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Dial 'LAGUNA: Centralized hotline number for easy, faster access to government service

As part of its initiative towards digital transformation, the provincial government of Laguna has taken its first step in becoming a Smart Province with the launch of a centralized hotline that will ensure easy access to services, ranging from emergency response, official business, public service and even for reports and inquiries......»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardJul 27th, 2021

Addressing mental health amid a pandemic

BETTER DAYS Senator Sonny Angara Mental health has historically been a difficult subject to talk about in Philippine society. Many of us, no doubt, have our own stories, personal or otherwise, of how difficult it is to seek help. In fact, in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, an August, 2020, analysis of many studies on the matter confirmed that the low utilization of mental health services among Filipinos could be attributed in part to the stigma associated with mental health issues, with resilience and self-reliance becoming possible alternate coping strategies. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made mental health an even bigger issue. The quarantine, the economic effects of the pandemic, and the anxieties brought about by the virus’ unpredictability have had a negative effect on the mental health of many Filipinos. Although we as a country are consistently rated to be in the Top 5 of a global optimism index, according to the DOH, the calls for help have been increasing. According to the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), their helpline received about 400 calls monthly from May, 2019, to February, 2020. That’s an average of 13 to 15 calls daily. By March, 672 calls were serviced, and this grew steadily in the following months, until there were 1,034 calls in July – and 440 for the half of August. These double the monthly average from March to August to 876 calls, or 32 to 37 calls daily. Many government and private mental health services are available for people who are seeking help or just someone to talk to. Aside from the NCMH crisis hotline, the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation has confidential crisis lines and a referral system to partnered psychologists. The foundation is also a hub for prevention, recognition, and treatment of depression. The Philippine Mental Health Association also offers similar services, and universities like UST, UP Diliman, and Ateneo de Manila have their own mental health service organizations. Some, like Ateneo’s Center for Family Ministries have affordable or negotiable fees. Online resources like the Silakbo.Ph website have listings for many other mental health service providers outside of the NCR. In fact, many organizations have already partnered with the Department of Health (DOH); perhaps more of them should be invited to the table to plan new policies, projects, and initiatives that will address the growing number of mental health cases. The DOH is also encouraging people to learn more about general mental health through free e-learning courses translated into Filipino.  The source material is from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) QualityRights initiative, which is a global project that aims to help participants improve their own mental health, learn how to support their loved ones and communities, and gain knowledge and skills to tackle mental health issues. Clearly, we need to reassess and adapt to the fact that more Filipinos are now looking for mental health services and treatments. This is why I am seeking to amend Republic Act 11036, the Mental Health Act, particularly its existing chapter on “Rights of Service Users and Other Stakeholders.” Our proposed amendment seek to give health service users the right to immediately receive compensation benefits and special financial assistance they are entitled to under law, should they sustain temporary or permanent mental disability in the line of duty or by reason of a person’s office or position. This is an important amendment, as the Mental Health Act requires that PhilHealth provide insurance packages to patients with mental health conditions, and that access to medicines is ensured. With the observation of World Mental Health Day last October 10, it is important to remember the DOH’s theme for this year, “Mental Health for All: Unifying Voices for Greater Investment and Access.”  This theme encourages that we open conversations on the various challenges that our mental health care system faces every day, such as social stigma and limited funding. In fact, the simple act of marking the day itself is important. It shows those who are suffering that we see them, and care for them. It tells others who are hiding their issues that it is perfectly normal to seek help. And most of all, it encourages the whole world to stand in solidarity in recognition of the need for all of society to help those with mental health issues. E-mail: sensonnyangara@yahoo.com| Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 16 years—9 years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and 7 as Senator. He has authored and sponsored more than 200 laws.  He is currently serving his second term in the Senate. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

Munti hotline number offers centralized response

The Muntinlupa City local government has launched its Hotline 137-175 for centralized quick emergency response. Beginning yesterday, 15 September, Muntinlupa City residents only need to dial one hotline number for their various emergency concerns. The hotline has been centralized for the reporting of emergency cases and incidents, including quick response for emergency rescue cases, which […] The post Munti hotline number offers centralized response appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 15th, 2020

What’s in style? Safe shopping.

