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Protect democracy by fighting disinformation

February 27, 2022 7:56 p.m.

FILIPINOS can do their part in upholding our democracy not only by voting for the right candidates but, in this age of technology, fighting disinformation that distorts people’s ability to make sound decisions, panelists in a virtual town hall discussion said Tuesday.

During the launch of Vote Right 2022, a campaign of advocacy group Democracy Watch Philippines in partnership with the Commission on Elections, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, characterized the conscientious voter as someone who possesses an open mind, actively searches for the truth, and who puts an effort into discerning which input from social media must, and must not, be believed. 

A good and responsible citizen votes according to one’s conscience, he said. 

“This is the candidate who will preserve and strengthen democracy, follow the law, respect human dignity, defend our territory in a peaceful but firm way, and rectify the culture of corruption in government,” Bishop David said. 

Meanwhile, Stratbase ADR Institute president Professor Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit pointed to the apparent disconnect between what voters say they want in a candidate and who are emerging as frontrunners in early surveys – a phenomenon that’s best explained by the prevalence and power of fake news.

“Today’s social media space is infected with the pandemic of disinformation, perpetrated by forces who need to distort historical facts,” he said. 

Manhit pointed out that next to television, the Internet is the second most influential source of election information. The ordinary information consumer, however, does not necessarily fact check articles he or she sees online. 

“The truth must be told. It must be told again and again so it does not drown in the well-funded deluge of lies and disinformation,” he said, as he conjured a governance scenario produced by an election decided by disinformation. 

“Voter education today must combat disinformation with untiring passion and resolve,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Myla Villanueva, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, emphasized that the work they do is critical to maintaining the credibility of elections. 

“The young people may not remember this, but in the days of manual elections, wholesale cheating was happening in the canvassing where 2000 votes become 20,000 or sometimes, they would remove from one candidate and add to another in very big fashion.”

The PPCRV is legally empowered by the Commission on Elections to perform unofficial parallel counts, conduct voter education and registration campaigns, and be part of the voters’ assistance desk. 

A big part of the PPCRV’s work is engaging the youth, especially encouraging first-time voters to take part in elections. 

Commission on Elections spokesman and director for Education and Information James Jimenez meanwhile emphasized the ultimate benefits of an automated system which eliminates structural advantages such as perceived bailiwicks and command votes.

He also spoke about how the faster counting now eliminates any window of opportunity for dagdag -bawas (vote padding and shaving), and how the prompt release of election results protects election workers and potentially defuses tensions in hotly contested areas.

“When people no longer have time to condition the minds of the public to accept a predetermined result, then you have a fair environment for the elections where the election result is easier to accept for everyone,” Jimenez said. 

While a lot of the success of the 2022 election depends on voters and their vigilance, “we cannot trivialize the contribution of the automated election system to our safe elections.”  

Other speakers at the virtual town hall were Atty. Ona Caritos, executive director of Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), and Dr. Rachel Khan, associate dean of the UP College of Mass Communication and program coordinator of fact-checking initiative Tsek.ph. 

In his closing remarks, Paco Pangalangan, convenor of Democracy Watch, sounded the call for Filipinos to exert due diligence in choosing candidates, to be more conscious of the source and quality of information, adopt a fact-checking mindset, open their senses and appreciate the evidence. 

“The future of our nation is worth the effort,” he said. 

NEWS

URCC 81: Decades of Success happens Dec. 6 in Okada

November 27, 2022 7:22 p.m.

THE Universal Reality Combat Championship will celebrate two decades of greatness titled the “Decades of Success” in a fight night on December 6, featuring the country’s best mixed martial artists at the Okada Manila in Parañaque City. 

Three years since the last time they held their last main event, URCC founding president Alvin Aguilar announced the coming URCC 81 will definitely be a night to remember with events like the 3 Versus 3, MMA fight and the bare-knuckle bouts.

“Our first main event in three years will definitely be an unforgettable night in mixed martial arts. We have a lot of good fighters and everyone is very excited,” Aguilar said. 

The last time URCC held a main event — Retribution— was in November 2019, at the same venue. Despite the pandemic, URCC didn’t stop as it held three fight nights when the government finally allowed contact sports. 

In celebrating URCC’s main event return, Aguilar will be having Team Philippines of Sugar Ray “Mammoth” Estroso, Caloy “Bad Boy” Baduria and Boss Bullet Manliclic taking up against South Koreans Jeong Minhun, Choi Wontae and Jeon Youngjun in an exciting 3 versus 3 event.

“We have to go up against other Asian countries before we start expanding. So we meet Korea then later on China again and then we will invite people from Russia and the USA. This is the fourth time we will be holding this 3 versus 3 fight,” Aguilar said, who also expects the other events to live up to the hype.

A URCC welterweight interim championship is also set between Filipino Arvin Chan and American Will Chope as the other highlight of the main event presented by Okada Manila and sponsored by Winzir.

URCC Global Chairman Arnold Vegafria said the promotions have been evolving since 2002, becoming a household name in the local mixed martial arts industry, where it discovered great MMA fighters and promoted quality fights abroad. 

For inquiries about tickets sale, go to www.urcc.online and download app https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top which is available for iOS and Google.

Other MMA undercard bouts feature Dunlee Stewart facing John Tirona in a 170 lbs bout, followed by Gester Maglaque meeting Mariano Jones in an 185 lbs bout; Kimbert Alintozon battling Junie Kimayong (125 lbs); Rhyle Lugo clashing against Alex Aballe (145 lbs) and Eros Baluyot taking on MJ Abrillo (125 lbs). 

For the thrilling bare-knuckle competitions, Damsa Abrenica collides with Joseph “King Pinoy” Cabral, while Dondon Serrano squares off with Sherwin Niro and Denzel Dimaguila fights Mark Jalaron.  

