPM band.

Honda Ushers a Gen-S Kind of Christmas at SM Mall of Asia

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Honda Philippines once again made a spectacular event for the public and especially to its beloved Honda riders as they held a launch of their latest scooters and motorcycles Gen-S and All-New Honda BeAT on December 3, 2016 at the SM by the Bay area of the Mall of Asia Complex.

We were invited to attend the night program which started with some games or challenges to warm up the audience and set the mood for the nearing program was facilitated by a wacky DJ host and participated by motorcycle riders from different groups and locations. The winners from the games, as well as from the raffle, got to bring home motorcycle accessories like shirts, jackets and helmets.

The official start of the program was hosted by PBA courtside reporter and TV personality Apple David. This was followed by the top management of Honda Philippines, Daiki Mihara, President, coming up om stage to share his opening message. Surprisingly, Mr. Elie Salamangkit was not the one who shared the technical specs of the motorcycles. We later saw him with a bad throat which made him lose his voice. Get well soon to the long-haired Product Planning Manager of Honda Philippines.

The All-New Honda BeAT is a reflection of HPI’s dedication in developing trendsetting and groundbreaking scooters for the young, fun, sporty, and stylish millennials. It comes with a slim but sharp form. It also looks sportier with its new design wheels and tubeless tires while exuding that tech-savvy feel with its semi-digital meter panel with ECO indicator.

Honda Philippines Launches the All-New Honda BeAT Scooters for the Millennials

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The motorcycle is still the most convenient ride available that is also easy to purchase and maintain. Parking is also less of a problem as it requires very little space to park. You could literally park it anywhere. Thus it has continued to be the most popular choice for many.

But since there are several choices of brands out there that compete with both features and price thus consumers need to also do their homework in choosing their preferred brand.

We should also take note that the youth or those within the Millennials age category are also becoming among the many patrons of motorcycles especially the scooters which they find as a cool thing to get around as well especially within city driving. From home to school or office, or anywhere else, scooters are very useful for faster transportation requirements. It beats riding a taxi that would usually be stuck in traffic among other bigger vehicles.

Thus Honda also has scooters available that they are now dedicating to the demands of the Millennials with some features that will surely attract the attention of these younger individuals. The two variants are also a great way to provide several choices so we can match it with our personality and lifestyle.

The All-New Honda BeAT was recently launched on November 26, 2016 at the Blue Leaf Filipinas Events Place near City of Dreams in Pasay city. The event was attended by the top management of Honda who shared their respective messages.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Removes Barriers for Mass Adoption of IoT

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced new innovations that help organizations rapidly, securely and cost-effectively deploy Internet of Things (IoT) devices in wide area, enterprise and industrial deployments. These solutions include:

·         HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler
·         HPE Universal IoT Platform
·         Aruba ClearPass Universal Profiler
·         Aruba 2540 Series Switches
·         Edgeline Systems expand partnerships in edge computing and integrated control

“Cost-prohibitive economics and the lack of a holistic solution are key barriers for mass adoption of IoT,” said Keerti Melkote, senior vice president and general manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “By approaching IoT with innovations to expand our comprehensive framework built on edge infrastructure solutions, software platforms and technology ecosystem partners, HPE is addressing the cost, complexity and security concerns of organizations looking to enable a new class of services that will transform workplace and operational experiences.”      

As organizations integrate IoT into mainstream operations, the onboarding and management of IoT devices remains costly and inefficient particularly at large scale. Concurrently, the diverse variations of IoT connectivity, protocols and security, prevent organizations from easily aggregating data across a heterogeneous fabric of connected things. 

To deliver on IoT’s promise of deriving valuable insights from billions of connected things, HPE is helping organizations optimize the lifecycle of IoT devices. By reducing IoT connectivity costs and translating device communications to a common language, HPE is arming organizations with tools to dramatically change the economics and viability of large scale IoT deployments.

Improved IoT Economics in Wide Area IoT Deployments
To improve the economies of scale for massive IoT deployments over wide area networks, HPE is announcing the new HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) and enhancements to the HPE Universal IoT (UIoT) Platform.

HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler – The new HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler gives customers greater control over IoT devices that need cellular connectivity and services. It will foster the emergence of new, specialized IoT Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that resell IoT connectivity directly to customers at price points optimized for large scale machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT deployments. HPE MVNE provisioning, configuration, administration and billing services – paired with wide area mobile network operator coverage – change the economics of large-scale deployments by reducing IoT provisioning costs by up to 80 percent.

HPE Universal IoT Platform Designed for massive scale, multi-vendor and multi-network support using the oneM2M interoperability standard, the HPE Universal IoT Platform manages the HPE MVNE devices and provides multivendor IoT monitoring, reporting, and analytics services with carrier-grade reliability and scale. The platform supports long-range, low-power connectivity deployments such as LoRa and SIGFOX, as well as devices that use cellular, radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

New enhancements include:

  • Lightweight M2M standards support – Delivers plug-and-play interoperability between IoT devices and UIoT services.
  • Expanded device management – Allows management of both SIM and non-SIM based devices across different systems, devices, and applications.
  • Increased LoRa gateway support – Enables the use of multiple LoRa gateways with a common set of applications to simplify device provisioning and control in heterogeneous LoRa environments

“For the full benefit of IoT to be realized by commercial interests and consumers alike, IoT sensor networks need to be deployable anywhere, reaching the most remote places on Earth,” said Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat’s Enterprise business. “The combination of Inmarsat’s industry-leading, global satellite network and HPE’s cloud-based Universal IoT Platform, allows enterprises to do exactly that. Our first project together in Precision Farming promises not only to create a new model for best practices in agriculture but is also an ideal go-to-market model of what our companies will be able to do across many other industries. We are extremely excited about this prospect.” 

IoT Device Security in Local Area Networks
To deliver visibility and secure connectivity for large scale IoT deployments at the enterprise network edge, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, announced the Aruba ClearPass Universal Profiler and the Aruba 2540 Series Switches. These new solutions identify and inventory all IoT devices as they connect to the network, and drive down the per-port cost of wired IoT connectivity.

The new ClearPass Universal Profiler automatically identifies the attributes of IoT devices as they attempt to connect to the network. This enables IT managers to catalog what IoT devices are on wired and wireless networks and assign the appropriate policies to each one. The Universal Profiler provides visibility and context regarding risk and performance issues derived via IoT devices.

The Aruba 2540 Series Switches further protect IoT devices with unified role-based access. This feature identifies and assigns roles to IoT devices as they connect, prioritizing business-critical applications and controlling which network resources the devices can access. The 2540 Series Switches are optimized for small-to-medium density IoT enterprise edge deployments.

Delivering Edge Focused Innovation for Industrial IoT Deployments 
Technology ecosystem partners are critical ingredients driving innovation for IoT. New application technology partners fuel the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems to solve a variety of customer pain points and deliver new capabilities. Today, HPE is announcing multiple solutions and uses cases with an ecosystem of partners that will enable new IoT opportunities, including:
·         Factory Asset Anomaly Detection and Remediation – In collaboration with PTC and National Instruments, this Edgeline Systems offering enables early warning of potential failures, allowing maintenance techs to correct an issue before it becomes a major problem.
·         Data Management at the Edge – Developed with OSIsoft, this Edgeline Systems solution is designed for storing, managing and accessing time series data that is readily present in the operational technology and IoT world.

Supporting Quotes
“We have selected HPE as a key partner in realizing the Government of India’s Smart Cities’ mission,” said Dr. Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Technologies. “As a strategic partner for IoT, HPE will co-develop smart city use cases on smart metering, water and waste management, and smart parking and lighting, among other technologies. These will be our showcase for Indian urban and rural bodies. Our partnership with HPE demonstrates that collaboration and joint innovation can drive increasing value for all stakeholders of Smart Cities, enabling a transformative change in the everyday living experiences of its citizens. By combining our technology and services’ strength, we will offer a world-leading solution to the Smart Cities of India.”

“The oneM2M standards are focused on bringing the vision of a truly connected society to life through the development of technical specifications that address the need for a common M2M service layer that drives interoperability,” said Fran O’Brien, Steering Committee Chair, oneM2M.  “oneM2M recognizes the work of companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for its achievement in launching a oneM2M compliant IoT platform that solves a myriad of industry use cases such as Smart City, Smart Transportation and Connected Car.”