Rustan’s goes all out with safety measures, including the latest in disinfection and sanitation. THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. Rustan’s utilizes Spanish technology Sanivir, which contains active ingredients proven to kill bacteria, molds, and coronavirus These extraordinary times have completely shifted the definition of so many ordinary words. Take, for example, “weekends.” What does a weekend even mean, when everyone is living their weekends day in, day out? People cooped up inside their homes, Netflix and chilling (or pacing, depending on current anxiety levels), wearing their Natori Fortuna Mandarin all day, as governments all over the world caution to shelter in place.  Or “homecooked.” Everything’s veritably homecooked now—whether it’s cooked in your home, by you, or cooked in somebody else’s home, by an upstart baker you support because she’s your niece, or by your favorite chef, who is left with no choice but to create his oeuvres from his home kitchen.  Or “luxury.” Let’s be honest. Luxury—its BC (before Covid) definition—contained overused keywords like glamour, opulence, indulgence, lavishness. But times, they’ve changed.  Fancy things now seem so unnecessary, so excessive, so out of touch, so…pointless—in a world that has hastily pivoted back to the basics. Sipping tea from a Royal Albert 1980 Roseblush cup doesn’t seem as luxurious as being able to score some actual, hard-to-acquire Gold Yen Zhen tea from TWG, even if you have to gulp it from those ubiquitous bamboo cups.  The pandemic has changed what luxury meant. Now, luxury is the feeling of being safely ensconced in our cocoons, safe from the virus, safe from the madding crowds. Safety is luxury. To be more accurate: Luxury is being safe, while experiencing as few inconveniences as possible. One Home, One HopeMarketers and entrepreneurs are now realizing, after putting in all necessary work to convince their clients to come back, that a sense of safety is beyond physical, it is psychological. It’s Plexiglass with perception, masks coupled with marketing.  Brands, to successfully ride out these challenging times, need to do more than just tick off government checklists—they need to bank on their legacies, their ethos, their abiding sense of connection to loyal clientele.  AT YOUR SERVICE. Rustan’s opened up a Sanivir desk to allow its customers to avail of its method In the travel industry, as it is in the retail industry, it’s about leveraging on your loyal clientele’s sense of home. “Home” is no longer just their place of residence, but their familiar zones. It’s about “feeling at home.” As people start to nervously and grudgingly go out, they will only want to stay and explore sacred spaces where they’ve “felt at home.” Luxury retailer Rustan’s understands this well. “Our goal for the past 70 years has always been to serve the community with great service and to provide a safe environment that feels like home,” Nedy Tantoco, chairman of Rustan Commercial Corporation, says. “In this new chapter, we are committed to the idea of ‘One Home, One Hope.’ As an establishment that has been a second home for many shoppers, we will stay dedicated in implementing thorough safety protocols to ensure that our employees and shoppers are protected and can visit us with ease of mind.” And this is why higher-end businesses like Rustan’s will flourish, despite the financial challenges Covid-19 brings. They have the space, and they obviously can very well afford to put stringent safety measures in place. Precise precautions are in their DNA. These are establishments that cater to the VVIPs, whose exacting standards they’ve always tried to meet.  And it’s not just loyal clients who will seek out these private spaces—the occasional and habitual shopper will gravitate toward businesses that offer them this hushed environment. Going inside cramped little boutiques have lost their novelty, and many will shirk away from places that tend to be crowd favorites.  At Rustan’s, shoppers have always counted on the intimacy of the shopping experience. Unobtrusive but alert sales personnel have always kept their distance as you scan the racks, and there’s always a sense of quiet order—a serene retail floor space, backed by an efficient team who anticipate your needs and who move with the fluidity of a well-directed orchestra.  This efficiency will be in full display when you visit the store again—that is if you still haven’t since it reopened in June.   Opened after three months of closure, the luxury retailer has implemented, in compliance with government regulations, security measures like foot baths, thermal scans, hand sanitation, and mandatory wearing of masks. You’ll also see staff repeatedly disinfecting touchpoints like escalator rails and elevator buttons, and alcohol dispensers are going to be ubiquitous.   RETAIL WONDER. Sanivir is perfect for retail spac-es as smoke is dry and won’t stick to clothing Managers, sales associates, security personnel, and cleaners are all wearing masks, face shields, and goggles. But it’s the little touches that will remind you how they’ve set the bar high—sanitation boxes are placed in fitting rooms for clothes that are not purchased, fitting rooms are sanitized after every use, and store personnel are required to steam the clothes before putting them back on display.  At the payment counter, all credit cards will be sanitized, and packages will be disinfected before being handed to the customer. At the store’s East Café, tables are separated with plastic shields, and so are the wash basins in the restrooms, which will each have a sanitary officer, whose only job is it to disinfect the toilet after every use.  And that’s just the stage. Backstage, it’s just as—if not more—exacting. Introducing Sanivir, the latest in disinfection technology “Even in our employees’ canteens we have placed plastic shields to protect each of our employees while they are having their lunch break,” Nedy says. The company has required all returning employees to be tested for Covid-19.  Rustan’s is also continually disinfected using Sanivir, a technology introduced in the Philippines by chemist Pinky Tobiano of KPP Powers Commodities, who is also CEO of Qualibet Testing Services. “Sanivir is a smoke disinfectant from Spain, which contains glutaraldehyde and orthopenyl phenol—two active ingredients have been tested that can kill bacteria, molds, and viruses that have been proven against coronavirus by laboratories in EU.” PINKY’S PROMISE. Pinky Pe Tobiano, the chemistwho brought the technology to the Philippines “It was great timing and serendipitous that we found the product right before the pandemic escalated to the level it is now,” Pinky tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Sanivir was both an innovative and unique product that addresses the problem we currently have—it is easy to use, cost-friendly, effective, and safe.” It is a perfect disinfectant for a retail space—it only utilizes smoke, is dry, and won’t stick to clothing. “When Pinky introduced to me her disinfection program, I immediately asked her to do my father’s house and my own house,” Nedy shares. “I was so satisfied with the service that I asked her if she could open a service desk at Rustan’s to allow our customers the chance to avail of this disinfecting method. It’s so easy. Any housewife can do it. It allows us the ease of disinfecting without a fuss. It also works for our cars. The service desk has been open for two weeks at Rustan’s Ayala Avenue. And I am happy to say that it has met full acceptance with quite a number of Rustan’s customers.” Its ease of use is an advantage. “Just open the can, remove the plastic cover of the wick, set on a flat surface, light the wick, and leave for the next six to eight hours. The smoking process lasts for only one to two minutes, then disinfection takes place for the next six to eight hours,” Pinky says. “That’s good for 14 days.” And the cost? Surprisingly very minimal.  “One can of Sanivir of 25 grams is P1,750 and it’s good for 14 days for a room of 30 to 50 square meters,” Pinky says. “The cost per day is only a P125 investment. If you have five people in the room, the investment per person per day is only P25.”    But for those who are not in the mood to shop in-store, Rustan’s online service has amped up its service. Apart from its website, fortuitously launched a year ago, you can also tap the Personal Shoppers on Call Service, where sales associates respond to you on Viber, after which you can have your items delivered to you, or picked up by the curbside. Nedy shares, “And very soon, we will launch our Rustan’s Concierge Service, where customers can call a single number, and will be immediately assigned a personal shopper to attend to their needs.”  Now, many ways words and concepts are redefined in these troubled times—but having your own personal shopper, one who’ll do your shopping for you as you leisurely read the latest Kevin Kwan Sex and Vanity book in the comfort of your home?  We’re guessing that that’s a definition of luxury that won’t likely ever change—unprecedented crisis or not.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Go opens 134th Malasakit Center in Nueva Ecija

