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Monday, July 4, 2022

The Relentless Rizaly


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From SM Foundation scholar to SM Prime accounting manager


Twenty years ago, high school student Rizaly Lim and her four siblings would watch in awe every time they pass by the construction of the first SM City in her hometown Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  All five children, packed in the tricycle their father rides for a living, were all excitedly looking forward to happy family weekends they would be spending at the huge mall.

Today, after graduating Summa Cum Laude through a scholarship from SM Foundation, Rizaly is now a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) working as Accounting Manager for the head office of SM Prime Holdings, a leading property developer in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

From SM Foundation scholar to SM Prime accounting manager

At a young age, Rizaly was headstrong about getting her family out of poverty. She shares, “My father was the only one who worked for our family, and because we were a large family, his daily earnings as a tricycle driver were never enough.”

Rizaly finished high school at the Balibago National High School as class valedictorian in 2005 and was already sending applications for other college scholarships when her teacher asked the top 10 students to go to SM City Sta. Rosa for an interview with SM Foundation.

Sa umpisa, hindi po ako naniwala kasi bago pa lang sa amin noon ang SM City Sta. Rosa,” she recalls. She proceeded of course, driven by the one goal of finishing college and helping her family. “Gusto ko rin po makapag-aral at makapagtapos noon. Maka-work at makatulong sa family.”

A few exams and interviews later, SM Foundation, Inc. (SMFI) went to visit her and her family at home to inform them that she will be receiving a full scholarship with monthly allowance until she finishes her course.

In 2010, Rizaly graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy. She went on to pass the Philippine CPA Board Exams on first try in October 2010. The assistance of SMFI, she said, went beyond tuition and allowances. “With full scholarship grants and monthly allowances, as well as the opportunity to work at SM Store during our summer and Christmas vacations, the SMFI scholarship has enabled me to help my family financially.”

 

“I am the master of my fate”

While other parents were buying their college kids the latest Nokia phone back in the summers of 2000’s, Rizaly’s father gave her and her siblings weekly assignments to accomplish during the summer vacation. “Our late father instilled in us the love of reading and the value of studying,” she shared. “During summer, he would assign us English words and their meanings to memorize and asked us to recite these to him.“

Then there's the memorization of motivational poems and speeches, one of which stuck with her for life: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” She shared that this last stanza of “Invictus” by W.E. Henley had kept her motivated to look past the limitations of her circumstances and focus on her personal goals.

 

Career at SM

SM Foundation was established in 1983 by Henry Sy, Sr. and Felicidad T. Sy as the heart of the SM group. It has established programs that are focused on nurturing and caring for underserved communities where SM is present. It supports and empowers host communities through education, healthcare, shelter, disaster response, sustainable agriculture, and care for persons with special needs.

To date, SM Foundation has assisted more than 8,000 college and technical/vocational students, and has donated over 100 school buildings with a total of 334 classrooms built across the country.

Nurturing the graduates extends beyond the classroom as SM Foundation also provides job opportunities across the different companies of the SM group. The foundation organizes a Career Fair specifically designed for its scholars.

From the Career Fair organized by SM Foundation, Rizaly was able to get job offers from three companies – among which was SM Prime Holdings, one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia that offers innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities with the development of malls, residences, offices, hotels and convention centers. It is also the largest, in terms of asset, in the Philippines.

 

I still want to level up

“I haven't accomplished much yet, but I value what I have already accomplished and received so far,” said Rizaly, referring to the highest honors she has received in high school and college, becoming a CPA, and being promoted to manager in within only a few years of her work at SM Prime.  “These are just a few of the accomplishments for which I will be eternally grateful. I'm also proud of my daily achievements at work, such as fulfilling particular duties assigned to me. They make me happy and proud of myself, and they inspire me to do better.”

 Ang mga dating pinapangarap ko lang, nagagawa ko na ngayon,” Rizaly said as she related how she has been able to travel to Taiwan for vacation and do the tri-city tour of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. But her biggest dreams, she said, remain centered on her family: to provide better for her family by sharing with them what she has now. “Nothing is simple. Nothing is easy. Hindi ko naman to straight line lang na na-achieve. Life is full of challenges. Just stay strong, keep the faith and always give your best effort.”

UN-Awarded ASEAN Science Diplomat Welcomes Pres. Marcos’ Science Initiatives


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What follows is the official statement of UN Sasakawa Laureate, ASEAN Science Diplomat Glenn Banaguas, on the occasion of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.’s inauguration as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines and the latter’s underscoring of science initiatives in his inaugural address to the nation.

On behalf of my colleagues in the science diplomacy corps and in the climate change and disaster risk reduction and management communities, I congratulate President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. on the occasion of his inauguration as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Mr. President, we welcome and take up your call to address the looming crises of climate change that perpetually cast their long shadow on the nation’s future.

Indeed, as you rightly pointed out, the Philippines is one of the most at-risk nations to climate change in the world. And even as the country struggles with sustaining and protecting itself in the face of global upheaval, so too do we also wrestle with the need to develop sustainable production systems and an eco-friendly economy for our people. Thankfully, we are not alone in this ambition: the Philippines and the rest of our fellow member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) thus drafted the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI) 2016-2025. This far-reaching plan underscores the importance of public-private collaboration, talent mobility, people-to-people connectivity, inclusiveness, enterprise support, public awareness, and STI enculturation as cornerstones for sustainable growth both within and between our brethren nations.

Mr. President, we thank you for echoing this international call for cooperation and unity in your inaugural address, and we stand ready to serve the Philippines under your stewardship. In particular, we at the Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute (ECCRI) have committed ourselves entirely to the pursuit and achievement of the APASTI and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and we are grateful to the new administration for giving these ideals their long-overdue acknowledgement and prioritization.