“It is challenging to cobble together solutions from multiple vendors to interconnect and manage different IoT devices and systems,” said Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst, ZK Research. “This force fitting of solutions results in huge infrastructure and operations expenses and dramatically delays organizations’ introduction of IoT solutions. The new solutions HPE is delivering to address the barriers to IoT adoption can significantly shorten deployment times and simplify the network architecture which will also improve security.”

Discovery Channel December Highlights

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The Island With Bear Grylls (New Series of the US Version)

Survival expert Bear Grylls strands 14 ordinary men on a deserted Pacific island. The stakes could not be more real as heat exhaustion and severe dehydration puts the life of one man in jeopardy. The show premieres on 20 December, 9 PM.

For updates, follow Discover Channel Southeast Asia on Facebook:

#StevestonPizzaPh: The Fastest Disappearing Pizzas Alive

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I may be exaggerating quite a lot when I said it's the fastest disappearing pizza alive, but that's how I really felt when these pizzas quickly disappeared from sight the moment it was laid down on our table. It was like the pizzas had a life of its own beckoning others to "Come and eat us!" without very little hesitation.

One by one they were served, yet in a matter of seconds, they were immediately gone even before I could get a good number of photo or video shots of the pizza. Everyone just grabbed a slice after a few clicks from their cameras or smartphones and then devoured the pizzas like it was alive and would ran out of the restaurant if your don't eat them as soon as possible. Lol!

Honestly, I am used to a great number of minutes taking several angles for my photos and videos, but our recent gathering with our special group has broken that long photo shoot and waiting for others before we could finally sit down and chow on the food.

These pizzas must be really so darn good that everyone couldn't stop themselves from devouring a slice or two. I had to rush myself in taking the shots so I could still somehow get to show you how they looked like before all the hands started coming in and grabbing a slice from every corner. There was no more effort to flat lay just like what most foodies will do. Every pizza just disappeared even faster than the Flash, the fastest man alive.

GEM Launches Asia-wide Search for Singing Talents for I Can Sing in Japanese!

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Asian entertainment channel GEM is holding an online call to search for talented individuals in Asia who can sing in Japanese. The winner of the search will represent GEM in Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV)’s singing competition show I Can Sing in Japanese! in Tokyo next year.

Broadcast since 2011 in Japan, the prestigious programme has attracted applicants from all over the world, including Denmark, Spain, and Jamaica amongst other countries. The show is a platform for aspiring non-Japanese singers to showcase their talents on a national stage, with some of its past participants even going on to make professional debuts. Incredible singing talent aside, viewers can also expect to be astounded by the impressive sight of non-natives belting out pitch-perfect Japanese tunes. Some past winners from Asia include Singapore’s Jeremy Teng, Indonesia’s Fatimah Zahratunnisa and Michael David Bodin from the Philippines.

“Continuing our tradition of offering the best of Japan’s entertainment to audiences in Asia, we are elated to give viewers in the region the opportunity to be more involved, be it as a participant or as a supporter of their country’s representative. We are looking forward to see the talent that Asia has to offer.” said Virginia Lim, Senior Vice President and Head of Content, Production & Marketing, Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia.

The Road to Stardom in Japan Awaits. Apply Now!

The online call for entries begins from 9 December via GEM’s website:

Assessing Specialty: Arabicas & Robustas with Dr. Manuel Diaz

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It is not surprising to see so many coffee shops that have proliferated all over the country. I believe coffee is one of the most powerful force behind many beverage industries today. From the first wave to the current third wave of coffee trends, it is without any doubt that coffee would still remain as a significant part of our industry.

Drinking coffee has evolved from simply having to making it artistically pleasing and now to improve the production process to ensure we get the highest quality. It also means it gets to be a lot more classier and sophisticated, thus it has become an "in" thing to be hanging out at coffee shops sipping one of these pimped up coffees while browsing the Internet with our tablets or smartphones.

Coffee experts eventually emerged to ensure we do get what we desire out of coffee. It is because coffee can have several kinds depending on many factors like where it was grown, how it was processed - handled, extracted, roasted, etc., and of course who finally prepared it for you in a cup, glass, or any type of container that could readily hold the coffee, whether hot or cold.

