The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the lives of millions of workers worldwide, its impact far reaching and devastating to a multitude of industries and previously lucrative enterprises in tourism, hospitality or events are reeling from the losses and lost income opportunities and it may take them a few years to fully recover.
If there are lessons learned during the pandemic, it is that any business — whether it is a large-scale manufacturer, a back office with 50 workers, or a micro-enterprise with a home-based operation — must be ready to face any crisis, without the need to sacrifice workers’ welfare.
Bayan Academy, a social enterprise empowering Filipino workers with skills and knowledge, saw the pandemic as an opportunity to expand its reach via online communication. With programs validated by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and supported by global financial services giant J.P. Morgan, Bayan Academy offered its various courses online, starting with “Contact Center Services,” “Virtual Assistant” and “Basic Programming.”
Skills that will be developed from these courses were identified as “essential” or with high demand, especially as the economies of the New Normal will rely heavily on AI-enabled digital technology and automation.
“Online training will now become the norm rather than the exception,” said Bayan Academy chairman and president Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr. “The crisis is not a time to retreat, but to equip ourselves further, retool our way of thinking and update our skills. This is what we are doing at Bayan Academy as we continuously reach out to retrenched workers; micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) and all those who want to improve their lot in life and survive not only this crisis, but whatever the future may bring.”
The initiatives of Bayan Academy are fully supported by J.P. Morgan.
“We remain committed to the efforts of institutions such as Bayan Academy in providing work access and increased opportunities for the Filipino,” said J.P. Morgan Philippines senior country officer Carlos Ma. G. Mendoza.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities all over the world, and the best way to address the crisis is by continuously investing in human capital and equipping individuals with the necessary skills to survive challenges that may come their way,” he added.
During the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Bayan Academy intensified its online courses as a second batch of online training graduates completed the Basic Programming using Python course.
This would allow the graduates, some who are underemployed ones, to find work or business in the digital economy, which is robust during the pandemic when everyone is quarantined at home.
Earlier this year, Bayan Academy, together with TESDA and J.P. Morgan, presented the “2018-2022 NTESDP (National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan) Action Programming,” a landmark study dubbed as a guide for the “new dawn for works skills and jobs training in the Philippines.”
The NTESDP presented a strong, unified, and sustainable national system for high-level tech-voc skills training program that has a long-term vision of making Filipinos in-demand and skilled for the challenges of the future, especially in the face of the New Normal.
In a landmark move to create comprehensive changes that will strengthen the standards of Philippine Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to bring about reforms relevant to the needs of eight priority industries identified in the NTESDP, Bayan Academy and TESDA — supported by J.P. Morgan and various government and industry stakeholders — led a series of technical working group (TWG) meetings and consultations aiming to formulate industry-led curricula and enterprise-based training and identify critical skills expected from technical education scholars and graduates.
The consultations also led in the conceptualization of industry action programs and resource allocation plans in support of the NTESDP.
TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña cited all those who contributed to the formulation of the 2018-2022 NTESDP Action Plan. Lapeña said that while the government is intent on tackling challenges in employment and skills training, he emphasized the need for strengthened collaboration among public-private partners to translate the NTESDP into specific, “demand-driven” TVET programs.
“TESDA and Bayan Academy will jointly implement the conduct of TESDA organizational diagnosis. This will result in the design of a TESDA structure that is more demand-driven and industry-led organization for the effective delivery of the action programs for the eight priority industries,” the TESDA chief said.
Even before the pandemic, Dr. Morato foresaw the need to open inclusive alternative pathways to quality employment, and to expand vocational education opportunities for Filipinos, especially those in the most underserved communities to prepare for future jobs that are crisis-proof.
“It is important to reform the Philippine national vocational education by developing its eight priority NTESDP action and investment programs, and to pilot the integration of cross-cutting IT training modules across all eight industries to strengthen employability in higher value-added positions,” Dr. Morato said.
One of the priority industries identified in the NTESDP was agriculture, which made a lot of people concerned during the pandemic as it is also about food security, jobs generation, and countryside development.
Bayan Academy is currently developing online courses and programs to tackle issues on agriculture in order for more Filipinos to find crisis-proof opportunities and gainful employment in this industry.
Siomai King launches mouth-watering seasonal products
Online franchise sensation Siomai King now brings to the market authentic, all-time Chinese food favorites thru its online ordering portal with more choices to enjoy.
Experience the unique taste of Taiwan Beef Noodles, Pork Gyoza, Vegetarian Kuchai and regular Pork Dumplings, the oriental zesty taste of Spicy Chicken, Spicy squid and Spicy pork.
Also included in the Siomai King Express seasonal mouth-watering product line up are the unique Taiwan Asado and Bola bola siopaos that boast of rich taste, and its four Manthou line up namely; Regular, wheat, brown and Ube that can be enjoyed any time of the day.