As a science diplomat, I have always believed that science and government policy are as paramount as they are inseparable; I remain focused on bringing these to the poorest communities and most marginalized sectors of our country. To this end, the ECCRI’s flagship program, Climate Smart Philippines: Science for Service, provides cutting-edge research, training, and capacity-building to our countrymen in order to combat climate change and disaster risks. This initiative is focused particularly on food security, sustainable energy, water sufficiency, human security, ecological and environmental stability, knowledge management and capacity development, and climate-smart infrastructures and services, climate and sustainable financing programs—all of which were touched on, directly or incidentally, in the President’s inaugural speech.

No less than the United Nations has acknowledged and honored our efforts, via its prestigious Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction for 2022. This prestigious global honor is bestowed on institutions, groups, and individuals that promote inclusive and resilient approaches to disaster risk reduction in line with the UN’s Sendai Framework. And while we are thankful for this accolade, we continue to believe that our greatest achievement is to serve the Filipino people through our work.

So it is that we congratulate and thank you, our President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for paving the way towards jumpstarting our nation’s climate-smart capacity, and its disaster preparedness and resiliency.

Mabuhay po tayong lahat.


In perpetual service to the Filipino People,

Sci. Dpl. Glenn S. Banaguas

Chairman, Asian (ASEAN) Science Diplomats

Chairman, US-ASEAN Fellows for Science and Technology

Climate Diplomat, EU-Asia Expert Panel for Climate Diplomacy and Environmental Security

Founder and President, Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute

Executive Director, Philippine Council for Foreign Relations

UN Sasakawa Laureate

Asia Sustainability Leaders Awardee

The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Laureate

7-Eleven treats customers with up to 50% OFF on over 200 items for its #711Day SALE-bration


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Enjoy a huge price drop on Big Bite, City Cafe, Crunch Time Chicken, and MORE from July 8 to 13


The most-awaited annual 7-Eleven SALE-bration is coming! 7-Eleven is gearing up for this year’s 7-Eleven Day with a 6-day promo-filled party from July 8 to 13 in all stores nationwide. 7-Eleven is treating customers to up to 50% OFF on over 200 items including its signature food items from Big Bite, City Cafe, and Crunch Time Chicken.

Office workers, students, loyal customers, and those residing near 7-Eleven stores, better take note! Crunch Time Chicken will start its P10 OFF promo on its 1pc. Chicken with Rice on July 6, in time for National Fried Chicken Day, until July 11.


Come 7-Eleven Day on July 11, the small size of the crowd-favorite City Cafe coffee blend is offered at half the price. This applies to all available blends: Brewed Coffee, French Vanilla, Mochaccino, Salted Caramel, and Hot Chocolate. Small Prima Americano is also available at half off. The customers’ go-to 7-Eleven snack, Big Bite Hotdog, is also at 50% off on this day. Should anyone need a quick bite or baon, then this is where to get the bang for that buck — and a delicious one at that!

From July 8 to 13, the convenience store will offer a huge price drop of up to 50% discount on snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, personal hygiene products for the face, body, and hair, and other grocery essentials.

While #711Day merits its own grand party, what makes this year’s celebration even more special is that everyone is finally able to celebrate together, in person after spending the past two years in quarantine.

Now that everyone is going back to work, back to school, and back to regular daily routines, 7-Eleven is also urging Filipinos to come back to their stores to regain the experience of shopping at their favorite neighborhood convenience store. Take this as an invitation to get back all the things and people we missed — because with 7-Eleven’s #711Day, it’s a celebration like no other!

Contactless payments through the CLiQQ app and GCash are available. Don’t miss out on 7-Eleven’s six-day celebration! Visit here for the list of the complete sale items available from July 8 to 13.


PHOTO CAPTIONS

All time favorite 7-Eleven snacks such as Big Bite, City Cafe, and Crunch Time Chicken will be offered at a discounted price during the #711Day celebration.

Get up to 50% discount on over 200 snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, personal hygiene products for the face, body, and hair, and other grocery essentials during the 7-Eleven Day celebration on July 8 to 13.




Sunday, July 3, 2022

Post Office sealed agreement for online payment with DOF, Customs


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The Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) ink a landmark Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to provide the customers a more efficient, secure, hassle free and reliable online payment system of Philippine customs duties and taxes through the Post Office website at www.phlpost.gov.ph.

The online payment system for customs duties and taxes aims to eliminate fraud in compliance with Republic Act No. 11032 also known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The said agreement will make the process of clearing and delivery of parcels and other mail matters faster and simpler, benefitting thousands of consumers and Philippine residents who rely on the postal service to send and receive packages from abroad but also boosting the e-commerce industry for the growth of our economy.

Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio and Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero signed the agreement coinciding with the 125th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Finance.

“For the first time, in the 75 years of being a Republic, the Post Office Digital Innovation will enhance the competitiveness of the Post Office in the local and International market”, Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio said.

He added, “It is important for the public to understand that all mail and parcels may be subject to customs examination, duties, taxes and other fees”.

The Post Office has introduced the payment of customs duties and taxes through its Post Office website and mobile application launched last May 19, 2022 with no less than former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in attendance.

“This Duterte Legacy signifies the commitment and support of the Post Office especially under the new administration of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. in serving the public who deserve no less than the best postal service by global standards”, Postmaster General Fulgencio said.
Under the agreement the Post Office and Bureau of Customs shall both have access to the systems only in relation to the corresponding input of charges of duties and taxes by the BOC personnel and for the verification of payment. A separate Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) shall be made in relation to collection of duties, taxes and other charges which shall form part of the agreement.

Friday, July 1, 2022

SSS-PPSC agreement to benefit nearly 200 job order, contract of service workers


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The Social Security System (SSS) said nearly 200 job order and contract of service workers will get social security coverage after SSS and the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last June 24, 2022.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Regino lauded PPSC in their effort to provide social protection to their fellow workers in the government not covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). "Regardless of their employment status, workers deserve to have a basic safety net in times of contingencies through SSS membership," Regino said.


Under the MOA, PPSC’s contract of service and job order workers will be classified as self-employed members of SSS. Government contract of service and job order workers are not covered by the GSIS due to their employment status.