On the very first day of December of the year 2016, Equilibrium Intertrade Corporation, one of the top leading distributors of high quality coffee, tea, and non-coffee beverages, organized an event called Assessing Specialty: Arabicas & Robustas held at the Benjaro Restaurant of Dusit Thani Hotel. The guest speaker is Dr. Manuel Diaz, a Mexican Social Anthropologist who came all the way from the London School of Economics.

The Ultimate Tech Christmas Shopping Guide

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Our country has the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season. Once the ‘ber’ months kick in, something magical unfolds right in front of our very eyes. Public places become riddled with Christmas lights, speakers in malls blare out Christmas tunes and the air around us becomes cooler.

There’s also one thing people look forward to once the holidays begin and these are the flurry of sales with special discounts that barrage us left and right.

As a way to assist you in purchasing gifts for your loved ones this coming holiday season, Lenovo has rounded up great tech gifts for everyone on your list.

For the visionary - Lenovo PHAB2 Pro

When Augmented-reality (AR) technology broke into the mainstream this year thanks to Pokémon GO, people became ecstatic. Suddenly everyone can interact with fictional beings in real time and in the real world but AR is more than that. With it, visionaries who always have an eye for the future can imagine in a whole new level; by simply clicking a button they can create immersive environments that are highly interactive and can be easily manipulated.

Knowing the limitless potential AR technology has, Lenovo released the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro—the world’s first smartphone compatible with AR, all thanks to Google’s Tango platform. The phone is capable of creating a 3D space around its user by using a combination of cameras such as a regular camera, an integrated depth sensing camera and a motion tracking camera.

Power won’t be an issue as it has Qualcomm’s “Tango-optimized” Snapdragon 652 processor and 4GB of RAM. With a 6.4-inch display and Quad HD resolution, the AR experience can be as authentic as it can be. The latest of the Lenovo PHAB line to enter the Philippine market, it has a standard retail price of P24,999 and will be available by mid-December.

For the movie buff - Lenovo PHAB2

If binge-watching movies or TV shows all day is a favorite hobby, then the PHAB2 is perfect for that person on your gift list with its 6.4-inch 1280x720 HD IPS Screen and Dolby Atmos speakers that enable the device to play sounds in crisp and clear 5.1 surround sound quality.

Watching for countless hours shouldn’t be a problem as the PHAB2 comes with a 4050mAh battery and has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor coupled with 3GB of RAM.

The PHAB2 is now available nationwide in all Lenovo stores and authorized dealers for P 9,999.

For the shutterbug - Lenovo PHAB2 Plus

Photographers are in for a treat with the dual 13 MP f/2.0 rear camera setup of the Lenovo PHAB2 Plus! Capturing stunning images has never been easier with its Milbeaut® image processor—the same technology found in professional-grade cameras.

You can also shoot super-sharp selfies with the 8 MP front camera featuring a 75º wide-angle view. Whatever you do with your Phab 2 Plus photos, you can be sure they'll look PHABulous!

Similar to the PHAB2, it comes with an impressive 6.4 inch screen and also sports a 1.3GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. You can get your hands on it for P14, 999.

For the artist - Lenovo Yoga Book

Mobile productivity enters a new era with the Lenovo Yoga Book, a 2-in-1 tablet that is definitely first of its kind and never before seen. With its Create Pad, the Yoga Book is the perfect gift for the artist in your family as users can scribble notes or sketches using the stylus or with a real pen.

Boasting an exceptionally thin and light design, the Yoga Book weighs only 690g and is as thin as 4.05mm, making work or play on-the-go effortlessly easy. Thin, light, and stylish, the tablet is perfect to set creative imagination flowing, anytime, anywhere.

Buyers of the Yoga Book can either avail of a Windows 10 or an Android version. The Windows 10 costs P28,999 while the Android version is P23,999.

For the gamer - Lenovo IdeaPad Y700

Booming is definitely the appropriate term to describe the gaming scene today. The year 2016 saw major gaming titles being released one after another and what perfect way to enjoy these games (and the upcoming games, too) than to experience all of their 720P or 1080P Full HD glory using the Lenovo IdeaPad Y700.

Built for no-nonsense, on-the-go gaming, this 15- or 17-inch laptop has the hardware that hardcore gamers look for in a laptop. Overheating is a non-issue with its thermal fans keeping things nice and cool under the hood and its backlit keyboard is perfect for gamers who want an enhanced gaming experience.

