France Is Giving Scholarship For Filipinos

December 13, 2017
Most Filipinos' dream is to go abroad and to start a new life. However, these dreams are only made possible if they work abroad. Another thing is when they have family members abroad who're more than willing to take them. Although right now, there are sources which they can use to aid them in going outside the country. Just recently, the French Embassy launched a program that would accommodate and open opportunities to Filipinos.

France Scholarship for Pilipinos


This opportunity would not only help aspiring Filipinos to go out of the country, it'll also help them develop their studying and carrying out research in France. Of course, with the goals of making contributions to the Philippine society.


In this article, we will be detailing the scholarship that France offers. Moreover, we'll also discuss eligibility and how one can apply!

First and foremost, the PhilFrance Scholarship Program was successful in opening two (2) separate calls for application; this is for academic year 2018-2019.

The first is for professional and Filipino students who yearn to come to France for a master's degree or a doctoral program; the organization accepts higher studies in all fields and courses.
PhilFrance Scholarship benefits for this type include:
  • Monthly allowances;
  • Health care for the student, length would depend on their field of study; and
  • A partial tuition subsidy

Eligibility requirements:

  1. Filipino citizens;
  2. Must be residing in the Philippines at the time of application
  3. Graduates or graduating students of a Philippine higher education institution
    • For applicants to Master’s degree programs: final-year students or graduates of a Bachelor-level degree
    • For applicants to PhD programs: final-year students or graduates of a Master-level degree
The second type of scholarship is open for CHED-recognized institutions staff and faculty who want to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in higher French-associated schools.
CHED-PhilFrance Scholarship for selected candidates would be:
  • A round-trip ticket/travel expenses;
  • Waived registration fees for state-regulated programs (public institutions);
  • Monthly allowances; and
  • Health-care packages

Eligibility requirements:

  1. Must be  a Filipino citizen 
  2. Needs to be an employee; by a CHED-recognized Philippine institution of higher learning
  3. Must be in good health and of good moral character
  4. At the very least, must be holding a Bachelor’s degree (for applicants to Master’s degree programs) or a Master’s degree (for applicants to Doctoral degree programs)
  5. Not be more than 42 years old for applicants to Master’s degree programs and not more than 40 years old for applicants to Doctoral degree programs by the time you begin your degree
  6. Demonstrates strong academic record
  7. Demonstrates knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study and research in a specific graduate program
  8. Have no pending criminal charges; and must not have been convicted for violation of any Philippine Law
  9. Fulfill all the Terms and Conditions of the grant, including a return service obligation

Sciences Po, a worldly-known French institution for social sciences, came to an agreement with CHED in terms of full tuition for Sciences Po’s graduate programs. Meaning, this will be financed as well, on top of all the other benefits offered by the CHED-PhilFrance Scholarships.

Both scholarship programs have a deadline of 13th of April 2018 at 4:00 P.M.
So do you think you are eligible for these scholarship programs? If yes, what are you waiting for? Apply now!

How can I apply if I am eligible?

In the PhilFrance scholarship website, there is a link there that would directly take you to the application page of either programs.

Clicking on the "Apply Now!" button will take you to this page:



As you can see, this is the page where they're asking applicants for their personal information. Furthermore, it's also the part where you'll need to provide your program information such as:
  • Complete name of French Higher Institution
  • Degree
  • Complete Program Name
  • Estimated Tuition fees for the entire program (In Euros)
In addition to that, you'll also be asked to submit copies of your documentation. Just scroll down and you'll be able to see this part:




If you'll notice, you'll be able to see that on the last part, you're asked to submit a copy or a documentation of your proficiency in French. Meaning, you should train for the French language first before you try and apply.

Want to know more about these programs? Visit the PhilFrance website now by clicking here!

Since 2016, approximately 35 Filipino scholars have either been currently pursuing or recently completed, graduate degrees; all in the French language and literature, mathematics, marine biology, environmental and ecological sciences, applied chemistry, engineering,  business, public policy and governance, as well as public health.

Lower Income Tax? That Means Higher Tax For Tobacco, Petroleum, And Sugar Products By 2018

December 13, 2017
Earlier this year, we have had thoughts about the new amendments on the income tax. Hearsays were spread throughout the entire country about how it will impact salaries. Just recently, the House of Representatives finally gave consent on the new bill that will lower income tax. Moreover, this bill aims to get more tax from products like tobacco, sweetened beverages, petroleum products, and cars this 2018.

Lower Income Tax


With this reform, people earning Php250, 000.00 a year will be exempted from paying taxes. If we try and compute that, people who have monthly salaries of around Php22, 00.00 and of course lower than that would be these people.

With these changes, it is expected to generate around Php134 billion and this is to fund administrative infrastructure projects.

The Congress finally came to the conclusion of approving the consolidated version of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion bill (TRAIN); after uncountable meetings of the bicameral conference committee, the income tax of almost 6.8 million taxpayers will now be gone. When this came to an approval, people were more than happy. Furthermore, this can ultimately help both parties in terms of finances, health, and prioritization.

Our Dearest President Rodrigo Duterte, had this bill as one of his priorities as he mentioned in his most recent SONA. So as per processes, the President should receive the final and consolidated version of this bill for either approval or veto before it takes effect.

Cars and high petroleum taxes


As mentioned earlier, taxes for cars and petroleum will be affected with this change. Why is that so? Because according to the Department of Finance, 50% of the petroleum in the country is consumed by the wealthiest 2 million families in the Philippines. Although this is the case, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel, and gasoline are kept to a minimum with the increase.
In addition, the consolidated version of TRAIN will also aid 80% of Filipino households that do not have cars; it also provides a four-tier tax scheme.
  • Cars priced up to Php1 million will be taxed 10%
  • Vehicles more than Php1 million will be taxed 20%;
  • Lastly, cars that are more than Php4 million will be taxed 50%
Electric cars are exempted from this while hybrid cars? They'll be taxed at staggering 50% rates. As per reports, this is to promote cleaner and friendly environments.

Sugar and sweetened beverage taxes


The bill is not only focusing on a financial aspect because if you try to think of it, the point here is to exercise and promote health awareness. The bill also imposed a tax of Php6.00/liter for sweetened beverages that use both caloric and non-caloric sweeteners. Moreover, an additional Php12.00/liter for those using high-fructose corn syrup.

Although this is the case, ALL milk and coffee products are exempted to these amendments. As well as meal replacements, natural fruit and vegetable juices, and medically-indicated beverages.
As you will notice, the bill also promotes health and well-being.

Tobacco tax


It's true that financing is not the only concern of the government by pushing this bill through. Since tobacco tax will start increasing starting next year, this act is just one way of containing people who have vices. Tobacco excise taxes will hike at Php2.50 each year. This one will start at Php32.50 this coming 2018.

Cosmetic surgeries and enhancement taxes


Before this amendment, the original plan for excise tax increase of this field is 20%. With the new TRAIN, it's now just down to 5%. 

Although this is the case, the bill has exemptions especially to small businesses that have total annual sales of less than Php3 million from Value Added Tax (VAT). Having that said, almost 98% of all registered businesses small and micro businesses in the country will be exempted.

In addition to all this bill has to offer, it will also increase coal excise tax from Php10.00 per metric ton to Php150.00 per metric ton; this will be done in a total span of three (3) years. If we're to compute, it'll be increments of Php50.00 per year starting at Php50.00/metric ton in 2018.

Excise taxes for all metallic and non-metallic resources are on a hike from two (2) to four (4) percent.

Thus, this bill's aim is to really set and hike funds for the betterment of the country and to of course aid people with their well-being and overall health.

