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PAGCOR inaugurates 1st evacuation centers in Albay, CamSur

January 23, 2022 8:29 p.m.

A year after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) bankrolled its Multi-Purpose Evacuation Center (MPEC) projects in the typhoon-prone Bicol Region, the city of Legazpi in Albay and the town of Sagñay in Camarines Sur became the first project recipients to finally complete the construction of two-storey MPEC structures.

PAGCOR, together with city government of Legazpi and the municipal government of Sagñay, Camarines Sur inaugurated the evacuation centers in Brgy. Homapon (Legazpi City) on January 20 and Brgy. San Isidro (Sagñay) on January 21.

Each MPEC worth P50 million has provision for kitchen, toilet and shower rooms for male and female, lactating rooms for nursing mothers, and a spacious badminton-court type area that may be used for sports events, trainings and other purposes when these are not being used as evacuation facilities.

PAGCOR finally inaugurates one of the first Multi-Purpose Evacuation Centers (MPEC) to be constructed since the project was launched in November 2019. President and COO Alfredo Lim (3rd from right) led the inauguration of the two-storey MPEC in Brgy. Homapon, Legazpi City. He was joined by Legazpi City Vice Mayor Oscar Robert Cristobal (4th from left), Albay Board Member Vic Ziga, Jr. (extreme left), PAGCOR’s executives from the Corporate Social Responsibility Group including VP Ramon Stephen Villaflor (2nd from right) and Acting Asst. VP Eric Balcos (extreme right), and other city representatives.

PAGCOR President and COO Alfredo Lim, who graced the inauguration of both newly-built MPECs lauded the recipient LGUs for “completing the projects in record time.”

“Last year, we came here to initially fund the MPECs to be constructed in this place. Now, we are doubly happy as we see the completion of these evacuation center projects, which strictly followed the specifications set by PAGCOR. This achievement simply shows the competence, reliability and efficiency of our partner LGUs,” he added.

Lim explained that PAGCOR committed to build sturdy evacuation centers that are stronger than the typhoons so that more families in calamity-prone areas would have a better, more comfortable, and more typhoon-resilient place to stay in times of disasters.

“We are elated and proud that finally, we are now starting to inaugurate these evacuation centers. We hope that by February, we will be able to inaugurate five or six more and hopefully this year, we can turn over up to 30 evacuation centers,” he cited.

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo also congratulated the local governments of Legazpi and Sagñay for their dedication to immediately finish the projects, in spite of the ongoing pandemic.

Legazpi City Vice Mayor Oscar Robert Cristobal, who graced the inauguration ceremony in Legazpi said the PAGCOR-funded MPEC will provide shelter not only to the residents of Homapon but the entire city. “Alam naman po natin na madalas daanan ng bagyo ang Bicol, kasama ang Legazpi. Dahil dito, kailangan namin ng matibay na istruktura kagaya nito upang magamit sa tuwing may kalamidad. Ang evacuation center na ito ay hindi lamang magagamit ng mga taga-Brgy. Homapon kundi maging ng mga taga-ibang barangay sa Legazpi,” he said.

Sagñay Mayor John Vincent Fuentebella also expressed his gratitude to PAGCOR for funding the state-of-the-art MPEC in their town. “Kahit po hindi bagyo ay mapapakinabangan namin ang evacuation center na ito upang gawing venue ng mga trainings at iba pang activities ng mga taga-Sagñay.”

Aside from the inauguration of the MPECs in Legazpi City and Sagñay, PAGCOR also led the groundbreaking of the two-storey evacuation center in Brgy.Tagongtong, Goa, Camarines Sur. Said facility also has P50 million funding from PAGCOR.

To date, the state-run gaming firm has already released a total of P1.635 billion for the construction of 67 MPECs in various parts of the country. #


Atayde bats for moratorium on student loan payments during emergencies, calamities

March 17, 2023 9:00 p.m.

STUDENTS won’t have to worry paying their loans during times of calamities and emergencies, as Quezon City first district Congressman Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde has introduced a moratorium on the payment of student loans administered by higher educational institutions (HEIs).

The House Bill 7279, which Atayde filed last Feb. 21, headed into its first reading six days later in the Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark O. Go.

He said the bill — once it turns to a law — will halt the payment of all the fees, charges, and costs relating to student loans and technical-vocational training institutions (TVIs) or by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) during emergencies.

It will cover all students residing in areas declared to be under a state of calamity or emergency — those who are enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), private HEIs, and public and private TVIs.

“We have to find a way to help our students and their families, when natural or even these man-made calamities hit them hard. We just have to make everything easy for them including a moratorium on the payment of student loans,” Atayde said. “It is a burden on a student and their family especially in difficult times like aftermath of typhoon, fire and earthquakes, among other disasters.”