Easy to prepare, with cooking instructions indicated on every Siomai King Express seasonal products, they’ll surely turn your dining room into a Chinese restaurant in no time!
Both Siomai King franchisees and customers can enjoy the delectable frozen oriental choices. As the demand continues to grow, Siomai King said it is committed to develop and innovate more of its services while adding more to its menu.
Browse online for those interested in franchising or buying Siomai King’s delectable offerings.
ZRewards extends hand to jeepney drivers
ZRewards by Zeal, in partnership with Lalamove and Minimart.ph, has turned over care packages composed of food, toiletries, laundry supplies, and protective equipment, to jeepney drivers and their families who were displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The move was part of the HELPJEEP campaign launched by the three parties last July wherein the public was encouraged to take part by simply becoming a member of ZRewards for free.
ZRewards, in turn, committed to provide care packages upon reaching its target membership milestone.
“We are proud to have gone through this initiative to help our jeepney drivers and their families together with Lalamove and Minimart. It is important for us to proactively serve the community and practice our commitment to make sure that no Filipino is left behind,” said Glenn Estrella from the Zeal Entrepreneur in Residence.
ZRewards is the country’s newest one-stop shop for premium and solid deals, discounts, and vouchers ranging from food, beauty, health and fitness, entertainment, among other offers, redeemable at online shops and physical stores.
For the HELPJEEP campaign, ZRewards partnered with on-demand delivery company Lalamove to access the Lalajeep drivers who were among the hardest hit by community quarantine restrictions.
The jeepney drivers who lost their livelihoods were taken in by Lalamove in agreement with the Quezon City local government unit. Instead of carrying passengers, Lalajeeps carry goods for businesses which need a more affordable means to deliver their products.
Minimart.ph, on the other hand, provided a generous discount for the items as well as free packaging and free delivery to the QC distribution site designated by Lalamove.
“The partnership with Zeal and Minimart is aligned with our goal to empower our Lalajeep community to continuously reach out to them. The jeepney community was among the most heavily affected by the pandemic, and we are very happy to continue to provide them a means to earn, and moreover, deliver possibilities of having a care package for them to provide essential goods,” said Lalamove Philippines managing director Dannah Majarocon.
ZRewards continues to support the stricken communities and anyone can help by signing up for free at https://zeal.ph/signup. ZRewards members will also benefit from the different discounted offers from a wide array of merchants such as Flowerstore.ph, Minimart.ph, Melo’s Steakhouse, Beauty Scout, ZALORA Philippines, The Naturale Market, Audio-Video Solutions Corporation, Avignon Clinic, Digits Trading Corp, Harem Inc, AJ Wellness Corporation, IAJ Wellness Corporation, papemelroti, Malongo Atelier Barista, The Smile Bar, Chris Sports, Toby Sports and Trident Food Holdings Inc.
ZRewards by Zeal is a brand of 917Ventures, the largest corporate incubator in the Philippines and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe.
Batangas, Muntinlupa vie in We Love Cities 2020 tilt
The cities of Batangas and Muntinlupa are in the running for this year’s leg of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s We Love Cities Campaign — a public engagement initiative that aims to raise awareness on the sustainability progress being made in these cities as well as inspire citizens to become a part of the process.
Launched by WWF in 2013, the campaign engages people across the globe in promoting sustainable urban development by voting for their favorite finalist and posting improvement suggestions for these cities.
It also gives the general public an opportunity to celebrate, vote and upgrade their city through suggestions made and addressed to decision makers.
Since its inception, over 150 cities have participated and more than 100,000 citizen improvement suggestions have been shared with city officials.
With cities accounting for 70 percent of carbon emissions worldwide and playing a pivotal role in generating the global GDP, they are encouraged to share climate mitigation plans centered in their critical role of building a sustainable and climate-safe future, taking into consideration their influence and power to transition to a more stable climate.
Atty. Angela Ibay, WWF-Philippines’ Climate and Energy program head, expressed her appreciation for the country’s local qualifiers this year as they participate in this campaign to promote sustainable urban development.
“Even at a time when cities are addressing the effects of the pandemic, our finalist cities are showing that getting its residents involved in this campaign would enable the cities to further share and strengthen their actions towards sustainable development and hopefully inspire and empower others to do so,” she said.
Araneta City beefs up COVID response
A safety initiative implemented three years ago has allowed Araneta City to come prepared in responding to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
In 2017, Araneta City started installing energy-conserving Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) modules for air sanitation at the Gateway Mall and Gateway Tower.