Persons with disabilities (PWDs), Senior Citizens,  and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) will be retained, as well as VAT exemptions for agricultural and raw products, health, and education.
Moreover, buying of medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension will be free if there are prescriptions from professional health professionals issued.

Online Application For Appointment To Get Passport With 10-Year Validity Is Now Open

December 12, 2017
Earlier this year, we spilled the beans on Duterte signing into law the extension of validity of both the Philippine Passport and the Driver's License. It was also said that this act will not only extend the validity of both IDs, it'll also bear more requirements and eligibility concerns. For instance, not everyone can secure a driver's license easily like before; the same goes with the Philippine passport.



Furthermore, this will serve as good news for everyone since the validity will be rocking!

In this article, we will be discussing the news on the start of the online application in getting a Philippine Passport.

For the whole of November, application for a Philippine passport came to a halt to make way for the major changes. However this 2nd week of December, people can now secure a spot for an appointment in applying for a Philippine Passport.

Read: Setting an appointment with the DFA online

Starting January 2018, the DFA will be issuing passports with a 10-year validity. This is in accordance to the newly signed Republic Act No. 10928 by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this year.

The process in securing an application remains the same; you have to go to the website, fill out all needed information and schedule your appointment.
Fees and charges remain the same:
  • Php950.00 for regular processing (20 working days)
  • Php1, 200.00 for express/rush processing (10 working days)
Moreover, people who fall under these categories are to be exempted from the "No Appointment No Entry" policy of the DFA. Meaning, they can go directly to the courtesy lane without securing a proper appointment with the DFA. The exemptions of this courtesy lane facility availment as ASEANA are:
  • Persons w/ disability (PWDs) with PWD ID
  • Senior Citizens with Senior Citizen ID
  • Pregnant women with medical certificate (proof of pregnancy)
  • Solo Parents with Solo Parent ID
  • Minors (seven years old and below) with NSO/PSA-certified birth certificate
  • Regular government employees / with GSIS / appointed by Civil Service Commission
  • Dependent of government employee
    • Legal spouse
    • Parents
    • Unmarried children
  • Retired government employees (one year availment)
  • Incumbent elected officials
  • For barangay level, only the following are entitled:
    • Barangay Chairman
    • Barangay Kagawad
    • SK Chairman
  • Endorsement from House of Representatives must be endorsed by DLLU before lodging their applications to Courtesy Lane
  • Media Personnel must first secure endorsement from Public Information Services Unit (PISU) before going to Courtesy Lane.
  • Referrals made from DFA employees (limited to 3 referrals per month) and Head/s of other government agencies must secure proper endorsements duly signed by authorized signatories of their respective offices. Only original copies will be accepted for verification purposes. Photocopy of DFA employee’s valid I.D. / government agencies official’s Department I.D. must be attached for verification purposes.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with supporting documents as proof of employment can also walk-in at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Mandaluyong City.

New PhilHealth Contribution Table Starting January 2018

December 10, 2017
Over the years, the government aims to aid its people by giving them assistance in every aspect possible. Tax for the goods; Pag-IBIG Home Developmental Mutual Fund (HDMF) for housing and real estate concerns, and lastly, PhilHealth for health and well-being. All of these mentioned are organizations that are intended to help us in our journey with life. Moreover, all things we can do as members are supposed to assist us in every way possible.


PhilHealth has been with us for as far as millions of us can remember. Adjustments were made, people were replaced, and a lot has changed in the years before. But recent changes were made and this change is so far one of the most impactful of all. Why? Because this change concerns everyone who is currently employed.

This new revision covers all members and employers under the "employed" sector program and all others concerned.

The subject of this revision is: Adjustment in the Premium Contributions of the Employed Sector to Sustain National the Health Insurance Program.

As per Republic Act No. 7875, as amended by RA 10606, also known as the National Health Insurance Act of 2013, “It is the policy of the State to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach  to  health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost and to provide free medical care to paupers. Towards this end, the State shall provide comprehensive health care services to all Filipinos through a socialized health insurance program that will priofitize the health care needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDS), women and children and provide free health care services to indigents.”

With this new objective, its main reason for the adjustment is to continuously help improve the benefits that the organization gives to its members. Furthermore, since the health demand is growing, the capacity of government aid in health should be perpendicular to it as well.
This circular covers all employed members including:
  • Formal Economy including (Kasambahays, Family Drivers, and Sea-based Overseas Filipino Workers)
  • Employers and members in both the government and private sectors

Revised PhilHealth Premium Contributions

The circular is effective starting January 2018 onwards. The monthly premium contribution should just be at the rate of 2.75% taken straight from the monthly basic salary; it has a floor of Php10, 000.00 and a ceiling of Php40, 000.00 still sharing by the employee and the employer.

The computation for this adjustment after the effectivity of the removal of salary brackets should be:

Monthly Basic Salary x 2.75%Monthly PremiumPersonal ShareEmployer  Share
Php10, 000.00 and belowPhp275.00Php137.50Php137.50
Php10, 000.01 to  Php39, 999.99Php 275.02 to Php1, 099.99Php137.51 to Php549.99Php137.51 to Php549.99
Php40, 000.00 and abovePhp1, 100.00Php550.00Php550.00

In line with RA 10361, the kasambahays' premium contributions should be shouldered by the household employer. However, if the kasambahay receives a monthly salary of Php5, 000.00 and above, he/she should be responsible for her personal premium contributions. Thus, the kasambahay should give an equal amount of her proportional share.

Although it is clearly stated that this circular will be effective in January 2018, it's also indicated that it'll be effective after fifteen (15) days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation. Moreover, it shall be deposited thereafter with the Office of National Administrative Register (ONAR) of the University of the Philippines Law Center.

With the changes, thinking of it long-term is actually the key. Although you may notice that these changes can have a huge impact on your monthly salaries, it being an investment is actually a healthy way of saving for your health.

This article first published at efrennolasco.com
Read Also:
Source: PhilHealth

Migrate To Switzerland And Earn 1 Million Pesos?

December 08, 2017
Every Filipino has a dream; in fact, everyone has a dream. Most Filipinos have this dream of travelling or migrating to a different country. Others yearn for snow, while others just want to live that sophisticated urban or rural life. Although that's the case, all these dreams of course need to start somewhere. Moreover, migrating can be a bit of a pain in the neck especially with the financing and eligibility. However, a recent word has been spread that can actually make you "live the dream." Not only that, you'll also get paid for doing so!



There's a small village in Switzerland where it can both accommodate you and pay you at the same time. If you haven't heard of Switzerland, better do your research now because you might want to grab this opportunity.

Albinen, the village in Switzerland we're talking about is truly amazing. Remember those mesmerizing scenes in the Lord of the Rings? In The Hobbit? Well, you might want to release the inner hobbit in you when you see this spectacular scenery.

Why do you think this village is inviting people from different parts of the globe? If you think it's because of population, then you're correct.

Many of the people who have been moving away are young people and families. As per Swiss news agency ATS, the only local school in the town had to close after three (3) families moved away. The reason for the mass leaving is yet to be known but it's not about the village being inhabitable - in fact, it's the contrary.

Want an example?
Photo: travelandleisure

Imagine getting to live in the Swiss Alps and getting paid, wouldn't that be a dream come true? This village is inviting people from all over the world to live there for good. As per Town Mayor Beat Jost, 29 residents are against this plan while the other 71 are in favor of it. Moreover, that "yes" vote means that the town will pay 25, 000 Swiss Franc to people who will be willing to live with them.
The downsides of living in this town is that it doesn't have as many jobs as the rocking major cities, and there'll be a countable amount of people you can interact with in the village. As of the moment, there are only 240 residents living in the town.