As a Coverage and Collection Partner, SSS authorized the PPSC to collect and remit their monthly contributions through a salary-deduction scheme under its KaltaSSS-Collect Program.


“As SSS self-employed members, they shall become entitled to social security benefits such as sickness, maternity, retirement, disability, and death benefits. They shall also become eligible for loan programs which include salary, and calamity, among others. Likewise, they will also have additional coverage from the Employees' Compensation Program (ECP) for work-related contingencies,” Regino added.


As of May 2022, SSS has partnered with 1,261 local government units (LGUs), 398 national government agencies, 98 state universities and colleges (SUCs), and 58 local water districts covering job order and contract of service workers through the KaltaSSS-Collect Program with a total collection exceeding P2.9 billion.

In the photo, SSS Senior Vice President for Account Management Group Mario Sibucao (third from left) and PPSC Vice President for Administration Retired Police Brigadier General Ferdinando Sevilla (fourth from left) showed the MOA between the two government agencies during the signing ceremony held at the PPSC’s compound in Quezon City, which was witnessed by several SSS and PPSC officials.



How To Rent A Car In The Philippines


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The Philippines have several tourist hotspots, culinary cities, and attractions that you may want to visit. Imagine being able to travel anywhere you want to go on a road trip with your family and friends without needing to call for a ride. It might be challenging to prepare everything for your trip, so we have put together a detailed guide on affordable car rental in the Philippines.




Car Rental Process

It would be best to prepare before investing your money in a rental car. For more specific information, you should first review your options of rental services available and look at the company's standards and procedures on their website.

Various car rental agencies may have different criteria. However, almost all of them will need a valid passport, a credit card, and a driver's license. Some of them could also ask for another identification card in addition to your passport, evidence of lodging payment, and other papers.

Depending on the car rental company's terms, conditions and the vehicle you will be renting, some businesses will demand a security deposit or a reservation charge.

As long as you meet the prerequisites, renting a car in the Philippines is simple. The streets might be hectic when it comes to driving, but most people will quickly grow used to it.



Requirements

You need a valid passport, a credit card, and a valid driver's license to rent a car in the Philippines.

You may use the driver's license granted by your country for 90 days as a visitor, but it must be written in English. If your driver's license is not officially translated into English, you must visit your local embassy. And if you plan to remain longer than 90 days, you must visit the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to change your license to a local version.


Here are just a few pointers for using an affordable car rental in the Philippines:

  • Always have your official receipt, registration, and driver's license.
  • When an orange or yellow light comes on, drive more slowly rather than faster. Avoid attempting to beat or, worse yet, run a red light.
  • Don't drive after consuming alcohol.
  • Always buckle your seatbelts.
  • Drive only authorized cars from respectable companies.
  • Try not to swerve.
  • Avoid making illegal turns and parking.




Limitations and Restrictions


Age Limitations



In the Philippines, a person must be 18 years old to operate a motor vehicle. But remember that some car rental businesses have a 21-year-old minimum age requirement, so it's wise to phone and ask ahead of time.




Road Conditions and Traffic Regulations

You could occasionally come upon road construction. Use GPS navigation tools like Google Maps and Waze to replan your driving route to avoid them. Remember that since cars are operated on a left-hand drive in the Philippines, they must follow right-hand traffic.




Hands-Free Cellular Phones Usage

Avoid using your cellphone while driving since doing so is against the law under the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. Use your GPS navigation app's hands-free mode.




Parking

Be aware of parking restrictions and warnings since improperly parked vehicles may result in their confiscation by authorities. To avoid leaving your car parked on the streets after your day of exploration, look for condos or hotel accommodations that include a garage or parking area.




Car Insurance

In case of any damage, rented cars in the Philippines are covered by insurance, or more specifically, the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). It will protect you from damages to the vehicle, as the name implies.

Keep in mind that Collision Damage Waiver only covers bodywork damage; it does not cover damage to the engine or transmission, the windscreen, the tyres, the batteries, or the interior of the vehicle. Additionally, driving while intoxicated or recklessly damaging the vehicle is not covered.



Final Note

Overall, having an affordable car rental in the Philippines may give you total control over your trip. It will offer several conveniences so you can genuinely enjoy the time rather than stress and plan.

Utilizing automobile rentals in the Philippines enables you to travel more flexibly and spontaneously. Remember, the most memorable vacations frequently have a healthy dose of spontaneity.




Filipino superstar Piolo Pascual promotes SandBox and PLDT Global partnership in UAE


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The social media feeds of Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates were recently filled with images of Philippine superstar Piolo Pascual, who visited Dubai to help promote the partnership between SandBox Middle East and PLDT Global Corporation. The popular Filipino actor was spotted making the rounds of selected supermarkets in Dubai, particularly Pinoy Mart in Jafiliya, Palengke Supermarket in Burjuman, and Philippine Supermarket in Muraqqabat – all of which are popular destinations for grocery shopping among the Filipino expat community.



The supermarket tour was held as part of an awareness campaign highlighting the new overseas Bills Payment service launched by SandBox Middle East in partnership with PLDT Global. Through the partnership, Filipinos working in the UAE can now pay for their Philippine-based utility bills, social security contributions, insurance subscriptions, and even real estate mortgages over the counter at selected supermarkets across the Emirates.



Dozens of fans gathered around each supermarket outlet as early as four hours before the scheduled visit in hopes of seeing Piolo Pascual in person. And they weren’t disappointed as the “ultimate leading man” gamely posed for photos and engaged with his fans at each stop. Rosemarie Estrada, a domestic helper based in Dubai, waited patiently for two hours and was extremely happy to have a photo with Piolo. “Ang gwapo niya talaga, at ang bait pa. Kinilig ako nung nakita ko siya,” Estrada said. (“He’s really good looking, and extremely kind. I was thrilled to see him.”)



On June 26, overseas Filipinos in Dubai and neighboring areas can visit the PLDT Global booth at the Dubai World Trade Center and avail of exclusive offers for the “Kalayaan 2022,” a gathering celebrating the 124th anniversary of the Philippine Independence.

