Saturday, April 1, 2023

From Likes to Leads: How Growing Your Instagram Followers Can Drive Business Results

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Perplexed about how to turn Instagram followers into leads? You're not alone. With so many Instagram users, it can be hard to capture your audience's attention and distinguish yourself from the competition.

In this article, we'll show you how to leverage your Instagram following to turn likes into leads and drive business results. Ready to get started?
Why is Instagram Important for Businesses?

The visual nature of Instagram makes it an effective marketing tool for businesses, as well as a great way for brands to show off what they have to offer creatively and engagingly. Beyond creating stunning visuals, businesses can use Instagram to raise brand awareness and bring attention to their products or services while also fostering engagement with their current followers. Additionally, through leveraging hashtags and geotagged posts, businesses can target potential customers and allow them to discover their brand more easily.

Furthermore, a growing engaged following on this platform could be very beneficial in driving business results in the long term. A business's ability to increase followers of Buy Instagram likes allows them to reach more potential customers who are interested in its products or services and potentially lead them down the sales funnel toward merchandise purchases or consultations. On top of that, it presents opportunities for collaborations with influencers or building relationships with existing customers by showcasing customer experiences such as product reviews or destination stories through posts and user-generated content (UGC).
Strategies for Growing Your Instagram Following

One of the best ways to generate leads and eventually convert those leads into customers is to grow the number of your Instagram followers. Having a vibrant and engaged user base allows you to organically spread your product or service in front of a large audience of followers. Before you embark on your marketing journey, several strategies should be considered to create true success.

The first step is to define what success looks like. It’s important to have a clear goal before you put any effort into building your Instagram following. Are you looking for more engagement on posts? More website traffic? Improved brand awareness? Is the goal more followers or deeper relationships with current followers?

Once you’ve established what success looks like, it’s time to start crafting an effective strategy for reaching those goals. Here are five tips for growing your Instagram following:

1) Content is key – Focus on creating quality content that resonates with your audience, using hashtags and branded visuals whenever possible

2) Leverage influencers – Reach out to influencers who have an active following in your industry

3) Cross-promote content – Schedule regular social media cross-promotions with other businesses within similar industries

4) Optimize posts – Optimize each post by targeting specific hashtags and locations

5) Interact with followers – Make sure you are engaging frequently with comments, likes, shares, and other interactions
How to Turn Likes into Leads

Start by knowing who your ideal audience is. Sometimes it helps to create an avatar that represents your target customer, digging deeper into their characteristics, age range, interests, location, and more. These details will help inform the images you share on Instagram as well as the captions, hashtags, and stories you post.

Once you've identified who your target audience is, customize your content to appeal to them directly. Authentic images create a sense of connection with the people who are engaging with your posts - so make sure each post accurately reflects your brand values and personality. Pairing beautiful visuals with compelling captions should increase likes - now use those likes to gain insights about what resonates best with potential leads.

Alongside organic content, consider leveraging ads on Instagram to further reach potential Free Instagram followers- have keywords ready for a successful ad copy that will generate engagement and clicks. Be sure to link each of these ads back to the website or Landing Page for followers and leads to take action easily after reading or watching.

Make sure forms are easy to fill out by having them auto-fill personal data when possible keeping UX at the forefront when doing so. Additionally ROI tracking helps you gain insights into how well campaigns performed and where improvements may be needed.

Once people make it onto your website offer them personalized content such as surveys or webinars — this type of information exchange works wonders in terms of creating meaningful conversions especially because personalized experiences are incredibly important today more than ever! Regardless of whether users engage at the top tier of the funnel ensure those further down funnel have alternative CTA options such as free trials or downloading whitepapers for more information about products & services proactively proving there’s partnership potential between buyer & seller.

With practice, patience, and dedication eventually those likes can translate into sales.

Understanding the Instagram Algorithm

The algorithm determines how often users will see content from the accounts they follow. It does this by assessing “engagement” on posts: likes, comments, views, and more. The engagement on a post is determined within the first few minutes of posting. And depending on its level of engagement within—several factors come into play—each user's Instagram feed will continuously be reshuffled in a way that best displays content they’ll engage with.

The algorithm also accounts for relationships between users—how frequently someone interacts with and follows a particular account or user, as well as posts liked by people they follow or are interested in—which helps Instagram decide which content to show and when it should be shown.

Another important factor Instagram focuses on is relevancy —meaning how closely related the content being posted relates to the current interests of a given user. For instance, if you are in the fashion industry and someone follows you, their feed will prioritize posts about fashion compared to other types of industries or topics that aren’t relevant to them.

For your account to stay visible in their feeds beyond those first few minutes after posting, you need to keep creating engaging content that matches both their current interests as well as general trends within the industry. Incorporating hashtags related to trendy topics is one way you can ensure your post counts as relevant topic-wise so it won’t get pushed down too quickly by other niche-unrelated accounts they follow.

Leveraging Instagram Ads

Leveraging Instagram Ads is one popular strategy for catapulting growth on Instagram without relying solely on organic content. When set up properly and targeted accurately, Ads can be powerful tools for businesses seeking to increase engagement and visibility without having to Buy Instagram followers. Businesses will likely benefit from using Ads in multiple areas — including promoting new products, introducing sales promotions, or announcing special offers.

In addition to Ad campaigns, businesses should capitalize on the power user-generated content (UGC) can bring to their brands’ social presence. Encouraging customers to post pictures wearing your product with comments or reviews provides an unbiased opinion of who you are as a brand, brings more followers, and drives more engagement. UGC is often considered more authentic than ads created by companies because they come directly from customers who believe in your brand enough to post about it online which can be incredibly persuasive when trying to form relationships with potential customers.


Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, the power of Instagram is undeniable. Implementing the methods discussed in this article can help to expand your reach, increase your followers and lead to more conversions – all while fostering an engaged and loyal community of supporters.

Friday, March 31, 2023

World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-PH) calls for ready-to-scale solutions to reduce plastic waste leakage in the City of Manila

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Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, is facing a growing plastic waste problem. With the Pasig River as a major source of plastic pollution, and a rising population consuming more single-use plastic products, the city is contributing to the over 11 million tons of plastic waste that flows into the ocean each year. To protect the environment and public health, a sustainable and comprehensive approach to plastic waste management is urgently needed in Manila.

In response to this challenge, the Plastic Smart Cities - TV-Aksjonen Project has launched a call for social entrepreneurs with scalable solutions across the plastic value chain to pilot in Manila. The project, supported by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and WWF-Norway, aims to achieve a 30% reduction in plastic waste leakage into the environment by 2024.