Both laptops come with up to 16 GB DDR4 memory, more than enough room to handle the latest triple-A games. The 17” laptop however packs a stronger punch with its NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics. Oh, what a time for a gamer to be alive! Price starts at P69,995.
For the travelling yuppie - Lenovo Yoga 900

All of us know that traveling can be a burden. Packing heavy bags filled with clothes and gear can be draining, and with laptops becoming a necessity, it’s important for it to be durable, flexible, and light at the same time.

Fortunately for backpackers, the Lenovo Yoga 900 meets those very requirements. Weighing at a mere 1.3 kg and just 14.9 mm thick, the Yoga 900 is ultraportable — it's perfect for life on the go.

It features four different modes for users: Laptop, Stand, Tent, or Tablet. How, you ask? The secret is on the laptop’s watchband hinge and touchscreen which allows the screen to flip up to 360 degrees. Get it for P78,995.

beep Card can now be Loaded and Used for Payment at FamilyMart

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After its convenient usage at all MRT/LRT trains and BGC buses, the beep card can now also be used at all FamilyMart convenience stores. Talk about access to convenience in a convenience store! That's twice the convenience for all of us!

The beep card can now be reloaded and used to purchase products at all FamilyMart branches nationwide. That's cashless transactions for the consumers who can conveniently use the same beep card that we previously used only to travel in trains and buses.

At a media launch held on December 7, 2016 at the Glorietta 3 branch in Makati city. This is to officially announce the partnership between beep card's proponent AF Payments Inc., and FamilyMart, a Japanese convenience store chain of Ayala Corporation - Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

I'm sure the beep card will soon expand into more flexible usage to add to the existing lineup of partnerships where we can reload and use the card to purchase. The advantage goes to the consumers as it would definitely mean added convenience. So please do add more to the list so we do not need to carry so much different cards anymore in most, if not all, of our daily or regular transactions.

We interviewed both representatives from FamilyMart and AF Payments so please do watch our videos of them here and at our YouTube channel at

Power Mac Center Puts Spotlight on JBL Reflect Aware Earphones

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JBL now introduces another audio product that will surely catch the attention of music lovers especially those that regularly listen to their favorites while doing their usual routine at home or even work, or while having their exercise at their favorite workout gym, fitness center, dance studio or something similar like the Ride Revolution whose stationary bikes within the establishment are a great alternative to keeping our bodies in shape without the exposure to harmful pollution outside. 

Introducing the JBL Reflect Aware Earphones that are now available at all Power Mac Center branches nationwide.

The two companies recently joined together again to hold a product launch for the media on December 7, 2016 at the Ride Revolution studio located in Makati city.

We would have to thank the two companies for sponsoring another event that announces this gadget with impressive features that would help us to focus more on our music because of its noise cand=cellationa nd adaptive noise control.

Hosting the launch was the forever wacky yet really sporty Sam YG, while Sophia Andres was also there to brighten up the day with her beautiful presence. Both celebrities, aside from the other personalities who usually drop by at every Power Mac Center event, are brand ambassadors of our favorite gadget store, Power Mac Center, whose list of available iPhone accessories have grown so big already.

Our iPhone has never been lonely ever since the existence of Power Mac Center as it provides a convenient place to purchase our much needed iPhone and iPad accessories at very reasonable prices.

Getting the Best Out of Your Marketing, Sales and Service Teams

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Third Pillar conveys tips on establishing lasting customer relationships.

One of the challenges for insurance companies is providing excellent service and customer satisfaction to its clients. However, because of a fast-paced living among consumers brought about by the emergence of technology, the need for fast, efficient and effective customer turnaround is more important than ever if companies are to foster better client relations and retain customers.

According to Third Pillar, as consumer expectations continue to become more demanding, organizations have to excel in three aspects – marketing, sales, and customer service – if they are to provide customer delight.

With Salesforce, the world's leading and most innovative CRM, organizations may now engage with their customers more efficiently and smarter. Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps insurance companies know potential clients by capturing their profiles, thereby making it easier for the sales team to identify the right service or product to offer to a particular customer.