DOTr to focus on transforming PH transport industry


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The Philippines transportation system will be transformed and elevated into global standards as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) under the administration of President Bongbong Marcos will focus its efforts on moving passengers and goods, newly-minted Secretary Jaime Bautista said on Friday, 01 July 2022.

During the DOTr’s turnover of leadership at the DOTr Clark Offices in Pampanga, Secretary Bautista said the newly-minted DOTr administration will ensure to provide “accessible, affordable, comfortable, and safe transport service throughout the country” through the use of the country’s transport systems.

“As discussed during my initial meeting with President Bongbong, we will transform the Philippine transport industry and elevate it to global standards,” Secretary Bautista stressed.

“We should focus our efforts at moving passengers and goods that use our roads, airports, seaports, and railways,” he added.

Secretary Bautista likewise vowed to continue the Build, Build, Build Program of the previous administration.

“I would like to assure Secretary Art [Tugade] that we will seriously consider continuing the various programs implemented under [former] President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build Initiative,” Secretary Bautista said.

“We do not need to reinvent the wheel. These big-ticket projects truly deserve continuity to struck the maximum benefits for the Filipino people,” he added.

In successfully performing his duties as the DOTr’s head, Secretary Bautista sought the help of all the DOTr’s officials and employees in addressing various issues concerning the transportation sector.

“As a newcomer to this office, I anticipate the usual hesitation to any changes in the way you do things. I promise to listen to your suggestions. I have always been a good listener,” he said, addressing DOTr officials and employees.

“I will not pretend to have all the solutions. With many daunting tasks ahead of us, I ask for your help in making this administration succeed in solving the seemingly insurmountable transport concerns of Filipinos,” he added.

While honored to assume the top post of the DOTr, Secretary Bautista said he is keen on making a difference at the agency.

“We will surely be under scrutiny if we can deliver. My confidence is derived from my own experience at overcoming far pernicious issues that allowed us to sharpen our perspective at attacking contentious problems,” he said.

Quick and easy cheeseburger sliders recipe for budding chefs


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Don’t know your way around the kitchen?

This quick-and-easy Cheeseburger Sliders recipe will unearth the chef in you

Food is a universal language. It transcends time, cultures, and borders. It speaks volumes about love, kindness, gratitude, and empathy. Without fail, it brings people together and gives us life in more ways than we can imagine.

When it comes to cooking, though, not many people are gifted. Couple that up with the demands of a fast-paced urban lifestyle, and more often than not, learning the joyous art of cooking often ends up taking the backseat.

Lucky for you, SM Development Corporation (SMDC) brings The Good Eats — a series of easy-to-do and easy-to-follow recipes that helps food enthusiasts of little to no cooking experience find their way around the kitchen.

First up on their premiere episode are Cheeseburger Sliders, especially made for bachelors and gents alike. Whether you’re on for a date night with someone special, or you’re hosting a weekend party with the gang, this recipe will, without a doubt, get you all the compliments you deserve. After all, what’s manlier than juicy, perfectly seared patties, elegantly tucked in crisp slices of cheese?



Setting the scene for the bachelor edition of The Good Eats is Air Residences in Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

With sleek interiors, streamlined architecture, first-class amenities, and an enviable aura of success and influence, nothing says ‘tasteful’ like an Air Residences address.

Secret’s out! Only on The Official SMDC Youtube Channel

PH Post Office released new stamps to celebrate Department of Finance 125th Anniversary


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The Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) released new commemorative stamps to mark the 125th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Finance.

The launching and unveiling of the historic stamp underscore the vital role of the Department of Finance not only in ensuring sound fiscal policy for the government, but also for the responsible management of government resources to provide the Filipino people with infrastructure, education, health and other basic services.

“The Post Office appreciates and fully supports the crucial role of the Department of Finance to the economic condition of the country. We have paid its dividend arrears from 2004 to 2014 in the amount of Php 312,532,210 to the Department of Finance and remain updated to date as of 2021”, Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio said.

Founded on 24 April 1897, by the Philippine Revolutionary Government, the Department of Finance has undergone various structural and functional overhauls but it has remained a key department of government that promotes public welfare and accelerates economic growth and stability of the nation.



The stamps feature the beautiful fa├žade of the modern DOF Building on Roxas Boulevard, reflected on it is a busy skyline and on the upper left, the Philippine peso; both come to represent the growth and lively progression of the economy. The 125th anniversary seal is affixed on the lower left and this year’s theme spans the lower right of the stamp.

This year’s theme: “Celebrating a Proud History-Building a Solid Future”, reignites our sense of patriotism especially among the young people, leading to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Philippine economy and society.

‘Ang Selyo o Postage Stamps na atin pong inilunsad ay may mahalagang papel na ginagampanan sa ating buhay at sa buhay ng ating bansa dahil ito po ay simbulo ng ating tagumpay at pag-unlad”, Postmaster General Fulgencio said.

The Post Office has printed 40,000 copies of the stamps at 12 pesos each. In house graphic artist Eunice Beatrix Dabu layout the stamp.

Stamps and Official First Day Covers are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office. For inquiries, please call 8527-01-08 or 8527-01-32 or follow/like the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PilipinasPhilately/ for updates.

PLDT Enterprise, BaishanCloud announce joint business partnersh


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PDT Enterprise, the B2B arm of the country's largest fully integrated telecommunications provider PLDT, and BaishanCloud, a global edge cloud service provider have jointly announced a business partnership to further enhance the latter’s edge cloud service capabilities in the Philippines, utilizing PLDT’s strong local points of presence (PoPs) and data hosting capabilities

“Establishing the partnership with BaishanCloud marks another one of PLDT’s strides to promote the country as a strong emerging digital hub in APAC. We are looking forward to supporting BaishanCloud with our resilient data center facilities and our ubiquitous submarine cable investments,” said Jefferson Mendoza, PLDT Enterprise Assistant Vice President & Asia Pacific Regional Head.