Sen. Bong Go has vowed to continue his pursuit for better access to healthcare for all Filipinos while helping the government improve public service delivery amid an ongoing health crisis......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 8th, 2021

113th Malasakit Center opens in San Pablo, Laguna

In demonstration of the government’s commitment to expanding health care and making access to it more convenient and affordable, especially for poor and indigent patients, Sen. Bong Go personally attended the launch of the 113th Malasakit Center in the country at the San Pablo City General Hospital in Laguna on Thursday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2021

P245 M allocated for Judges-at-Large Act; Angara sees faster resolution of cases

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara assured the Judiciary Sunday it would be able to expedite the adjudication of several pending court cases with the funds Congress provided for the appointment of judges-at-large under the 2021 national budget.  Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Senator Sonny Angara Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said a total of P244.988 million was included in the budget of the Judiciary for the implementation of Republic Act 11459 or the Judges-at-Large Act.Enacted on Aug. 13, 2019, the law mandates the creation of judges-at-large posts for the regional and municipal trial courts in order to decongest the courts of its dockets.These judges-at-large would have no permanent salas and may be assigned by the Supreme Court as acting or assisting judges to any Regional Trial Court (RTC) or Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in order to decongest the courts of its dockets.“For 2020, the first year of implementation of the law, we provided funding to cover for the creation of 50 judges-at-large posts,” Angara said in a statement.“For 2021, we will double the number of posts to 100 as requested by our Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta,” Angara said.The senator also said these judges-at-large are entitled to salaries, privileges, allowances, emoluments, benefits, rank, and title of regular RTC and MTC judges.Angara also said the Judiciary’s budget for 2021 also includes a P50-million augmentation to cover for the deployment of Judiciary marshals to secure the justices, judges, and other court officials.He said the inclusion of this funding was prompted by the appeals of the Judiciary for the creation of a judicial marshal service as the threats and attacks against judges and other court officials continue to take place in the country. The Senate is set to approve Senate Bill No. 1947 or the proposed Judiciary Marshals Act, of which Angara is one of the authors. Once approved, an office of the Judiciary marshals would be established under the Supreme Court and its continued funding will be ensured as part of the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).“We want to sustain the implementation of the Judges-at-Large Act to help ensure the delivery of speedy justice in the country,” the lawmaker said.“With the appointment of more judges, we can expect to see the resolution of more cases and eventually free up the courts of its backlog,” Angara added. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021

GSIS launches two mobile apps

State pension fund Government Service Insurance System is launching two mobile applications so that clients can access their GSIS records and file their motor vehicle insurance claims using only their smartphones anytime and anywhere......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Millions more face English virus restrictions as cases spiral