Although there are tons of good news attached to that, we cannot escape the fact that everyone will be able to live there. Of course, there are requirements and eligibility matters that need to be settled before being approved to live in their village:
  • Living there, you need to commit that you'll be residing in that village for at least a decade;
  • Applicants must be aged under 45;
  • Must be willing to be a Swiss Citizen or have a valid Swiss C permit
  • The property they choose to buy or build in the village must be in a minimum of 200, 000 Swiss Franc or Php10 million;
  • Lastly, they need to make their home in Albinen as their permanent home, not their second home.
Although the last point is attainable by having to get a job in cities nearby or by getting a remote job and by working from home.

Moving away before the 10-year requirement is up will require you to pay the town back for their investment. Yes, you would need to pay the town's payment they made to you for living with them which of course is kind of a bitter deal.

For Filipinos out there, if you try and convert the payment into pesos, currently, that is Php1, 200, 000.00 for every adult who moves there and 10, 000 Swiss Franc for every child (around Php500, 000.00). Imagine the amount you would need to put up if you attempt and desire to leave before your agreed decade is over. Just look at this beautiful picture and remind yourself why you went there in the first place:
Photo: dailymail UK

Ever dreamed of travelling to a different country? Ever wanted to live in a place where you feel like you're in a western movie because of the pastures, the sceneries, and the people you live with? If that's the case, then why not try and apply to be a resident of Albinen? Who knows, maybe that's where your luck is the whole time.

South Korea Goes Visa-Free For Filipinos Until April 2018

November 14, 2017
Since the rise of their drama and music, a lot of people from all around the world are somewhat imitating the Koreans. From their fashion, language, to their culture, South Korea has been part of the main pillars of entertainment. Having that said, a lot of Filipinos are currently wanting to visit the country. Furthermore, some even want to learn their way of life; from how they live their lives to how they run their lives. South Korea has been a real influence to many Filipinos. Well, good news because South Korea allows Filipinos to land visa-free at a certain location.



Hold your horses, this good news is only applicable if you'll land or arrive at the YangYang airport
The YangYang airport is an international airport in a small northeastern part of South Korea, YangYang county, Gangwon Province. While majority of Filipinos can enjoy this benefit, citizens of Vietnam and Indonesia is also included in this. This is to pave way for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Since the YangYang airport is the closest airport from Pyeongchang, they gave out this mini-feature that would make millions eligible to enter their country to either participate and witness the winter Olympics.

While there are good news, there also are bad news, of course

Although we can jump so high and be delighted by this news, unfortunately, there are no direct flights through Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines to YangYang airport. So, in order for Filipinos to avail this visa-free feature, they should depart from a different airport or a different country, perhaps. Since this is the case, it's a recommendation to travel somewhere first before going to the airport to watch the Winter Olympics. Although not everyone can do this, you can still try to find flights that directly arrive at YangYang.

This plan of South Korea just aims to boost and improve the country's tourism industry. Especially for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, it will start to attract many people; even people who are not interested in participating in the Winter Olympics; it will start on the 9th of February to the 25th.

CSC-COMEX Schedule for the 4th Quarter of 2017

October 29, 2017
Good news to everyone who wants to take the Civil Service Examination! The Civil Service Commission (CSC) announced the schedule of examination, online reservation, as well as the procedure for application in Civil Service Commission Computerized Examination (CSC-COMEX) for the 4th quarter of 2017.

CSC Comex


The following schedules for the conduct of CSC-COMEX in CSC Central Office and CSC Regional Offices and the corresponding Online Reservation of examination slots are as follows:

CSC Central Office

Date of Examination                           Date & Time of Online Reservation

October 3, 2017 (SubProfessional)          September 27, 2017, 8:00 AM
November 7, 2017                                        November 2, 2017, 8:00 AM
November 28, 2017                                     November 22, 2017, 8:00 AM
December 5, 2017                                        November 29, 2017, 8:00 AM

CSC Regional Offices

Date of Examination                      Date & Time of Online Reservation

October 19, 2017                                      October 13, 2017, 8:00 AM
October 26, 2017 (SubProfessional)   October 23, 2017, 8:00 AM
November 16, 2017                                 November 10, 2017, 8:00 AM
December 7, 2017                                    December 1, 2017, 8:00 AM

Note:

The availability of online reservations and examination slots for the CSC Regional Offices (CSCROs) shall include only CSCROs joining the scheduled date of examination. Applicants/registrants are strongly advised to check the Testing Center and Personal Appearance Venue indicated in the Examination Schedule before making a reservation.

The given schedule may be subject to change without prior notice. Also, alternative mode of taking the examination or rescheduling the examination may be adopted in the CSC Central Office in cases of unforeseen system technical problem.

In cases like system technical problems in the Regional Offices, rescheduling would automatically be in the context. The CSC Comex is therefore advising registrants to regularly check the COMEX accounts for latest announcements, developments and updates.

With these schedules, examinees and aspiring ones can now have the dates and schedules of the examination, date and time of online reservation. With this knowledge, they no longer have to wait for announcements; they no longer need to proceed to offices to ask when they can push through with the examination.

Technology is truly becoming more and more developed; with all of these updates, facilities, and tools, it's safe to say that everything now will be easier in terms of appointments and scheduling.

According To Facebook, Pinoy Shoppers Are Getting Mobile-Savvy

October 29, 2017
When the “ber months” start in the Philippines, Filipinos also consider this time as the start of the Christmas season. In addition to that, it also is a collaboration with the holiday season; thus, it means shopping time. For a social media giant like Facebook, this season is the biggest shopping event of the year. Facebook sends this message to local or abroad-based businesses. Even big or small, many are looking to make the most of the holidays.

Mobile Savvy Shopper
Image from clark.com
Kenneth Bishop, managing director of Facebook Southeast Asia, reported that some of the company’s new insights on Filipinos as “mobile-first” shoppers were ways on how businesses can reach them better via Facebook’s mobile platform. He said this in his recent press briefing.
We are committed to helping businesses win consumers during the holiday season by connecting them with the more than 63 million mobile-first Filipinos on Facebook,” Bishop added.

Mobile is used for gift-hunting



Bishop said that three in five Filipino consumers use their mobile devices in their “shopping journey” during the holidays; using their phones and feeds for the best presents and find inspiration in their gift-hunting that would suit their loved ones, quoting statistics from the Facebook 2016 Holiday study.

Facebook users confess; 91% admitting that browsing the platform was a great influence in their holiday shopping, according to Bishop.

Smartphones are the new shopping product. There are times when desktops are used but most of the shopping happens on a mobile phone starting with the evening commute.
The study also found, however, that 42% of Filipinos use mobile mainly to avoid long lines inside stores.

Facebook as ‘Second shopfront’


With mobiles becoming more essential in Filipinos’ ‘shopping journey;’ with these significant numbers, Bishop encouraged businesses to use Facebook as their “second shopfront.” Creating campaigns that complement mobile-viewing behavior, both online and in -store.

Multi screening is another prominent behavior of Filipinos as consumers according to Bishop. Filipinos are spending more time on mobile devices over other forms of media including TV. He is encouraging businesses to also use the advantage of Filipinos’ “multiscreening” culture. Why? Because 70% of Filipinos are on Facebook multiple screen view while watching TV. This makes the social media platform a powerful channel to tap into mobile-first Filipinos’ multi-screen behavior.

He cited a 2016 holiday campaign by Nestle for its All-Purpose Cream, wherein the brand repurposed its 60-second TV ads into six-second Facebook videos, and also experimented with other ad formats on the platform such as slideshows and photos to accommodate even the low-bandwidth users.
Another very successful campaign are the Jollibee real-life commercials. These commercials were first seen and became famous in Facebook when the Jollibee page did the upload there.