In the call, social entrepreneurs will undergo a process of selection divided into three stages. For the first stage, WWF aims to generate a database of entrepreneurial solutions that are looking to scale in Manila City. Solutions should aim to address plastic pollution and engage local stakeholders including businesses, communities, and the waste sector, among others. The registration of solutions will close on April 10, 2023.

During the second phase, the solutions that are registered will be categorized into the following:

1. Closing the tap: reduction in plastic waste generation.
2. Closing the loop: segregation, redesign, reuse, recycle, and measures to lengthen the use of plastic items in the operations.
3. Stopping plastic leakage: collection, disposal of plastic waste, and measures to prevent plastic waste from ending up in nature.

The last stage of the call is where the shortlisted entrepreneurs pitch their solutions to a panel of judges for final selection.

The four-year project will fund the scaling of the solutions that will be selected for a maximum of one year starting on May 2023. Interested parties may log on to for more details.

DepEd issues guidelines for Joint Delivery Voucher Program for SHS-TVL Specialization

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The Department of Education (DepEd) has issued the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Joint Delivery Voucher Program (JDVP) for Senior High School Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (SHS-TVL) Specialization for School Year 2022-2023 and subsequent years to enhance the capability of the schools to implement the program.

In DepEd Order (DO) No. 006, series of 2023, DepEd aims to empower public schools offering SHS-TVL track through partnerships with institutions that are equipped with the necessary resources to carry out the program.

JDVP-TVL is a tuition fee assistance to Grade 12 learners in DepEd public SHSs, which have been identified as having inadequate facilities, equipment, tools, and teachers relevant to the implementation of TVL specializations.

The said issuance will enable learners to complete their TVL specialization subjects through the partners, provide an appropriate learning environment required of the specialization, and address delays in the provision of the necessary resources for the TVL Specializations.

JDVP-TVL Guidelines will likewise cater Grade 12 learners enrolled in DepEd public SHSs under the TVL track who will be allowed to take their specialization subjects in eligible private or non-DepEd public SHSs and private TVIs.

The assistance shall be in the form of a JDVP-TVL voucher to be given to the learner-beneficiaries enrolled in the TVL Track in identified DepEd public SHSs.

The identified DepEd public SHSs, however, must be offering SHS-TVL for the past four to five years, ascertained to have adequate facilities, equipment, tools, and teachers, and located in the areas where there are accessible private SHSs, non-DepEd public SHSs, or private TVIs, which can provide further instructions and training to learners.

Following the issuance of the guideline, the GASO-Finance Service in partnership with BCD shall conduct an Online Orientation for regional and division offices toward the end of the month.

For the issuance, utilization, and implementation of JDVP-TVL voucher, the participating schools shall prepare the list of identified learner-beneficiaries, conduct an orientation to the beneficiaries, parents, and teachers, and arrange an education and training schedule with the JDVP-TVL Partner, among others.

For more details on the guidelines of DO No. 006, s. 2023, please visit

SSS grants benefits to family of slain OFW Jullebee Ranara

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Social Security System (SSS) President and CEO Rolando Ledesma Macasaet handed over proceeds of benefit claims to Norlynda Cabiles, mother and SSS beneficiary of slain Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), Jullebee Ranara, last March 22, 2023.
In a simple ceremony held at the SSS Main Office, Quezon City, Cabiles received more than P100,000 comprising of SSS Death and Funeral benefits, and financial assistance from SSS officials and employees.

“Considering the sacrifices being made by our OFWs by working in a foreign country and being away from their families for a long period of time, it is very important that they have an active SSS membership which will help them and their families in times of contingencies,” Macasaet said.

On behalf of the SSS, Macasaet also expressed his sincerest condolences to the family of Ranara and reiterated his continuous support and efforts towards the social security protection of OFWs. He also offered a job opportunity to Ranara’s sibling within the SSS.

Cabiles, on the other hand, thanked the SSS for the benefits she received, attributed to the hard work of her daughter, and additional financial support.

The SSS is a state-run social insurance institution that extends social security protection to Filipino workers in the private and informal sectors. Under the Social Security Law, it provides seven benefit programs namely, Sickness, Maternity, Unemployment, Retirement, Disability, Death, and Funeral, as well as various loan privileges.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Download Tanglaw, the First Filipino Devotional App in Audio and Text Format!

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Walk in God’s love and light with Tanglaw App—the first Filipino devotional mobile application in audio and text format. You may download the app for FREE!

Tanglaw is a daily devotional for iOS and Android devices, produced by CBN Asia and voiced by the hosts of The 700 Club Asia and friends.

Filled with powerful Scriptures, this devotional app is designed to draw you closer to the heart of God, shed light on your questions and musings, and bring daily nuggets of encouragement to readers and listeners each day.

Download the Tanglaw app and experience God’s Word and light—right at your fingertips! You can also stream it on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and Amazon Music.

Let your family and friends experience God’s encouragement, too! For more information, visit Tanglaw’s website, or send an email to

ISTARI study highlights CEOs' insights on cyber resilience

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First-of-its-kind study explores the minds of CEOs in managing cyber risk and provides a playbook on how they can improve

Drawing on 37 in-depth interviews with global CEOs, nine of whom had endured a serious cyberattack, researchers uncover the emotions and struggles in properly managing cyber risk.

ISTARI, a Temasek-founded global cybersecurity firm dedicated to helping clients build cyber resilience, and Said Business School at the University of Oxford today revealed the findings of their joint CEO Report on Cyber Resilience ( The report applies a top-management lens to cybersecurity risks and underscores the critical role CEOs play in building cyber resilience.

It shares insights from thirty-seven, one-hour-long face-to-face interviews with American, Asian and European CEOs whose businesses' average annual revenue is $12 billion, employing an average of 40,000 employees. One-third of the interviewees are from Asia. Nine of the CEOs interviewed had guided their company through a serious cyberattack.

When cyberattacks happen, CEOs are inevitably at the centre of the incident and act as the face of the company. And in a cyber climate where cyberattacks have become a question of

"when" and not "if"--with the Asia Pacific region facing the highest number of cyber-attacks in 2022--CEOs are naturally expected to take accountability when such unfortunate incidents occur. (

What CEOs really think about cyber risk: secret fears, uncertainty and discomfort

Under the condition of anonymity, the CEOs spoke with remarkable honesty about their feelings, frustrations and regrets about cyber threats and security.

The CEOs acknowledged that they are formally answerable to regulators, shareholders and their boards for cybersecurity. Yet the majority (72%) said they were uncomfortable making decisions about it, often leading them to delegate responsibility for, and understanding of, cybersecurity to their technology teams, which can jeopardise resilience.