The UVGI — installed in an establishment’s air handling unit — uses UV light to kill or inactivate microorganisms that may be harmful to human health and a total of 48 UVGI modules were installed in Gateway Mall and 92 UVGI modules in Gateway Tower for improved indoor air quality to match most commercial establishments.
Araneta City partnered with MSL Global Corporation, a local company that specializes in innovative ventilation solutions focusing on UVGI as its core technology.
The company has been promoting ASPIRO UVGI in the Philippines since 2011.
By March 2020, COVID-19 began spreading in the country, compromising health security and daily life operations.
While it was initially believed that the virus is spread through close contact, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in July confirmed that airborne viral transmission is also possible in indoor settings.
The WHO finding supported the position document of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in April, which recommended ventilation-related strategies — which include UVGI — to mitigate the spread of virus indoors.
Araneta City’s foresight has played a contributing role in its preparation for scenarios such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
As validated by AHRAE’s position document, Gateway Mall and Gateway Tower came ready in terms of robust indoor air management.
The UVGI initiative program started years ago now complements the City of Firsts’ safety guidelines and protocols to keep the Gateway properties safe for shoppers and tenants.
“With the UVGI modules, we now embrace a ‘multi-barrier approach’ for viral transmission control. Apart from our efforts to educate people with proper hygiene and to put in place government-mandated safety measures, we have also utilized energy-efficient technology as an additional intervention for preventing the spread of virus at Araneta City. Indeed, safety comes first at the City of Firsts,” said senior vice president for Operations Antonio Mardo.
To keep Araneta City proactive and vigilant in promoting public health and safety, Mardo added that they are planning to install more UVGI modules in other malls and properties at the City of Firsts soon.
Rebisco, DepEd join forces
Keeping the Filipino bayanihan spirit alive, the Republic Biscuit Corporation (Rebisco) recently launched new programs to aid the continued education of school children during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
As the Department of Education (DepEd) pushes for online learning at home to curb the spread of the virus, Rebisco has come up with a series of learning materials in various formats that both educators and students can use.
In July, Rebisco began its distribution of supplementary learning kits to 240 public schools in NCR which contains school materials such as pencils, crayons and other basic school supplies.
According to Quezon City, Pasay and Las Piñas school divisions, Rebisco is the first private stakeholder to respond to DepEd’s “Bayanihan Para Sa Paaralan” which seeks for support from private sectors in producing modified learning materials fit for home education.
As the effects of the global pandemic were utterly unexpected, support from private entities are very crucial in accomplishing all planned activities for restructuring and reorganizing the education system to cope with the changes.
Supplementary activity worksheets were also produced by Rebisco and will be incorporated into the printed modules that the DepEd will distribute to students once the school year officially starts on 5 October.
Emirates offers student benefits
Emirates has introduced an exciting new deal that will help international students to see more of their family and more of the world during the year.
Whether it is to travel between home and school, or to see more of the world with friends during school breaks throughout the year, student travelers can enjoy special discounts off Economy and Business class fares, additional baggage on top of Emirates’ generous standard allowance, and a free date change of their booking up until seven days before travel.
In addition, their family and companions can also enjoy this unique offer, as long as they are accompanied by the student on one of the trip sectors.
Millions of students have chosen to further their education in institutions outside of their home country and data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics shows that the figure is on a rising trend as young people become savvy about their travel and education options.
Many international students also travel during the school year with their friends or to gain new experiences.
In line with Emirates’ proposition as a global connector of people and places, the airline is launching this offer to encourage students to see more of the world and help them visit their families more often, with flexibility to amend their booking in case travel plans change.
Tickets must be booked by 31 October 2020, using the promotional code STUDENT. All tickets have a maximum stay validity of 12 months. For more information on the offer, visit: www.emirates.com/studentoffer2020
Students can earn miles to redeem flights, upgrades and a range of exciting rewards when they sign up to the Emirates Skywards loyalty program.
Health and safety: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to all customers.
Sun Life launches ‘Byahero Protect’
In keeping with its commitment to help Filipinos stay financially protected, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. (Sun Life) launches Byahero Protect, a digital insurance product that covers accidents and provides additional benefits for those that may happen during land travel.
Exclusively available to registered members of Lazada for only ₱100, Byahero Protect provides a coverage of ₱25,000 in case of accidental death or dismemberment, with additional payout and burial benefits if the death was due to a land travel accident. Aside from these, a daily hospitalization income benefit worth ₱250 a day for up to a maximum of 10 days will also be given in case the insured is hospitalized because of a land-travel accident, plus an additional amount if confined in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Availing of Byahero Protect takes only a few easy steps. The Lazada member simply has to visit the Sun Life Flagship Store on Lazada, add Byahero Protect to his cart, and proceed with check-out. Once payment has been completed, a registration link will be sent to his registered email address within two (2) business days. He needs to click the link and complete the registration process to receive his electronic Proof of Coverage via email. This will signal the start of his coverage.