VITRO Data Centers will host BaishanCloud in its VITRO Paranaque and VITRO Cebu 2, helping it provide edge cloud services to its users globally, especially its China-based users expanding into the Philippines. Through this proposed partnership, more companies, especially Chinese enterprises, will benefit from PLDT’s services in the country.

“With VITRO as Philippines’ biggest DC provider, this partnership will add diversity to our portfolio in serving a wider range of customers, on the way to making the Philippines as Asia’s next technology hub,” said Victor Genuino II, President and Chief Executive Officer of ePLDT.

“We are really excited about this partnership to develop and mature, as we both aim to serve the discerning digital infrastructure standards of global customers in the Philippines,” Albert Villa-Real, President and Chief Executive Officer of PLDT Global.

The proposed partnership will help bring diversity to the cloud landscape in the Philippines as it expands the options which PLDT Enterprise customers may choose from as they utilize the group’s infrastructure and services.

“We are very pleased to have formed this partnership with PLDT Enterprise. This marks yet another important step of BaishanCloud’s global strategy, particularly in the Southeast Asia region. A partnership with PLDT Enterprise will provide us with more leverage in terms of network and resource capabilities which will enable us to better serve our clients in the country, “said Yuankai Guo, General Manager of BaishanCloud (Singapore).

Founded in 2015, BaishanCloud is an innovative and independent edge cloud service provider in China with significant global reach. With its SASE and zero-trust based serverless edge cloud platform, the company offers products and services that integrate “network + security + computing.” With more than 1,000 global edge cloud services nodes, BaishanCloud is providing services and solutions in 250+ cities globally.

For more information, visit pldtenterprise.com. 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Busybee Partners with PECB to Offer ISO Standards Training Courses and Certifications in PH


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MyBusybee, Inc., a frontliner and leader in digital transformation, is delighted to announce its partnership with the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB) to ensure a streamlined distribution and organization of PECB courses in the Philippines.

Together with the help of proficient trainers, this strategic business partnership between PECB and MyBusybee, Inc. will greatly expand the collaboration between the two companies in delivering the best educational services to their customers.

“As the nation’s top partner for digital transformation and innovation, this collaboration with PECB will offer our customers and stakeholders the continuous training and capacity building required to succeed in this new economic landscape. This will ensure that our local business and organizations are globally competitive.,” MyBusybee, Inc. Founder/CEO Rico Hernandez stated. “This partnership is a manifestation of our unwavering commitment to empowering Filipino organizations,” he added.

“We are delighted to work with our new partner MyBusybee” said Tim Rama, CEO of PECB. The primary objective of PECB is to inspire goodwill, energy, and commitment within individuals and organizations to achieve their goals toward better and stronger leadership. The collaboration with MyBusybee to provide training courses in the Philippines opens up exciting opportunities for us and we are determined to continue making a strong and value-based contribution to society. Together, we can help build a strong and value-based society," concluded Rama.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

SSS partners with UBP for the issuance of UMID Pay Cards to members starting Q4 2022


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The Social Security System (SSS) and UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP) signed a memorandum of agreement on Monday that will allow SSS members to acquire Unified Multi-Purpose Identification (UMID) Pay Cards through the UBP.

Aside from being a valid government-issued ID, the UMID Pay Card will be linked to a UBP regular savings account with no required maintaining balance, where members can receive the proceeds of their SSS benefits, loans, and refunds.

Moreover, members who will be issued with the said UMID Pay Cards will be able to check their balance, withdraw cash, transfer funds, pay bills, or deposit cash through UBP’s branches, self-service machines, and BancNet ATMs nationwide.

They will also have access to the online and mobile banking platforms of the UBP, where they may perform additional transactions such as depositing checks, buying load, and creating savings goals, among others.

The issuance of UMID Pay Cards through the UBP is projected to be made available in the fourth quarter of 2022. Further details about the program will be posted on the SSS website and social media pages.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Sheraton Manila Bay Announces New Executive Chef


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Sheraton Manila Bay introduces its new Executive Chef, Plaridelio Adora, an award-winning chef with over two decades of culinary and hospitality experience and expertise.

Plaridelio Adora hails from Oriental Mindoro. Chef Del, as he is fondly called, started his gastronomic journey in a Japanese restaurant in Manila in 2002. He then relocated to the Middle East and have traveled the world to hone in culinary skills in exotic destinations such as Kuwait, Dubai, Jumeirah Beach, and Qatar. Prior to his return to the Philippines in 2017, Chef Del served as Chef de Cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.

Over the past years, Chef Del’s epicurean talent and flair has been celebrated and recognized as he brought home wins from Junior Chef Competition and Salon Culinaire Competition in Dubai. He was also awarded Gold Medalist for the Dream Team Challenge (Three Course Plated) at the 2017 Philippine Culinary Cup.



As the new Executive Chef of Sheraton Manila Bay, Chef Del will oversee the culinary standards and operations of the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, in-room service, and the newly launch &More by Sheraton and Unspoken Bar.

Taste first-hand the delectable cuisine created by Chef Del and his seasoned culinary team at the Whisky and Chocolate Experience at &More by Sheraton on July 7, 2022 from 7PM to 10PM and sample his chocolate-infused creations including Chocolate-coated Orange Bruschetta, Espresso Dark Chocolate Truffle, White Chocolate Madeleine, and Peanut Chocolate Caramel Lollipop made with superior cocoa beans from Auro Chocolate. Complement these bite-sized creations with flight of three premium Scotch whisky from Chivas Regal and enjoy a visually-mesmerizing LEGO™ mosaic exhibition of artworks by Philippine National Artist, Fernando Amorsolo. The Whisky and Chocolate Experience is available for only Php 600++ per person. For reservations please call +632 5318 0788 or email reservations.manilabay@sheraton.com.