Salesforce Sales Cloud empowers your sales team to sell faster, smarter and more convenient through automated tracking of customer information and interactions. On the other hand, Salesforce Service Cloud is responsible of taking care of the customers and resolve issues quickly by giving the frontline team a systematic way of addressing concerns.

And because all of these solutions are in the cloud,the team can access the platform and perform their jobs even outside their offices and through different devices. They can easily check the status of leads, respond to cases that demand a quick turn-around time, and efficiently evaluate the overall performance of the team members over a period of time.

“Customer engagement is not just about telling your customers what you offer and closing the deal. It is actually a journey of connecting with your customers, understanding their needs and providing them the needed support and excellent after-sales service. Third Pillar and Salesforce help companies remain agile when it comes to delivering these expectations and forecast a better future of their business,” said Jennifer Ligones, President and CEO, Third Pillar.

For more information, visit Third Pillar’s website at

Death Penalty and Lowering Age of Criminal Liability will Create “Death Row Kids”

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A progressive senator strongly opposed to the government’s plan to reimpose the death penalty and lower the age of criminal liability expressed alarm that the simultaneous efforts to reinstate the death penalty and lower the age of criminal liability will result in minors landing on death row.

In a press conference organized by Amnesty International-Philippines, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said that the death penalty and the age of criminal liability lowered from 15 to 9 is a "deadly combination that will condemn Filipino children to a dark and sinister future in which they will become death row kids.”

Hontiveros also expressed serious concerns that the consolidated death penalty bill contradicts the government’s supposed rehabilitation and reformation programs for convicted drug users and criminals. “The broad scope of crimes punishable by death, including the mere possession of illegal drugs, is extremely bothering. What is therefore the point of building a mega-drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija if the government wants all the drug addicts killed anyway?” the senator asked.

It was reported that the death penalty bill is now slated for plenary debates after the House justice committee on Wednesday approved the consolidated bill. It enumerated the following crimes punishable by death, namely: treason; piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine water; qualified piracy; qualified bribery; parricide; murder; infanticide; rape; kidnapping and serious illegal detention; robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons; destructive arson; plunder; possession of dangerous drugs; Carnapping, among others.

The mode of capital punishment could either be through hanging, by firing squad or lethal injection.

Fortinet Survey Reveals Cybersecurity Strategies of APAC Enterprises

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New Fortinet research identifies cloud and vulnerability in IT systems as the two greatest concerns for IT decision makers; uncovers trend favouring actionable threat intelligence, faster incident response and managed security services

“Our independent study highlights the urgent need among enterprise-scale organisations from all sectors in APAC to prioritize end-to-end cybersecurity protection with actionable, threat intelligence capabilities in the face of new digital business challenges. Enterprises need to respond more rapidly and effectively to security breaches by investing in integrated, adaptive cybersecurity architectures for the borderless network. Fortinet is uniquely equipped to deliver this security without compromise through a seamless, comprehensive security fabric.” - Patrice Perche, Senior Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Support, Fortinet

News Summary:

New research from Fortinet, the global leader in high-performance cybersecurity solutions, has revealed the cybersecurity strategies of IT decision makers (ITDMs) at organisations with more than 250 employees across APAC:

64 percent say the best response to increased security breaches is to invest in new cyber security technologies that provide protection across the entire threat lifecycle.

The two greatest concerns of ITDMs were securing the cloud and protecting against vulnerabilities in IT systems:

o Securing the cloud: 67 percent for the region and 86 percent of Mainland Chinese respondents – the highest in APAC.

o Protecting against vulnerabilities in IT systems: 69 percent for the region and 74 percent of Thai respondents – the highest in APAC.

However, many see increased security breaches as a catalyst for outsourcing cybersecurity functions to a managed security service provider (MSSP). In all, the research found that within three to five years, 38 percent of APAC organisations could be addressing their cybersecurity priorities through outsourcing. The forecast for cybersecurity outsourcing adoption is highest in Singapore (59 percent), while in Thailand the take-up is lowest with only 30 percent of organisations expected to outsource.

Findings Advocate Need for Security Fabric and Actionable Threat Intelligence
The survey examined the response tactics of those affected by cyber attacks to illustrate how present security infrastructures have struggled to contend with the realities of an increasingly digital world.  Of the more than half (59 percent) of all APAC IT decision makers in the survey who reported a security breach in the last year, only 22 percent of them discovered this within minutes of the breach occurring.  Of the Indian respondents who experienced a recent breach, this response threshold was met by only 14 percent (the lowest in the region).

