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Makatizen Card Launched – Makati to become Country’s First Connected City

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The Makati City government launched yesterday the Makatizen Card which will allow the city’s 500,000 residents to access city government services and transact with the LGU – receive cash allowances, stipends, and other benefits – while allowing the cardholders to pay fees and taxes, remittances, and other financial transactions. The Makatizen Card also functions as an ATM card and is considered as a valid government ID card. The Card is in collaborations with Globe Telecom, GCash (G-Xchange Inc. or GXI), and iBayad Online Ventures.

Around 1,000 functioning sample Makatizen Cards were given out and tested yesterday morning. Beside the city residents, Makati City government employees can use their Makatizen Card to receive salaries and allowances.

The Makatizen Card comes with a Near-Field Communication (NFC) feature that allows city offices equipped with iBayad machine readers to verify the identity of residents and Makati City employees in a single tap. It stores the information which easily identifies the card holder availing of various city government services without the need to present additional documents.

GXI (GCash) will serve as the financial service provider for the Makatizen Card while iBayad will deploy the mPOS terminals and build the merchant network where the cards will be accepted.

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay: “The Makatizen Card goes beyond providing Makati citizens with instant access to essential services of the city government, which in itself is a major leap forward for the city. The wide range of digital and mobile services offers the people of Makati  more convenient and cost-effective ways of meeting their day-to-day needs and obligations.”

Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO:For the Philippines to truly become a digital nation, we need to fully take advantage of new digital opportunities and innovations to enable growth in every corner of our country.  We laud the vision of the Makati City government whose support of this initiative is critical to build the city-wide digital ecosystem, a step towards the realization of our dream for the Philippines to become an admired nation.

Albert Tinio, President of GXI (GCash):Each Makatizen Card carries the features of the GCash mobile wallet but is also customized to be used in the city-wide local merchant network.  All services that they will get in Makati City, whether it is payment of taxes, cash allowances for health and other benefits, etc. will be directly credited to this GCash wallet that is linked to  the card.  They don’t have to carry anything except this ID and their mobile phone.

iBayad Founder and CEO Paolo G. Saycon: “For us, the Makatizen Card Project is as much a social endeavour, as it is a business venture. This undertaking is aligned with iBayad’s purpose of developing socially relevant and meaningful financial innovations that will transform the way people pay. Our objective is to accelerate the adoption and transformation of every consumer’s traditional spending behaviour from cash-centric to electronic payments.”

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More on Globe Telecom

Globe has been ramping up network investments in a bid to amplify benefits of its new spectrum assets and enhance mobile services particularly for data. The company has announced a capital spend of $750 million for the year in an effort to continuously improve mobile and data services.  Globe is also aggressively building on its fiber broadband services, aiming to create an internet super highway nationwide. The company aims to deploy fiber optics in 20,000 barangays by 2020 which will provide ultra-fast internet access to around 2 million homes nationwide.

Globe Business, the enterprise information and communications technology (ICT) arm of Globe, is leading the way in encouraging local government units like Makati City to adopt the integration of ICT and governance as a means of improving the delivery of government services and exchange of information.  The said initiative supports Globe’s drive to transform the Philippines into a digital nation by instilling the importance of eGovernance to offices ranging from the local government units up to the national government.

One of the capabilities derived from an improved mobile and broadband infrastructure is the creation of a city-wide cashless ecosystem wherein e-payment methods such as e-money and debit/credit cards are utilized instead of physical cash.  This will benefit not only the residents but also schools, hospitals, government offices, transportation facilities, and other micro, small, and medium-size enterprises.

The Makatizen Card is a product of the Makati City government, Globe Telecom, GCash (GXI) and iBayad, as part of the thrust of Makati City to be the first connected city.

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Source: Press release from Globe Telecom Corporate Communications

Photos from source.

Title photo caption: (L-R): Makati City Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo; SVP for Enterprise Peter Maquera; Chief Commercial Officer Albert de Larrazabal; Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu; Makati City Mayor Abby Binay; GXI President Abet Tinio; Makati City Administrator Claro Certeza; iBayad CEO Paulo Saycon.

