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LTO seeking new IT provider to improve services

Anthony Quiambao, the CEO of Stradcom last August 4 at the LTO main office

August 11, 2022 10:59 p.m.

The Land and Transportation Office (LTO) needs a new Information Technology (IT) provider to address its current problems, such as the slow processing of documents and driver’s license applications, among others.

Driver’s license applicants and some officials from the government’s land transportation agency have agreed with newly appointed LTO chief Teofilo Guadiz’s call to search for better IT providers, who can get the job done, as well as to find affordable driving schools.

“When it comes to the IT provider, I think it’s really time to find something new, something that can be very accurate and quick,” one of the many driver’s license applicants outside the LTO office said, who requested anonymity.  “We agree to Mr. Guadiz’s call that we deserve better than this.”

Guadiz recently called the attention of LTO’s current IT provider, Germany-based Dermalog, for the delays and long lines in district offices, saying driver’s license renewals before usually take only two hours, instead of the current five to six days.

“There’s delay in the process, lines are getting long in district offices. So we have to address these problems and we have to revisit the IT provider,” Guadiz said, who will be having a meeting with Dermalog executives this week.

“I want to check and review the contract. I will ask them if they can deliver. If not, we would look at other IT providers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dermalog spokesperson Atty. Nikki De Vega defended her IT company, which supports the Land Transportation Management System’s online portal of the LTO.

“The current LTMS [Land Transportation Management System] has proven to be faster by tests conducted by the LTO comparing LTMS with the previous system provided by Stradcom,” De Vega said of Dermalog, which has been LTO’s IT provider since 2018.

“While under the previous system, Stradcom charged the public computer fees which resulted in billions of pesos of collections for the private company — under the new LTMS system, these are now free to the public,” she added.

She reasoned out that the cause of the problem was due to the delays of turnover of legacy database from the old IT provider Stradcom, which forced the LTO personnel to correct manually the missing information that prolonged the process of transactions.

Guadiz allegedly allowed Stradcom Chief Executive Officer Anthony Quiambao last August 4 to make his presentation inside the LTO office without inviting current IT provider Dermalog to present its case as LTO’s next possible IT provider.

He even mentioned in interviews that Stradcom is welcome to join the bidding process if the current provider will not deliver as promised.

But Guadiz denied that Stradcom — the LTO’s IT provider from 1998 to 2016 — would be returning anytime soon to replace Dermalog, whose contract runs up to 2026.

“There’s no truth about it,” Guadiz told reporter Anthony Taberna in the latter’s KaTunying program.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking officer from the LTO who refused not to be identified believes that a strict bidding process must be held to select an effective IT provider.

“It’s time to open the gate for bidding and find the deserving IT,” the officer said.

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MILO champions share stories of hard work that led to their lifelong success

September 27, 2022 2:00 p.m.

MILO® Philippines has extended its partnership with Jamie Lim, Coach Rio de la Cruz, and Japoy Lizardo. Adding another chapter to their years-long relationship, the beloved nutritious beverage brand is excited to tell each Champion’s unique story of pagpupursige that will inspire the next generation of young athletes to persevere in their own Champion journeys.

Breaking stereotypes
Being the daughter of a professional basketball legend and growing up in a family of athletes, it seemed destined for Jamie to become a star karateka. However, from an early age, both her father and mother – who is also a seasoned lawyer – taught Jamie the importance of choosing her own path and instilled in her the belief that she can always be more than your stereotypical jock. 

Choosing to not limit herself, Jamie decided to pursue goals in both sports and academics. The journey was not without its challenges as she had to learn how to balance the many responsibilities she had as a student while keeping up with the discipline of an athlete.

“I remember, in my preparation for the SEA Games back in 2019, I only had 5 months of real training as I was already in the last months of my senior year. On top of that, I was out of Karate for 4 years so training was twice as rigorous. Although it was difficult, I was able to power through it because I knew that the stakes were also high,” shared Jamie.

With her family’s continuous support, she was inspired to break past the mold and prove that she can indeed excel on and off the mat. Still one of her proudest achievements was winning both a gold medal in Karate during the 2019 SEA Games and graduating Summa Cum Laude in UP Diliman with a degree in BS Mathematics. Today she is focused on furthering her studies in London while awaiting for the start of training for the next SEA Games in 2023.

“Coming from being a part of MILO® AAK and now with my extended partnership with the MILO® family, I hope to inspire kids who are faced by the same barriers as mine to be brave in breaking out of those stereotypes and in paving their own paths. Their time to prove themselves will come,” added Jaime.

Running through life’s obstacles
Before Coach Rio became an international marathoner and one of the top running coaches in the country, his road to success was paved from humble beginnings. Coming from a big family that struggled in putting food on the table, Coach Rio sorely lacked the financial support that most young runners his age needed to pursue a professional career. 

At times, all young Rio had was an unwavering pagpupursige and discipline – and that was enough. He never once missed training, even on the days he had no running gear or equipment, and learned early on that he needed to work thrice as hard to achieve his one clear goal: be a successful athlete to provide for his family.