&More by Sheraton is located in the Main Lobby of Sheraton Manila Bay, M. Adriatico cor. Gen Malvar Sts. Malate. Like us on Facebook and Instagram @sheratonmanilabay and Twitter at @sheratonmnlbay. For more information, please visit our website at www.sheratonmanilabay.com.



Exploring the Largest Cave System in the Philippines




Wazzup Pilipinas!?



ThePhilippines has over 3100 known caves. Featuring 12 chambers over its seven kilometer span, the Langun-Gobingob Cave in Samar is the king of them all. Discovered by Italian Guido Rossi in 1987, it was opened to the public in 1990.

We recently explored it to celebrate the Year of the Protected Areas or YOPA, which aims not just to convince people to conserve the country’s 246 protected areas, but to encourage them to visit the sites themselves.

Caves are underground chambers, usually situated in mountains, hills or cliffs. Generations of imaginative fear-mongers have made them the home of everything from treasure-hoarding dragons to a whip-wielding Balrog. In reality, caves are special ecosystems which need our protection, particularly from unscrupulous miners who would break apart tons of rock for a handful of precious stones.









Unique But Threatened Biodiversity



Samar Island, overshadowed by more popular places like Palawan and Boracay, isn’t usually considered a top tourist destination, owing to its long history as a hotbed for insurgencies and a punching bag for typhoons. Though the Philippines’ third largest island exudes rugged beauty, its real value as an ecotourism destination lies beneath the earth.

“Samar is unique because it is a karst landscape made primarily of limestone. Millions of years of weathering has created numerous caves and sinkholes on the island,” explains Anson Tagtag, head of the Caves, Wetlands and Other Ecosystems Division of the DENR. “Caves are special ecosystems which harbor highly-evolved fauna, most of which have adapted to darkness.”

Birds, bats, spiders, snakes, crickets and even blind cave fish thrive inside the Langun-Gobingob Cave. The lack of light confines plants to entrances, but mushrooms and other types of fungi cling to life as discreet denizens of the dark.

“The speleothems or rocks in caves are in a very real sense ‘alive’ – they just grow and move at timescales difficult for people to comprehend,” explains Dr. Allan Gil Fernando, a professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences in UP Diliman. “The constant dripping of water for instance leaves minute traces of minerals like calcite. Over time these traces pile up to form hanging stalactites and their inverted kin, stalagmites. It takes about a century for a stalactite or stalagmite to grow one inch.”

It is because of their surreal beauty that many caves are sundered.

“People used to enter the Langun-Gobingob Cave to break apart and mine stalagmites plus white calcite rocks for collectors,” says Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) Assistant Superintendent Eires Mate. Our guide Alvin confirms this. “Locals used to mine the cave for Taiwanese businessmen, who paid a paltry PHP7 for a kilogram of rock. Balinsasayao or swiftlet nests were plucked out too, to be shipped to Chinese markets.”

The cave was finally declared a protected area in 1997. “Thank God for legal protection. Mining was effectively stopped,” says Eires. The Langun-Gobingob Cave is just one of many natural systems benefiting from the country’s protected area system.

“Declaring key biodiversity sites as protected areas is one of the best ways to ensure that future generations can continue enjoying their beauty,” says United Nations Development Programme Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN) Manager Anabelle Plantilla. “Visitors should positively support local communities but be mindful of the environmental impacts of their travels. They should for instance, avoid taking wild plants or leaving trash in tourist sites.”

 

Year of the Protected Areas

Launched in May of 2022, YOPA hopes to generate funds from tourists to ensure the continued management of protected areas hard-hit by COVID-19 budget cuts.

The Langun-Gobingob Cave is part of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), one of YOPA’s six highlighted parks, the others being the Bongsanglay Natural Park in Masbate, Apo Reef Natural Park in Occidental Mindoro, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park in Negros Oriental, Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental, and Mt. Timpoong Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument in Camiguin.

The country’s caves are now open for tourism, but visitors should know what not to do inside them. “Cave tourism should be well managed and there are cave do’s and don’ts,” says Buddy Acenas from the GAIA Exploration Club, a Manila-based caving and exploration group. “A comprehensive assessment should be conducted before a cave is opened for tourism. Trained guides and set trails should be used to minimize human impacts. Like so many of our fragile wilderness areas, caves must be stewarded by those visiting them.”

For its part, the Philippine government is doing what it can to promote responsible tourism. "Our caves, mountains, beaches and other protected areas are now open for tourism. We invite both Filipinos and foreigners to come and visit, but to do so in an environmentally-responsible manner," adds DENR-BMB Director Natividad Bernardino. “By practicing responsible and regenerative tourism in PAs, we’re helping our national parks flourish and recover from the economic blow they suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

From running shoes, robots, and magical creatures, here are Solana games you can explore


Wazzup Pilipinas!?


Blockchain-based games are more popular than ever. According to a recent report by DappRader and BGA Games, blockchain-game playing activity has increased 2,000% since the first quarter of 2021, now making up over half of all blockchain activity.

A big part of the reason behind blockchain gaming’s recent popularity is the rise of the play-to-earn model enabled by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on popular blockchains like Ethereum. In many of these games, players collect in-game NFTs that are tradeable to cryptocurrency and fiat currency. In the Philippines, it’s not uncommon anymore to find all sorts of people supplementing their income by playing these play-to-earn games.

Of course, new blockchains are emerging to offer an even wider selection of fun play-to-earn games. The Solana blockchain, for example,  supports a wide variety of titles, from classic first-person shooters to open-world adventures in deep space.

 

Below are some of the Solana games just waiting to be played.

STEPN

This Web 3.0 lifestyle app rewards players to move and get fit.

How it works is that players will first have to download the STEPN app and buy an NFT sneaker, which the game uses to track a player’s daily movement. By walking, running, or jogging, the players receive a reward token called Green Satoshi Token, or "GST".