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Globe to Temporarily Suspend Mobile Services During Dinagyang Festivities

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PRESS STATEMENT (January 20, 2016) — Globe Telecom will comply with the directive of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to temporarily suspend mobile services in some areas of Dinagyang festivities in Iloilo City.

Globe General Counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo said the company will always comply with directive of the NTC, particularly in relation to public safety and security. “Similar to the directive we received from the NTC during the recent Black Nazarene and Sinulog events, we are compelled to temporarily suspend mobile services in some event areas of the Dinagyang festival and we would like to appeal for our customers’ understanding,” Castelo said.

The Dinagyang Festival is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis. For this year, it will be held from January 20 to the 22nd.

Source: Corporate Communications Group, Globe Telecom | Wikipedia.org

Photos from Wikimedia.org Creative Commons Attribution | 1 | 2 | 3

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Emergency Telephone Number 911 Replaces Patrol 117 Starting August 1

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Starting August 1, 2016, the US-formatted emergency number “911” will now be operational in the Philippines. This a replacement of the existing Patrol “117” that has existed since 2003 and is managed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), referred to as the “Emergency Network Philippines (ENP).”

Original link: https://miniphilippines.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/emergency-telephone-number-911-replaces-patrol-117-starting-august-1/

Patrol 117 call centers nationwide have handled some 15 million calls since its inception. However, the majority of 117 calls are prank calls, leading the DILG to urge local government units to issue ordinances penalizing those who make hoax 117 calls.

Historically, 117 was solely used in the Metro Manila area by the Philippine National Police for the reporting of ongoing crimes as part of a program called the “Patrol 117 Street Patrol Program” in cooperation with the Foundation for Crime Prevention. Efforts to expand the capabilities of 117 began in the 1990s, starting with the addition of emergency medical services to the scope of 117 in Metro Manila through a private-sector initiative called Project EARnet (Emergency Assistance and Response network).

Government involvement in the expansion of 117’s scope began in late 1998, when the DILG announced the formation of Emergency Network Philippines, a project that sought to support a national emergency telephone number in order to enable the faster delivery of emergency services to the Filipino people.

By virtue of Executive Order No. 226, 117 became the official national emergency telephone number of the Philippines on July 14, 2003.

The P1.4 billion project was completed on August 2, 2003, with the opening of a new 117 call center in Quezon City, serving the entire Metro Manila area.[3] Four more 117 call centers were opened in 2006, and the full 117 network, consisting of sixteen networked call centers, was rolled out in 2007.

Sources of text and image: Wikipedia | LSGH ’81 Viber Group

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The 3rd AFP Social Media Summit Happening on 15 July 2016

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Press Release (July 11, 2016) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is all set to hold its 3rd Social Media Summit on July 15, 2016 at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Spearheaded by Media and Civil Affairs Group (MCAG) and Civil-Military Operations School (CMO School) of the Civil Relations Service of the AFP (CRSAFP), the conference now on its 3rd year is scheduled to tackle current social media trends and issues as a tool to further enhance online engagement within the Armed Forces and key partner organizations.

With this year’s theme: “Change.Move.Achieve: Moving forward through Social Media”, the Summit is aimed at boosting and synergizing AFP’s online initiatives and strengthening nationalism and public service awareness through social media networks.

This one-day conference will cover issues on getting the most out of social media networks and its capabilities in nation building and how to utilize its potential and its relevance to the Philippine society in stewarding and synergizing online reputation management and strengthening nationalism and public service awareness through online presence.

One of the main topics that will be discussed is how did social media shape and affect the 2016 Philippine National Elections.

LtC. Michael T. Aquino (INF) PA, MCAG Commander, CRSAFP said: “We have been feeling the power of Social Media in recent years. We saw how Social Media technology has created an impact on the lives of many Filipinos even in the 2016 Philippine National Elections. With its fast-paced advancements and developments, it is high time for all of us, not only the AFP, to move forward through Social Media and utilize its power to achieve our personal and organizational goals.”

