Thursday, December 29, 2022

Society Pass/Thoughtful Media Group Acquires More Media, Indonesia-based Digital Design and Branding Agency

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Thoughtful Media Group Inc ("Thoughtful Media" or "TMG"), the Thailand-based social commerce-focused, premium digital advertising network of Society Pass Incorporated ("SoPa") (Nasdaq: SOPA), Southeast Asia's (SEA) next generation, data-driven, loyalty, fintech and e-commerce ecosystem, today announces the acquisition of More Media, a leading Indonesia-based creative design and branding agency. The More Media acquisition extends TMG's social commerce and influencer advertising business reach beyond Thailand and Vietnam and into the booming Indonesia digital advertising sector.

Founded in 2021 as an international caliber design and branding agency serving up-and-coming Indonesian companies in the beauty, F&B, e-commerce and logistics sectors, More Media has grown its client base through quick deployment of value-added services and understanding of the local market tastes. With its focus on storytelling and providing end-to-end branding services, More Media has onboarded a diverse roster of clients such as Langsre, Emilia, Kei Dining, and Allino. Post acquisition, More Media is re-branded as Thoughtful Media Indonesia with its Co-Founder, Eugenia Agnes Gusti, appointed as VP of Business Development for Thoughtful Media to drive sales and onboard Indonesia clients onto the regional TMG digital advertising platform.

Mr. Dennis Nguyen, Society Pass Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer/TMG Chairman, exclaims, "We are so excited to welcome Eugenia Agnes Gusti, Ursula Michelle and the rest of the More Media into our ever-expanding TMG platform. More Media seamlessly blends into our product and geographical growth strategy for TMG as we enter yet another leading SEA market. By combining More Media's market leading design and branding capabilities in Indonesia with TMG's social commerce and influencer advertising focused MPN, we leverage our storytelling capabilities and amplify SoPa's upcoming loyalty offering. And with this acquisition, TMG now operates in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Since SoPa acquired TMG back in July 2022, TMG has grown from strength to strength with headcount growing from a dozen professionals to over 30 staff in just a matter of months. As we enter Singapore, Philippines, and Malaysia markets in 2023, TMG is uniquely positioned to be the premier SEA regional digital advertising agency offering a significant value proposition for advertisers, merchants and influencers in SEA's biggest economy."

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer advertising market grew to US$16.4 billion in 2022 and the value of social commerce sales growing to US$958 billion in 2022. And according to Strategic Market Research, with Asia representing 70% of the market, the global social commerce market size is expected to reach US$7 trillion by 2030, representing a CAGR of 30% from 2021. Well-positioned to benefit from these growth forecasts, Indonesia's digital advertising revenues are expected to soar this decade as increasingly more consumers make direct purchases on social media platforms, as social media sites are adopting innovative buying criteria and features, and as merchants incorporate shoppable posts and buy buttons on their respective pages. In addition, socially conscious consumers are influencing the evolution of the entire online retail industry. This trend comes as a result of the shifting inclination of brands from traditional celebrities to online influencers to endorse their products. Indeed, influencer marketing is quickly becoming an indispensable part of the mainstream branding strategies across organisations of all types.

"More Media is proud to officially merge with TMG. By joining forces with TMG's broad advertising network and SoPa's extensive ecosystem and large user and merchant bases in SEA, we are thrilled about expanding our business to fully become an end-to-end digital marketing company. According to Grand View Research, the global influencer marketing platform market size was valued at USD 10.39 billion in 2021 and is now expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.4% from 2022 to 2030. With this explosion in influencer advertising and social commerce throughout SEA, Thoughtful Media Indonesia is well positioned to generate significant revenues in 2023 and occupies a central position in Indonesia's large and fast-paced growing advertising market, both online and offline," explains Ms. Eugenia Agnes Gusti, Co Founder, More Media.

About Society Pass Inc.

Founded in 2018 as a next generation, data-driven, loyalty, fintech and e-commerce ecosystem in the fast-growing markets of Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, which account for more than 80% of the SEA population, and with offices located in Angeles, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Manila, and Singapore, Society Pass Incorporated (Nasdaq: SOPA) is an acquisition-focused holding company operating 6 interconnected verticals (loyalty, digital media, travel, telecoms, lifestyle, and F&B), which seamlessly connects millions of registered consumers and hundreds of thousands of registered merchants/brands across multiple product and service categories throughout SEA.

Society Pass completed an initial public offering and began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker SOPA in November 2021. SOPA shares were added to the Russell 2000 index in December 2021.

SoPa acquires fast growing e-commerce companies and expands its user base across a robust product and service ecosystem. SoPa integrates these complementary businesses through its signature Society Pass fintech platform and circulation of its universal loyalty points or Society Points, which has entered beta testing and is expected to launch broadly at the beginning of 2023. Society Pass loyalty program members earn and redeem Society Points and receive personalised promotions based on SoPa's data capabilities and understanding of consumer shopping behaviour. SoPa has amassed more than 3.3 million registered consumers and over 205,000 registered merchants and brands. It has invested 2+ years building proprietary IT architecture to effectively scale and support its consumers, merchants, and acquisitions.

Society Pass leverages technology to tailor a more personalised experience for customers in the purchase journey and to transform the entire retail value chain in SEA. SoPa operates Thoughtful Media Group, a Thailand-based, a social commerce-focused, premium digital advertising network; NusaTrip, a leading Indonesia-based Online Travel Agency; Gorilla Networks, a Singapore-based, web3-enabled mobile blockchain network operator;, Vietnam's leading lifestyle e-commerce platform;, a popular grocery delivery company in Philippines;, a premier online restaurant delivery service based in Vietnam; and, a leading local restaurant delivery service in Philippines.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

SSS records P236.3-B benefit disbursements from Jan-Nov 2022, up 13.2%

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Social Security System (SSS) disbursed a total of P236.3 billion in benefits from January to November 2022, a growth of 13.2% from the P208.8 billion benefit disbursements it recorded for the same period last year.

SSS President and CEO Michael G. Regino said the rise in disbursements this year is driven by the increases in number of benefit claims, number of members and pensioners, and amount of benefit releases for retirement, disability, and death.

“For the first 11 months of 2022, we have received 4.58 million benefit claims. This is 7.3% higher than the 4.27 million benefit claims we received for the same period last year,” Regino said. “Our pensioners, which stood at three million in 2021, grew to 3.18 million by November 2022, while our retirement, disability, and death benefit monthly disbursements, which averaged at P16.6 billion in 2021, increased to P19.53 billion for January to November this year.”

From 2016 to 2021, the amount of SSS benefit disbursements and the number of claims also grew by an average of 11.4% and 7.9%, respectively, despite the 1% decrease in both in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The upward trend in SSS benefit payments in recent years is also attributed to the grant of additional monthly benefit, implementation of a new benefit program, and higher salary base for benefit computation.

In 2017, the SSS granted a P1,000 additional monthly benefit for pensioners pursuant to a Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated 22 February 2017, by authority of the President of the Philippines.

In 2019, Republic Act (RA) No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 was implemented, which, among other provisions, expanded the SSS’ mandatory membership coverage, introduced the Unemployment Benefit Program and Workers’ Investment Savings Program (WISP), and increased the minimum and maximum monthly salary credit (MSC).