Co-author of the report, Dr Manuel Hepfer, Head of Knowledge and Insights at ISTARI and a Research Affiliate at Oxford University's Said Business School, says: "Many CEOs we spoke with highlighted the agonies of having to make existential decisions on imperfect information under extreme pressure in an area they lack familiarity and intuition."

Four mindsets CEOs need to lead cyber resilient businesses

The study outlines four mindsets CEOs should adopt to build cyber resilience:

- All CEOs interviewed said they feel accountable for cybersecurity. However, a parallel ISTARI survey of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) found one in two European (50%) and almost a third of US (30%) CISOs did not believe that their CEOs feel accountable. This gap in perception, according to the research, lies partly in the meaning of accountability: instead of seeing themselves as accountable - being the face of the mistake - CEOs should assume co-responsibility for cyber resilience together with their CISO.

- CEOs should stay away from blindly trusting their technology teams. Instead, they should move to a state of informed trust about their enterprise's cyber resilience maturity.

- CEOs should embrace what the authors call the 'preparedness paradox': an inverse relationship between the perception of preparedness and resilience - the better-prepared CEOs think their organisation is for a serious cyberattack, the less resilient their organisation likely is, in reality.

- CEOs should adapt their communication styles to regulate pressure from external stakeholders who have different and sometimes conflicting demands. Depending on the stakeholder and the situation, CEOs should either be a transmitter, filter, absorber or amplifier of pressure.

"Put down your phones"

Leaders who have endured a cyberattack feel strongly about helping others avoid some of the mistakes they have made. As one CEO said: "Whenever I speak to a group of CEOs to share my learnings from the cyberattack, I start by saying, 'put down your phones for 15 minutes, you'll want to listen carefully to what I have to tell you'."

Rashmy Chatterjee, a co-author of the report and CEO of ISTARI, said: "It is self-evident that the impacts of a cyberattack go beyond IT. But, as our research shows, CEOs struggle to know how to lead their organisations' responses. From these candid conversations, we can better answer what their role should be and fill the gap in what CEOs need to do to build and command cyber resilient organisations."

The second part of the report synthesises such advice in a playbook for CEOs wanting to build cyber resilience in their enterprises, laying out specific steps CEOs can personally take to anticipate, withstand, respond and adapt to serious cyberattacks.

Michael Smets, co-author and Professor of Management at Said Business School said: "The fact that all CEOs in our study felt accountable for cybersecurity, but less than a third of them felt comfortable making decisions in that area reveals an alarming gap. To build cyber resilience, CEOs must close that gap. This report offers a first playbook to help CEOs do so."

To discover more about how CEOs can build a cyber resilient organisation, read the full report (

𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗣𝘀𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱!: 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝘅𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 is here to open our hearts to explore the psychological contents of love

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

 💟 “𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙨, 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙨.” ― 𝙈𝙞𝙩𝙘𝙝 𝘼𝙡𝙗𝙤𝙢, 𝙏𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙙𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙈𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙚. 🌈🌟

𝘓𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘺, but there’s so much more to learn about it. 🧐 With this, 𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗣𝘀𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱!: 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝘅𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 is here to open our hearts to explore the psychological contents of love. 💗🔍

Come join us online at 𝗭𝗼𝗼𝗺 on 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝟮𝟵, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯, from 𝟮:𝟬𝟬 𝗣𝗠 𝘁𝗼 𝟰:𝟬𝟬 𝗣𝗠 and 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗣𝘀𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱!: 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝘅𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆. 🚌 A tour like no other that will let us see love in various forms expressed by people of differing sexualities. We hope to see you there, kapwa! 🥰

❤️🔗 Pre-register through this link:





Publicity by: Amber Caberte

Copy by: Kat Lemsic

Per CSO-PNP Approved: OPA-06996

NeutraDC (Telkom) enters MOU with China Mobile International

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Game-Changer: NeutraDC's MOU with China Mobile International (CMI) means Chinese businesses will have access to NeutraDC's network, creating opportunities in this Southeast Asian digital economy

NeutraDC, a brand of PT Telkom Data Ekosistem (TDE), a subsidiary of Telkom Indonesia, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Mobile International (CMI), a subsidiary of China Mobile, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world.

According to the terms of the MOU, NeutraDC and CMI will work together to develop strategic solutions that meet the specific needs of Chinese companies in the Indonesian market. They will do this by utilizing their combined expertise and data center and network capabilities. Both companies will also explore opportunities for data center development and expansion in the region.

"This partnership is an important step in Indonesia's digital economy," said Andreuw Th.A.F, CEO of NeutraDC. "We have extensive experience supporting Chinese businesses in this region and understand the challenges they face. Through this Memorandum of Understanding, we will provide Chinese companies with a comprehensive solution to enter the Southeast Asian market, along with knowledge and support to help them navigate the complexities of doing business in the region."

"It is very exciting to have this opportunity to collaborate with NeutraDC to provide our customers with even more comprehensive and innovative solutions to expand their business to Southeast Asia," said Daniel Zhang, Managing Director of CMI Indonesia.

NeutraDC offers a pathway for customers to access Indonesia's large and lucrative digital economy. A TDE brand, NeutraDC offers a hub of TDE's data centre resources in Indonesia, a digital ecosystem where any party (including hyperscale players) can tap integrated digital infrastructure with comprehensive network connectivity. With over 171 million active internet users, Indonesia presents a huge potential market under the strong economic ties between China and Indonesia.

Over the past decade, Chinese companies have embraced Indonesia's digital economy by investing in the start-ups and innovative companies emerging in areas such as e-commerce, OTT, fintech, and digital entertainment.

Pictured*, left to right:
i. Terry LEUNG, Deputy Head of Enterprise Business, CMI
ii. Lei REN, Division Head of Planning & Development, CMI
iii. Andrew NIU, Chief Partnership Officer, Carrier Business, CMI
iv. Weizhong SHEN, Director & Executive Vice President, CMI
v. Daniel ZHANG, Managing Director of CMI Indonesia
vi. Andreuw Th.A.F, Chief Executive Officer, Telkom Data Ekosistem (NeutraDC)
vii. Bogi Witjaksono, Director of Wholesale & International Service, Telkom Indonesia
viii. Michael Hu, Chief Commercial Officer, Telkom Data Ekosistem (NeutraDC)
ix. Daniel Syafril, AVP Corporate Secretary, Directorate Wholesale & International Service, Telkom Indonesia

Education Secretary Sara Duterte's Reply to France Castro

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I am glad that France Castro confirmed that ACT Teachers is, without a doubt, a fake representative of learners, educators, and other members of the education sector in Congress with her continued refusal to publicly and explicitly condemn the New People’s Army’s violence in Masbate.