Details of the fight and future fight cards are available to download at https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top, which is available for iOS and Google.

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BingoPlus Foundation’s FutureSmart Scholarship Program 2022 funds 10 IT scholars

Nov. 21, 2022 12:51 p.m.

BingoPlus Foundation Inc., the corporate arm of leisure entertainment brand BingoPlus, has made education one of its causes to support with a PhP6 million scholarship granted to iACADEMY under its FutureSmart Scholarship 2022 Program. 

Officers of the Foundation signed an agreement with representatives of iACADEMY to sponsor ten students last November 2 at the head office of Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) at Tektite Building in Pasig. 

With its specialization in the field of information technology, iACADEMY was seen as the perfect partner school for BP Foundation as it aligns well with the Foundation’s vision to create IT-competent professionals in the future. BingoPlus Foundation firmly believes that education and technology are important components of nation-building and has thus prioritized the FutureSmart Scholarship 2022 Program as one of its top Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives of the year. 

Through the scholarship, the Foundation aims to address some challenges faced by the education sector to provide more and better educational opportunities to the younger generation and thus leave its footprint in the building of a better society. 

LRWC President Andy Tsui said, “We wish to inspire the younger generation and make their dreams come true.” 

“We are truly honored to welcome iACADEMY as a new partner, and we’re grateful to be given the opportunity to contribute to keeping students on the path towards a brighter future,” said Jasper Vicencio, President of BingoPlus and Trustee of BingoPlus Foundation Inc.

The FutureSmart Scholarship 2022 Program will be launched in the current school year of iACADEMY. 

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NEWS

Game on! SM Christmas Village is back—and bigger than ever

November 17, 2022 3:50 p.m.

We’re calling it: Christmas 2022 is going to be one for the books. 

The past two years saw Filipinos dialing down on the holiday celebrations as we exercised caution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It’s no easy feat, too, given that our Pasko is easily the biggest event of the year. The good—no, aweSM—news? This 2022, SM is set to give you a Christmas comeback like no other with the return of the SM Christmas Village, now on its second year!

In case you didn’t know: SM Supermalls is the very first mall in the Philippines to venture into the metaverse, giving you the first mobile brand rewards app that provides customers with fun and exciting ways to score amazing deals, earn free shopping money, and win wow-worthy prizes—anytime, anywhere!

And here’s proof of just how amazing it is: The pilot run of the ChristmaSaya Village in 2021 recently won four accolades at this year’s Vega Awards, earning nods for outstanding innovation in the digital and virtual realm. Wowza!

Enter the Mall-tiverse
Here’s how it works: To join, a user simply has to register for an account online via smmetaverse.world. Once registered, you gain access to the virtual SM Christmas Village, where you can explore different zones, interact with other players, and collect virtual coins to unlock exclusive shopping vouchers and earn raffle entries. And just like at SM Supermalls nationwide, #YoureAlwaysWelcomeHere

Excited for supercharged virtual fun? Here’s a quick look at what’s in store for you this year:

  • Bigger rewards, bigger prizes 

If you loved last year’s vouchers, you’re in for even better rewards this time. SM has partnered with more of your favorite brands to give you exclusive shopping discounts and deals (a total of ₱2M worth of vouchers are up for grabs!) and is set to give away a whopping ₱1M worth of raffle prizes. Plus, one lucky winner will drive home the ultimate Christmas gift: a brand new Suzuki S-Presso!

  • An expansive game world awaits
    Your gaming experience gets a level up with improved game designs and an exciting game world featuring new areas to explore—from shopping and dining zones to entertainment zones—like you’re really at an SM Supermall! Experience augmented reality malling, e-meet friends, and play fun games to earn virtual coins. Before that, have fun customizing your own avatar down to the hair, outfit, and accessories (shopping bag, included), so you can create a character that’s uniquely you. 
  • Enjoy fresh in-game features
    Get your family members in on the Christmas fever with the multiplayer option and stay connected while you play with the new chat and video-calling features. (Looking at you, social butterflies!) Be on the lookout for pop-ups, too, featuring special brand deets and surprise deals with every visit.
  • Earn shopping money every day

The more virtual coins you collect in-app, the more “shopping money” you get, which you can use to redeem vouchers from your favorite brands. Once you’ve claimed your vouchers virtually, you can use them at participating SM Mall branches nationwide—to pay for your Christmas shopping, dining, and more! You can also use your coins to unlock raffle entries and win one of the 20 major prizes at the end of the year. 

Some tips! 

  • Visit the village every day to earn more coins faster.
  • Excited to shop? You can spend your coins as soon as you earn them, but it pays to be patient, too. By accumulating your coins first, you’ll be able to redeem bigger rewards later on!
  • Make sure to explore all the zones and keep an eye out for hidden treasures and bonuses. 

A Christmas to remember

With restrictions easing up and COVID-19 vaccination rates at an encouraging high, this year’s holiday season surely is shaping up to be one to look forward to. If you’re jonesing for some real-life Christmas fun, though, you won’t be disappointed when you take a break from the metaverse and make your way to your favorite SM Supermalls instead! From the light shows and holiday centerpieces to all sorts of Christmas attractions, all things merry and bright await you and the whole family—and it all starts now! Check out all the holiday happenings here and have a #HappyChristmasAtSM!

The #SMChristmasVillage2022 will run from October 28, 2022 to January 5, 2023. Voucher redemption will be until January 31, 2023.

To stay updated on all things SM, follow SM Supermalls on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. SM implements strict #SafeMallingAtSM protocols nationwide and offers convenient shopping options via the SM Malls Online app, The SM Store, and ShopSM. (You can read more here.) For updates on mall hours and entry guidelines, click here

Hop into our mall-tiverse and score ₱3M worth of vouchers and prizes!
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