Vegetable farmer reaps rewards of low-interest loan from Smart ‘Buy Local’ fund
April 1, 2022 9:25 p.m.
Farming, they say, is a huge gamble. With farmers saddled with debt even before they till the soil, they can only hope to literally reap everything they’ve sown. Crop damage is not an option.
But this is exactly what befell 40-year-old vegetable grower Celeste Naguiat of Floridablanca, Pampanga. Using the loan received from Smart Communication, Inc.’s (Smart) Buy Local Sustainability Fund, she spent part of it on seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides.
Smart’s ‘Buy Local’ program is part of the telco’s framework of Technology for Development that aims to narrow down the digital divide.
“I choose eggplants because they’re easy to sell. Once they mature, you can pick the fruits every two to three days for the next seven months providing a steady source of income,” explained Naguiat.
The ‘Buy Local’ program resides under Smart’s framework of Technology for Development that aims to narrow down the digital divide.
While she was able to harvest a sizable bounty in the first four months, everything fell apart when her crops were infected with a type of fungus that decimated the entire plantation.
“I was devastated. But since I’m also a vegetable dealer, I poured the rest of the capital into buying and selling other types of vegetables and shifted to planting corn,” she said.
Naguiat credits the low-interest loan received from the Sustainability Fund for her recovery. She’s also grateful for the evenly spaced payment schedules. With enough wiggle room, what could have been a misfortune was averted. Naguiat was able to recoup her expenses and pay her dues without missing a schedule.
“In traditional ‘5-6’ lending scheme, you’re slapped with a 20-percent interest rate. Plus, you are required to pay every day. You can hardly save up,” she shared.
The Sustainability Fund is tied to Smart’s ‘Buy Local’ campaign where PLDT and Smart employees, as well as employees of other Manuel V. Pangilinan-led companies, can buy directly from the farmers providing them a sure market for their crops. Part of the proceeds go to a sustainability fund that is lent to adopted farmers as low-interest loans for farm inputs through its social agri-enterprise partner Cropital. The initiative aims to promote corporate RICEponsibility among the private sector to help increase the income of smallholder farmers.
The program is also aligned with the commitment of PLDT and Smart to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly No Poverty (SDG 1), and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8).##
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.
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 https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201266 or https://shopee.ph/m/ShopeePay-Apple-ID-PH.
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 www.smsupermalls.com and following @smsupermalls on social media.