That ACT Teachers is a sham and truly does not represent the education sector in Congress was even validated by her call for ‘forensic experts’ and the Commission on Human Rights to “see the real perpetrators of the gun firing near the schools.”

Castro’s call only confirms her duplicitous character — and was buttressed by her attempt to ‘lawyer’ for the terrorist NPAs.

It was a tactic intended to cast doubts over the integrity of official reports that the sighting of elements of NPA in an area near a school in Barangay Locso-an, Placer town, triggered the Masbate fighting.

It’s no longer surprising that Castro would insinuate that government forces were behind the March 22 bomb explosion in Locso-an that wounded two government soldiers.

And while she continues to ignore my challenge for ACT Teachers to condemn the NPAs, Castro almost neatly slipped into the conversation yet another call for the reopening of the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

May I respectfully warn the Marcos administration not to fall into this trap.

Castro’s assertion that the peace negotiations would address the root causes of the armed conflict was ludicrous. Instead, it would only give legitimacy to the absurdity of the terrorism perpetrated by the armed wing of the NDFP, the NPAs.

Negotiating with the NDFP is always doomed to fail.

Malinaw sa kasaysayan na ang magbe-benepisyo lang ng peace talks ay ang NPA at mga grupong katulad ng ACT Teachers.

No, the Masbate violence does not highlight the need for the resumption of the peace talks.

It highlights the need for our collective effort as a nation to protect our learners from threats brought by groups like the NPA.

It highlights the NPA’s appetite for violence and its insatiable thirst for the blood of its fellow Filipinos.

It also highlights the complicity of people like France Castro and groups like ACT Teachers.

Thank you.


Vice President of the Philippines

Secretary of the Department of Education

May Birthstone: The Enlightening Gemstone

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Birthstones hold a special significance in the lives of people born in a particular month. And if you are a May-born individual, then you are in luck because your birthstone is none other than the evergreen beautiful – Emerald stone.

Emeralds have been revered for their beauty and healing properties for centuries. They have been associated with royalty, power, and wealth. They even possess mystical powers that could ward off evil spirits and protect the wearer from harm.

But beyond their rich history and symbolism, these gems are also one of the most stunning creations on the planet. Their deep green colour is unparalleled and natural brilliance is truly mesmerizing.


So, whether you are a May baby looking to celebrate your birthstone, or simply an admirer of beautiful gemstones, let’s delve into the world of emeralds and discover the fascinating history, lore, and significance of this exquisite gemstone.
The Fascinating History of Emeralds

The ancient Egyptians were some of the first people to discover emeralds and they believed that the gemstone symbolized rebirth and eternal youth. Cleopatra, the legendary queen of Egypt, was known for her love of emeralds and is said to have adorned herself with them on numerous occasions.

The Greeks also had a great appreciation for this stunning deep green stone and believed that it was a symbol of fertility and growth. Throughout history, emeralds have been associated with royalty, power, and wealth, and were often used to create magnificent jewelry pieces that were fit for kings and queens.
Meaning and Symbolism of Emerald Gemstone

Emeralds have been associated with many powerful meanings across the cultures and civilizations. It is often called the enlightening gemstone as it represents growth, wisdom, and rebirth. This is due to the lush green colour of the gemstone, which symbolizes the renewal and growth of nature. The stones are also believed to have healing properties and to bring balance and harmony to the body, mind, and spirit.

In addition to their association with growth and rebirth, emeralds have also been associated with wisdom and intellect. In fact, the ancient Greeks believed that emeralds could enhance memory and stimulate the thinking process. The gemstone was also thought to promote clear thinking, enhance intuition, and improve decision-making abilities.

In modern times, emeralds are often used as engagement rings and wedding bands, symbolizing the eternal love and commitment between two people. The gemstone fosters genuine emotions of loyalty, honesty, and fidelity in its wearers.

The Physical Characteristics and Quality of Emeralds

Emeralds belong to the mineral family of beryl that also includes other gemstones such as aquamarine and morganite. What makes an emerald unique is its vivid green colour, which is caused by trace amounts of chromium and vanadium in the crystal structure. The intensity and saturation of the colour determine the value and quality of this gemstone. You can find a perfect emerald stone online with certification at a trusted store like GemPundit.

When it comes to evaluating the quality of an emerald, experts consider the colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The ideal emerald colour is a deep, rich green with a hint of blue, also known as "bluish-green". The more intense and saturated the colour, the more valuable the emerald is.

Clarity is also an important factor, as these stones are known to have many inclusions, or internal imperfections. However, some inclusions are accepted as part of the character of the gemstone, and can actually enhance its beauty. The cut greatly influences a gemstone’s brilliance and overall appearance. Finally, carat weight refers to the size and weight, with larger stones being rarer and more valuable.

It's important to note that emeralds are relatively soft and brittle compared to other gemstones, making them more prone to cracking and chipping. As a result, they require extra care and should not be exposed to high heat or chemicals.
Healing Impact of Emeralds

One of the most well-known healing benefits of emeralds is their ability to promote emotional healing and balance. Emeralds are believed to help release negative emotions and promote positive energy, allowing individuals to overcome feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. The gemstone is also believed to promote self-confidence and self-esteem, and to help individuals find inner peace and harmony.

In addition to their emotional healing properties, emeralds are also believed to have physical healing benefits. The gemstone is said to promote physical vitality and energy, and to help boost the immune system. It is also believed to help alleviate physical ailments such as eye strain, headaches, and respiratory problems.

So, whether you appreciate them for their beauty or their healing properties, emeralds continue to inspire and enchant people around the world. From their association with growth and renewal to their ability to promote emotional and physical healing, they have a wide range of uses and applications that make them a truly enlightening gemstone.

Congress must review NGCP franchise for failure to secure electricity supply

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Kuryente.Org, an electricity consumer rights and welfare organization considers the recent announcement of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) of a possible power outages this summer is a clear cover-up for its long time negligence to fulfill its obligation to timely secure a reliable ancillary power service agreement. The consumer organization is calling on the Congress to review NGCP’s franchise.

Roland Vibal, National Coordinator of, said:

“We call on the House of Representatives to review NGCP’s franchise if the corporation can’t live-up to its obligations to secure a reliable electricity supply to the consuming public. The Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) must consider NGCP’s poor performance as they deliberate NGCP’s call for transmission rate increase in the on-going 4th regulatory review.