In the same year, RA No. 11210 or the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law was implemented, increasing the number of compensable days of maternity leave, from 60 days for normal delivery and 78 days for caesarian section delivery, to 105 days for live childbirth, regardless of the type of delivery, plus an additional 15 days if the female worker qualifies as a solo parent. The law also extended the maternity leave to every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy (ETP), regardless of frequency, from the previous limit of only for the first four deliveries or miscarriages.

“With all these changes, we were able to disburse P1.20 trillion benefits through 23.87 million claims in less than six years, specifically from January 2017 to November 2022,” Regino said.

From 2011 to 2016, SSS’ benefit disbursements reached P606.47 billion for 16.79 million claims.

“As we continue to see higher benefit payments through these developments, it is equally important for us to also implement the scheduled reforms provided under the Social Security Act of 2018 that aim to strengthen the SSS fund for us to continue serving our current and future members and their beneficiaries,” he concluded.

Starting January 2023, the SSS will increase its contribution rate by 1%, making it 14% from the previous 13%. The employer's share of the contribution will rise to 9.5%, while the employee's share will remain at 4.5%. Self-employed, voluntary, and land-based Overseas Filipino Worker members, on the other hand, will shoulder the 1% increase. The minimum and maximum MSCs will also increase from P3,000 to P4,000 and P25,000 to P30,000, respectively.

Monday, December 26, 2022

#PHDigicon2022: “When I think about BOUNDLESS, I think that’s Magic Johnson!”

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

After two years of holding the country’s most prestigious and one of the most sought-after thought leadership events in the Asia-Pacific Region virtually, PLDT Enterprise held the Philippine Digital Convention (PH Digicon) last October 27-28, 2022, face-to-face at the Marriott Grand Ballroom with a simultaneous broadcast online.

Highlighting the 2-day convention was the live interview with the legendary basketball icon Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson who strongly relates to the PH Digicon 2022 theme of BOUNDLESS. Hosted by PLDT Group Corporate Communications Head, Cathy Yap-Yang, Johnson fondly shares, “When I think about Boundless, I think that’s Magic Johnson!”

Raising awareness

In 1991, Johnson officially retired from his basketball career following the announcement of his diagnosis with HIV. In the same year, he founded the Magic Johnson Foundation, one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations around the world today, which serves as a single-disease organization that works to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs.

Looking back, Johnson recalls the stigma and discrimination that used to rule the disease and how people talked in “hushed voices”. Now, people can openly talk about and discuss HIV/AIDS–all in the name of raising awareness of the disease.

Johnson’s ‘retirement’ didn’t hold him back to do what he loves most when he came back to play in the 1992 All-Star Game and won the All-Star MVP Award. He was also a part of the ‘Dream Team’ that won the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona during the 1992 Olympics.

“When I look at our team and our achievements, we changed the world when it comes to the NBA and when it came to basketball,” he says. “What we were able to accomplish in Barcelona, the way that the world accepted us, we’ve never seen anything like it. We won the gold medal, but we changed the game of basketball around the world forever. And I am happy to be part of that.”

Raising the next generation of entrepreneurs

Johnson is also the founder and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, a global empire with a wide range of business endeavors that range from sports ownership, food service, to media and entertainment. He may have come a long way from bringing coffee shops and cinemas into Urban America, but he remains committed to his mission of creating jobs and opportunities for minorities and women-owned firms. When asked about retirement, the NBA Hall of Famer laughingly replied, “I am not built to slow down. I am a worker; I love to work, [and I bring] passion to my job every day.”

To prepare the next generation of dreamers and entrepreneurs, the NBA Hall of Famer, businessman, and philanthropist advised them about having a positive attitude despite setbacks, the importance of believing in one’s self, and having mentors–a role that he continues to play for many businesses, athletes, and his fans.

“My life is boundless. When I think of my journey, that’s the word I would use. I did everything that was not supposed to be done. When I think about boundless, I think that’s Magic Johnson! I was the first to go through a lot of doors, a man of color. Trust me, you can do it. Everybody out there, you can do it, you can have it, you can go do it, it’s all up to you.”

30 years later, after countless successful ventures, he shared, “Today, Magic’s court is the business world.”

Maintenance Medications 101: What They Are and How Do You Take Them Safely

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

There are many types of medicines, based on a variety of factors. For example, if you base it on preparations, there are liquids, tablets, capsules, drops, and injections, among many others.

There are also over-the-counter or OTC medicines and prescription medicines. The former could be bought anytime, anywhere—you can even buy medicine online if you prefer this method of purchase. They are used to treat a variety of symptoms and minor illnesses. The latter, on the other hand, requires a valid prescription from a medical practitioner. You can also buy prescription medicines online; however, do note that not all online drugstores may have the facility to accept and verify digitally submitted prescriptions.

There are also medications issued based on whether the disease is acute or chronic. An acute disease or illness lasts for only a short while and can be treated with either OTC or prescription. Meanwhile, a chronic disease is a lifetime one with symptoms that are usually exclusively treated with prescription medications.

What Are Maintenance Medications?

The general term for medicines prescribed for chronic diseases is “maintenance.” This is because they are used to maintain the person’s health, while dealing with the symptoms of the illness. All maintenance medications are taken regularly, usually multiple times a day. However, there are also certain maintenance medications that may be reduced in frequency and dosage over time.

Most maintenance medications come in the form of tablets or capsules, although there are also a variety of preparations depending on the disease. For example, those living with asthma are usually given a corticosteroid inhaler.

Do note that there are both branded and generic maintenance medications. If you want to save a bit of money, you can opt for the latter. That said, some maintenance medications aren’t available as generics; if there are any issues with availability, make sure to ask your doctor about your options before buying any alternatives.

What Are Some of the Most Common Chronic Diseases or Health Conditions?

There are, sadly, plenty of chronic diseases. Even worse, there are times when two or more of these diseases can occur in one person.

Some of the most common chronic diseases that require treatment include:

● Alzheimer’s disease

● Acid reflux, ulcer, GERD, and similar gastric conditions

● Arthritis

● Asthma

● Allergies

● Depression

● Diabetes

● Fibromyalgia

● Gout

● Hypertension

● High cholesterol

● Immune disorders

● Parkinson’s disease

● Seizure disorders

How Do You Take Maintenance Medications Safely and Ensure Their Effectiveness?

As previously mentioned, maintenance medications are taken regularly. To make sure that they work as intended, you must follow the schedule prescribed by your doctor. You must also follow the correct dosage and administration method. If the instructions say the tablet must not be broken and must be allowed to dissolve on the tongue, do so. In case things are unclear, don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications from your doctor or the pharmacist.

Another important thing about maintenance medications is that you shouldn’t stop taking them abruptly or change the dose. Some drugs don’t have a discontinuation schedule, but most require tapering. So, before making any changes, talk to your doctor immediately so they can make adjustments to your prescription.

Here are other reminders to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your maintenance medications:

Take Your Medicine at the Same Time Each Day

If your doctor doesn’t give you any strict instructions as to when to take your medication, it’s best to take it at the same time each day so you don’t forget about it. Tie it with a habit, say after you wash your face in the morning or before you go to bed. This way, you’ll establish a routine that’s easy to follow.

In case you want to schedule your medication during mealtimes, make sure to check if the medicine should be taken on an empty or full stomach.

Use a Pill Container

It can be difficult to keep track of multiple maintenance medications. To help you stay organized, try using a pill container with compartments. Then, label each compartment with the day and time that you have to take the medicines.