More than 1,200 participants (30% AFP, 20% PNP/BJMP/BFP, 30% from the public audience which includes students, working public, and academe, and 20% from other government agencies) are expected to attend this conference.

The event is co-presented by Smart Communications and HAIER Philippines. These organizations share the same value on the importance of social media in promoting the goals of their organizations.

“We have been part of the AFP’s social media summit since the beginning.  Not only because we are a partner of the AFP, but more importantly we share the AFP’s strategy of a connecting and engaging our stakeholders.  As more and more Filipinos connect to the Internet and with a new Administration in place, the 3rd AFP Social Media Summit could potentially be a powerful tool for developing the value of nationalism,” said Wo Rosete, Head of Public Affairs at Smart Communications.

Invited participants in the conference include information officers from various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of National Defense, the Philippine National Police, academic institutions and other government organizations and agencies. Non-government and civil-society organizations will also be invited.

BGen. Rhoderick M. Parayno AFP, Commander, CRSAFP said: “With about 50% of Filipinos actively engaging in Social Media networks and the enormous number of people around the world, the Internet has become not just an efficient tool for disseminating information but it has also become the most important venue for connecting to those we in the AFP serve. The 3rd AFP Social Media Summit will tackle how we can optimize the power of Social Media to connect for change while we actively move forward to achieve the AFP’s organizational goals related to public service.”

The 3rd AFP Social Media Summit will provide participants the opportunity to get insights on:

  • Content Marketing and Social Media Benchmarks
  • Organizing and Mobilizing Online Community
  • Going Viral: Lessons for Creating Stories with Impact
  • Bridging Generation Gaps and Social Media
  • Shaping National Issues through Social Media
  • Social Media and Countering Violent Extremism

The summit is open to all interested parties who want to know more about trends, developments and issues in Social Media, the effect of Social Media in organizations, and best practices in utilizing Social Media in spreading useful information to intended audience, among others.

Interested parties may contact: 09265540787.

Event partners include Ardent Communications, DWDD Katropa Radio 1134 kHz, AFP General Insurance, AFP Theater, ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative, and PNP Police Community Relations Group.

Media partners include the Philippine Bloggers Network, Llamadista TV, StyleList, Inquire.net, Newsbytes.ph, techTV.ph, TechBeat.ph, DigitalFilipina.com, and Spice.ph.

More information about the 3rd AFP Social Media Summit can be accessed at http://AFPSocialMediaSummit.dwdd.com.ph/.

Connect with AFP Social Media Summit on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/afpsms.

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Globe Gives Away Free SIM Cards to All Foreign Tourists and OFWs

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Globe Telecom, in partnership with Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, announced today to give away free SIM cards to all foreign tourists and Overseas Contract Workers (OFW) visiting or coming back to the country, respectively. Starting tomorrow, July 30, 2015, Globe will start issuing the free SIM cards to incoming foreign tourists and OFWs through its booths inside the airports of NAIA, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Iloilo, and Clark. Tourists can present their non-Philippine passports or foreign resident cards, while OFWs can show their Seaman’s book or OFW E-card. This free SIM cards promo will end on December 31, 2015.

So, how many free SIM cards is that going to be? Roughly about 2.23 million!

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is the marketing arm of the Philippine’s Department of Tourism (DOT). The board was tasked to promote the Philippines as the top tourist destination in Asia through its “Visit the Philippines Year 2015” tourism campaign, with a goal of garnering 5.5 million foreign tourists arriving in the Philippines. With this goal, it has partnered with Globe Telecom, the first telecommunications company it has done so, through the International Business Group of the telecom giant to offer various services to the millions of tourists visiting the Philippines, and for the OFWs returning home. The two entities conducted the formal contract signing at the Aracama in the Fort Strip of Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City this morning in front of a backdrop that said:

Staying Connected – More Fun in the Philippines.