Millions more people in northern England face stricter coronavirus rules next week, officials said Friday, as reports suggested the government is considering a nationwide lockdown. A digital display shows NHS health advice on the coronavirus in Leeds on October 30, 2020. – West Yorkshire is to be placed under tier three Covid restrictions from November 2, 2020, the strictest level of rules. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) From Monday, nearly 2.4 million residents in five districts of West Yorkshire, including in the city of Leeds, will be barred from socialising with other households indoors. Pubs and bars not serving “substantial meals” must close, alongside casinos and betting shops, while people have also been told to avoid unnecessary travel. The Department of Health said the measures were needed as infection rates in West Yorkshire were among the highest in the country and rising rapidly. The Times reported Friday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was considering a return to a national lockdown to battle the surge. Johnson was expected to hold a press conference on Monday to announce new restrictions, which would close everything except “essential shops”, schools and universities, the paper said, quoting a government source. In its weekly study of Covid-19 prevalence, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of people with the virus had increased to around one in 100 nationwide. “There has been growth in all age groups over the past two weeks; older teenagers and young adults continue to have the highest current rates while rates appear to be steeply increasing among secondary school children,” it said. The country’s official science advisory panel warned in a report published Friday that the virus was spreading “significantly” faster and that hospitalisations were rising at a higher rate through England than its predicted “worst-case” scenario drawn up in July. The report said that in mid-October, shortly before new local rules were introduced, around four times as many people were catching Covid than anticipated in the July report. That study warned that 85,000 more people could die during the winter wave. West Yorkshire’s imminent restrictions are the latest step in the UK government’s localised response to the surging transmission, which has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks. More than 11 million people — about a fifth of England’s population — will be under the tightest measures from next week. Most of the areas in the “very high” category of the government’s three-tier Covid alert system are in northern and central parts of the country. Nottingham became the latest city to enter the highest tier Friday. On Thursday night, young people took to the streets in fancy dress and drank in large groups before a ban on alcohol sales in shops came into force at 2100 GMT. – ‘Targeted’ – The pandemic has hit Britain harder than any other country in Europe, with more than 45,000 people having died within 28 days of testing positive. Case rates are spiralling again after a lull, tracking the situation elsewhere on the continent. England is seeing nearly 52,000 new cases daily, a 47 percent weekly rise, according to the ONS, which conducts its analysis of households with the help of several universities and health bodies, and excludes people in hospitals and care homes.  Britain’s European neighbours and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reimposed partial lockdowns to try to cut infection rates. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Friday the government would continue its “targeted and focused” strategy of local restrictions in virus hotspots. “The arbitrariness of a blanket approach would be far worse than the effects of trying to be as targeted as possible,” he said. Meanwhile, a new study reported Friday that a Covid-19 variant originating in Spanish farm workers has spread rapidly throughout Europe in recent months and now accounts for most cases in Britain. The variant — called 20A.EU1 — is thought to have been spread from northeastern Spain by people returning from holidays there, according to the study, which is awaiting peer review in a medical journal. There is currently no evidence that the strain spreads faster or impacts illness severity and immunity......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

No conditions in China’s move to prioritize PH as vaccine recipient — Sta. Romana

China has not imposed any condition when it included the Philippines as among the priority nations to gain access to its potential coronavirus vaccine, according to a Filipino diplomat. Amb. Jose Santiago Sta. Romana Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said China instead reminded the country to prepare its cold storage facilities amid the highly anticipated breakthrough in vaccine development. China will hopefully announce its mass production of the coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year or early next year, Sta. Romana said during an online Palace press briefing. “Hopefully, mass production and distribution will happen in the near future, as early as November and December in terms of production. And it will depend on our capability to receive the vaccines in terms of our facilities, in terms of distribution,” he said.  “The prospects are bright in terms of a breakthrough in vaccine,” he added. Sta. Romana made clear that the cold storage facilities for the potential COVID-19 vaccines are not conditions set by China but simply a reminder to ensure effective distribution of the vaccine.  “It’s just a reminder that if you get the vaccine and you don’t have cold chain storage, then it’s useless so you have to prepare,” he said, citing information from Chinese drug companies.  He said even if the Philippines is in the “priority list,” the distribution of the vaccine will be a challenge. He said the vaccines must be stored in “freezing conditions” to keep its efficacy.  “If exposed to tropical weather or to normal weather conditions, the vaccine could lose its effectiveness,” he said.So far, Sta. Romana said the vaccines being developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firms have entered phase 3 of the clinical trials. One of the potential vaccines have been approved for emergency use for health workers and other government frontliners. “The Chinese will make an announcement in the near future and then they’ll start their mass production. And once there is the mass production, then I think there will be distribution. Hopefully, before the end of the year; but surely by the first quarter of next year,” he said.  Asked if China has imposed any condition on the Philippines in exchange for the vaccine supply, Sta. Romana said: “No, not at all. Actually, we’re the ones, our condition is that it should pass our local requirements.” When asked if Beijing has pledged the amount of vaccines and if these will be given to Manila for free, Sta. Romana said the matter would entail more discussion. “I cannot give you a definitive answer right now but definitely in terms of number, you know, how they will do it kasi it depends on the—they’re talking of hundreds of millions in terms of production dito sa China. So, the question is iyong distribution and deployment,” he said. “They’re preparing their manufacturing facilities for the mass production of vaccines the moment approval is announced,” he added. Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado has assured that the government has funds that will be needed for the establishment of the cold storage facilities for the coronavirus vaccines. “Surely, as the sun rises in the east, there will be funds for that because the President will never allow that we will run short of the requirements to make sure that we have the storage facilities for all of these vaccines,” he said in the same online press conference. Last week, President Duterte expressed confidence about the safety of the vaccines being developed by China, citing the Asian neighbor is a modern country. He said the government has funds for the vaccine purchase, adding he was just waiting for China or Russia to contact him. “I’d be glad to open up my sleeves because I am confident with their vaccine,” he added......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2020