Note that it’s not advisable to use pill containers for a large batch of medications, as this can compromise quality and stability. To avoid such a scenario, transfer only a few pills at a time to the container. In addition, make sure that your hands are clean and dry when making the transfer; wear sterile latex gloves if you must.

Use Visual Reminders

If you’re the type to need a reminder to take medications, try using visual cues like sticky notes. Place these in conspicuous places, such as the refrigerator door. Use bright colors and big letters so your reminders really grab your attention.

Keep Your Medications in Your Carry-On Luggage

For those who have to travel by plane, make sure to bring your medications with you in your carry-on luggage. This is important for a few reasons. First, you need access to your medications so you can take them on schedule. Second, a commercial plane’s cargo hold isn’t the most ideal environment to store medicines. Third, there’s always a risk that your luggage will be lost.

Aside from your medications, you should also bring a copy of your prescription with you. It’s also helpful to have a doctor’s note explaining what your medicines are and why you need them.

Medicines are effective ways to treat symptoms and ensure your good health even if you have a long-term condition. However, you need to use them properly in order to achieve their desired effects. Keep in mind the tips above and, when in doubt, consult your doctor.

Five Pinoys receive Lee Kuan Yew Senior Fellowship in Public Service

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Five Filipinos were recently inducted into Singapore’s highest and most prestigious program, the Lee Kuan Yew Senior Fellows in Public Service (LKYSF). The highly selective program only chooses a limited handful of Senior Fellows each year. Of the 56 leaders from across the world chosen for the Class of 2022, only five hailed from the Philippines – a testament both to the rigorous selection process as well as to the high caliber of the Senior Fellows themselves.

The LKYSF was developed and taught by world-renowned academicians and practitioners, exploring key issues of the decade and significant trends as well as critical insights into upcoming opportunities and challenges. It is tailored to senior-level leaders in public, private, and non-profit sectors, the rigorous curriculum works to develop the leadership and governance competencies of its Senior Fellows.

The Philippines was proudly represented by Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute President and Chairman Glenn Banaguas; Department of Information and Communications Technology Cybersecurity Bureau Director Maria Victoria Castro; Department of Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven; Securities and Exchange Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee; and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs Maria Angela Ponce.

Collectively, the Philippine fellows represent many years of public service expertise across a variety of disciplines and vital sectors.

Banaguas is a distinguished scientist and science diplomat, and one of the leading experts in environment, climate change, and disaster risk in Asia. He is also the Chairman of the ASEAN Science Diplomats and the US-ASEAN Fellows for Science and Technology, and the Climate Diplomat of the EU-Asia Expert Panel for Climate Diplomacy and Environmental Security. He is currently an Executive Fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland and concurrently serves as an adviser and consultant for the United Nations. Banaguas is a United Nations Sasakawa and The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Laureate, as well as an Asia Leaders for Sustainability awardee.

Dir. Castro has been with the government for more than 25 years. She is the Head of the Cybersecurity Bureau of the Department of Information and Communications Technology and former Undersecretary of the Department. Prior to joining the DICT, she was with the National Security Council (NSC), where she handled matters of national significance. She has done public policy research in the area of crisis management and is an expert in the fields of food security, health security, non-proliferation, disaster management and monitoring, and most on-systems integration.

Atty. Joven is the Undersecretary for the International Finance Group of the Department of Finance. A CPA Board topnotcher, his services are highly sought-after in the areas of estate planning, corporate reorganizations, cross-border transactions, and tax advocacy. As a faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Law, he has taught Wills and Estates, Income Taxation, Business Taxation, Credit Transactions, and Financial Accounting. He is licensed to practice law in the Philippines and the State of New York.

Atty. Lee is the Supervising Commissioner of the Markets and Securities Regulation Department and the Information and Communications Technology Department. He spearheaded the establishment of the International Affairs and Protocol Division and PhiliFintech Innovation Office of the Commission. He is a Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) and other international organizations. Prior to joining the Commission, Atty. Lee was an Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the President (OP).

Atty. Ponce is presently the Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs. As the Legal Adviser of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations (UN) in New York, she commenced her work as Vice-Chairperson of the UN General Assembly’s Legal Committee in 2018. Ponce is also in charge of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns, which focuses on marine scientific research and marine environment protection, and capacity-building activities among maritime agencies and institutions in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Following the completion of the Senior Fellow Programme, they have since returned to the country and are currently making plans for their respective organizations for the coming year.

Photo Caption 

1st row (Left to Right): Maria Victoria Castro (DICT), Glenn Banaguas (ECCRI), Maria Angela Ponce (DFA)
2nd row (Left to Right): Kevin Lester Lee (SEC) and Mark Dennis Joven (DOF)
Courtesy of: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Friday, December 23, 2022

Top Basic Facts You Should Know about Writing Companies

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Today’s college routine is impossible without using writing help. Check out some basic info about it given in our article.

How Much Should Students Pay Someone to Write My Essay and Is It Important?

We guess every college student has lived through tough times when nothing seemed to work well. There are problems with understanding new materials, and the demands of a concrete assignment, or subject. Some folks simply run out of time. All these and other issues negatively effective their rating and drop them from the top to the bottom. Young people want to avoid such cases and commonly ask – How am I supposed to write my essay or any other paper type to enjoy the best grades?

Many students have no idea and so look for various solutions. They leave online cries for help that look like this – Who can do my essay for me? Clever youngsters know about various custom writing services that help to cope with all academic assignments on time and reach the desired quality. In the meanwhile, you have to buy professional aid and it’s not always affordable for common students. Is it worth a try? How much money must be paid? These 2 vital questions are answered in our critical overview. Read on to find out more!

What Is the Cost?

First of all, let’s clarify one crucial point related to the issue of – Who will do my essay online? It is about the price you will surely have to pay. When you visit any custom writing website, you need to ask – How much should I pay you to write my papers for me? You surely know that professional aid is offered only for sale. So, what is the price?

It’s hard to answer this question in one sentence. Firstly, there are a lot of writing websites and their price policies may differ from one another. Yet, one can define at least the average cost. It ranges from $9 to $21 per page. No top-rated platform will go below or above this indicator. This indicator is relatively cheap.

Secondly, you need to be sure that the platform is legit and confidential. It must have the necessary permissions to work. It must never reveal any facts about your private data or order to anyone else.

Thirdly, it’s supposed to offer full customization of your essays and other academic assignments. Thus, you will be able to regulate the price according to your finances. When you fill out the application form, provide the next details:

● Quality of your assignment.

● Its type.

● Length.

● Deadline.

You’ll see the final bid. If it exceeds your budget, make fast changes to the application. Every change can lower the price. For example, the most urgent it is, the more fees will be charged. Prolong the deadline to get a cheaper bid and confirm it.

Mind that trustworthy platforms also offer a refund guarantee. It ensures your money. After your helper accepts your terms, he/she is obliged to fulfill them as promises. In case your agreement is violated from the writer’s side, your money will be returned.

Reasons to Use Pro Aid

Once we’re done with pricing, let’s get through the reasons why you should purchase professional aid. How and who will write my essays? Always ask this question when you visit any custom writing service to be sure you enjoy all you deserve.

Firstly, you should know that the quality of assistance is always high when you deal with a legit and confidential writing website. Who will do my essays? You will get help from only certified and verified writers who have passed the necessary entry tests and job interviews. Thus, you can be 100% confident that any writer found on a reliable writing website is able to match the highest demands of every educational institution.