“NGCP is playing the blame game to cover its continued negligence to secure a reliable ancillary services agreement as per DOE Circular No. 2019-12-0018. Yet, despite the order, the NGCP continuously failed to comply and continued with its month-on-month ancillary services which the DOE considers as a non-firm agreement that cannot be relied on.

“They claim that they are now in the process of finalizing the Ancillary Service Procurement Agreement (ASPA) based on Competitive Selection. This is a belated move. Their failure to act timely to its obligation is why the public will suffer from the project power outages.

“NGCP must fulfill its responsibility and be accountable for its failure and negligence.”

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Ayala Land's Vermosa Estate grows rapidly, exciting investors, businesses and communities

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Vermosa, Ayala Land’s fourth largest estate said to be the new business and lifestyle district of the South, is in intense growth mode in 2023.

The next financial and commercial center down South is expanding retail outlets and services, also adding features and amenities like parks, a government center, a church and malls that support community and commercial needs.

Residents, investors and businesses are excited about the rapid rise of commerce and a thriving community inside the 725-hectare central business and residential district that straddles the cities of Imus and Dasmarinas in Cavite. Boasting a complete package of residences, malls, offices, institutions, schools, entertainment venues, government centers, BPOs and a world-class training and lifestyle destination for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, Vermosa continues to spur growth in the Daang Hari corridor.

Meralco is putting up a dedicated substation within Vermosa to ensure continuous power to homes, commercial establishments, institutional facilities and the growing features and amenities of the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub (AVSH). A Landers Superstore, the Ayala Malls Vermosa, Army Navy and Panda Express drive-thru stores will soon rise in the area, joining brands like Petron, Starbucks, McDonalds, Jollibee, Burger King, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Peri- Peri Chicken in servicing the area that has become a busy east-west connector. A government center will soon provide vital services with the Philippine Red Cross also putting up a headquarters in place.

Capital values for commercial lot investments have thus almost doubled at 82% since the Estate was launched in 2014. Home investors have expressed satisfaction with the high turnover rates of the different residential areas.

Now, the different residential communities composed of the 125-hectare private enclave called The Courtyards by Ayala Land Premier, the stand-alone 36-hectare upscale modern community of Alveo’s Ardia, and the 10-hectare Avida Verra Settings located in the residential district, are preparing to welcome their projected initial 2,000 residents.

Meanwhile, Vermosa Campus Town, the estate’s commercial business district -- a modern, contemporary urban center with ultra-wide landscaped pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes, jogging paths, an active street life and pocket parks -- will complement the varied lifestyles of residents and outside guests.

More key developments are in the works ensuring that Vermosa lives up to its promise of being the leading growth center in the South, attracting investors and businesses wanting to expand in this part of the metro.

Vermosa is strategically located near key urban centers and made accessible by a network of roads like Daang Hari, SLEX, MCX and CALAX. Greater accessibility to the estate’s residents, visitors and enterprises is provided by access points in Daang Hari and Molino Highway.

SSS-BI agreement ensures social security coverage to job order and contract of service worker

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The Social Security System (SSS) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on March 9, 2023 at the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila that will provide social security coverage to job order and contract of service workers in the government.

Photo shows SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet (right) and BI Commissioner Norman G. Tansingco (left) during the ceremonial signing that will benefit at least 800 job order and contract of service workers serving in the immigration regulatory body.

Under the MOA, BI’s job order and contract of service workers will get SSS coverage under the KaSSSama sa Coverage Program. Under the program, these BI workers will be classified as self-employed members of SSS.

The agreement also states that BI will act as a Coverage and Collection Partner of SSS. As such, SSS authorized BI to collect and remit the monthly contributions of these workers through a salary-deduction scheme.

“The SSS aims to secure the future of all job order and contract of service workers in government agencies nationwide. Although these employees work in government offices, they are considered private self-employed members and are not covered by the Government Service Insurance System,” Macasaet said.

He explained that as self-employed SSS members, they will be entitled to receive social security benefits such as sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, funeral and death benefits. They will also get additional coverage from the Employees' Compensation Program (ECP) for work-related contingencies. Moreover, they may apply for various member loans offered by SSS such as salary and calamity loans.

Commissioner Tansingco thanked SSS for bringing social security benefits to their job order and contract of service workers which they can rely on during times of contingencies.

Meanwhile, Macasaet visited the KaSSSama sa Coverage Program servicing counter set up for the occasion in the BI head office in Intramuros, Manila. SSS personnel from SSS Manila Branch manned the online and onsite servicing counter to assist BI workers in creating online account with SSS through the My.SSS facility, registration with SSS as self-employed members, generating Payment Reference Number for contribution payment, verification of member's records, and answering inquiries on various SSS benefits and loan programs.

As of December 2022, SSS has partnered with 1,531 local government units (LGUs), 499 national government agencies, 111 state universities and colleges (SUCs), and 68 local water districts covering job order and contract of service workers through the KaSSSama sa Coverage Program with a total collection exceeding P5.5 billion.

Official Statement by DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte on ACT Teachers Partylist

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The Department of Education is not blind to the problems besetting the education system.

We have already laid down solutions to these problems during the Basic Education Report delivered on January 30, 2023.

The hiring of teachers, the hiring of administrative staff, as well as the construction of new classrooms and school buildings are among the solutions identified and being pursued now.

And while these are pursued along with the implementation of other essential reforms, DepEd should not only be limited to dispensing old-fashioned solutions but must also innovate.

The Department will not surrender or fall for the mad ruse of a partylist group that has mastered the art of duplicity.

May I reiterate that ACT Teachers’ suggestions were both unrealistic and impossible — presented to shame the government and deceive the public into believing that the hiring of teachers and increasing the education budget were their ideas.

On this note, may I underscore the urgency and necessity of exposing ACT Teachers as a fake representative of learners and teachers in Congress.

If ACT Teachers stands for the education sector, it would not have ignored the NPA terrorism in Masbate that resulted in the suspension of classes in six towns of the province, affecting more than 55,000 learners and 2,815 personnel — which they claim to represent.

ACT Teachers would have publicly and strongly condemned this act of NPA terrorism, given its blistering impact on the efforts of DepEd and our partners to remedy the education problems.

But the group has masterfully redirected the public's attention from Masbate to its outrageous suggestions for DepEd.

Part of its deceptive tactic when stripped down of its intentions — with its real political agenda exposed to the public — is to conveniently hide under the blanket of red-tagging.