In some sectors, such as healthcare, it took 53 percent of respondents days, months or even years to spot breaches.

Such a deficiency in rapid, effective threat identification and response is proven to be highly costly to breached organisations as sensitive data is lost, systems are compromised and brand reputation is damaged.  

The survey found that, to mitigate these attacks and better protect their organisations, the number one action undertaken by ITDMs is the use of threat detection technologies (15 percent), closely followed by cloud-based cybersecurity services (13 percent).  Such capabilities are underpinned by the provision of actionable threat intelligence.

APAC respondents cited ‘improved risk management’ as the greatest value of threat intelligence (55 percent), followed by ‘improved prevention of attacks’ (53 percent) and ‘improved information security strategy’ (52 percent).

In terms of how and where new threat intelligence capabilities may be applied, 44 percent of those asked said they had their own threat research/incident response team monitoring all security activity in place today, though the number is only 25 percent in Hong Kong compared to 52 percent in Mainland China.  Meanwhile, 30 percent of respondents claimed to outsource their cyber threat intelligence to a managed security service provider. Locally, the figure is lowest in Mainland China (16%) and highest in Malaysia (35%).

Supporting Quote
“IT decision makers understandably want more resources to combat threats from all directions, but the answer doesn’t have to come in the form of spending more or ripping and replacing existing solutions.  Fortinet’s open, adaptive security fabric shows how enterprises can achieve true end-to-end protection with security capabilities that share intelligence across the entire attack surface.  We are unique in providing the same breadth of capability and performance whether enterprises choose to retain in-house control of their own cybersecurity infrastructure, or use the services of an MSSP partner from our growing global community.” - Jeff Castillo, Country Manager, Fortinet Philippines

Note on Survey Methodology
The 2016 Fortinet Global Security Survey was a research exercise undertaken on behalf of Fortinet by independent market research company Lightspeed GMI. The survey involved 1,399 qualified IT decision makers in 13 countries – predominantly CIOs, CTOs, IT Directors and Heads of IT – from organisations with more than 250 employees.

The APAC figures given in this press release concern the 643 participants sampled from six markets: China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. 

Shop for Business and Gifts inside the OFW & SME Business Christmas Expo at the Megatrade Hall

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Are you looking forward for a successful and blessed 2017 in your life as an entrepreneur? The 2016 OFW & SME Business Christmas Expo can help you shop for the business you are looking for.

The Expo has health and beauty, technology, fashion, arts and crafts, food franchising, dealership and more that will definitely allow you to find the business that fits your budget and personality.

Research data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that only 2 out of every 10 Overseas Filipino Workers managed to save at least half of all their remittances.

“Regardless of the amount of the cash remittances sent, for every 10 OFWs, six (61.7 percent) were able to save less than 25 percent of the total amount received, two (21.6 percent) were able to save from 25 percent to 49 percent of it, and about two (16.7 percent) saved 50 percent or more,” the PSA reported.

This is followed by reports showing that one out of ten OFWs is broke, citing a 2011 study by Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc., which also found out that eight out of 10 OFWs who returned to the Philippines have no savings. 

Globe myBusiness Revolutionizes Philippine eCommerce with the Right Tools of the Trade

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In an economy where micro, small, and medium enterprises comprise 99.6% of all registered business, navigating through commerce in the Philippines can prove to be a hefty lot. Much of it is headlined by the humble sari-sari store, where anyone can purchase every good imaginable at his cost and convenience. But right at the cusp of the information age, even our mom and pop shops would have to learn to grow to sustain their economic presence and performance.

This was what Globe myBusiness championed at this year’s eCommerce Show Philippines 2016, in a gathering of the country’s leading technology enablers that aimed to revolutionize retail, in a ripe marketplace of over 100 million potential consumers, by offering the right tools in the increasingly changing rules of today’s trade.

“It is Globe myBusiness’ mission to help every business owner achieve success,” offered myBusiness Head Derrick Heng. By introducing innovative business solutions that would place retail conveniences at the palm of today’s most enterprising individuals and companies, Globe myBusiness aims to be the partner in bringing the needed technological boost to one’s business.