Globe Telecom Installing 800 cell sites this year

Globe Telecom Inc. will install at least 800 cell sites in the last three months of 2020 to end the year of its network expansion on a high note.  In Metro Manila and Rizal, Globe intends to build at least 319 cell sites and at least 100  in North Luzon, with Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan topping the 15 provinces with the most builds. Cavite, on the other hand, tops the 12 provinces in South Luzon which Globe targets for expansion.  The rest include Albay, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Quezon, Laguna, Marinduque, Masbate, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan and Romblon.  The telco will put up  64 towers and small cell sites in the region. In Visayas, Globe plans on 147 installations in Cebu while builds are also set in Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Samar and Negros Oriental.  The telco will build a total of 190 installations in these provinces. Globe will also put up 166 cell sites in Mindanao with Davao Del Sur getting the most number among  the 23 provinces and one city covered by  its expansion. “Putting up more cell sites expsnds our coverage and gives users better data experience,” according to Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Delivery, Network Technical Group. “We expect mobile signals to improve moving forward especially in challenged areas. As we increase site density, connectivity will be made available and accessible to more communities,” he added. Using newer technologies like easy macro and small cell sites, Globe will also address the need for more capacity in areas where it can not immediately build  towers......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Beep card and Internet woes

On the Beep card fiasco I spoke out recently on the chaos caused by the mandatory use of the “Beep card” for consumers riding the public buses under the “no-card no-ride”policy. It was as if the riding consumers were being required to purchase a Beep card at “gunpoint” or forget about riding the bus. This chaotic scenario could have been avoided had the regulators done its work mindfully by first consulting with the stakeholders (“who”), drafting the new policy (“what”) and once agreed upon, by ensuring wide dissemination of the changes – the Implementing Guidelines. Where did “complete staff work” go? Or are the consumers just being given an example of doublespeak?  What happened this week was consumers were confronted with the “no- card no-ride”signs on the buses and were required to pay for a ride plus the cost of the card, something they did not need to do before. For those who did pay the extra cost, they then had to find out that the policy was “suspended,” although no refunds were being offered.There was also the spectacle of the agency head announcing that the cards were free, contradicting the policy his agency had just announced and implemented. The card providers then said they were not about to waive their right to be paid. In another statement, a regulator functionary reasoned that it had nothing to do with the fine print on the contract for the cards since they were only responsible for “policy.” This violates the consumer’s right to be informed. The agency should have studied the sector most affected by the shift to cashless transaction – the consumer who must rely on public transportation because he has no alternative and  the same consumer who must make every peso count and who cannot afford any extra expense. This consumer deserves earnest and timely information from government on why he has to pay an additional amount and how it will benefit him, and for the consumers who did pay the additional cost of the card, they should enjoy a swift refund.  The lesson that we consumers learned in the Beep card fiasco is always to be aware and conscious of our consumer rights and to speak up when these rights are threatened or belittled. We should always be vigilant consumers about our rights lest we find these rights trodden again. On Internet speed Like every other consumers, I have problems with Internet speed. I pay my bills and fees  on time ,  however,  I  believe I should only pay for the speed that I receive  and I did not think I was getting what I paid for under my plan. Therefore, I conducted my own speed test and sought redress  from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). I was able to get a refund and am paying now for the plan that is nearest to the speed I am getting. Consumers should exercise their right to seek redress for bad Internet speed.  Consumers should be reimbursed for speed that is not delivered. In this time of the pandemic, profiteering should not be tolerated in any form. I call upon the NTC to take the lead by issuing implementing guidelines on refund for both prepaid and postpaid plans. Consumers should also ask for faster response on consumer complaints. The complaints of Messrs.   Foronda and Platon posted in the Laban Konsyumer emails should be resolved faster. Hopefully, the reported 1,171 new cell tower permits should alleviate consumer woes in the near future. In the meantime however, if you are not getting value for the service you paid for, your option is to downgrade your plan to correspond to the speed you are getting and claim a refund of excess fees paid. You can submit your complaint online at www.ntc.gov.ph. Atty. Vic Dimagiba is President of Laban Konsyumer Inc. Email: labankonsyumer@gmail.com.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Internet speed in the time of COVID-19 is everything