We should only take ACT Teachers seriously if it publicly condemns NPA atrocities in Masbate and all other NPA terroristic activities that hampered the learning of children across the country

ACT Teachers should stop dropping the victim card around the table whenever they are exposed as sympathizers and supporters of the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The real victims here are the learners, and the Department of Education is pouring in all our efforts to solve the problem.

Thank you.

Sara Z. Duterte

Vice President of the Philippines

Secretary of the Department of Education

Ten women waste workers receive grants on International Women’s Month

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Women waste workers formally accept their new equipment and financial grants to boost their businesses.

Ten women waste workers from the Cities of Pasig, Quezon and Manila celebrated International Women’s Month with new equipment and financial grants to enhance their waste management businesses.

WWF-Philippines hosted a turnover ceremony at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City on March 8, Wednesday, which was also International Women’s Day. The women grantees received their new equipment – side cars, cleaning tools, and safety gear – and signed an agreement, accepting their grants.

One of the grantees was 46-year-old Rosabelle Obusan from Pasig City. Rosabelle has been collecting and selling garbage since she was young. She had always dreamed of having her own junk shop, but lacked the seed money to do so.

“Kaya ngayon makakakuha na ako ng business permit, tsaka mayor’s permit, kaya matutuloy ko na ‘yung pangarap ko. Ito na nga ‘yung hinihintay ko na ang tagal na pagkakataon. Mauumpisahan ko na,” Rosabelle says.

[Translation: Now I can finally get a business permit and a mayor’s permit to fulfill my dream. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. I can finally start my business.]

Rosabelle Obusan receives a side car full of cleaning tools and safety gear as well as new signs for the junk shop she plans to open.

The other grantees were May Mabunga, Marissa Gorpido, Michelle Glor, Marife Cabe, Joan Diaz, Rose Anne Salinas, Analyn Gerong, Kuh Restubog, and Margarita Bartolo.

The equipment and grants are part of the Women in Waste Economic Empowerment (WWEE) program of the Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) initiative under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This is in partnership with WWF-Philippines and the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc. (CCFPI) as well as the Associated Resources for Management and Development, Inc. (ARMDEV) and the EcoWaste Coalition’s Basic Business Empowerment Skills Training (BBEST) that is also funded by CCBO.

“Nakakabilib na ang mga kababaihan ang kasama natin sa pag-ambag sa kalinisan ng ating komunidad. Isang pribilehiyo po para sa amin na makatulong sa inyo at sa inyong pamilya para sa ating misyon na isang mundong maayos at walang nasasayang,” said Cecile Alcantara — Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines President — addressing the women waste workers.

[Translation: It is impressive that women are part of our work to clean communities. It is our privilege to assist you and your families in our mission to achieve a world without waste.]

Prior to receiving the grants, the women underwent empowerment training under BBEST and participated in a mentorship and pitching session to a panel. The grantees were selected based on the clarity, impact, and feasibility of their business idea, and the drive of the women to implement the business model.

Apart from the formal turnover, one of the highlights of the event was a sharing or chikahan session among the new grantees, with some new BBEST training graduates and other women waste workers who had received their grants a few months earlier. The women entrepreneurs shared their experiences, answered questions from the group and also offered inspiring messages to motivate the new graduates to continue pursuing their ambitions for their businesses despite the challenges.

Previous grrantees share their story of how they trained to be entrepreneurs under the WWEE project and what life has been like since receiving their grants.

Analiza Maglasang, 48, was one of the grantees from November who shared her story. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Analiza had to shut down her junk shop and put her plans on hold. When she attended the BBEST training last year, she found the confidence from learning new skills to restart her business.

“Ang isang natutunan ko, mangarap lang ulit,” she says. “Kasi sabi ko pwede kahit hindi na ako maghanapbuhay. Antayin ko na lang sahod ng asawa ko…Nang naka-attend ako nang seminar parang naliwanagan ako ulit.”

[Translation: One of the lessons I learned is to dream again. Because I used to think that I didn’t need to work anymore. I’ll just wait for my husband’s salary…When I attended the seminar I was enlightened.]

May Mabunga, 29, from Pasig City is a door-to-door waste collector and one of the new grantees who also spoke during the session. She shared how she overcame her shyness and learned to be more outspoken during her empowerment training.

“Kahit hindi ka marunong magsulat, magbasa…’Yung hindi marunong magbasa mapaghihinaan kayo ng loob. Kasi ako mahina talaga ‘yung loob ko. Katulad ngayon, mahina ang loob ko, pero nasaan ngayon ako?”

[Translation: Even if you don’t know how to write or read…When you don’t know how to read, you often feel weak-hearted. I also often feel weak-hearted until now, but look how far I’ve come?]

A recent WWF study found that women bear a disproportionate burden when it comes to managing plastic use and waste when compared to men. WWF-Philippines is pushing for gender-inclusive solid waste management systems in homes and communities.

The WWEE partnership is in line with WWF-Philippines’ advocacy to empower women in the waste management sector under its No Plastics in Nature (NPIN) initiative that seeks to stop the flow of plastic waste in nature by 2030.

"WWF believes in empowering the waste sector as we see it important in the plastic value chain. Our studies showed that the informal waste sector mainly contributes to the estimated 9% plastic recycling rate of the country but is not provided with the support they need. Through WWEE, together with our partners, we recognize their contribution and work on supporting them in making their dream businesses a reality,” says Czarina Constantino - Panopio NPIN Program Manager.

Unveil the Magical Charm of Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh, a state situated in the northern region of the Himalayas, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. The Manali package provides access to several picturesque towns, such as Manali, located at the northern end of the Kullu valley, is known for its stunning forests of oak, pine, and deodar. You can also visit the Dalhousie, which is spread across five hills and offers magnificent views of the Dhauladhar ranges. Don’t forget to visit the Kasol, also known as the "Amsterdam of India," is a charming hamlet on the banks of the Parvati River. Get a chance to admire the famed Tibetan culture, historic temples, and nature excursions of Mcleodganj, located on the outskirts of Dharamshala. Spiti Valley, which sits at an altitude of 12,500 feet, is a chilly desert surrounded by snow-covered mountains. While exploring the Himachal, you can take a scenic drive to the pass and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.


Manali, a serene hill station nestled in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, is rich in cultural heritage and natural beauty. The town boasts of many ancient temples, such as the famous Hadimba Temple and Manu Temple, which provide a glimpse into the history and culture of Manali. For a deeper understanding of Manali's past, head to the Gompa Museum, where you can explore exhibits showcasing the town's unique heritage. While in Manali, don't miss the chance to browse the bustling Manali Bazaar, which offers a wide variety of local handicrafts and souvenirs like shawls, woolen items, and traditional Himachali caps, making it the ideal place to purchase locally-made products. With your Manali package nature enthusiasts can visit the Beas Kund, a high altitude alpine lake located about 18 kilometers from Manali, which is a popular spot for trekking enthusiasts and is believed to have religious significance. The Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its diverse wildlife and stunning scenery, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers. You can witness the magnificent landscapes and spot a wide variety of wildlife here. For breathtaking mountain vistas, take a scenic drive to the Rohtang Pass, a high-altitude mountain pass located near Manali.