The Nestle campaign, which ran from October to December, resulted in a 19% sales value growth compared to the same period in 2015, or a penetration of 500,000 new households.
In-store mobile complements
Moreover, another study shows that one in two Filipino consumers said they still use their smartphones when shopping in-store during the holiday season even when they are already physically in a store. This is to do some form of research before finalizing their purchases and to be able to get the best deals.

Some of these in-store shopping mobile activities include:
• Comparing prices (70%);
• Product comparison (61%);
• Reading product reviews (60%);
• Taking photos (53;); and
• Reviewing their shopping lists to make them more informed in purchase decisions (53%).

Impressive results

Last Christmas of 2016, another mobile business success story, said Bishop, is when Magnolia debuted its Avocado Macchiato ice cream flavor TV campaign. What they did was they extended to Facebook in November-December 2016.

It has reach millennials who make up 60% of shoppers on Facebook of all 25 to 45 years old through creative video and mobile-optimized ads. The campaign featuring the popular “AlDub” love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza made use of both mobile video and photo ads, which also achieved impressive results in major brand metrics by 16 points. Magnolia wanted to expand the brand’s appeals to young consumers while increasing ad recall and sales for their Avocado Macchiato ice cream. This is something that people saw online and inspired them to go to the store and take action.

Mobile is influencing the shopping behavior of Filipino consumers during the busy holiday season where people are discovering brands and products,” Bishop said. “We are committed to helping businesses win consumers during this season by connecting them with more than 63 million mobile-first Filipinos on Facebook,” he added.

With all of these evidences, we are now sure we’ve reached the successful age of technology. With everything in our pockets, it’s a clear indication that we are readily advancing.

Although this is good news for both businesses and consumers, it’s quite evident that these innovation makes all information available with just a few clicks. Thus, creating a need for neither learning nor strive to learn. We just need to always remember that technology cannot answer everything.

Taiwan is now visa-free for Filipinos

October 16, 2017
Taiwan, one of the more influential SouthEast Asian countries will be visa-free for Filipinos starting November 1, 2017. Yes, you read that right, Filipinos can now enter Taiwan without registering for a VISA. A representative of Taipei said the statement today. Furthermore, the representative also said that this is for the betterment of travel; business, vacation, etc.



“Philippine nationals who intend to visit the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the purpose of tourism, business, visiting relatives, attending functions or events can enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan, ROC, for a duration of stay up to 14 days,” said by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in a statement.

According to them, this visa-free initiative is for Filipinos. Moreover, this is aimed for "building closer people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and Taiwan." This will have a nine-month trial period to test its capabilities. The trial period will run until the 31st of July 2018.

Gary Song-Huann Lin, representative of Taiwan to the Philippines, said “The Philippines is not only Taiwan’s closest neighbor but also Taiwan’s important partner of ‘new southbound policy.”

As per Lin, this new update is for Filipinos to build and develop “strong bilateral relations and a closer living economic community between the Philippines and Taiwan.” 

Of course, there are certain requirements for Filipinos in order for them to be subject to this new law. Yes, you would need to pass certain qualifications so you can enter Taiwan without a VISA:
  • Regular passport with remaining validity of at least six (6) months from the date of entry ( Diplomatic & official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment);
  • A return ticket or a ticket for the traveler's next destination and a visa for that destination if it is required;
  • No criminal record in Taiwan
  • A proof of accommodation, such as booking or host/sponsor’s contact information /or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting
Those who are planning to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days are still required to obtain a VISA granting access to Taiwan; for any purpose like, study, employment, missionary, etc.

In addition to these statements, Lin urged the Philippines to reciprocate Taiwan's "goodwill and friendship." This is by granting visa-free treatment to nationals of Taiwan.

“Through these significant efforts, we will surely enhance our bilateral tourism, economic, cultural, educational and other areas of cooperation and exchanges which will eventually bring mutual benefits to the peoples of Taiwan and the Philippines” Lin said.

"Furthermore, it enhances the mutually beneficial bilateral tourism, trade, investment, technology, agriculture, economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines,” he added.

With this newly adjusted visa-free entry state, the TECO said that the Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC) will be suspended starting the 1st of November. To give you a better explanation, Taiwan has entertained its visa policy for Philippine nationals; this is through its free “Travel Authorization Certificate” (TAC), wherein eligible applicants are given visas of multiple-entry valid for three (3) month. In addition, it allows single stays of up to 30 days if they hold permanent resident certificates issued by the following countries:
  • Australia;
  • Canada;
  • Japan;
  • Korea;
  • New Zealand;
  • Schengen Agreement signatories;
  • The United Kingdom; and
  • United States
However, passengers who will enter Taiwan before this date with valid TACs may continue to stay up to 30 days.

With this new system in place, people can easily enter Taiwan for vacation. Although there are people who have obtained long-term permanent and multiple Taiwan visas that are already stamped; these people can still use their VISAs.

SSS Defers Increase in Contributions of Members in January 2018 to Over 12.5%

October 09, 2017
Starting January next year, the state-run Social Security System (SSS) has deferred the planned increase in contribution of its members to over 12.5 percent of the monthly salary credit. This is to make the pension fund for workers in the private sector possible to cover up the higher pensions for retirees.

SSS Contribution Increase


SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Dooc said that the SSS would approve the increase in the contribution rate to correspond with the implementation in January of the first package of the tax reform package that would lower personal income tax rates, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN). This TRAIN bill is also being discussed in the Senate.

A bill seeking to amend the SSS Charter, as provided in Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act, is currently being deliberated in the Senate.

However, Dooc assured that SSS has other revenue measures to enhance the pension fund’s financial standing following the recent adjustment in pensioners’ monthly pension by Php1,000.
It was January of this year, 2017, if remembered, when President Rodrigo Duterte approved a two-stage monthly pension increase of Php2,000, of which Php1,000 a month had been disbursed SSS pensioners since March.

In addition to that, the President also ordered that SSS member’s contribution rate can be adjusted upward in increments of 1.5 percent points per year until 2020 when it will have reached 17 percent from the current 1 percent.

Furthermore, Dooc explained that there are provisions in the new SSS bill that will empower the state fund to increase its members' contribution. He, however, declined to give the new rate of the increase to be imposed in 2018.

Dooc maintained that additional contribution is needed to keep the state fund running even with the pension increase.

Originally, the SSS contribution rate should have been raised by 1.5 percentage points to 12.5 percent as early as May this year; bringing the contribution range to R15 from R740. Under the original proposal, the premium hike of active SSS members will be implemented in tranches until 2022. The SSS earlier said members’ premium could go up to 17 percent from the current 11 percent until 2022.

However, given the unpopularity of the plan, the SSS did not put the increase in operation in the contribution; which was approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last January. The pension fund earlier released P33 billion to more than two million retirees after President Duterte approved the pension hike. However, the move shortened the SSS fund life to year 2032 from 2042.

The pension increase was among President Duterte’s promises during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Besides the rate increase, the SSS is considering raising the maximum monthly salary credit to P20,000 from the current P16,000 to prolong its actuarial life.

Dooc added the premium hike would help extend the life of the pension fund up to 2051 from the current actuarial life of until 2042.

Employer-employee sharing

The current contribution rate of 11 percent is being shared by the employer which is 7.37 percent and employee which is 3.63 percent.

Mandatory OFW coverage

Aside from the increase in the contribution rate, the SSS is looking forward to a further rise in membership once all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are required to be members of the pension fund.