Time flies by so fast, and yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought our lives to a screeching halt. Nearly seven months into the quarantined life, we have experienced a day that already feels like a week, a week that feels like a month, and with quarantine guidelines restricting us from being with our loved ones, the only way for us to really connect is through the internet. The question now is, how connected are we to be virtually together? In these trying times with everyone cooped up at home, Internet speed has become indispensable. Apart from speed, having a backup is a necessity, what with every family member hogging the bandwidth for Google Hangouts and/or Zoom calls used for either school or work. This is where PLDT Home comes in, thanks to their newly-launched device: the PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem. Internet speed is king — even for a backup modem I got to experience firsthand the newest device that PLDT Home recently launched. Having had my fair share of experience with the PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid, the newly improved Advance modem is a definite game-changer. How was it? It was not bad — at all. The LTE-Advance experience The PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem is a plug-and-play device, so installing it is very easy. To put it to the test, I used the device for an entire day, not just as backup, but as my main source of Internet connection. I put it near the window, which is always the advice given for modems to get better Internet connection. The PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem features carrier aggregation that is a combination of frequency channels to power LTE to deliver at faster speeds. This enabled me to connect three devices all at once, without having to sacrifice the quality of my Wifi connectivity. The PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance is powered by Smart LTE, the fastest mobile network in the Philippines as certified by Ookla. There are also two LAN ports found at the back that allow users to have wired connection for two devices. This is perfect for families with parents working from home and children taking online classes. The verdict Absolutely no jokes were meant when I mentioned above that the PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem is a game-changer. This is the device that families need at home to better equip them while working from and/or studying at home while also being practical with their internet spending. Because it’s prepaid, families need not worry about adding up to their monthly bills and they can easily load the device when they need it. The modem is a powerful device because of the reliable and stronger Internet connection it can provide to the entire family. PLDT Home really did step up their game with this device, and I repeat — it’s a necessity in households today. Be it for virtual conference calls for work, online classes, or catch up sessions with your loved ones, the PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid modem is a device anyone can depend on. Prepaid packages for the family To match the much improved PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem, PLDT Home provided new and affordable FamLoad packages that cater to the Internet needs of families at home. For students, the FamLoad Study 599 comes with 57 GB with 3 GB/day for learning tools like Canvas, Schoology, Gabay Guro, Microsoft 365, and NEO. Those who are film and TV series geeks will also enjoy using the PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem, with its FamLoad Video 599 equipped with 40 GB for open access data and 15 GB of YouTube, or the FamLoad Video Plus 599 with 45 GB for all sites and apps or 3 GB of videos daily for 15 days. The new PLDT Home Wifi Prepaid Advance modem is now available via the PLDT Home website and can be delivered fast via Grab delivery. The unit also comes with free 10GB data that’s ready for use and it’s convenient to reload through GrabApp using the GrabPay wallet, Paymaya, myPLDT Smart app, or PLDT Home and Smart’s retailers nationwide. In these trying times, the need to stay online as we opt to do things virtually is at an all-time high, and PLDT Home may just have provided the very device that is now a truly relevant and essential part of the modern new normal home......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

The Country’s Most Remote Cell Site

Despite challenges due to the island’s location in the West Philippine Sea, PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc (Smart) has recently fired up its 4G/LTE service in Pag-asa Island in the municipality of Kalayaan, the country’s most remote cell site, located some 500 kilometers from the capital city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.    Residents of Pag-asa Island can now use mobile data to communicate with family members and loved ones via chat apps and video calls, share photos, send emails or watch videos online.    In an email sent from Pag-asa Island, Smart engineer Edbert Aquitania shared a screenshot of the message he received upon firing up the LTE site: “Welcome back to the Philippines!” it said.   This development marks another step towards improved communications for the people of Pag-asa, who were first connected via mobile communication in 2005, when Smart turned on its 2G service on the island.    “The activation of LTE in Pag-asa island is proof of our continued commitment to give our customers access to our services, wherever in the Philippines they may be, regardless of the challenges,” said Mario G. Tamayo, senior vice president and head of Network Planning and Engineering at PLDT-Smart.    Smart LTE Nation  This LTE activation is part of Smart’s continuing rollout of its LTE services nationwide. To date, Smart’s high-speed broadband service is available in 93% of the country’s cities and municipalities and serves 95% of the population.    This rollout is part of PLDT and Smart’s sustained investments in their network, which have totaled some Php260 billion from 2015 to 2019. Amid the regained momentum of its network rollout efforts following the easing of lockdown restrictions, PLDT has leveled up its target capital expenditures for 2020 back up to about Php70 billion.   In the first half of 2020, Smart further increased the number of its LTE base stations by 10% compared to end-2019. In April, it also increased the capacity of its LTE network by reallocating its assigned 1800 Mhz frequency from 2G to 4G/LTE. As a result, 3,785 Smart base stations are now providing additional capacity for its LTE network.  Smart’s mobile network is supported by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which provides high-capacity links to LTE base stations and is now nearly 360,000 kilometers nationwide. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 9th, 2020