One shining example of exciting mobile business solutions powered by Globe myBusiness is Shopify, the leading international eCommerce platform utilized by over 300,000 merchants around the world. With its first break in the Philippine market through Globe myBusiness, it aims to make room for more, by enabling small and medium Filipino businesses to effortlessly launch a dependable and efficient commercial presence—with thoughtful display interface and easy-to-use point-of-sale access—in the infinite world of e-commerce.

Globe myBusiness extends Shopify’s enterprising efficiency by offering low monthly rates and 0% transaction fees for new sign-ups, opening a whole world of business possibilities in the greater worldwide web. For only P599 monthly for a Basic Shopify account, P2499 monthly for a Regular Shopify account, and P4999 monthly for an Advanced Shopify account, Globe myBusiness’ Shopify Plan offers flexible commercial connectivity to match your scale of business, while giving you access to billions of consumers worldwide.

“Retail is a very competitive industry. This is why we provide relevant & timely industry information to all our partners, so that you can adapt and serve your customers better. Your success is our business,” Heng guaranteed, addressing hundreds of eager attendees at this year’s eCommerce Show Philippines.

So get ahead of the market curve, and let new technology work for your business, with a network that has your best business interest in mind. Armed with the proper tools, the right data at the right time, and an infinite venue for commercial possibilities, Globe myBusiness Plan opens your micro, small, or medium businesses into even bigger and brighter possibilities.

CHED Clarifies Issues on “Desist” Instructions

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The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) seeks to clarify recent issues and events surrounding the instruction of Malacanang to desist from attendance at cabinet meetings.

In response to the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella referring to the 22 August 2016 Memorandum instructing all presidential appointees to submit courtesy resignations, the CHED Chairperson did not submit due to the following:

      Dr. Licuanan had a one-on-one meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte last 13 June 2016 in Davao and was personally assured by the President that he would respect her term of office and was instructed to continue doing her job.
      Dr. Licuanan has been invited and has dutifully attended the Cabinet meetings beginning the second cabinet meeting last 11 July 2016, up to the eighth cabinet meeting on 03 November 2016.
      Throughout this period, Dr. Licuanan has been faithful in fulfilling her duties as CHED Chairperson, and, recognizing her role as a member of the official family of the President, has been responsible and circumspect in making public statements that may in any way be misconstrued as being against President Duterte, primarily as a result of her being an appointee of then President Benigno S. Aquino III.

These are the reasons why the Chairperson was surprised that she was instructed to desist from attending Cabinet meetings starting 5 December 2016, on the basis of ‘irreconcilable differences’ according to Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr.

It must be recalled that CHED was created in 1994 through Republic Act No. 7722, as a Commission headed by a Chairperson instead of a Department. This meant strict qualifications and “a fixed term of four years without prejudice to one reappointment”. By stipulating a term that makes the Chairperson of CHED not co-terminus with the appointing authority, the law aimed to ensure continuity and protect the oversight agency for higher education from factors that would undermine its political neutrality. This is further underscored by the fact that the appointment of the CHED Chairperson is not confirmed by the Commission on Appointments of Congress, as practiced with the appointment of other cabinet secretaries.

The CHED Human Resources Division records show that Dr. Emmanuel Angeles’ term expired on 20 July 2010, thus, he only served the unfinished term of his predecessor, Romulo Neri. Its current Chairperson, Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan then assumed office in July 2010 and was reappointed for another four years in July 2014, with her term ending on July 2018.

As stated earlier, the Commission fully respects the decision to exclude CHED from the Cabinet, understanding that this is the prerogative of any sitting President. It is important to note that while Republic Act 7722 provides the rank of cabinet secretary to the CHED Chairperson, historically, CHED has functioned effectively even without being part of the President’s cabinet, such as during the time of Presidents Ramos, Estrada and Macapagal-Arroyo.

With this, we would like to reiterate Dr. Licuanan’s commitment to continue her work as CHED Chairperson, and are assured by recent statements from Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella that the Commission will continue to be supported by the Duterte Administration.

The Commission has and will continue to support the Duterte Administration’s goals, aligning higher education policies and programs to the ten-point socio-economic agenda of the current government.

Issued this 8th day of December 2016 at the Higher Education Development Center Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

For the Commission:

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