Buffet lunch at Aracama was served with the main course being three kinds of lechon: Original lechon, Spanish lechon and Truffle lechon. Of course, I tried all three and concluded the Spanish style was the best tasting one. Kudos to Chef Fernando Aracama for this kind of gastronomic treat!

After lunch, Tracy Abad opened the event by describing who the two entities were and a description of the partnership that was about to happen. However, I was still curious if what they were going to announce was a smartphone app, a website or something else. Tracy Abad is currently the morning show host for Mellow 94.7, a Philippine FM radio station. She was the TV show host with the now-discontinued QTV of GMA Network.

Opening remarks were delivered by the representing officers of both entities. First on the stage was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of TPB Domingo Ramon Enerio III who gave a synapse of inbound tourism in the country.

Summarizing what he said, there were a total of 2.23 million tourists who arrived in the Philippines between January and May this year, an 8.15% leap compared to last year of the same period. The average stay of a tourist in the country is 10 nights and the average tourist spends more than $100 a day. That’s a whooping 93.9 billion Pesos in tourism earnings for the first five months of 2015.

I did some Google-ing (is there such a word?) and found out that between 1991 and 2015, the highest recorded foreign arrivals in the country was December last year at 487,654 tourists while the lowest recorded foreign arrivals was February of 1991 at 63,628. Also during the event, Enerio enumerated the top 10 countries for incoming foreign tourists come from, mainly:

  1. Korea
  2. USA
  3. Japan
  4. China
  5. Australia
  6. Singapore
  7. Canada
  8. Taiwan
  9. UK
  10. Malaysia

But another Google-ing led me to tourism.gov.ph and the top spending markets based on visitor earnings were not the same. The top three countries in the government website was the same but the 4th highest was listed as Australia, not China which was in 5th place. Then, it was more different for the 6th to 9th place, namely: (6) Canada, (7) UK, (8) Singapore, and (9) Spain. Taiwan was missing from the website’s top 10 list. Okay, maybe I’m reading the stats on the website differently.

After Enerio, the Senior Vice President for International Business of Globe Telecom Rizza Maniego-Eala entered the stage and spoke of the need to help the promotions board hit their 5.5 million tourist target, and Globe’s role to do so. This is when she announced their intent to give away free SIM cards to every incoming foreign tourist and OFW – the first campaign in a series of more campaigns to come.

Called the Globe Traveler SIM, it is a local prepaid SIM card that offers the same services as every prepaid customer of Globe enjoys – local rates for calls, text messaging, and mobile internet services, giving foreign tourists and OFWs a more cost-efficient way to communicate and connect rather than using an international number which charges expensive roaming rates for calling, text messaging and internet browsing while in the Philippines. For example, they can use the Globe Traveler SIM and call the U.S. for as low as $0.40 per minute. That’s low compared to high roaming charges – for example, AT&T would bill an American $2.50 per minute to call from the Philippines to anywhere in the world, including home country USA.

Eala adds, “We are happy to be the first telco partner of the Tourism Promotions Board in their thrust to make the Philippines the ultimate destination hub for tourists worldwide. Offering free SIMs is our way of helping travelers further enjoy their stay by enabling easy, affordable and hassle-free communications.”

A question-and-answer portion followed for people in media and guests to ask for more information about the partnership. Then, a table was set where both Enerio and Eala sat down to formally sign the partnership contracts while everyone witnessed, video-taped and snapped photos of the moment.

For more information on the FREE Globe Traveler SIM, please visit the Globe Traveler SIM website. For jetsetters, backpackers, and thrill-seekers, Visit the Philippines Year 2015 provides a year-round calendar guide for all adventures, whether it be food trips, walking tours, or festivals. For information on activities and events, please log on to www.visitph2015.com.

Sources and references of text: Globe Press Release | tourism.gov.ph | AT&T

Photos and images: Globe Press Release | tourism.gov.ph | @raffypekson #capturebyKata

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

July 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Government & Politics, ICT, Travel & Tourism

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Sorsogon Declares American Travel Blogger Persona Non Grata

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Was it miscommunication or a political move by the Provincial Board of Sorsogon? Because according to news reports from Sorsogon, American travel blogger Nathan Allen made derogatory remarks against the Donsol Tourism Office on this April blog post entitled “I Dreamed of This.”