Calamba City LGU launches mental health hotline

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna, Sep 8 (PIA) - The City Government of Calamba is strengthening its mental health program by launching a hotline that offers free counseling and consultation services to residen.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsSep 9th, 2020

PLDT equips The SM Store with contact center service solution

The SM Store, in collaboration with PLDT, introduces its nationwide hotline number #14376 (I♥SM) to support the store’s Call to Deliver service, as part of continuous efforts to provide a better customer experience for shoppers. .....»»

Category: techSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2020

Over 10,000 state workers infected with COVID-19

The Civil Service Commission has called on government agencies to strictly implement alternative work arrangements to limit physical interactions as the number of state workers infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 has breached 10,000......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 5th, 2020

PFF defers PFL s training sessions due to return to MECQ

The Philippine Football Federation, the Philippines' governing body for football, has deferred the Philippines Football League clubs' return to training.  This, following the government's orders to place NCR back to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine from August 4 to August 18, following the spike in COVID-19 positive cases in the country.  "The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has deferred the start of the Philippines Football League clubs’ training sessions at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite to the third week of August 2020 following the government’s decision to impose a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Cavite and Laguna, from 04-18 August 2020 brought on by the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in Mega Manila," the PFF said in an official statement. Resumption of practices for team sports like basketball and football were set to resume after the IATF had given GAB the go-signal in late-July.  With the COVID-19 situation in the country getting worse however, the clubs will have to wait a bit longer.  "PFF exhorts everyone to observe best practices in combating COVID-19, cooperate with local and national authorities, and be safe and healthy during the on-going state of public health emergency in the country," the PFF continued.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

PayMaya enables over 50 government agencies

Digital financial services provider PayMaya has enabled over 50 government agencies  to streamline their services and accept cashless payments online todate. From June 2019 to June 2020, the volume of transactions processed by PayMaya from partner government agencies surged 900 per cent. This shows the government efforts to encourage digital payments for fees and services by accepting debit, credit, and e-Wallet payments has paid off. “In the span of one year, government agencies have stepped up their efforts in digitalizing their processes,” according to Orlando B. Vea, Founder and CEO of PayMaya. Because of this, many agencies have been able to continue offering relevant services despite the current crisis, he added. To date, PayMaya has already inked partnerships with the Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or PAG-IBIG, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Science and Technology, the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of the Treasury through the Bonds.ph platform, the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council, the Professional Regulation Commission, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), among  others.  As part of measures needed to be observed in the ‘new normal’, PayMaya intends to enable more government agencies, institutions, and  local government units to accept cashless payments and digital disbursements. Hence, PayMaya has launched its LGUs Embracing and Accelerating Digitalization (L.E.A.D.) program to help local governments offer digital transactions for constituents. The company likewise enabled digital disbursements for the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Caloocan, Pasig, and Quezon City, particularly in delivering financial aid to beneficiaries severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  SSS and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also tapped Paymaya  to distribute financial aid to beneficiaries of its Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) and Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Furthermore, it has powered the digital payment facilities of LGUs such as Valenzuela and Taguig. Through its app and wallet, PayMaya  provides millions of Filipinos with the fastest way to own a financial account with over 40,000 Add Money touchpoints nationwide, more than double the total number of traditional bank branches in the Philippines combined. Its Smart Padala by PayMaya network of over 30,000 partner touchpoints nationwide serves as last mile digital financial hubs in communities, providing the unbanked and underserved with access to services. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