When you hire a helper, do not think that he or she can help only with an essay. Pro writers can also assist with completing such a complicated project as a term paper or even a dissertation! Besides, you aren’t obliged to buy academic aid all the time long. There are cases when it can be acquired for free. What are those cases? Check the following opportunities:

● Some platforms offer free online consultations.

● All platforms offer chargeless learning materials – articles, guides, topic lists, samples, etc.

● A plagiarism checkup is always gratis.

● Title pages and reference lists are commonly free of charge as well.

Thus, you may be lucky to get the necessary answers without spending a dollar! You only need to make research to find out which websites offer non-paid conditions and guarantees. Use them to the fullest to enjoy the outcomes you require.


Who can do my essays, and what is the price? We guess we have managed to answer these vital questions. It’s up to you to decide what to do with the facts we have provided. We are sure that your choice will be correct.

Contribution rate increase boosts SSS fund life by 22 years

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Social Security System (SSS) announced today that an additional 22 years have been added to the SSS fund life with the help of contribution rate increases since 2019.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Michael G. Regino explained how after implementing the additional P1,000 pension benefit in 2017, the SSS fund life would have lasted until 2032 only.

However, with the help of gradual contribution rate increases mandated by Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, the fund life was extended by another 12 years or until 2044.

Recently, the latest SSS actuarial valuation has shown that the fund life was boosted by another 10 years to which Regino has credited to the SSS’ efforts to boost its membership and coverage.

The SSS now projects the fund life to be extended until 2054. This means an additional 22 years wherein all SSS members and pensioners can enjoy their various benefits.

Starting January 1, 2023, the SSS will then implement the third step of its four-tier contribution increase. The SSS contribution rate would become 14 percent – up by one (1) percentage point from the current 13 percent.

In the meantime, Regino shared how the SSS is still working towards further extending the fund life in response to its mandate of providing social security protection to its stakeholders which should transcend within generations.

“It is important for us to implement the contribution rate increase together with other social reforms so we could achieve this goal and ensure that we have sufficient funds to provide the short- and long-term benefits, including the immediate financial needs, of our members and pensioners especially in times of contingencies,” Regino added.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Experience, Suitability, critical to public vaccination against Pneumonia in PH, says Local Public Health Expert

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

In observance of the recently concluded World Pneumonia Day last November 12, a local public health expert reinforced that a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) should be suitable against local strains and backed up by sufficient real world experience before being introduced in the National Immunization Program (NIP).

According to Dr. Maria Margarita Lota, chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of the Philippines’ College of Public Health, vaccination is one of the most effective ways to combat pneumonia, one of the leading causes of death in children less than five years old.

“Being a pediatrician, we have to protect our children. As pneumonia continues to be a top cause of morbidity and mortality, we are fortunate that we are in an era where vaccination for many of these infectious diseases, like pneumonia, are available. Aside from proper hygiene and nutrition, vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent pneumonia.”

Right PCV against the Right Strains

Dr. Lota gave her expert opinion on factors that should be considered before implementing a PCV under the NIP. Alongside cost-effectiveness and programmatic characteristics, she reinforced that a PCV should be suitable to protect against strains that are prevalent in the Philippines.

“One of the things that we really have to look for when we are considering the inclusion of a particular PCV in the NIP is your serotypes. ‘pag alam natin kung ano yung mga nag-eexist na serotypes in the community, we have to directly target these serotypes, or if not directly, ensure that there are reports of [this PCV] doing cross-protection,” she remarked.

In 2020, the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) of the Department of Health (DOH), which is in charge of appraising health technologies that can be included for public use, recommended the use of PCVs protecting against 11 important strains which accounted for 48% of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD) cases found in the Philippines, namely: 1, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F.1 The recommendation was based on local surveillance data of the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) from 2012-2019.2

“By knowing which serotypes are circulating, kung meron naman ‘yong brands, this can already be used to prevent pneumonia significantly in the country. In the report that was made in 2019 by RITM, 48% of the circulating serotypes in the country can be addressed by currently available PCVs,” she remarked.

On the other hand, Dr. Lota also recognized the urgent need to improve surveillance of circulating strains of pneumonia in the Philippines.

“Different countries have different circulating serotypes. In our anti-microbial resistance

surveillance program, they identified several serotypes causing pneumonia, but the problem with that was that there were low reports of isolates submitted to RITM. This becomes a barrier for us to really understand what are the prevalent serotypes in the country,” said Dr Lota.

Real-world Experience to combat Vaccine Hesitancy

Despite the availability of PCV in the National Immunization Program (NIP), a root cause to the still high number of cases of vaccine preventable diseases can be attributed to parents' hesitancy to vaccinate their children, leading to less infants being brought to health facilities to be vaccinated against diseases like pneumonia.

“Unfortunately, even if we have all of these vaccines against pneumonia available in the NIP, it continues to be a burden of disease in many countries especially in low to middle income countries like the Philippines. The uptake of our vaccines is not very high because of the controversy of the dengue vaccine in 2016. Therefore, less babies are being brought to the health centers, so the consequence will be an increased number of pneumonia cases, one of the vaccine-preventable diseases that could have been prevented.

To address this, Dr Lota highlighted that a PCV should have sufficient experience and accessible real-world evidence before being implemented in the Philippine NIP to address vaccine hesitancy.

“Accessible real-world evidence is connected to vaccine hesitancy. Even if we know that a vaccine can trigger a good immune response (“immunogenicity”), we need to still see if a vaccine is really effective when it is introduced in the community rather than just a sample cohort for instance. This will give confidence to parents that they can actually use this particular vaccine,” said Dr. Lota

As a concrete example, Dr. Lota mentioned that we could learn from the slow acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines when it was first introduced in the Philippines.

“An example of this is your COVID-19 vaccine. In spite of being licensed and approved, many parents were hesitant during its release because it did not have enough data to show to the public. But if you have real-world evidence, which usually comes after the post-marketing, they will have more confidence that, yes, I can use this because it is safe and effective,” she added.

Last October, HTAC released the final priority list of health technology topics that will be assessed for possible inclusion in the Philippine National Formulary (PNF), of which includes PCV.3

Currently, there are three PCVs pre-qualified by the World Health Organization—PCV13 and 2 kinds of PCV10: PHID-CV and SIIL-PCV. The two PCVs that were reviewed by HTAC in 2020—PHID-CV and PCV13—were assessed as suitable to address the 11 important strains in the country.4

Speaker Background

Dr. Maria Margarita M. Lota is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Public Health at University of the Philippines and pursued her Doctor of Medicine at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center. Further training in Pediatrics was completed at the Philippine General Hospital. Thereafter, she joined as faculty in the College of Public Health. She actively participates in the conduct of medical microbiology courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs. She acts as the lead coordinator for the various microbiology courses in the College of Medicine. Further, she has coordinated several local and international training programs. Her clinical expertise in Pediatrics contributes to her approach in teaching the different infectious diseases which has become her main focus in the field of Microbiology. As a complement to her passion for teaching, she completed her Masters in Health Professions Education at the National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions of the University of the Philippines Manila. Dr. Lota is a member of the Las Piñas Medical Society and a fellow of the Philippine Pediatric Society.She has done several researches and publications on antimicrobial resistance, tuberculosis and enteric bacteria. Her interest include pediatric microbial infections, vaccinations and antimicrobial resistance. With her experience in the field of Medical Microbiology, she has been invited as speaker to different local and international workshops and conferences.