Depending on the type of sneaker you get (options range from a walking sneaker to one for dedicated runners) and the amount of movement each session, the user is rewarded with in-game tokens. On top of GST, STEPN  also offers its GMT governance token that can be used to upgrade/customize NFT sneakers. Both GST and GMT tokens can then be traded for stablecoins such as USDC, which can then be converted to fiat using crypto exchanges like PDAX. Being able to trade these tokens adds an extra incentive for users to get fit.


Aurory

One of the biggest titles on the Solana blockchain, this role-playing game takes players on a rollercoaster of action and fantasy while still enabling them to earn.

In Aurory, players must capture cute animated creatures called Nefties. Nefties are stored as NFTs in a player's wallet and battle against other Nefties. The game has two modes: Player Vs Environment where players capture Nefties for rewards and Player vs Player weekly and monthly battles that rank players on a leaderboard and give rewards according to rank.

The game rewards players with its token AURY, which can be used to buy and customize Nefties and buy NFTs. These tokens can be exchanged on a number of exchanges, as well as Aurory’s in-game marketplace.


Starbots

The first-ever playable robot battle NFT game on the Solana blockchain, Starbots revolves around battling cartoon robots and earning new parts for your robot. Players will use each of these robot parts (such as a weapon, gadget, body, or wheel) to upgrade their avatar. Starbots promises to challenge a player’s strategic acumen, making battles progressively harder to win as players move on up in the game.

Through winning battles, earning new robot parts, and completing missions, players can earn GEAR tokens and collect NFT items. Additionally, players can also earn its governance token BOT. BOT can be used to vote for new in-game features and upgrading bot parts at different milestones in the game.

Starbots adds a new dimension of playability to the tried-and-tested concept of battling robots. By leveraging the Solana blockchain and adding tokens and NFTs to the mix, Starbots proves you can still have fun with a classic gaming formula.


Genopets

Genopets centers around creatures also called genopets and sets itself up as another move-to-earn game. How it works is that the game tracks the user's movement and this is linked to your genopet, a spirit animal that evolves and increases in value the more active you are. How much you move controls your pet’s appearance, talents, and moves.

Players earn KI tokens as they explore the Genopets world and their pets evolve. They can also earn the game’s governance token GENE. These tokens can be used to speed up a pet’s evolution, add to their attributes, and even trade with other players. All in all, Genopets does a brilliant job of allowing players to earn while forming a bond with their virtual pets.


Ev.io

Ev.io takes the concept of a regular first-person shooter game and incorporates the blockchain. The free-to-play, browser-based game is easily accessible: one only needs to go to the game’s official site to begin playing. 

The gameplay is also quite simple. Players explore a virtual world and begin shooting at opponents, sometimes teaming up with others and playing in a tournament format. To begin earning, players must first purchase an Ev.io NFT with a Solana wallet. Owning this NFT enables the game to track a player’s progress and discern who deserves a reward.

Players with the most kills are ranked on a leaderboard by the end of a match, and there is also the possibility of earning SOL, the native token of the Solana blockchain, per kill. How this works is that each kill in the game gives you a higher score, which can be used to acquire “e”, the game’s off-chain virtual currency. “E” can then be converted to SOL, with the conversion rate depending on the game’s sponsors and the USD to SOL exchange rate.

While the game’s premise is deceptively simple, Ev.io promises hours of fun.


Star Atlas

This space-based roleplaying game offers players the chance to explore a vast galaxy, mine resources, and conquer lands all in exchange for fabulous rewards.

Set in the year 2620, Star Atlas takes place in a world where three factions struggle for power: androids called Usturs, the ONI alien race, and humans called the MUD. Players must first pick which faction they want to play for, as they’ll later help this faction build cities, win wars, and explore unknown lands.

As they accomplish missions, players earn the in-game currency called ATLAS to buy in-game NFTs and equipment. A governance token called POLIS can also be earned for game-based decision-making purposes.


Decimated

If the words “open-world post-apocalyptic survival game” sounds appealing to you, Decimated has exactly what you’re looking for.

Players have the option to play as either a human survivor or a cyborg cop. The objective is to outwit and even battle a host of characters threatening your survival, ranging anywhere from cannibals to mutated creatures. More than just battling, a player’s success will depend on how well they fortify shelters, collect bounties, ambush, loot or trade. As players collect resources and beat enemies, players can earn the game’s DIO token and NFTs to trade.


DeFi Land

Agriculture-based DeFi Land is a cute, easy-on-the-eyes title where players complete minigames to earn rewards. Minigames center around activities like farming, fishing, tending to livestock, etc. Players can craft different tools and items, trade, and also play against one another in these minigames.

Like most games, DeFi Land has its native currency called DFL and a utility token called GOLD. DFL can be used to craft tools (for the minigames), trade, and even mint NFTs. GOLD, on the other hand, can also be used to trade goods and pay for player vs. player battles.

Though DeFi Land is based on the Solana blockchain, what’s interesting is that it is a multichain project. This means it can integrate with other blockchains like Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, Ethereum, and Terra. This means players can buy, sell, and trade different tokens and NFTs directly across a multitude of chains.


The future of Solana games

The sheer number of games now available on Solana is a sure indicator that the blockchain is surely coming into its own. Whereas people today still compare it to more popular blockchains such as Ethereum, it may not be long before Solana is rightfully appreciated for its own merits.

It helps that the Solana blockchain and SOL are more accessible than ever. Local cryptocurrency exchange PDAX launched SOL as one of the four new tokens available on its platform alongside XLM, Sushi, and BNB all of which are easily tradeable with the Philippine peso and other major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.

With PDAX readily available on Apple App Store, Huawei Store, and Google Play, all Filipinos need to do is download the app, create an account, and cash in to begin buying, selling, and trading SOL and a host of other cryptos. This easy way of acquiring SOL is crucial for Filipinos looking to take advantage of the play-to-earn games available on Solana (STEP, for example, requires players to purchase an NFT sneaker with SOL before playing).

Indeed, it isn’t hard to imagine a game-crazed nation like the Philippines fully embracing Solana’s play-to-earn offerings. With easy access to SOL and the continuous evolution of the Solana blockchain, it’s only a matter before everyone you know is playing at least one of the games listed above.