Located in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is a renowned hill station, known for its stunning rich cultural history, and colonial-era architecture. The Mall Road, Shimla's primary shopping destination where you can stroll along the Mall at your leisure, take in the colonial-era architecture, and soak in the local vibe at the diverse selection of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Don't forget to visit the most popular temples like The Jakhoo Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Hanuman, is situated on a hill near Shimla. For the breathtaking scenery and experience the spiritual aura of the temple by taking a cable car ride or hiking up the hill. The Viceregal Lodge, also known as Rashtrapati Niwas, was the official residence of the British viceroy during the colonial era. Explore the lodge's history and architecture on your Shimla tour package, and learn about its role in India's colonial past. For a glimpse into Himachal Pradesh's cultural and natural heritage, head to the Shimla State Museum, located in the heart of the city. The museum's exhibitions and artifacts provide visitors with information about the local history, art, and culture. Take a leisurely stroll along the Ridge and admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys.


The trip becomes a dream holiday with the Shimla tour package as you visit Kufri which is a charming and picturesque hill station in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike, with a host of attractions to explore. The Kufri Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit destination, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including Himalayan tahr, leopards, and red pandas. You can take a guided tour to learn about the local wildlife and see these creatures in their natural habitat. Kufri Fun World is another popular attraction, an amusement park that offers a variety of exciting activities and games for families and children. The Mahasu Peak, Kufri's highest point, is a breathtaking spot that provides stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Trekking to the peak is a popular activity for tourists who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Additionally, the small traditional settlements in the Kufri area offer a glimpse into the local culture and way of life, allowing you to learn about local traditions and customs by walking around the villages. Kufri's high snowfall throughout the winter months also makes it a popular winter sports destination, attracting adventure enthusiasts from all over.


The Shimla Tour Package itinerary includes a visit to the charming hamlet of Kasol, located on the banks of the Parvati River. Kasol has become a popular destination for travellers, trekkers, and nature enthusiasts in recent years. It is situated 23 kilometres from Bhuntar and is adjacent to the holy town of Manikaran. Several treks, including those to Kheerganga, Sar Pass, and Pin Parbati Pass, begin from Kasol. Manikaran Sahib, located just 15 minutes from Kasol, is a pilgrimage site visited by both Sikhs and Hindus. The Gurudwara is a must-visit, along with the temples dedicated to Lord Ram, Krishna, and Vishnu, all of which offer breathtaking mountain backdrops. Kasol is also known for its hot water springs, which include an Energy Center and an experimental Energy Plant. If you join the trekking excursion to Malana, located 21 kilometres from Kasol, you will drive up to the end of the road and start your trip to the Malana Village.

Spiti Valley

If you're planning a trip to Spiti Valley, it's a good idea to consider taking advantage of the Shimla tour package beforehand. Shimla is located in Himachal Pradesh, and it's the coldest spot in the country, receiving 250 days of sunlight per year at an elevation of 12,500 feet. Spiti Valley is a "trekking mecca and unspoiled paradise" that's located between India and Tibet and is home to many monasteries, including the thousand-year-old Key Monastery. The valley is sparsely populated, making it an ideal destination for adventure seekers who want to explore its various trekking trails and high-altitude mountain passes. Kunzum La is one of the most captivating trekking trails in the area, offering a bird's eye view of the Bara Shigri Glacier, the world's second longest glacier. To see some picturesque views of the villages, head down 1.5 kilometers along the Spiti River from Dhankar Monastery to Dhankar Lake. Additionally, Chandratal Lake is a beautiful lake situated at an altitude of 4300 meters in the tumultuous Himalayas, attracting countless adventure seekers who want to witness the changing colors of the lake from reddish to orange to blue and finally emerald green by the end of the day.


The hidden gem on the list of Manali package is Dalhousie, renowned for its waterfalls, lush forests, and meadows. Founded in 1854, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie, who made it a popular summer vacation spot for the British during colonial times. The town's churches, such as Saint Patrick's Church, St John's Church, and St Francis Church, are well-known for their Scotch and Victorian-era architecture, preserving the town's colonial legacy. You can purchase knitted Himachal shawls and handicrafts as souvenirs at Mall Road, the town's major market. A must visit to Khajjiar, also known as India's "Little Switzerland", it is renowned for its snow-covered mountains and green pastures. Immerse Yourself in the Natural Wonders of Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary with Endangered Animals and Majestic Mountain Views. Panchpula, a picnic area in Dalhousie, is surrounded by a canopy of pine and deodar trees and is well-known for its Saptdhara waterfall, serving as the starting point for the Ganji Pahari hike and entertaining activities such as ziplining. Finally, the Samadhi of Sardar Ajit Singh, the uncle of Shahid Bhagat Singh, is a tribute to his memory.


Jibhi is a small and charming village nestled in the serene Tirthan Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is also home to a number of beautiful temples, including the Chaini Kothi, a 400-year-old tower-like structure made entirely of stone and wood. The tower is a remarkable feat of ancient architecture and engineering. For those seeking adventure, the nearby Jalori Pass is a popular destination for trekkers, offering breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the surrounding valleys. You can also enjoy camping by the serene Tirthan River and indulge in activities such as fishing, birdwatching, and stargazing. Don't forget to try traditional Himachali dishes such as Madra, Dhaam, and Siddu, all of which are made with locally sourced ingredients and authentic recipes.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

DigiCOOP partners with ADVANCE.AI to boost digital and financial inclusion in the Philippines

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DigiCOOP, the largest online platform for cooperatives and labour unions in the Philippines, today announced a partnership with Singapore-based tech startup ADVANCE.AI to power the provision of digital and financial services for its 1.3 million labour union workers and farmers on its platform.

Launched in 2020 during the Philippines’ Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), digiCOOP already has 12 federations and 100+ cooperatives using its digital platform. It has also integrated over 400 brick-and-mortar co-op branches into its web channel. Registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), digiCOOP’s aim is to unite and serve member cooperatives with an ecosystem of digital and financial products and services. Aggregated services offered on its platform include loan application, credit scoring, digital banking, insurance and investment, bill and online payment services as well as e-learning opportunities.