Amidst high inflation rates, energy consumers demand representation

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At a press conference, consumer welfare group called for amending the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers to secure consumer representation to protect and promote their welfare amidst high inflation rates and the looming global recession.

“The existing Magna Carta of Residential Electricity Consumers is inadequate to protect consumers as we face increases in electricity prices. Residential consumers need better representation to the Energy Regulatory Commission and other government bodies concerned with electricity prices where our issues are discussed properly and ensure accountability, reliability and affordability,” said Roland Vibal, National Coordinator for

Electricity prices have been increasing while the income value of households continues to shrink due to inflation. The increase in electricity prices is expected to continue until the following year as the global coal and fuel market continues to increase.

Residential consumers shoulder more burden in electricity prices compared to the business sector. The residential consumer comprises the biggest share of 33.7% of the total electricity consumption compared to industry consumption of 25.1% and commercial at 20.4%. Despite this, there is no representation of residential consumers in all aspects of policy formulation and direction of the power industry.

The current Magna Carta only stipulates the obligations and rights of residential consumers but lacks provisions to ensure representations and voices of the sector in the electric power industry.

“Any attempts to reform existing policies of the electricity industry will be detrimental to the welfare and interest of the public unless the issue of institutional representation of the sector in all aspects of policy determination is in place,” Vibal said

Who would win the FinTech World Cup-2022?

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Following the group distribution of countries in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Robocash Group analysts estimated that the USA, Canada and Australia would be the winning top-3 countries if the current World Cup in Qatar was not centred around football, but FinTech.

The purpose of the study is to analyse the level of fintech development across several countries - the finalists of the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

Group B’s Wales, while strong, would not stand against England to move further in the bracket if they had to compete on equal ground. English FinTech is still much more developed than in Wales (at least thanks to London being the global fintech hub). Therefore, England moves forward.

Even still, England goes only as far as the quarter-finals. While it had no issue comfortably overwhelming Qatar on its home turf in 1/8, it couldn't compete with the USA in the quarter-finals. The strong Belgium also falters from the victory path in the quarter-finals. It all came down to the penalty shoot-out, where Canada, the leader of the group, once again emerged superior (+0.5 points in the FinTech index).

One of the notable 1/8 matches is Brazil vs. South Korea, which mirrors the football championship in its outcome. Just like the FIFA World Cup 2022, the Brazilians end up moving forward.

Australia, however, turned out to be quite the “dark horse” of the tournament, successfully gaining great momentum! Its top three scoring “linemen” —highest adult income, close to 100% penetration of digital payments, and 90% use of online financial services. Together they secured Australia’s path forward out of the group, as well as strong victories against Mexico, Denmark, and Switzerland. The country ended up in a well-deserved third place!

The final match flies purely American colours. Thanks to a lucky tournament layout, only the fourth strongest team of the tournament takes silver in the championship. This is Canada’s limit: it has little ground to stand against the US, with an impressive level of development of the national FinTech ecosystem.

In the end, the USA, Canada and Australia shar

e the glory. This would be the winning top-3 countries of the Fintech World Cup. As modelled by Robocash Group, based on statistics for the years 2021-2022.


The 2022 World Cup participants were compared across four main areas of FinTech development, assessed quantitatively and qualitatively:
The potential of the fintech audience. The country data on the median age provided by, with exception of Tunisia and Uruguay ( The qualitative assessment is based on the median wealth per adult, as per the Global Wealth Databook 2022 by Credit Suisse.

Digital inclusion. Daily time spent using the internet (among 16-64-year-old Internet users). For countries with missing data (Cameroon, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Ghana, Iran, Morocco, Qatar, Senegal, Serbia, Tunisia, Uruguay), country averages with available data are used. Sourced from Data Reportal.
Consumer fintech penetration. The volume of Digital payments (made or received in the past year, 2021, 15+) from The World Bank’s Findex. The Use of online financial services (16-64, Data Reportal). Missing data (Cameroon, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Ghana, Iran, Qatar, Senegal, Serbia, Tunisia, Uruguay) are also averaged.
Penetration of the fintech offer. Both quantitative and qualitative assessments of the fintech industry use an already integrated indicator from The Global Fintech Index Ecosystem Ranking 2021 by Findexable (points). Costa Rica, Morocco, Qatar, Senegal, Serbia use average values, same as previous cases.All values were standardised and put on a 100-point scale. The final results can be found by the link to Table, Data Sheet.

Post Office opens SM City Bacolod branch

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In its continuing effort to relocate Post Offices to a more convenient location to better serve the public, the Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) opened another branch located at 3rd Level, Government Service Express (GSE), Rizal Street, Reclamation Area, SM Bacolod City, 6100 Negros Occidental.

On hand to formally opened the Post Office are: Regional Postal Area 6-Director Donabel Asuncion, Acting Support Service Manager Atty. Stevenson Conlu, Postmaster Rinald Rosadia, Ronald Vilches-Cashier and in charge of SM Bacolod Tellering, Mr. George Jadriolin, Mall Manager, SM City Bacolod, Ms. Julia Javellana, Assistant Mall Manager, Van Sombito, Property Manager, Enzo Benedicto, Building Admin Manager, May Castro, Public Relations Manager and Glen Sazon, CRS Manager.

“I would like to thank SM, one of the largest and most extensive over-the-counter one-stop shops for government services in the country, for giving us the opportunity to bring Post Office services closer to the public”, Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio said.

He added, “I believe the Post Office can do so much in bringing daily convenience in the lives of the Filipinos by means of this partnership with SM Supermalls on government-private sector collaboration in order to expand its accessibility by bringing the Post Office closer to the community.”

“The Post Office today is way faster, more reliable, convenient, and innovative than it ever was in decades. In an effort to digitize and modernize the services of the Philippine Post Office, we launched early this year a new range of innovations to improve the operations and delivery of the country's postal system”, he said.

Regional Postal Area 6 Director Ms. Donabel Asuncion said that shoppers will be able to conveniently and quickly mail letters and express packages, buy stamps and other philatelic products, apply for Postal ID, and send electronic Postal Money Orders, postal cards, and so much more.

Panawagan para s panukalang aklat

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Inaanyayahan ang lahat na magpása ng panukalang aklat para sa proyektong pampublikasyon ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. Tatanggap ang patnugutan ng KWF Publikasyon ng teknikal na mga akda, saliksik pangwika, malikhaing akdang pampanitikan na nakasulat sa Filipino at sa mga rehiyonal na wika sa Pilipinas gaya ng Sebwano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Waray, Bikol, Kapampangan, Tausug, Mëranaw, Kinaray-a, Surigaonon, at iba pa. Bukás ang panawagan para sa lahat ng manunulat, editor, tagasalin sa Filipino at rehiyonal na mga wika.

Layon ng proyekto na palakasin pang higit ang paggamit ang wikang Filipino at mga rehiyonal na wika sa Pilipinas. Gayundin, target nitong matipon ang mahahalagang akdang pumapaksa sa wika at kultura ng bansa na magagamit sa pag-aaral, pagtuturo, at pananaliksik ng mga estudyante, guro, at iskolar.

Bisitahin ang para sa kompletong detalye.

Ipinababatid na magkakaroon ng ekstensiyon para sa dedlayn ng pagpapasa ng panukalang publikasyon.