At this time, there are 14 million OFWs registered;only 550,000 of those OFWs are SSS members. If passed into law, the amended SSS charter will make it mandatory for at least 9 to 10 million more OFWs to contribute to the SSS, according to Dooc. Since OFWs are expected to disburse higher contributions for the reason that they get better pay, the SSS expects total contributions to further increase and cover the higher expenditures due to the pension increase.

Negosyong Pinoy: The Homemade Rellenong Bangus Business

September 21, 2017
Rellenong bangus  (Stuffed Milk Fish) is one of the most-liked delicacies here in the Philippines. It’s quite backbreaking to make; you will be needing tons of patience but it’s worth doing. Considering the yummy and mouth-watering taste it has.

Rellonong Bangus
Image Via Maggi.ph
Compared to other fish recipes, it has a one-of-a-kind process of preparation.  Doing it is quite tiresome because of all the things that needs to be done.  From scaling, removal of the internal organs and gills, and deboning of the fish to stuffing in the fish meat and mixtures.

Since we Filipinos are known to be food-lovers, starting this business is going to be rewarding; that I can guarantee.

So what are the tips in starting this kind of business?

Before we get to what you need to start this business, let me give you concrete tips. First, you just have to balance everything out; buying accurate amounts that are within your budget. Furthermore, consider the freshness of the fish because it can make or break your recipe; precisely cook the ingredients. With all that,  people will know about your product by word-of-mouth. Soon enough, everyone will know about how it tastes and customers will tend to buy more and they might refer your products to their friends and relatives. You won't realize that your business is getting better and it will grow. Don't think about your profit at first; of course, you would first have to think about how your business will spread and how it will grow. Sparing out  few thousand pesos will get to a rewarding position, and that's a guarantee.

I have put in the steps in removing the fish meat from its skin, the lists of ingredients and also, the procedures of cooking the mixtures.

How can I remove the fish meat from its skin?

This method can actually be done in two (2) ways:
First method would be:
  • Cutting the back of the fish
  • Scrape the meat and bones of the fish from the skin
  • Stuff all the cooked ingredients;
  • Then sew it up with a thread and needle.
The second method is:
  • Break the bone in the neck and tail of the fish and using a spatula, palette knife or the handle of the aluminum ladle to remove the meat without breaking or cutting the skin.
  • Then squeeze out the fish meat from the skin beginning from the tail.
Although the second method looks shorter and easier to make, it actually requires some skill to execute it beautifully. In addition, there are many kinds of kitchen ladle today. We can either use an old typical aluminum sandok” with a straight handle end and a hole for hanging it on a wall. Or, we can also use a pallete knife or frosting spatula.

What are the ingredients for me to make this rellenong bangus?

Note that the ingredients I will be listing here is good for one (1) large milkfish. After you've done it, you can estimate and experiment depending on how you want your stuffed milkfish appears or tastes.

Ingredients for the mixture:

  • 1 large sized bangus/milkfish
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sized carrot; prepare it in small cubes
  • A big-sized potato; prepare it in small cubes
  • 1 box raisins (optional)
  • ¼  cup pickles
  • 1 raw egg, large
  • 1 tsp. Vetsin (monosodium glutamate)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper (powder)
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. Flour

For the milkfish marination:

  • 2 pcs calamansi (lime juice)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Pepper

Now, for frying the milkfish:

  • Cooking oil; and;
  • 1 box of flour

Instructions for scraping the meat fish from the skin:

  • Clean the fish. Of course, the very first step of cooking fish is cleaning it. Ensure that it is well-cleansed and that it does not contain the dirt from where you've bought the fish.
  • Gently pound on the fish to loosen meat from its skin.
    • You can use the flat side of a knife in pounding.
  • Break the big bone at the nape and on the tail. Insert the end of the handle of an aluminum kitchen turner or sandok through the fish neck.
  • Gently scrape down the handle between the meat and the skin.
    • Scrape down to the tail, going around and on the other side of the fish.
  • If you feel the meat is entirely separated from the skin, remove the handle; squeeze and push out meat with the big bone starting from the tail going out through the head. This way, you will be able to push out the whole meat without cutting an opening on the skin.
  • Set aside and boil the fish meat in little water.
  • Drain and pick out its bones. Afterwards, flake the meat.

Instructions on what to do with the skin:

Note that because you've cleansed the skin properly, it's safe to be eaten; depending on how you marinate it, its taste will be one big of a deal. If you will notice, frying bangus or milkfish tends to make its skin crunchy.
  1. Clean the skin with water.
  2. Marinate skin and head of fish with soy sauce and calamansi (lime) juice.

Instructions on how to prepare the mixtures you'll use to stuff the fish:

  • Saute garlic until it turns brown; add the onions.
  • Afterwards, add the bangus meat, carrots and;
  • Season with salt, vetsin, ground pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
    • Add raisins and pickles.
  • Transfer cooked mixture in a bowl. Then mix with raw egg and flour.
  • Fill in the bangus skin with the mixture.
  • Put some flour on the skin of the fish.
  • Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
  • Wrap bangus in wilted banana leaves or in aluminum foil.

After preparing it, keep in mind that there are two (2) ways on how it can be prepared:

  1. You can reheat it by frying it with cooking oil or;
  2. By using the microwave oven
Since we're talking about business, the packaging will depend on how you want it to be presented. Depending on how you market and present it, clients will surely come back to get more! One reason is because it's easy to eat. Easy to eat in a sense that when they buy, it doesn't anymore require them to prepare and to think of the ingredients. They can just unwrap it, reheat it and dig in. Another reason is because this kind of recipe contains different kinds of vegetables in it. In addition to the fish itself which is already healthy, the veggies inside would make a great impact and will complement the health benefits of the fish.

If you can, try reheating or cooking it in olive oil or vegetable oil. There won't be much difference besides the flavor and the moisture that cooking oil gives. However, since we're talking about health here, substituting it for vegetable or olive oil is what I can recommend.

Now, you thought that in order to have and run a business, you need thousands of pesos, right? But no, there are many kinds of businesses that can be rewarding like those businesses wherein you would need a fortune. Before pushing it through, try and create one for your family first. Ask them for their feedback and then decide whether you want it to be your business or not.
Rellenong bangus, I can say, is a Filipino favorite. Not just because of its health benefits and its taste, but also because of the hardwork and finesse behind it.

How to Renew Philippine Passport In Qatar?

September 17, 2017
How can one renew a passport while in Qatar? If you thought, you need to go back here in the Philippines, think again! But before anything else, why are we writing this?Qatar is one of the many countries that have OFWs. As a matter of fact, Qatar is in 2nd place in terms of OFW destinations in 2016. Every year, they give around 12,600 jobs to Filipinos. Despite the Gulf Crisis with Saudia Arabia, Qatar is still currently accepting Filipinos who want to work overseas.
Renew Passport in Qatar


In addition to that, Filipinos are the fourth biggest group of foreign workers in Qatar. That being said, there are of course a handful of Filipino workers in Qatar. Thus, passports may expire and they would need to renew it while in Qatar to avoid expenses in going back in the Philippines.

So how do you renew your passport while in Qatar?

First things first, you woulld need to submit documentation.
The requirements you would need to submit are:
  • Original passport
  • Photocopy of the passport (front cover, inside, and back part of the inside of the passport)
  • Duly accomplished passport application form (you can get a copy by downloading it online or getting it from the embassy)
  • Fee for the renewal: QAR240.00
Take note: Personal appearance of the applicant is a must. 
In addition to the requirements, when you present yourself, you must also be in proper decent attire. Kindly note to avoid the following:
  • Sando, strapless, and/or spaghetti-strap blouse;
  • Transparent shirts and/or blouse that expose underwear;
  • Shorts/mini-skirts that are more than three (3) inches above the knee;
  • Ragged/ripped jeans/shorts; and;
  • Slippers

If you've fully understood and read the requirements, then you are ready to proceed and renew your passports.