DISCLAIMER: The statements in this article do not constitute financial advice. PDAX does not guarantee the technical and financial integrity of the digital asset and its ecosystem. Any and all trading involving the digital asset is subject to the user’s risk and discretion and must be done after adequate and in-depth research and analysis.


 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Mandatory Online filing of retirement claims to also cover Self-Employed Members age 60 to 64 years old starting July 1


Wazzup Pilipinas!?


Social Security System (SSS) President and CEO Michael G. Regino said the coverage of the mandatory online filing of retirement benefit claims through the My.SSS Portal will be extended to self-employed members who are 60 to 64 years old starting July 1, 2022.

This is in addition to all employee-members, voluntary members, land-based Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) members, and self-employed members aged 65 years old and above at the time of retirement who were required to file online effective July 2020.


“As early as 2015, we have made this online facility available to our members who have reached their technical retirement age of 65 years old. With the onset of the pandemic, we have continuously enhanced this online facility to provide our members with a simpler and more convenient mode of application without physically going to our branches. All they need to do is to access their My.SSS account, click Apply for Retirement Benefit under the Benefits section of the E-Services tab, fill out the required information, and submit the required supporting documents,” Regino said.


Members with the following special cases on retirement benefit claims should still file manually at any SSS branch or foreign representative office:
With outstanding Stock Investment Loan Program (SILP)/Privatization Loan Program/Educational Loan/Vocational Technology Loan balance;
With dependent child/children under guardianship;
Wherein member is incapacitated, under guardianship, or confined in an applicable institution such as penitentiary, correctional institution, or rehabilitation center;
With Application of Portability Law or Bilateral Social Security Agreements;
With adjustment or for re-adjudication of claim; and
With the unclaimed benefit of a deceased member.The retirement benefit is a cash benefit granted to a member who can no longer work due to old age and has reached the prescribed retirement age. It can be in the form of a monthly pension for those who have paid at least 120 monthly contributions prior to the semester of retirement or a lump sum for those who have paid less than 120 contributions. The qualifying conditions for the retirement benefit program can be accessed at https://crms.sss.gov.ph while the guidelines and policies on the online filing of said benefit claim through the My.SSS Portal can be found at https://bit.ly/SSSCI2021-021.

4 Preparation Tips When Applying for an Online Cash Loan


Wazzup Pilipinas?!





If you want to take out a loan, but don’t want to go through a stringent process, you can try online cash loans. You can do so from an online-only lender using their website or app, or from the online department of a traditional lender such as banks and similar financial institutions.

Compared to traditional loans, online cash loans don’t require in-person interactions with a banker or the lender’s representative. Also, many online lenders offer quick application and evaluation processes. In most cases, you may be informed of your loan application status within 24 hours. Most online cash loan providers also only ask for minimal requirements, which makes this option more attractive to people who have limited documentation on hand.

Nevertheless, “minimal requirements” doesn’t mean no requirements. While it’s easier to apply for a loan from online lenders, you still need to follow a certain process. As a loan applicant, you need to be ready to comply so you can get approved and gain access to the cash quicker.

From looking for an online loan app Philippines users can rely on to preparing the necessary documents, here are some tips you need to take note of when applying for an online cash loan:
 

Identify the Purpose of Your Loan

One of the first things you have to do before you take out a loan is to determine the purpose. Although online lenders are certainly more lenient, they may still inquire about the matter as part of the process. To help speed up your application, make sure you’re clear about the reason why you’re applying for the loan.

It’s also better to identify the specifics to be sure about the amount you need to borrow. For example, the amount for a loan to buy a new gadget can be lower than financing part of your travel expenses.
 

Consider Your Monthly Debt Payments

Before you apply for a loan, confirm if you have any existing debts as these can affect how well you manage your finances. If you're using about 50 percent of your take-home pay to pay off existing debt, you may find it challenging to time manage a new loan without compromising your daily living expenses.

If possible, pay off your other debts before applying for a new loan to make your monthly expenses more manageable. If you can’t close all your existing loans, then make sure to settle the payments on time each month to avoid interest charges.
 

Look for the Best Loan Rates and Terms

Different financial institutions have varying loan rates and terms when it comes to online cash loans. In the case of online lenders, they’re usually more considerate with regard to payment terms. Depending on the amount you’ll be borrowing, you can pay the loan off within 6 or up to 36 months. Do take note that the loan term can affect the interest rates. While a longer loan payment term may be easier for you to handle monthly, the interest rate is often higher. On the other hand, shorter loan terms have larger regular payments but come with lower interest.

Given this fact, make sure to explore what different financial institutions have to offer. Do your research and ask the lender if you can have a sample loan computation. This will give you a glimpse of the loan payments and visualize how they affect your finances.
 

Have Your Requirements Ready

When you’re applying for an online cash loan, the lender may ask you for certain requirements like a valid ID and proof of your income. Online lenders request for the former to identify the individual to whom they’re about to lend their money. It’s also one way they can perform background checks to ensure you have a trustworthy record as a borrower. Some valid IDs you can submit include government-issued ones such as your:

● Driver’s license

● Passport

● Postal ID

● COMELEC Voter’s ID

● Professional Regulation Commission ID

● Unified Multipurpose ID

Aside from your identification card, financial institutions also need to verify your income. They do this to assess your capability to pay the loan and other risks that can come with allowing you to borrow money. Depending on the lender, there are a few documents you can show as proof of your income. In case you’re employed, lenders may ask for a copy of your most recent pay slip, certificate of employment, or BIR Form 2316, which proves your salary has been subjected to income tax.

If you’re self-employed, prepare the Department of Trade and Industry registration of your business or the Securities and Exchange Commission registration of your company.

Although applying for an online cash loan is quicker than the traditional application process, it still requires some preparation. If you’re planning to borrow some funds, follow these recommendations so you can gather the requirements beforehand. More importantly, the preparations can help you manage your loans and finances better.
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