Ang ekstensiyon ng dedlayn ay sa 26 Disyembre 2022.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

PLDT Enterprise and PH Digicon 2022 Bigger, Bolder, and Boundless

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The country’s largest fully integrated telco services provider PLDT, through its business arm PLDT Enterprise, concludes the highly anticipated Philippine Digital Convention 2022 (PH Digicon) with invaluable insights from industry experts and an inspiring live interview with NBA Hall of Famer, philanthropist, and businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson who epitomized this year’s theme of being ‘Boundless.’

SVP & Head of Enterprise & International Business Groups at PLDT & Smart, Jojo G. Gendrano, opened the two-day event with a powerful statement, “There is no way back to the old world, a revolution had started,” before showing the audience the endless possibilities of virtual spaces. “Whatever part we play in the Metaverse, it requires the collaboration and co-innovation of the ecosystem to make it a success.”

Gendrano’s immersive presentation was followed by a profound talk by PLDT & Smart President & CEO, Al S. Panlilio, as he called on infinite leadership, challenging to lead ‘with an understanding of the long haul and the need to proactively shift gears.’

He put PLDT as an example, from a traditional telco that offered landlines to now being the Philippines’ largest fully integrated telco company. “As an enabler of digital transformation, I am proud to say that the PLDT Group has always been at the forefront of change,” he says. “We have been enabling enterprises in their transformation goals through innovative solutions and world-class infrastructure.”

PH Digicon further tackled the definition of being ‘Boundless’ with this year’s headline speaker, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a successful basketball legend turned businessman and philanthropist. He talked about his amazing career which included being part of the 1992 “Dream Team” that won the Olympic gold medal, his philanthropic work through the Magic Johnson Foundation, and being a successful businessman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises.

From bringing businesses into Urban America, creating jobs and giving opportunities to minorities, and working with women-owned firms, Johnson continues to build his empire while staying rooted in his core values of hard work, discipline, and faith. “My life is boundless,” he says. “When I think of my journey, that’s the word I would use. I did everything that was not supposed to be done. When I think about boundless, I think that’s Magic Johnson!”

From all these talks of transformative technologies, infinite leadership, and the metaverse, to Magic Johnson making history in the world of business, the future of post-pandemic entrepreneurship is truly Boundless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Best Mobile Casino - Features, Benefits, & Key Specs

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How to understand the difference between a mobile casino and the usual browser versions of casino sites? Everything is quite easy if you know the basics. The manufacturers of mobile versions of online casinos assure that such gambling platforms remain accessible to their users and have a wide variety of functions, which are in no way inferior to the usual online casinos. The best mobile casino - what is it? We will answer this question and provide other interesting information further in this post.
The Functionality of a Quality Mobile Casino

The main advantage of a mobile casino is that in terms of its functionality, it practically does not differ from the usual desktop version. Any applications will be adapted for gadgets, will load fast, and will allow you to quickly find the gaming machine you are interested in.

It does not matter what operating system your gadget runs on - Android, iOS, or Windows - a quality mobile casino will still be accessible, and any of the games will work perfectly on the device. Experienced professionals put in a lot of effort to make mobile gambling apps 100% device-friendly. To find more information about the best mobile casinos, read rating and choose a gambling app from the top list.
Gaming Features of Mobile Casinos

As a rule, modern mobile casinos treat their customers with a wide assortment of popular gambing games. In a casino app, you will find slots, video poker, table games, as well as live dealers. So, you will hardly be limited to a couple of available options.

If 10 years ago mobile casinos were not popular, and only a few companies had mobile gambling rooms, today every reputable institution tries to do everything for the convenience of its users. And mobile casino development is no exception. Interestingly, according to statistics, in 2007-2010, only 2-5% of users used their mobile phones to play in casinos. Today this number is close to 40%.

Benefits of Gambling at Mobile Casinos

Mobile online casinos were created primarily for the convenience of each user. Moreover, there are mobile gambling establishments that encourage the use of such applications and give certain bonuses to those accessing a gambilng hub right from a mobile. So, if you are looking for a way to boost your bankroll, then you should definitely consider visiting mobile casinos.

Besides that, gambling clubs will never prevent gamblers from withdrawing their earned funds. According to statistics, a player can win even by making a very small deposit; usually, the minimum withdrawal in a mobile casino is the same as in the browser version. If you use a reasonable approach, play slot machines for money from your phone with your own strategy, try your hand at demo modes, then there are great chances to win.

You can play slot machines for money from your phone at any convenient time, and this is not the only good thing about a mobile casino. Experienced gamblers point out other advantages:

● Quick registration as you can log in even using social networks;

● High mobile casino load speed;

● The presence of bonuses identical to the ones in the desktop version of a casino;

● The ability to choose any available mobile casino games that will be adapted to any gadget;

● The ability to make deposits and withdraw funds quickly.

At the same time, there are some drawbacks of mobile online casinos. Among them are low-quality graphics in some games. There are also slot machines in which it is difficult to see certain elements. There are also casinos that do not have a support service in the mobile version. But usually, these gambling establishments do not position themselves as high-quality casinos.
Do It the Way You Like

You can go and play slot machines for real money from your phone right now! There is no need to have a laptop or pc at hand in order to get a stellar gambling experience.

Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket launches Benjarong Phuket – Authentic Thai Cuisine Restaurant

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Indulge in the delightful tastes and textures of authentic Thai Cuisine nestled in an elegant Thai-style teak house amongst a tropical garden and overlooking a lagoon at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket.

Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, a luxurious beach resort on Phuket’s northwest coast, is pleased to announce the soft opening of Benjarong, the Signature Thai restaurant of all Dusit Thani hotels under the Dusit International’s umbrella. Benjarong serves authentic Thai Cuisine crafted from unique recipes passed from generation to generation.

Formerly known as Ruen Thai, Benjarong is an ode to Thailand’s culinary heritage and blends the delicacy of flavours with visual appearance in the form of sophisticated ingredients and artistic presentation. The restaurant’s location is as immaculate as the cuisine served. Benjarong is set in an elegant teak house designed in the Thai tradition, surrounded by gardens, and overlooking the lagoon. The atmosphere is enchanting and refined.

Benjarong aspires to source locally from Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and the northeastern region of Thailand in order to deliver the highest quality seasonal ingredients. The restaurant is pleased to collaborate with farmers and producers in different parts of Thailand who have introduced us to ingredients from the rich biodiversity of the region.

Chef Boonram is at the helm of Benjarong. With over 20 years experience as the chef of Ruen Thai, he uses fresh local ingredients, cooked with authentic methods, to honour the traditional flavours of authentic Thai Cuisine. Previously, under Chef Boonram’s expertise, Ruen Thai was recognised by the MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2019 & 2020 in the category of “The MICHELIN Plate.”

Discover the enticing flavours of signature dishes recommended by the MICHELIN Guide at Benjarong including Mung Korn Lui Fai, Phuket lobster in red curry sauce served with flambé’ or Yum Nue Yang, a Thai-style tenderloin beef salad.

To make a reservation to dine at Benjarong, call +66 (0) 7636 2999 ext. 7310.

The restaurant is open daily from 18:00 - 23:00

It’s Christmas! Get your Superbook Gifts on Shopee and Lazada

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Christmas is fast approaching! Wondering where to get awesome Superbook merch for your Monito and Monita?

Your favorite Superbook goodies are now just a few clicks away on Superbook PH – the official distributor of Superbook items on Shopee and Lazada.