Sometimes, work really becomes personal and emotional. Should it be so? Shouldn’t we separate work from personal matters? Was pride and ego part of this paltry issue? But who’s pride and ego was hurt, anyway?

It’s more fun in the Philippines… NOT!

According to CNN Philippines’ report, Allen went to Donsol as an ordinary tourist, not an invited guest of the municipality. Hence, he has no right to criticize the tourism officials when Allen did not receive the attention he expected.

“He (Allen) said that he only expressed his disappointment over the matter and clarifies that never did he expect a special treatment nor was he angry for not getting it as he perfectly understood that his visit was unexpected.”

However, in the resolution filed by Board Member Franco Ravanilla declaring Allen as persona non grata, “Allen should have supplied himself first with information of the place he intended to visit, citing that most information are readily accessible online.”

Allen is actually doing the Philippines a lot of good by exposing, promoting, marketing and selling its tourism destinations. Geez!

Before the persona non grata resolution was filed, CNN Philippines reported that “the Bicol office of the Department of Tourism Bicol, through Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla, demanded an apology from Allen, pointing out that Donsol Tourism Office is not managed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol.”

“But Allen was surprised that despite his apology and all his clarifications, Maria Ravanilla’s son, Sorsogon Board Member Franco Ravanilla, still filed the resolution declaring Allen persona non grata in Sorsogon.”

Read the entire story at CNN Philippines and make up your own mind as to WHO IS RIGHT and WHO IS WRONG.

Photo of Nathan Allen via idreamedofthis.com.

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GMR-Megawide Consortium Bids to Manage 5 Airports in Philippines

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The Philippine government in December 2012 initiated an international competitive bidding process for the management and development of the Mactan Cebu International Airport or MCIA. In December 2013, GMR Infrastructure in partnership with Megawide Construction Corporation of Philippines emerged as the highest bidder after offering a bid premium of 14.4 billion Philippine Pesos (approximately US$ 320 million). The consortium, called GMR Megawide Consortium (GMCAC), has taken full operational control for the renovation and modernization of MCIA in November 2014.

Now, GMCAC is in a race with five other companies to acquire operations of five other airports in the country worth 108.19 billion Pesos or US$ 2.4 billion under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

As defined by www.ppp.gov.ph, PPP is a contractual agreement between the Philippine Government and a private firm targeted towards financing, designing, implementing and operating infrastructure facilities and services that were traditionally provided by the public sector. It embodies optimal risk allocation between the parties – minimizing cost while realizing project developmental objectives. Thus, the project is to be structured in such a way that the private sector gets a reasonable rate of return on its investment.

These PPP projects include the development, operations and maintenance of the five regional airports. The airports involved are located in the following cities:

  • Bacolod-Silay
  • Iloilo
  • Davao
  • Laguindingan
  • New Bohol (Panglao)

GMR was founded by G.M Rao of India and has since then evolved as a major player in the global infrastructure sector, particularly in high growth areas such as airports, energy, transportation and urban infrastructure. GMR operates two airports in India and one in Cebu, 15 power generation assets, 6 operations highways, a foray of property development and construction, promotion of sports teams, and various corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in education, health and hygiene, and community development.

Megawide Construction Corporation is a publicly-listed construction firm in the Philippines and is recognized for its use of advanced construction methods and technology. The company’s brand of engineering excellence has turned it into the country’s leading construction firm. Its vision, innovation and commitment of a group of young, dynamic and highly trained engineers. Megawide projects include residential, office and commercial, hotels and casinos, PPP and social infrastructures, mixed use and industrial infrastructures. Michael Cosiquien is Megawide’s Chairman and CEO while Edgar Saavedra is its President and COO.

Sources: moneycontrol.com | gmrgroup.in | megawide.com.ph | ppp.gov.ph

Title photo from commons.wikimedia.org.

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