  • Directly proceed to the embassy with your requirements. Appointments are not needed just for renewal.
Address: Philippine Embassy Qatar
  • Zone 68, Jelaiah Area Doha, State of Qatar
  • Website: http://dohape.dfa.gov.ph
  • P.O Box No. 24900, St. No. 860, Doha, Qatar
  • Contact No: +974 4483 1585
Office Hours: Sundays to Thursdays, 8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M & 1:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M.

The embassy is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and on Philippine and Qatar-declared holidays.

  • Wait for your turn while in the queue for each of the window:
    • Verification of documents (requirements)
    • Data encoding;
    • Picture taking;
    • Payment
  • As for the release, the Qatar Philippine Embassy reports that it may take up to 1-2 months. You can either receive text messages from the embassy if the renewed passport is ready.
TIPS:
  • Since the release of the passport takes a maximum of 2 months, it is just right to make the renewal 3-6 months before your passport expires.
  • Before you proceed to the embassy, ensure that all required documentation you have to submit is ready. Otherwise, they may have to ask you to complete them first.

5 Million Inexpensive Seats For The AirAsia Seat Sale

September 13, 2017
AirAsia, one of the most known airlines is currently spicing up their game. On Sunday, September 10, the group said that they are offering up to 5 million seats which are on sale. Yes, you read it right, ON SALE. In addition to that, AirAsia was able to mention that the travel for this promo will be for travel between the 1st of March until the 21st of November next year (2018). 

AirAsia Seat Sale


So how can you avail this promo? It's simple, you just need to book from the 11th of Septmeber up to the 17th. Yes, only bookings between these dates will be eligible for the sale. Furthermore, travelers can book flights for as low as Php17.00 to and from the following destinations:
  • Bohol
  • Caticlan/Boracay
  • Cebu
  • Clark
  • Davao
  • Iloilo
  • Kalibo
  • Manila
  • Palawan
  • Tacloban
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're probably saying that it's only local but wait, there's more! Also, even if the destinations above are local, imagine a 17-peso flight that is already round-trip. Isn't that a very awesome deal? And yes, there also are promotions for international fares. For as low as Php1, 290.00, travelers can book one-way flights from the Philippines to the following destinations:
  • Hong Kong
  • Canton/Guangzhou
  • Incheon/Seoul
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Taipei
  • Singapore
  • Macau
  • Kota Kinabalu
  • Shanghai
Yes, you can now visit the famous Asian countries for less than Php10, 000.00! 
"Now is the perfect opportunity for our loyal guests and Filipino travelers to connect from many places conveniently as we continuously add new routes and increase frequencies into our network," said AirAsia Philippines CEO Dexter Comendador.

In addition to all those promotions mentioned above, AirAsia said that they will also work out flights which will be available from the group's hub in Kuala Lumpur to Australia, Japan, Maldives, and other destinations more. Thus, the ones we are seeing now are just kind of the crust to the earth; there's still the mantle and the core.

Well, if I were you, I would be booking flights now! But what if you can't commit to the travel? Well you can always sell your ticket, right? If someone you know is looking for a ticket that is cheap, you can always check the market price and sell a little bit lower so that your friends or some people you know would be able to afford the deal.

Not bad for a promotion, eh? What are you waiting for! Book your flights now!

Source: ABS-CBN

Why You Should Be Aware of Japanese Encephalitis

September 10, 2017
Mosquitoes are well-known pests that carry a multitude of diseases. Moreover, these insects should ALWAYS be avoided because they can cause illnesses or worse - death. Here in our country, we are very much aware what mosquitoes are. Although there are chosen places which are swarmed by these pests, we still need to be careful. Dengue and Malaria are just two (2) of the many diseases mosquitoes bring. A few months ago, a new disease was reported to scatter throughout the country. This new disease is Japanese Encephalitis. 

Japanese Encephalitis


This year, the said disease is reported to have taken nine lives in our country; one from Ilocos, one from CALABARZON, seven from Central Luzon. Currently, government agencies were able to confirm 60 patients (out of 133 suspicions) to have the virus. Let us know more about the disease.

What is this Japanese Encephalitis?


In shorter terms, the Japanese Encephalitis is a virus that is somehow related to dengueAlthough it is a big fear of our country now, not all people who have it will get sick or show symptoms. However, we should still take into consideration that the fatality rate is in about 30%. 

There is no cure for this disease; once you have it, you have it. If you report that you have it, treatment will focus on relieving severe impacts and supporting the patient in overcoming the infection.

The outcome will literally be just dependent on the immune system of the patient. Which leads us to why children are more prone to this disease since their immune systems are weaker.
FUN FACT: The first known clinical case of Japanese Encephalitis traces back to 1871. 

What are the known symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis?

Image: xpertdox

For the most part, the most common symptoms of this disease are:
  • Mild fevers and headaches. However, take note that there are no apparent symptoms.
  • Approximately, the symptoms of JE become evident between 5 and 15 days from the day of the bite.
  • The estimation of severe cases of JE is out of 250.
  • If it goes unnoticed, the later symptoms would include:
    • Seizures
    • Spastic Paralysis
    • Swelling around the brain area
    • Coma
    • Death

What is/are the effects of the disease?

Basically, this type of encephalitis is crucial. Since the disease itself affects the nervous system, it can cause severe neurological damages. A study in Malaysia took 100 patients and examined them. The results were:
  • 3% of the patients had mild disability;
  • 26% had moderate disability;
  • 31% had severe disability;
  • Lastly, 41% of patients made a full recovery
To further explain, the following are the effects that patients in each examinations experienced:
Mild disability
  • Personality changes or mood swings
  • Muscle weakness (twitching of arms and hands)
  • Uncontrollable shaking of the hands
Moderate disability
  • Learning disabilities (mild)
  • Body weakness but only on one side
  • Single limb paralysis
Severe disability
  • Severe learning difficulty
  • Muscle spasms
  • Limb stiffness

How can one get Japanese Encephalitis?



Image: iaspreparationonline
Fortunately, Japanese Encephalitis is not transmitted through people. The main source of the illness is literally a mosquito. According to experts, mosquitoes of the Culex species are the type of mosquitoes carry the infection.
The mosquitoes get this infection from pigs and birds specifically, water birds. Of course, the Japanese Encephalitis-carrying mosquitoes stick around areas where stagnant water is present.

How can a professional medical practitioner diagnose Japanese Encephalitis?

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="624"] Image: capitalkhabar
If you have been bitten by a mosquito and you feel like you have the symptoms, do no hesitate to seek medical help immediately. If the doctor confirms that you have been infected, your body will naturally produce a certain type of antibody to try and destroy the virus that spreads. Around approximately 7-9 days after the symptoms start, the antibody will be evident in the blood stream.
In order for doctors to determine or confirm the presence of the virus in your body, they would have to do a blood test. The antibodies you produce would also be abundant in the cerebrospinal fluid, too. So, for them to be extra sure, a sample or a test of your cerebrospinal fluid must be taken.

If confirmed, how can an individual treat Japanese Encephalitis?

Japanese Encephalitis is a relative of other mosquito diseases like malaria, dengue, and yellow fever. Since this is the case and since the symptoms of all are pretty much the same, you may think that in treating them, it's just also on the same page. However, you might be forgetting that the JE breaks down the neurological pathways which differs this from its relative diseases in a BIG way.
Although this is the case, the Japanese Encephalitis, unfortunately cannot be treated. The only treatment one can get is stabilization and balancing of the chemicals in the body to overcome the complete spread of the virus. Thus, it really just relies on how your immune system works.
Good news is that, patients who survive the disease are more likely to develop lifelong immunity.