Don’t miss the chance to give your little loved ones the best Christmas gifts!

Add to cart Superbook shirts and hoodies that are perfect for your holiday family matching outfits!

Let them enjoy learning how to write and draw numbers, letters, shapes, and fruits with Superbook Tracing Books, Notebooks, and Notepad Set!

Your whole family can bond together this Christmas over different activities based on Superbook episodes. Get the Superbook Activity Book for kids who like interactive puzzles, activities, and games!

You can also include completing Superbook Jigsaw Puzzles in your holiday family bonding activities. Grab the 4 sets and make it a friendly match on who finishes completing it first!

Superbook bag tags and stickers are also available to complete their back-to-school essentials after the holidays. The best part? You can get these items for a minimum donation of Php 50 only!

What are you waiting for? Be a blessing to your children this Christmas by giving them something that would introduce the greatest gift of all: Jesus!

Visit Superbook PH on Shopee and Lazada and be ready to learn Bible lessons in a fun, interactive, and exciting way.

Have a SUPER merry Christmas!

SSS contribution hike to beef up benefit payments for members

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The Social Security System (SSS) on Monday said that the 2023 contribution increase would help fund higher benefit disbursements to its members.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Michael G. Regino explained that the four-stage contribution rate hike readies the SSS fund for the future needs of its members.

Starting January 1, 2023, the new contribution rate will be pegged at 14 percent, up by one (1) percentage point from the current 13 percent.

“We have already expanded the benefits to our members such as the unemployment benefit, and maternity benefit under the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL). Both these benefits, however have no particular source of funding but since 2019, we have continuously given these benefits to our members,” Regino said.

From 2019 until October 2022, SSS has already disbursed P3.78 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 287,000 members.

Likewise, the annual maternity benefit disbursement rose by 78% from P7.07 billion in 2018 to P12.54 billion in 2022.

The SSS Chief also said that the previous contribution increases boosted benefit disbursements for its members.

“From January 2019 to October 2022, we have released P822.86 billion benefits to our members, which is 38% higher than the P596.30 billion benefit disbursements from January 2015 to December 2018 prior to the amendment of the Social Security Law,” he added.

Moreover, Regino said the latest SSS actuarial valuation revealed that the fund life would last until 2054. “The reforms in the contribution rates are among the factors that helped boosted our fund life brought by Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018,” he added.

This is an indicator that the pension fund has enough funds to support the short-term and immediate financial needs of our members and pensioners in the decades to come.

Under the Social Security Act of 2018, SSS should gradually increase the contribution rate until it reaches 15 percent by 2025. The four-tiered contribution increase will ensure the pension fund’s financial viability for the benefit of its members, pensioners, and their beneficiaries.

Under the new rate, employers would shoulder the one (1) percentage point increase for its members with employers. The employee’s share will remain at 4.5 percent, while the employer’s share will increase to 9.5 percent from the current 8.5 percent.

For individual paying members such as self-employed, voluntary, non-working spouse, and OFW members, they will shoulder the whole 14 percent contribution rate since they have no employers.

Moreover, there will be an adjustment to the minimum monthly salary credit (MSC) from P3,000 to P4,000, while the maximum MSC will increase from P25,000 to P30,000.

“The new SSS contribution rate is also a great opportunity to help our members beef up their retirement savings through its mandatory provident fund program or the Worker’s Investment and Savings Program (WISP). We want our members to have a comfortable retirement after their productive years. Every additional peso that a member contributes is more savings for their retirement. This is the principle that we want them to adapt---WORK, SAVE, INVEST, and PROSPER,” Regino concluded.

Unprecedented FIFA World Cup edition

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup in the State of Qatar, is  an unprecedented edition in history. Where the facilities and events where interconnected in a way that ensures the preservation of the environment, and the experience of each football fan, was planned according to his/her desires and interests. It is the first time that the largest football tournament in the world was held on Arab country, and the FIFA World Cup is the first in terms of close distances between stadiums, which made it easy for fans to attend two matches in one day.

The journey between any of the FIFA World Cup stadiums in Qatar took no more than one hour. This means that fans were able to cheer their favorite team at Al Janoub Stadium, south of Doha, in a match that took place during the afternoon, and then joined the atmosphere of excitement in another match held at Al Bayt Stadium - Al Khor City, northern Qatar, on the evening of the same day.

Fans commuted to the matches by metro, cars, trains, motorbikes, as well as water taxis, using advanced transportation systems that helped made the 2022 tournament the most environmentally friendly version in the history of the FIFA World Cup. All accommodation options, both budget and luxury, are located within short distances from the tournament facilities which is another factor in facilitating the fan experience.

Fans Special Experience:

The 2022 FIFA World Cup gave football fans complete comfort and freedom of choice, so that each of them can form their own experience in this exceptional tournament by all standards.

Countdown for the greatest event Started:

By November 21, 2021, began the countdown to the world's largest sporting event, the World Cup, towards November 21, 2022 in Qatar.

Qatar Aspirations

This year's celebration reflects the tight interconnection of the Qatari people with the environment. Raised, coexisted and influenced by the characteristics of nature, the colors of soil, sea, and sky and the transformation of seasons, played an important part in forming their personality and identity. It is in a way mirrors the national vision of the State, which is promoting loyalty, solidarity, unity, as well as pride in the national identity of the State.

Shura, the Partnership in the State Governance:

Also part of its endeavors to achieve the National Vision 2030, the State of Qatar witnessed in October this year, the first legislative elections in its history. It is in an important move towards developing the legislative and political process, laying the foundations of Shura and expanding the participation of citizens in governance. This move, which reflects the traditions of the state of Qatar, represented by the just and rational governance linked to the people, shows the solidarity and cohesion of the Qatari society, as well as its tolerance to moral values and love for the country.

Qatar the Pioneer in labor Law Reforms

In the context of legislative reforms, wise leadership paved way to reforming labor policies, which constituted a new era for Qatar and regional labor market. It is a roadmap described by many countries as a "giant step", echoing the State's commitment to giving migrant workers more freedom and protection, providing employers with more options.

40th Anniversary of bilateral relations with Philippines

This year 2021, marks The 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of the Philippines.

The State of Qatar gives great importance to its bilateral relations with the Philippines and seeks to deepen its strategic partnership in the field of politics and economy.

Hosting almost a quarter of a million with all rights and privileges:

The State of Qatar hosts more than 242,000 Filipino workers, occupying various sectors. In addition, there are also more than 200 Filipino companies operating in Qatar market engaged in different activities, as well.

Base on the spirit of principles of justice and equality, the State of Qatar has always valued the roles played by Filipino workers and their contributions to the development of Qatar.

We do not forget to refer to the latest legal initiatives, which include setting the minimum wage, simplifying the procedures for transferring workers between employers, and abolition of the sponsorship (Kafala) system in the recruitment and employment of migrant workers.

Celebrating the National Day of the State of Qatar

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Remarks of Mr. Abdullah bin Salem Al-Khawar - Chargé d'Affaires a.i
Embassy of the State of Qatar - Manila
The National Day of the State of Qatar - December 18, 2022

On this day, we are pleased to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the first modern sovereign state, based on values of dignity, originality and affiliation, by Sheikh Jasim bin Mohammed Al Thani, on December 18, 1878.

On this occasion I am honored to extend my most sincere congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar - "May Allah protect him"-, the Father Amir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani - "May Allah protect him"- to His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani, Deputy Amir of the State of Qatar, and to His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar.