“In the order of spending, student loans will be their least priority since spending will go mostly to basic necessities for survival,” Atayde added.

The moratorium shall be effective for the duration of the state of calamity or emergency and for 30 days after its lifting. No penalties shall be collected on the deferred payments.

“To provide adequate relief and protection to our students in times of calamities and emergencies, this measure shall allow the deferral of student loan collections for a reasonable period during and after the onset of disasters.”

The Quezon City lawmaker cited also the availability of the moratorium, which shall not adversely affect the status of the students concerned with regard to their eligibility for re-enrollment on the succeeding semesters or terms, or their eligibility for graduation.

“The proposed legislation doesn’t prevent public and private HEIs from implementing more favorable forms of payment relief or assistance to students affected by disasters, prohibiting students from voluntarily waiving the moratorium on student loan payments, or availing subsidies and assistance from the government,” Atayde concluded.

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ShopeePay now available as a payment method for App Store, other Apple services in PH

March 16, 2023 1:59 p.m.

Beginning today, ShopeePay, Shopee’s integrated mobile wallet, is now available as a payment method for Apple services in the Philippines. Customers can use their ShopeePay account to pay for App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV app, and iTunes Store purchases, iCloud storage and more.

The addition of ShopeePay as an Apple ID payment method offers a new way to pay for Apple services without needing a credit card and still allows for easy, secure one-tap purchasing from Apple products including iPhone, iPad and Mac. 

Customers can manage their Apple ID payment information in Settings on iPhone and  iPad, or on their Mac or PC.

Agatha Soh, Director at ShopeePay commented, “ShopeePay is committed to meeting the needs of users who are increasingly expecting seamless payments across all platforms. We are excited to offer  ShopeePay as a convenient payment option for our customers, and expand  access to digital payments, benefitting more users.”

For more information on how to add ShopeePay as a payment method, please visit or

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Be bolder, braver, more confident at SM Supermalls’ Women’s Month celebration!

March 8, 2023, 8:30 p.m.

Ladies, take center stage as SM celebrates Women Power throughout the month of March. Lots of activities both online and on-ground are in store to empower women and girls all over the country. 

Join the Future of Women Global Summit

SM Supermalls will be joining UN Women in kicking off the IWD 2023 celebration through a women’s summit on March 8, at the SM Aura Premier Samsung Hall. Focusing on the future of women in ICT, the two-part event will gather young women, country leaders, policy makers, and advocates together to share perspectives and affirm their commitment to supporting digital equality for women and girls. 

Photo courtesy of SM City Lucena

Photo courtesy of SM City San Jose del Monte

Support your local Womenpreneurs

Great finds for ladies are on sale at the SM Womenpreneur Market! This pop-up of small and medium businesses owned by women for women will give you everything you need from food and beauty to wellness and fashion! 

Wednesdays are for women!

Shopping on Wednesdays has become even more tempting because the Women’s Wednesday Sale is back! Achieve the glow-up you deserve with special discounts, deals, and promos on fashion, beauty, and fitness exclusively for women every Wednesday of March. So don’t hold back on your shopping; you deserve all these and more!

A beautiful treat of wellness all for you

Forda glow-up and pampering sesh tayo this month because lots of self-care deals are available at the Women’s Wellness Sale. Avail of great deals from wellness salons on facials, hair and body treatments, nail care, and massage from March 1 to March 31.

And more deals online!

Special deals are up for women via the SM Malls Online app. Get the best brand offerings every Wednesday from shoes and beauty and wellness to home and hobbies. Use the code WOMEN and get an extra 10% off, capped at 250. What’s great is that there’s no minimum purchase required! 

Also, a collection of brand vouchers will be sent to all women SM Malls Online shoppers valid all month. Wait for your Beauty Pass and give yourself the retail therapy you deserve with tons of discounts, GWP deals, samplers, in-store pick up bonuses, and mystery boxes!

Plus, the SM Malls Online app will be hosting self-care sessions online. Follow SM Supermalls on social media to get a dose of starter packages, Get-Ready-With-Me routines, and beauty products that your favorite beauty experts swear by.

Photo courtesy of SM City East Ortigas

Photo courtesy of SM City Manila

Celebrate Women Power on IG!

Capture the beauty and power of women at the beautiful spots and installations all over SM. Be free to express your own uniqueness and creativity in the specially-designed selfie spaces in partnership with Selfie Studio. Don’t forget to tag us on IG!

We don’t know about you but exciting days await every SM woman. So be bolder, braver, and more confident! With these activities, you can confidently step forward in fashion, beauty, wellness, and express yourselves to make a positive impact.

Stay updated on all things women this IWD 2023 by visiting and following @smsupermalls on social media. 

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