Prevention of Japanese Encephalitis


Nationwide, you can have a vaccine to prevent the disease from rooting in you. There are currently four (4) known and main types of vaccines. These are:
  • Inactivated mouse brain-derived vaccines
  • Inactivated Vero cell-derived vaccines
  • Live attenuated vaccines
  • Live recombinant vaccines

Safety Guidelines to avoid Japanese Encephalitis

  • First, make sure that you avoid areas that are abundant in mosquitoes. Since you already know where mosquitoes get this disease, you would have a clear edge on where and where NOT to go.
  • Although the disease is currently incurable, vaccines are out that could prevent the disease from occurring.
  • If  you got bitten by a mosquito, avoid scratching the area of the bite. Why? Because this can hasten the spread of whatever virus that mosquito has. For this purpose, use a cream that could stop the itchiness from occurring and growing.
Even though this disease is currently in big discussion, it's not that crucial based on statistics. However even if this is the case, we cannot be carefree and rely on it. We still need to look after ourselves because who knows what might happen.

Philippine Internet Service Providers (ISPs) notify us of the sluggish internet connection in the next few weeks

September 05, 2017
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) all around the country gave a heads up about the following weeks. A few weeks ago, powerful storms hit Hong Kong; those events damaged undersea cables that link the Philippines to other parts of the globe. Therefore, internet connection and connectivity could become slower in the next few weeks. Two (2) ISPs of the country made the announcement last Saturday.

Slow Internet

Converge ICT Solutions Inc. and PLDT Inc. made the announcement. Furthermore, the said repair could take from three (3) to six (6) weeks. Having that said, the slowing down of the connectivity could be that long as well. Although this is the case, the ISPs said that on top of this, they'll be working on adding capacity and efficiency to their service.

“Due to the recent strong typhoon in Hong Kong, multiple international undersea cable links to the city were cut; causing slowdowns of internet connections to web and social media sites hosted there.

This has affected the services of internet service providers (ISPs) of various Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines,” PLDT said in a statement.

“As one of the affected ISPs in the country, PLDT is working closely with our overseas cable partners to speed up repair work,” they added.

Submarine cables are crucial elements of the world's infrastructure and connectivity. Since they hold and carry telecommunication and data signals across the ocean, damaging them can cause a bit of interference in systems that are running.

“Based on their current plans, our cable partners expect restoration work to be completed in about three weeks. While repair work is being done, PLDT is taking other measures to improve internet services for our Home and Enterprise customers,” PLDT added.

Converge ICT Solutions made the explanation that at least five (5) undersea cables got damaged. These cables are the ones connecting the Philippines to Hong Kong; they were cut last August 27, 2017.

“Three of our international submarine cables were affected by this incident. It is estimated that it will take four to six weeks to repair all the damaged cables,” it said in a social media post.
However, not all of this is bad news. Converge was able to mention that this activity is not just about our services being slowed down; it also is about activating additional capacity.

“We have already added 10Gbps of bandwidth since last week. Earlier this morning, an additional link of the same capacity has been activated. With this, you can expect significant improvements in your internet connection. By next week, we are expecting to activate another 10Gbps of capacity so that your service will finally return to normal,” Converge added.

On the other side of the note, Globe telecom said that their customers would not be affected by this catastrophic event. They said that they are not anymore utilizing the said submarine cables.

“Globe has successfully rerouted its data traffic that goes through the affected cable systems, to its other subsea cable capacity routes. In so doing the multiple subsea cuts had no adverse impact to our enterprise clients and mobile and broadband customers. Our technical teams are closely monitoring the network to ensure voice, SMS and data services are operating at normal levels,” Yoly Crisanto, Globe Senior Vice President for corporate communication, said in a statement.

For now, there are no updates yet as regards to this event. Although we do hope that everything will go well for subscribers in the said ISPs. We will keep you posted on the updates we will receive.

If you spread fake news, you're committing a crime

September 02, 2017
Previously, we discussed the topic on how we can identify fake news on Facebook. We hope we helped a ton of people because it certainly is wrong when you share erroneous information. This week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the bill which are imposing penalties on people guilty of spreading fake news that might affect public order.



Image: PhilStar

Republic Act 10951 states that if a person is found guilty of delivering incorrect or fake news, then that person would be subject to the law and will face repercussions and consequences. Furthermore, President Duterte signed the law that amended the 87-year-old Revised Penal Code and also placed penalties on unlawful use of publication and unlawful utterances.

"Article 154, Section 18 of the act provides a penalty of arresto mayor and fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000;" - Philstar

Having said that, the punishment would be applied to a person if that person shares by means of printing, lithiography; or other means and sources of publication that might endanger public order.
In addition, it also covers any person who shall maliciously publish, or cause to be published any official resolution or document without proper authority or before they have been published officially.

The measure will be effective 15 days after its publication in at least two major newspapers. Thus, it shall be applicable to pending cases before the courts where trial has started.

This law will also serve past cases of these “to the extent that it is favorable to the accused or person serving sentence by final judgement.”

On another side, a public officer who will be proven guilty of revealing secrets of privacy shall be subject to the penalties of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding P200,000. This is from Act 230.

Currently, fake news is everywhere. We cannot deny the fact that spreading something unusual or unbelievable catches the eyes and ears of people. Although people who start these "unlawful trends" already know that it might cause possible danger, they still do it for the sake of being known or popular in the eyes of many. With this new law that our dear President signed, justice will now be served.

So for all of us, we better think and make sure before we share. We might not know what possible danger lies ahead of us when we spread news.

Source: PhilStar

Good News For Everyone! You Can Now Get Your Driver's Licenses On The Day Of Your Application

August 31, 2017
Yes, you heard it right. After so many months of waiting, the hellish experience is finally over. Last year, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) advised that they do not have supply for the issuance of the driver's license card. This news was sad and frustrating especially to those who rely on their licenses for their living. People threw a dozen about this; both on social media and in the news. Although this was the case last year, the agency just announced that from now on, driver's license applicants would be able to claim their licenses on the day they applied. This applies to new candidates and the renewing ones.
New Drivers License Image Credit: Topgear Philippines

Just after President Duterte extended its validity, this sure is music to all of our ears. Furthermore, the government body stated that this applies to all National Capital Region (NCR) Offices. LTO Chief Edgar Galvante protruded this roll-out together with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) head Arthur Tugade last Wednesday, August 30, 2017.

Since people were skeptic about this because of their experiences, Tugade tried the new system for himself. The official filled out the form. Afterwards, an LTO employee processed the official's form and finished it off. The LTO released a press release that would make thousands of Filipinos smile. It reported that Tugade was able to claim his plastic license card not more than 20 minutes later. Tugade on the other hand, purposely put incorrect information to see what type of action the employees and the system would make.

"Yung mga unang issuance simula nung Oktubre, gusto po naming emphasize na wala po silang kailangang bayarang dagdag," Galvante said.

"Kung ano lang po ang nakasaad sa resibo yung lang po ang babayaran. Yung fixer na yan, di po kailangan para maisyuhan ng five-year license card," he added.

In this statement, Galvante added that motorists who applied for driver's license way back October 2016, will start receiving their cards next week without having to pay extra.
In addition to all the good news you've just read, the overall construction of the ID card is now better. The new sets of cards are now made from polycarbonate material and are laser-engraved. Galvante said that this does not only make the ID card look good, it also makes them more secure and durable.
I know, it's very great and exciting considering that you won't have to wait for months to claim your license anymore. So, what do you have to do? Well for you to witness the change, head over to an LTO station and see for yourself.