“As Filipinos find their way in the new normal, more and more will be venturing out on the roads to pursue their livelihood. Staying financially protected is paramount more than ever, especially if they have loved ones who rely on them,” says Sun Life Philippines CEO and Country Head Benedict Sison. “With Byahero Protect, we can help alleviate worries so they can focus on being productive and getting home safely to their families. This is our way of reinforcing our commitment to help Filipinos secure a brighter future.”
With Byahero Protect, Sun Life further strengthens its suite of Digital Easy Affordable Life insurance products, which includes Life Armor, Family Armor, and Personal Accident Armor. All these may be availed through Lazada, as part of Sun Life’s efforts to make insurance more inclusive for Filipinos.
Tommy Hilfiger boosts sustainability campaign
Tommy Hilfiger — which is owned by PVH Corp. — announce the launching of “Make it Possible,” a bold approach to environmental and social sustainability that reinforces the organization’s commitment to create fashion that ‘Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All’.
With Make it Possible, Tommy Hilfiger is initially committing to 24 ambitious targets centered around circularity and inclusivity, outlined across four pillars towards 2030 — Circle Round; Made for Life; Everyone Welcome; and Opportunity for All.
Tommy Hilfiger’s program is powered by parent company PVH Corp’s Forward Fashion strategy, a set of 15 priorities designed to reduce negative impacts to zero, increase positive impacts to 100 percent and improve the over one million lives across the company’s value chain.
“I opened my first store, People’s Place, in 1969 in my hometown of Elmira for people of all backgrounds to come together and share exciting pop culture experiences,” said Hilfiger.
“As our brand has evolved over the years, driven by this inclusive spirit, so has our commitment to social and environmental sustainability. With Make it Possible, we will go even further with our commitment. We’re working towards our vision with the entire organization focused on it and, while we’re not there yet, we are going to get there,” he added.
“In these times of health, human, environmental and economic crisis, we share a responsibility to find innovative solutions that will encourage inclusivity and build a more circular future,” said Martijn Hagman, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe.
“It is in our nature to drive change, even in the most challenging of times, which is why we are announcing our ambitious Make it Possible sustainability program, outlining 24 targets towards 2030.”
“Tommy Hilfiger has a decade’s long track-record for driving a more sustainable future, including pioneering low impact denim processes, championing water stewardship, and creating more inclusive collections. Make it Possible is one way we will work together to make a meaningful and lasting contribution towards a better fashion industry,” he added.
Make it Possible marks the latest milestone in Tommy Hilfiger’s sustainability journey. Key achievements include the launch of Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive, designed to make dressing easier for adults and children with disabilities, and the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge, a global program aimed to support start-up and scale-up stage businesses developing solutions that promote inclusivity and sustainability in fashion.
Nokia invades Zalora
HMD Global — the home of Nokia phones — partners with Zalora, the leading fashion e-commerce destination in the Philippines and as the first mobile phone brand to join the platform on its new Home and Lifestyle shopping category, fans can find exclusively on Zalora an exciting discount for the Nokia 7.2, a stunning smartphone packed with powerful 48MP triple cameras and state-of-the-art HDR PureDisplay technology.
The Nokia 7.2 in Charcoal and Cyan Green colour variants will be bundled with a free hoodie and a clear case, all for P12,990, saving customers P3,000 from the phone’s original price of P15,990.
This special price discount will be exclusive on Zalora until 27 October 2020 and is also available at all Nokia phones stores and authorized retail partners nationwide.
“Becoming the first mobile phone to be on Zalora for their latest category expansion is just one of the big steps we are taking to reach more Filipino Nokia phones fans. We will continue to bring our mobile innovations to accessible and convenient platforms to keep up with our valued customers’ lifestyle needs. It truly just keeps getting better with Nokia phones,” said Sancho Chak, HMD Global general manager for the Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Ride the trend for indoor shots with Nokia 7.2’s triple cameras with ZEISS Optics — equipped with a highly sensitive 48MP main sensor to capture the tiniest details, a depth sensor to enable true-to-life ZEISS portraits and an ultra-wide 118-degree camera.
It delivers an advanced image fusion algorithm, significantly reducing noise, optimizing the dynamic range and removing any motion blurs in every photograph. Its AI-powered night mode allows users to capture the perfect moment even in low light, combining image fusion and exposure stacking to deliver a stellar low-light performance.
As part of the Android One partnership, Nokia 7.2 comes with guaranteed monthly security updates for three years and OS updates for two years, so your smartphone will get better over time.
As part of that promise, the Nokia 7.2 has already received an OS upgrade and is now on Android 10.