P51-B airport railway launched

Project to generate 38,000 jobs The country’s first airport railway express service soon starts construction after the government and proponents signed the P50.8-billion contract packages for PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark) segment of the P777.5-billion North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) virtually over the weekend  (August 1, 2020). The construction is expected to generate 38,000 new local jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade led the virtual signing of the contracts, marking the start of civil works for the 53-km extension that will bring passengers from Makati City in Metro Manila to Clark International Airport in Pampanga in just under one  hour. The first signing was for the P32.7-billion Contract Package N-04, which covers the civil engineering and building works  6.3 kilometers of the main line and 1.6 kilometers of the depot’s access line with an underground station serving Clark International Airport. They also signed the P18.1-billion Contract Package N-05, which covers the civil engineering and building works for the Clark Railway Depot.  The depot covers an overall area of approximately 33 hectares.  The contract covers the construction of the Operations Control Center, stabling yard, workshops, training center and other ancillary buildings in Mabalacat, Pampanga. This proves that flagship projects under the government’s BUILD, BUILD, BUILD program continue despite challenges posed by the pandemic, Tugade underscored. The PNR Clark Phase 2 paves the way for the country’s first-ever airport railway express service, he reiterated. “Since the NSCR will feature the country’s first airport express train service allowing travelers to get from Makati to Clark Airport in under one hour, we can consider it as a trail-blazing project, ” the DOTr Secretary  elaborated. “To achieve this, trains will run at 160 kilometers per hour, making it one of the fastest modes of land public transportation.”  The signing of contracts is likewise timely, noted Asian Development Bank (ADB) Southeast Asia Director General Ramesh Subramaniam. “The civil works contracts will help kickstart the economic revival of the Philippines over the next 12 months as the country faces the pandemic ” he pointed out. Under the railway project, we estimate that 24,000 local construction jobs will be directly created during the next three years.  And another at least 14,000 jobs needed for operating the railway system,” according to Subramaniam. The signing of contracts is a major milestone for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project as well as for the Philippine transport sector, he added. Once partially operational by 2022, PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark), a 53-km rail line segment, will connect Malolos, Bulacan to Clark International Airport, will cut down travel time to 30-35 minutes, from the original 1 hour and 30 minutes. The DOTr signed contract Package N-04 was virtually signed with Acciona Construction Philippines, through Director Ruben Eugenio Garcia and Chief Financial Officer Angel Fernandez de la Pradilla, and EEI Corporation, through President and CEO Roberto Jose Castillo. Contract Package N-05 was virtually signed with POSCO Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., through Executive Vice President Dong Ho Kim and POSCO E&C Vice President Sung Wook Chung......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

1,350 riders apprehended on 1st day of motorcycle pillion riding policy — Eleazar

Police have apprehended a total of 1,350 motorcycle riders during the first day of the strict implementation of rules on motorcycle pillion riding on Saturday, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield disclosed on Sunday. (JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Based on the data of the JTF COVIDShield, a total of 704 motorcycle riders were apprehended for failure to install barriers while back-riding their spouses or live-in partners—a total of 697 of them were cited for various traffic violations while seven were arrested and taken to police stations.Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, explained that several violators  were taken to the police stations because of being disrespectful to the apprehending authorities, or, due to local ordinances that require violators to be taken to the police stations to arrange for a community service as a penalty.Back-riding married couples and living-in partners without the required barrier, not wearing face masks and not wearing helmets fall under Reckless Driving with penalties ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 depending on the number of the same offense committed;Also, a total of 580 more motorcycle riders were also accosted for failure to comply with the installation of barriers while having a back-rider other than their spouses or live-in partners. Of the figure, 551 were cited for violations while 29 were taken to the police station.For those who are not authorized to back-ride (those who are not married or living-in partners), Eleazar said the violation would be Overloading of Passengers with a penalty of P1,000.Meanwhile, a total of 66 motorcycles were also cited for violation even with the installed barriers since police found out that they were back-riding people other than their spouses or live-in partners. The penalty also falls under Overloading of Passengers.Eleazar said most of the violators were flagged down by the PNP Highway Patrol Group headed by Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz with 284. The Police Regional Office 7 also has the most number of apprehensions with 187, followed by Police Regional Office 5 with 158, Police Regional Office 9 with 129 and Police Regional Office 12 with 120.The 1,350 apprehended motorcycle riders on Saturday alone is on top of the more than 30,000 violators accosted during the July 10 to July 31 grace period given for motorcycle riders to comply with the installed barriers. The deadline for compliance was on July 31 and all those caught within the three-week grace period were just warned.Eleazar then urged motorcycle riders to comply with the rules, saying their defiance would just be met with appropriate sanctions based on the guidelines.“When our motorcycle riders repeatedly pleaded for them to be allowed to back-ride at least their spouses or live-in partners, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 listened to their appeal. What the NTF Against COVID-19 was asking in return is for them to install barriers because it is part of the safety measures against coronavirus infection,” said Eleazar. “As per Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, we are not requiring all motorcycles to install barriers. But if they are going to use their motorcycles for back-riding, then they should follow the rules. The deadline for them to comply was extended twice and they were given a total of 22 days to install the barriers, we believe that it is more than enough time to do what is asked from them,” he added.Eleazar stressed that the continuous defiance of some motorcycle riders in the coming days would only compromise the NTF Against COVID-19 plan to eventually allow more people other than married couples and living-in partners to back-ride......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020