NOTE: This would only STRONGLY apply for NCR Offices. We'll give you the updates if provinces or some cities would have this roll-out as well.

Pres. Duterte Declares Higher Penalties For Hospitals Asking Deposits Before Treating Emergency Cases

August 26, 2017
Private or publicly-ran hospitals and medical treatment centers or clinics, can no longer demand deposit or initial payment from patients with serious medical conditions. Conditions that require emergency treatment; if they do they will now face stiffer, more serious penalties.
Hospital penalty for not accommodating emergency cases

President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law Republic Act No. 10932, or “An Act  Strengthening the Anti-Deposit Law."  This amends Batas Pambansa Bilang 702 (as amended by RA 8344) last August 3, 2017; amends the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, it is stated that it would be unlawful for hospital or clinic to “request, solicit, demand, or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for administering basic emergency care to any patient.”

The law aims to stop the practice that declines patients even during emergency cases. They will only accommodate if they are able to pay the deposit.

This is good news for everyone when our President officially made it into law; providing higher penalties for hospitals and clinics that refuse to treat emergency or serious cases without deposits.

In this version of the law, hospital personnel or executives who violate its provisions will be fined from Php100,000 to Php300,000. Alternatively, they will get imprisoned from six months and one day to two years and four months; worse,  both. Courts decide to impose both penalties.

Before this amendment, the fines ranged only from Php20,000 to Php100,000. The revised measure also says that if the violation was committed because it complies with established hospital or clinic policy, or was done upon the management's instruction, the hospital officials are responsible for the creation of that policy; they will then be fined from Php500,000 to Php1 million.

In the older version of the law, the fine for this ranged only from Php100,000 to Php500,000.

The penalty is also higher against any employee of a hospital or medical clinic who will violate the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

Disobedience from this can also now cause the revocation of a hospital or clinic’s license to operate if the violation of the law was repeated thrice.

Furthermore, RA 10932 also introduces provisions more specific to cases of pregnant women. The previous version stated that hospitals could only be held accountable for cases in which they asked for a deposit for patients who needed basic medical care “to prevent death or permanent disability.”

The new version specifically points that they can also be held accountable if they refuse to attend to a woman to prevent “permanent injury or loss of her unborn child, or non-institutional delivery.”

“Non-institutional delivery” is defined in the law as the “delivery of a newborn child while in transit, outside of a health facility after an initial consultation was done with a health facility.”

There are four new sections under this law. One of these is a new provision and considered to be a crucial update in the law. It states that "a hospital or clinic shall be held liable in case of death, permanent disability, serious impairment of the health condition of the patient, or in the case of a pregnant woman, permanent injury or loss of her unborn child, proceeding from the denial of his or her admission to the health facility."

If the hospital or clinic's facilities are inadequate for the treatment, however, the attending physician may transfer the patient to a more capable clinic after giving the consent.

In addition to all that, it also says that the local government unit has a bigger role to play in the new amended law. IT "must allow the free use of its emergency vehicle to transport the patient" if no ambulance is available for use during the transfer. A staff nurse with advanced cardiovascular life support certification or its equivalent must also accompany the patient in the vehicle.

Section 6, part of the new section creates Health Facilities Oversight Board under the Department of Health to receive complaints or reports about any violation of the law.

Section 7 is an assurance to hospitals that PhilHealth will reimburse the cost of basic emergency care and transportation incurred by the hospital or clinic for the emergency medical services given to poor and indigent patients.

The Department of Health, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Philhealth are now working on the law's Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, author of the law and vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, expresses gratitude to President Duterte. She says that it is very important especially for the poor who can’t afford the deposit in hospitals that might require before treating emergency cases.

Wives Can Drop Husband's Surname Under CGMA and Senator Binay's Bill

August 19, 2017
"Whatever God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."

A famous stanza from the bible that we frequently take notice of in almost all wedding ceremony. Being together is tolerable and manageable after the marriage, but settling blissfully and happily while married is another story. Moreover, if that happens, the couple has no choice but to part ways. For some, it's not easy to drop the surname from their name if they're using it already for sometime. This is especially if they're using them for
Remove wives surname
  • Identification cards
  • Official documents and;
  • Other records

Many women are still using their husband's surname even if they've already been abandoned for a decade, suffered death, or separation; because doing so need a court order. However, if Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's bill will pass, dropping husbands surname will be easy. She filed a measure / bill which seek to empower women to revert to their maiden name even without judicial court order in cases of legal separation of marriage, presumptive death, and abandonment, separation of property or dissolution of marriage.

Under the proposed measure, House Bill no. 6082, called “Reversion to Maiden Name Act”, a woman may revert to her maiden surname after a decree of legal separation, annulment of marriage, nullity of marriage or divorce in another country without going through a judicial process but only administratively through the Office of Civil Registrar.

According to Arroyo, her bill “deletes the tedious and expensive court process” associated with the reversion of their surname.

"Despite the laws and jurisprudence on the matter, there is still an incomplete realization of the woman’s right to continue using her maiden name," she said.

"Domestic situations such as legal separation, separation de facto and such other similar instances are areas where women may still be required to recourse to a court process for change of name in order to revert to the use of their maiden name," she added.

This bill allows a woman to revert to her maiden name under these circumstances:
  1. After her marriage has been judicially declared null and void or after its annulment;
  2. Succeeding a judicial declaration of legal separation provided that there has been no manifestation of reconciliation filed with the court;
  3. After a judicial declaration of separation of property, provided there has been no subsequent decree reviving the old property regime between the spouses;
  4. If the spouses stipulated in their marriage settlement that a regime of' separation of properties shall govern their property relations;
  5. If the petitioner has been de facto separated from or abandoned by her husband for a period of not less than 10 years;
  6. The petitioner's husband may be presumed dead pursuant to the circumstances, periods and conditions; set forth in the Civil Code of the Philippines and the Rules of Court. The bill grants the Civil Registrar General, the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the Supreme Court Administrator the power to issue rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the measure.

Arroyo added that women in this case just need to go to the Office of the Civil Registrar to dismiss their surnames' name. Furthermore, for them to accomplish this without spending a lot of money.

In the Senate, Senator Nancy Binay has filed the same bill that would make it easier for women; separated from or abandoned by their husbands;  to simplify the process by going through the local registry and no longer through a court. Binay filed on August 7, 2017, the Senate Bill No. 1547 or the proposed Reversion to Maiden Name Act. This identifies the grounds that would allow a woman to file a verified petition for reversion before the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where her record is kept.

"In accordance with the Constitution, this measure removes the difficult, costly, and unnecessary court processes that women have to endure in order to revert to their maiden name,” Binay said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The petition for reversion may be allowed in any of the following cases:

  1. After a marriage has been judicially declared null and void or after its annulment;
  2. Succeeding a judicial declaration of legal separation; provided, that there has been no manifestation or reconciliation filed with the court;
  3. After a judicial declaration of separation of property; provided, that there has been no subsequent decree reviving the old property regime between the spouses;
  4. If the spouses stipulated in their marriage settlement that a regime of separation of properties shall govern their property relations;
  5. If the petitioner has been de facto separated from or abandoned by her husband; for a period of not less than 10 years; or
  6. If the petitioner’s husband may be presumed dead pursuant to the circumstances, periods and conditions set forth in the Civil Code of the Philippines and the Rules of Court.
They are tasking the Civil Registrar, the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the Court Administrator to issue the necessary rules and regulations.
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