I also convey my warm congratulations to the noble Qatari people, as well as to all the residents in the State of Qatar. I wish Allah, the Almighty, to bless this occasion and perpetuate good health, security, stability and further progress for our people and for our beloved country,

Qatar National Day is a great occasion, where the people of Qatar show cohesion, solidarity and unity, in meanings of love for homeland, loyalty to ancestors and fathers and their unforgettable sacrifices. It is the Day of Pride for the wise leadership of H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, May God protect him, the leader of Qatar’s achievements and promising future.

The slogan of Qatar National Day 2022 (Our Unity Source of Our Strength) quoted from a speech by His Highness Sheikh/ Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, "May God Protect Him"- affirms solidarity among our people to face challenges and to achieve common objectives.

This slogan comes in connection with the country's hosting of the World Cup FIFA Qatar 2022, which began on November 11 and will continue until December 18, 2022 and everyone’s eyes from different cultures are all focused to Qatar.

The celebrations this year also express the intellectual and social bond in response to the many challenges, which the people of Qatar carried together in good and in unpleasant times.

It is the spirit of unity that made Qatar what it is now, with the strong ability to surpass every pressing issue of the country’s socio-economic, political and military hurdles over the years.

This year’s Qatar National Day is a very significant moment as it also coincides with the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Hosting this event has revealed to the world Qatar's cultural identity and its economic, security and administrative capabilities. Its tangible achievements in all fields reflect Qatar’s keenness to consolidate the national culture in the hearts of our future generations.

Hosting FIFA also opened a gate to bringing people together, with unified sentiments and affirmation that the world can unite to face major disasters and challenges that could threaten humanity.

Our hosting of FIFA Tournament is indeed exceptional in the history of sports, as it is the first time that it is being held on Arab land.

The use of modern and advanced transportation systems that converges distance of one stadium to the other makes this tournament the most environmental friendly version.

The State of Qatar is grateful to the other friendly countries and people for the support and praises conveyed to Qatar for organizing this major global humanitarian event. Qatar also affirms that this unique and inspiring experience belongs to all humanity.

On this year's celebration also includes 4,500 accompanying cultural and heritage activities that will span within 24 days to further enhance the atmosphere of loyalty, solidarity, unity and pride in the national identity.

In concurrence with the activities of the National Day and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the activities of Katara 12th Traditional Festival, were launched in Qatar last month, with the participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of Iraq, the Yemen Arab Republic, the Republic of Türkiye, and the State of India, the Federal Republic of Tanzania.

This edition of Katara Festivals was characterized by a rich program of cultural activities and events keeping pace with the global sports event the country is witnessing. This included 40 pavilions for the participating countries, and 32 traditional loaders flying the flags of the countries participating in the World FIFA Cup.

The activities of Katara festival shed light on the customs and traditions of the fathers and grandfathers in fishing and diving trips, which contributed to preserving the cultural stock and the popular heritage rich in environmental values, and encouraged their consolidation in the hearts of generations, and pride in them.

Over the past years, the festival has achieved great success as the most important international gathering venue for cultures and heritage, restoring the maritime heritage in all its originality, arts and traditions.

With respect to the well-being of expatriate workers, the 2022 World Cup has become a channel for reform on worker’s welfare laws that is to mention raising accommodation and treatments standards for the employees, wherein the State has included programs that will ensure workers of proper care. safety , healthy condition and conducive working condition.

The Workers' Welfare Standards are a set of legally binding contractual obligations that the state of Qatar uses to guarantee workers' rights to all contractors. It is applied according to an advanced audit system that includes inspections by the country's Ministry of Labor, among other levels of audit.

The State of Qatar continues to adhere to an open dialogue with international organizations concerned with labor, and has launched a number of initiatives to protect workers' rights, such as signing a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Building and Wood Worker's International Federation, to conduct joint inspection tours of stadium sites, and choose advanced refrigeration products, to give workers a more comfortable and safe environment.

A healthy nutrition program was also recently launched in cooperation with health experts in this field, from Weill Cornell Medicine in the State of Qatar, to educate workers, contractors and food supply companies, on the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle.

May I humbly refer to the report issued by the International Labor Organization on November 01, 2022, which praised the reforms undertaken by the State of Qatar in the field of labor. The reforms highlighted fair treatment and improvement of the working and living conditions of the migrant workers.

The State of Qatar has made great progress in its labor reforms since its technical cooperation with the International Labor Organization in April 2019, despite the many challenges that still hinder implementation procedures.

We also give emphasis on Qatar’s several changes in the Labor Law back in August 2020, which includes the abolition of the required "No Objection Certificate (NOC)" to change work or employer. This was the latest in a series of labor reforms. Since then, the Qatar Ministry of Interior has approved nearly 340,000 requests from migrant workers to change jobs.

Moreover, 14 new Visa Centers were also established in many countries, as well as the establishment of joint committees to facilitate the participation of workers in companies.

Further to issues of labor reforms, even before the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022, there were about 280,000 employees working under high temperature condition benefited from the raise on wages, overtime pay and separation service fee.

The International Labor Organization, the International Trade Union Confederation and the International Organization of Employers praised the efforts made by the State of Qatar to modernize labor laws.

It cannot be considered that labor laws are mere agreements or Memorandums of Understanding, but that they are legislation enshrined in laws. There is a system of application, represented in the labor courts that work to achieve justice for workers in the State of Qatar.

These reforms represent a new era for the Qatari labor market at the regional and international levels, and a roadmap that can be described as "reflecting the state of Qatar's commitment to granting migrant workers more freedom and protection, and providing employers with more options."

The State of Qatar is keen to support all efforts aimed at promoting civilized and cultural openness between peoples. It attaches great importance to developing its relations with countries and regional and international organizations. It also contributes to efforts to enhance international peace and security through mediation aimed at resolving disputes by peaceful means, in addition to supporting development and stability projects in various countries.

The mediation of the State of Qatar in Sudan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Chad and others, has also created path towards peace, stability and development, not only in those countries, but also at the regional and international levels.

The State of Qatar firmly believes that peaceful means are the best path to resolve conflicts and end wars.

I am pleased to commend the level reached by the bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of the Philippines, after the two nations celebrated last year the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The cooperation between the State of Qatar and the Republic of the Philippines has opened investment opportunities between the two countries, thus, resulting to expansion of trade exchange and frequent mutual visits of in both countries, both in government and in private sectors.

This cooperation also led to the conclusion of many joint Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding, which strengthen bilateral ties, as the State of Qatar attaches great importance to the Philippines and seeks to deepen its strategic partnerships in various fields.

The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations is an occasion to revive the bonds of people's friendship, and to establish values ​​of optimism for a bright future, especially that Qatar hosts more than 300,000 Filipinos working in various vital fields.

The State of Qatar greatly appreciates the role of the Filipino workers in the renaissance and development of the nation.

In response to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar - "May Allah protect him", the State of Qatar is exerting great efforts to further intensify its ties with the Republic of the Philippines, especially under the current Philippine Government headed by His Excellency Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr, President of the Republic of the Philippines, who has previously expressed the same desire with the State of Qatar, especially in the field of investment and trade exchange, among other vital areas, including health, energy, education and culture.

In conclusion, I can only pray to Allah Almighty to bless our country, the State of Qatar, the friendly Philippine government and its beloved citizens.

Peace, Allah's mercy and blessings be upon you!

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