ADVANCE.AI specialises in digital identity verification to power smooth and seamless customer onboarding. In the Philippines for example, it can remotely onboard and verify a real user’s identity by scanning a range of national identity documents, such as the Philippines’ passport, UMID, SSS and TIN, and matching the image with a selfie taken with the phone’s camera. All this can be completed in under 60 seconds. Other services it provides include fraud and risk management, as well as alternative credit scoring services.

Ann Cuisia, CEO of TraXion Tech, the founder and creator of digiCOOP, said, “Our goal is to reduce systemic inefficiency and lack of financial inclusion by increasing the 20% banked Filipino families to at least 50% within five years. Our partnership with ADVANCE.AI and their expertise in digitally onboarding customers through seamless and secure digital identity verification supports our vision of enabling unbanked and underserved Filipino segments of society to build their own wealth, participate in a lively digital and financial ecosystem and pass on the coop legacy to the next tech-adept generation.”

​Michael Calma, Philippines Country Manager of ADVANCE.AI, said, “Economic advancement for the grassroots and union workers can only happen by increasing trust and confidence in the use of digital technology. As a Filipino, I’m very excited about this partnership and advancing digiCOOP’s mission of digital as well as financial accessibility and sustainability for the grassroots. Nowadays, the traditional customer onboarding process is simple, secure and can be completed entirely on their mobile phone. All they need to join the digiCOOP platform is a national identity document and an internet connection.”

WWF-Philippines’ Corporates for a Better Planet Initiative invites private entities to operate more sustainably amidst the climate crisis

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To address the threats of climate change, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines works with the private sector in adopting sustainability in corporate strategy through the Corporates for a Better Planet Initiative (CBPI).

A flagship program of WWF-Philippines, CBPI provides technical support to companies in developing or reviewing their sustainability strategy, using the latest science-backed frameworks aligned with Philippine regulations. The program of activities under CBPI is customized per company, as WWF recognizes different levels and starting points of climate and sustainability commitment that have implications on what a company would need to address and how quickly and intensely if they are to make any claims or sustainability or climate action.

With the Philippines being one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, it is crucial for businesses to address environmental issues and adequately determine their risk and impacts. It is increasingly possible to identify how much of a company’s profits is ‘unsustainable’ after internalizing impacts and costs that were previously not included in company financial reports. Transformation to a green/blue economy needs to happen now, as our country’s peak growth years given our population make up will last for the next 2-3 decades. CBPI takes a holistic, progressive approach and aims to work with large and small companies alike to accelerate transformation in the private sector.

Real-estate development key player NEO is the first private entity to join CBPI, committing to integrate an actionable and more conscious functional framework to address climate-related risks. Through the partnership, WWF-PH provided extensive assistance in the production of the company's Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report to assess the organization’s current state regarding sustainability.

NEO’s Chief Executive Officer Raymond Rufino shared that their organization is eager to be a pioneer in building green, healthy, and resilient establishments.

“Through the program, WWF guided us with their bespoke approach to ESG reporting to draft and develop a report that would be relevant, concrete, and impactful while fully compliant with global standards and benchmarks and aligned with WWF best practices for sustainability,” said Rufino. “We are very grateful for the successful partnership with WWF and wholeheartedly encourage other organizations to join the CBPI program! Together we can #ChangeTheEnding.”

In developing a concrete action plan, NEO commits to several focus areas, including Climate Action, Resource Efficiency, and Infrastructure Resilience. These outline the necessary steps that still prioritize economic interests while fostering a greater positive purpose—something many local companies can certainly accomplish too.

NEO has successfully completed the first step of measuring its sustainability level and is currently in its second phase which involves creating a detailed roadmap to achieving its targets. On the other hand, WWF-Philippines is actively engaging other corporations to pave the way toward sustainable development.

By joining the CBPI, businesses, and organizations can make their impact through sustainable visions and roadmaps and contribute to the overall target of the Philippines on the path towards sustainability and resilience. Moreover, the corporate sector can develop and achieve sustainable approaches through the three main processes of the program: Measure, Manage, and Maintain.

Businesses and economies can never thrive on a dying planet—WWF-Philippines welcomes the contributions of technical cooperations in amplifying the efforts and highlighting the shared responsibility across all sectors in working towards a resilient future. Through CBPI, the organization trusts that more corporations will take on the challenge to #ChangeTheEnding for the next generation.

DBM, PIA-NCR link with MM info officers to boost rightsizing, Mandanas-Garcia ruling campaigns

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The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Philippine Information Agency - National Capital Region (PIA-NCR) is set to convene the members of the Association of Information Officers in Metro Manila (AIMM) on March 29, 2023 in Manila to tackle two critical issues facing the Philippine government - bureaucratic rightsizing and the Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court ruling.

Composed by information officers from various government agencies and non-government organizations, AIMM is the biggest information and communication network in the National Capital Region.

DBM Undersecretary and AIMM President Goddes Hope Libiran highlighted the critical role of the communication sector in promoting understanding of the key issues to the public and generate support from the public.

"We recognize the importance of these critical issues and are committed to bring together professionals in this field to exchange ideas and learn from each other's experiences and this assembly provides an opportunity for information officers to share best practices and innovative strategies to help the government address these issues," Usec Libiran said.

The assembly will feature a series of discussions from experts, covering topics such as the impact of bureaucratic rightsizing on government operations, the implications of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling and level of readiness of both national and local government agencies, and effective communication strategies to address these issues.

The administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is keen on implementing a program of bureaucratic rightsizing, which aims to improve efficiency and reduce costs by streamlining government agencies and eliminating redundancies. However, this has raised concerns about job losses and disruptions in government services.

The Mandanas-Garcia ruling, on the other hand, granted local government units a bigger share of national taxes, which has significant implications for their fiscal autonomy and development.

"We understand that these issues are complex and have far-reaching consequences, and we hope that this assembly will help information officers gain a deeper understanding of these challenges and explore new strategies to address them," Usec. Libiran added.

About the AIMM:

The Association of Information Officers in Metro Manila (AIMM) is a professional organization of government information officers dedicated to promoting effective and ethical communication in the government. AIMM was established in 1997 to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences among its members and to help improve the quality of government communication. The Philippine Information Agency-National Capital Region serves as its secretariat and adviser. (PIA-NCR)

cover photo: Philippine Information Agency Director-General Ramon Lee Cualoping III and San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora grace the 4th quarter Association of Information Officers in Metro Manila (AIMM) conference and election of officers on December 2, 2022 in San Juan City. (PIA-NCR photo)

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