“One time when I was in elementary school, there was a trial race that I really wanted to join. Ang kaso sabi ng coach ko noon, hindi ka pa ready – pero makulit ako. I still showed up during the competition day and patiently waited. Buti na lang, one athlete didn’t show up so my coach gave me a chance. I proved to him that I deserved it by winning it all,” shared Coach Rio. That win opened the doors for Coach Rio’s future success in the sport.

“Time management and determination were key for me. Even when I was young, my life was all about school and training. I knew what I wanted and I was focused on my goal despite knowing that it would come with a lot of sacrifices,” emphasized Coach Rio. 

For Coach Rio, being a part of the MILO® Philippines family has played a huge part in his grit journey. From joining the MILO® Marathons and using his winnings to support himself in school, to now being the main organizer for all their events nationwide and a familiar face in the new MILO® TV commercial, it has come full circle. He continues to help pave the way for aspiring young athletes who are hoping to succeed in sports the same way he did. 

Molding the next generation of athletes
Japoy started his journey in sports at a MILO® Sports Program. At just 12 years old and being known as the teenage heartthrob whose face was on every MILO® pack, Japoy recognized the responsibility he had as thousands of other kids were aspiring to be just like him. This became an important driving factor for Japoy to pursige in succeeding in Taekwondo.

Since he wasn’t as tall or built as other athletes his age, he struggled to put on the required weight for his category but he persevered and worked twice as hard in developing his techniques. He turned his height and weight into an advantage that allowed him to create his signature “Spinning Kick” move that earned him the nickname “The Spinning Kick of Asia”.

Now at 36 and a professional coach himself, Japoy uses this experience in shaping the next generation of strong-willed athletes and giving them a platform to become an inspiration for the generation after them. In this extension of his partnership with MILO®, Japoy also aims to share this with more kids nationwide. “Although not all athletes are born gifted in a sport, they are molded through the years with experience and the right pagpupursige to succeed. That’s how strong athletes are created,” said Japoy.

The MILO® Champions have come together to inspire kids as they continue on their own Champion journeys. Their unique stories of pagpupursige also show that the values learned from sports can also lead to success. 

“We’re very happy to be extending this partnership with Jamie Lim, Coach Rio, and Japoy Lizardo. We believe that they each have personal stories that will serve as inspiration for many young athletes today to pursige in achieving lifelong success just like they did. As one MILO® family, we are proud to give them a platform that allows them to do just that,” said Veronica Cruz, MILO Business Executive Officer, Senior Vice President, Nestle Philippines, Inc.

Together, MILO® Philippines calls on moms to join the MILO® Champions in building pagpupursige within their children through sports. To know more about MILO® sports programs, please visit the official MILO® Philippines website.

Shown here are (from left) Veronica Cruz, MILO Business Executive Officer, Senior Vice President, Nestle Philippines, Inc.; coach Rio dela Cruz, karate champion Jamie Lim and Milo Sports Executive Carlo Sampan. Taekwondo champion Japoy Lizardo (center) joined the four virtually.
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SM Supermalls begins 100 Days of Happiness

September 19, 2022 5:19 p.m.

To kickstart the Christmas countdown, SM Supermalls began its 100 Days of Happiness last September 16, where they aim to create a circle of happiness with 76 participating malls, shoppers, the marginalized communities of women, persons deprived of liberty, artisans, cause-oriented organizations, and select local government units.

“We want to create a circle of happiness in all our SM malls by featuring products of cause-oriented programs which we will offer to our shoppers who, in turn, give them to friends and family, and ultimately, benefit the communities that created these products,” said SM Supermalls President Steven T. Tan.

SM Supermalls President Steven Tan giving his welcome remarks during the launch of 100 Days of Happiness

Through the campaign, SM Supermalls encourages Filipinos to support the advocacies of individuals and organizations that provide opportunities and create livelihood for their communities. For this year, SM partnered with bag designer Zarah Juan, Spark PH, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), the Association of Foot and Mouth Artists of the Philippines, UNICEF, and the Quezon City LGU for its Vote to Tote initiative, among others.

The launch event held at SM North EDSA The Block was attended by SM Supermalls President Steven Tan and SVP for Marketing Joaquin San Agustin; Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, and select councilors of the city; Spark PH Founder Mica Teves; GSP President Dr. Nina Lim-Yuson; designer Zarah Juan; and Brownies Unlimited Marketing head Dustin Ngo.

Equipping young girls to lead and build the future, one box of brownies at a time

For this year’s 100 Days campaign, SM Megamall, along with 9 other SM malls, is collaborating with Brownies Unlimited and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. For every purchase of a special GSP-themed box of brownies in-mall and via the SM Malls Online App, one girl will be sponsored with a GSP membership for a year. 

In partnership with SM Supermalls and Brownies Unlimited, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines launch GSP-themed brownies from September 16 to December 15, 2022. For every purchase of a box of brownies, in-mall and via the SM Malls Online app, one scout will be sponsored with a year’s free membership.

“We have a lot of young girls across the country and they’ve had such difficult times during the pandemic. Our membership dropped significantly. By buying a box, you can sponsor a girl for one year and she can learn so many things like being independent, loving her country more, and helping her community,” said GSP President Nina Lim-Yuson.

Recently, SM Supermalls helped the GSP vaccinate all its 70,000 members nationwide. By providing them with convenient and safe COVID-19 vaccines, SM Supermalls was able to ensure that the GSP members have access to quality healthcare services. 

SM shoppers can purchase a box of brownies from 46 Brownies Unlimited branches nationwide and the SM Malls Online App.

Giving marginalized women and persons deprived of liberty hope for the future

Apart from the GSP partnership, SM Supermalls also partnered with the local government of Quezon City for its Vote to Tote program, Spark PH, and bag designer Zarah Juan to sell upcycled tarpaulin handmade tote bags sewn by marginalized women and female persons deprived of liberty.

“Christmas is all about giving. We are very happy that this year, the communities of Quezon City are included as beneficiaries in this program. And apart from helping the women in our communities, we are also able to help the environment by upcycling 70 tons of election tarpaulins that we’ve collected.” said Mayor Belmonte.

Juan, the designer, was the brainchild of the upcycling initiative. “During the elections, there were tons of election campaign wastes. I wanted to do something and I thought I have my platform– my designs. If my designs can actually solve this problem, then it’s worthwhile. Then I pitched the idea to Maica Teves, the founder of Spark PH. From there, we gathered all the help we can– from the Quezon City LGU who will help us collect tarpaulins, the women communities that can help us create, and SM Supermalls who can provide us the platform to distribute.”

A Happiness Walk was done to showcase the upcycled tote bags that shoppers can buy in SM malls. Joining the Happiness Walk were men and women of substance including select Girl Scouts members, Jeremy Lapena and Bernce Sevilla of the Downs Syndrome Association of the Phils, Mylene Abiva of WomenBiz, media celebrities Ces Oreña Drilon, and Gina Pareño among others.

Members of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. spread the holiday cheer.

The proceeds of the upcycled tote bags will be given to the women PDLs in Camp Karingal, and the marginalized women of Barangays Sto. Cristo, Greater Lagro, and Pinyahan in Quezon City. The tote bags will be sold in the following SM malls:

  • SM Aura Premier
  • SM Southmall
  • SM City Fairview
  • SM City North EDSA
  • SM Megamall

Helping a community of artists 

And in the south of Metro Manila, the SM Mall of Asia family will be partnering with the Association of Foot and Mouth Artists in selling painted Christmas cards to the shoppers.

“All these and more will start to unfold in the coming days as we continue spreading happiness across all SM malls around the country. Let us not waste our next 100 days and use it to make one another happy by giving. Today, let the countdown begin to a hundred days of happiness!” Tan closed.

This is the second time SM Supermalls has started a holiday countdown campaign. In 2021, the biggest mall network in the Philippines showed the world more than a hundred ways of giving through 100 Days of Caring. Underserved communities surrounding the 76 SM malls were provided with their urgent needs through in-kind and monetary donations by the malls, its various business units, and the employees. 

For the list of all partner institutions and their beneficiaries visit www.smsupermalls.com and follow @smsupermalls on all social media accounts.

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Public, private cooperation ensnares text scam enabler

September 17, 2022 9:28 p.m.

In a joint effort by Globe Telecom, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police Anti Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Mark Deo Antang, a resident of Camarin, Caloocan City, was recently arrested in entrapment operations for selling GCash-registered SIM cards. 

Antang, on September 14 2022, was caught red handed selling Globe and TM SIM cards with verified GCash accounts.

The suspect faces charges on violation of Republic Act 10175 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, Section 4 of which classifies Misuse of Devices as a cybercrime offense.

Globe Group Chief Legal Counsel Froilan Castelo thanked the NTC under the leadership of Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, the NBI and the PNP ACG, for the effort in the entrapment operations.  

Castelo said that, “People who sell GCash-registered SIM cards enable criminality by being accessories to fraud.  We will not relent in this campaign.”

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said, “The arrest of Antang is a welcome development in the government’s drive against the proliferation of text scams and cybercrime in the country.” Cordoba added, “With systems now in place and the solid cooperation among various government agencies and telcos in fighting text scams and cybercrime, law enforcement efforts should now lead to more arrests.”

GCash chief risk officer, Ingrid Berona, said, “As we make more arrests, we hope that this sends a chilling message to other fraudsters.”

Telcos and government agencies are united in saying that the passage of a SIM Card Law will greatly benefit the public by halting the increase in text scams and other cybercrimes.  
All parties have expressed their full support to the SIM Card Registration bills pushed by House Speaker Martin Romualdez, House ICT Chair Toby Tiangco, Senate President Migz Zubiri and Senate Public Service Chair Grace Poe.

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