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SM CDO partners with LGU for free Covid-19 vaccination drive

May 3, 2021

SM Supermalls nationwide begins its multi-mall vaccination drive as it inks partnership with various LGUs nationwide to be the venue for their COVID-19 vaccination program.      In Cagayan de Oro City, the local government has partnered with SM CDO Downtown Premier for the mall to become a venue for the Covid-19 vaccination drive.      “As part of our continuing efforts in preventing the further spread of COVID-19, SM malls all over the country can provide convenient, safe and accessible venues for the community to get vaccinated. Through our long-standing relationship with the LGUs, we remain committed in ensuring the health and safety of the public,” said SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.        SM CDO Downtown Premier’s cinema hallway at the fourth level was repurposed to hold the vaccination activity. The program prioritizes the inoculation of senior citizens.      SM is closely coordinating with more LGUs as it begins to roll out more vaccination centers nationwide to help expedite the administration of COVID-19 vaccines and curb the spread of the virus.

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Security in uncertain times: Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program gives opportunities for returning OFWs amid pandemic

May 1, 2021

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI), the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country, has committed to helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) via its Balik Pinas program—an initiative that provides repatriated OFWs due to COVID-19 with opportunities to start their own businesses.   Since the program’s expansion in 2020 as a direct response to the pandemic-wrought job crisis, CCBPI has received over 400 inquiries and has thus far assisted over 40 OFWs in becoming business owners who are now part of the Coca-Cola family as distributors or wholesalers.    “By providing livelihood opportunities, especially to those who suddenly found themselves without stable incomes and unable to provide for their families, Coca-Cola is staying true to its pledge to help revive the Philippine economy via job generation and to support Filipinos confronting adversities,” says Gareth McGeown, CEO and President of CCBPI.   CCBPI assists former OFWs in choosing a suitable business model for their area, helps in managing their cash flow and inventory, and sees to it that they are given proper guidance and training until they are prepared and fully equipped to operate on their own—all in all, a sustainable and profitable business founded on practical support from a global beverage brand.   The Company’s goal to assist Filipinos, and consequently revitalize the economy at such a critical time, has been steadily expanding in reach to transform more lives. Further illustrating the program’s success by bringing Coca-Cola to more communities, we follow these Balik Pinas Program pioneers wo have just rewritten the trajectories of their life stories with their inspiring journeys—Melody Carillo, Jo Mari Biara, and Glenn Dela Cerna.      Selfless motherhood rising above a reversal of fortunes   Returning OFW Melody Carillo with her daughter, proudly shows off Sam Yau Consumer Goods Wholesaling—the business she established in Brgy. Kalaisan, Kidapawan through the help of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas Program.    With her nine-month-old baby in tow, Melody Carillo returned to the Philippines from Hong Kong, following a series of devastations ranging from personal heartache to professional disappointment. She and her then-newborn were abandoned by the child’s father—and then the pandemic collided against the renewal of her contract as a domestic helper and nanny when her employers had to cut costs after losing their own jobs.   Melody’s story was marked by a reversal of fortunes, but she overcame her challenges with her perseverance and her strong will. Upon her unplanned homecoming in September 2020, Melody bravely confronted the need to support her small family. Her original plan to start her own business—the reason she left for Hong Kong in the first place—found footing in her hometown of Brgy. Kalaisan, Kidapawan.   Melody learned of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program through Sales Associate Ariel Pocot, and the two discussed how the program could help her achieve her dream of becoming a business owner. At the tail-end of February 2021, Sum Yau Consumer Goods Wholesaling—named after Melody’s daughter—was successfully launched. In just under a month of operations, Sum Yau has bought and sold around 4,200 cases of Coca-Cola beverages.   Melody shares that she is “so happy and blessed” for having been given an opportunity to pursue a livelihood, no matter the personal obstacles she had to face. She credits the Coca-Cola South Davao Sales Team for guiding her through every step of the process, from the initial orientation to her first order and delivery, from establishing a servicing schedule to training her how to sell.     Avenues for altruistic service   Balik Pinas pioneer Jo Mari Baira with Coca-Cola Representatives led by Region Sales Manager Wendell Dayrit, in front of his store in the Municipality of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat. Joms was one of the recipients of OWWA’s Balik Bayani Award 2020.   Jo Mari Baira had been working in Saudi Arabia for nearly seven years as a payroll officer. He considers himself a passionate individual, with a big heart that was increasingly insisting on a life of service for his country—which is why Joms took the chance to return home to reunite with his family in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and serve his local community.   A different opportunity for service, however, presented itself to Jo Mari upon his return to the Philippines through a friend who convinced him to team up with his sister to start a small business venture. According to Joms, thanks to Coca-Cola’s never-ending support, the business they started since returning home from Saudi has been fruitful since its first day of operations.   “Hindi nila [Coca-Cola] kami iniiwan, everyday open ang komunikasyon, consistent sila sa mga emails at check-ups o sa kamustahan. At natutuwa kami ngayon dahil hindi lamang nagbebenta sila sa amin pero nag-aasist sila palagi,” shares Joms. [Coca-Cola has never left us behind, communication lines were open every day, and they were consistent with their emails and with checking up on us. We’re happy that the relationship is not just based on selling; they are always present to assist us.]   Joms takes pride in the growth of their small business via the Balik Pinas program—an avenue to provide for his family and an opportunity to serve his community. He shares that he plans to expand his small business as a distributor and dealer, involve and engage the rest of the community, and serve as an inspiration to fellow OFWs.     Family at the heart of the business   Now a businessman thanks to the Balik Pinas Program, Glenn Dela Cerna gives a big thumbs up to celebrate the success of his store in Brgy Quezon, Surigao City. Glenn returned home to the Philippines after working for 15-years in Abu Dhabi. He was recognized by DOLE-OWWA during its Balik Bayani Awards 2020.   Another Balik Pinas program pioneer, Glenn Dela Cerna, spent almost 15 years as a construction worker and electrical foreman in Abu Dhabi—to provide for the needs and the welfare of his family back home in Surigao City. The pandemic, however, had him returning home and worrying about the cost of his children’s education given the loss of his long-standing livelihood.   A small business, one he can attend to in the immediate orbit of his family, was the route he took—and Glenn emerged as a businessman and wholesaler with the help of Balik Pinas. Glenn describes how helpful Coke has been, supporting him throughout the challenges of launching a business—which, in his case, involves servicing a more remote area.   “Nag start na kami at within 24 hours may na-deliver na sa amin na mga produkto. Mga 30 to 40 cases na agad, at nagbigay din sila ng cooler, stand, at lalagyan para sa products,” shares Glenn. [Within 24 hours of starting, we received the delivery of around 30 to 40 cases of Coke products. They also sent over a cooler, stands, and containers for products.]   Glenn and his family take pride in their business, particularly in building it from the ground up. Driven by his immense love for family and his determination to reach a more comfortable future, he shares that he would like to stay in the Philippines and further grow his business.      Coca-Cola standing in solidarity with Filipinos   The common thread winding their way through the stories of Balik Pinas pioneers is the drive to secure a better tomorrow for their family. This reflects Coca-Cola’s main goal for the program—to provide opportunities to Filipinos, especially those who have been severely affected by these challenging times, and help restart the local economy by providing individuals the possibility of starting their own livelihood.   According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), over 400,000 OFWs have been repatriated since January 2021. With the help of DOLE and local government units, Coca-Cola aims to reach more OFWs who are interested in starting their own business through Balik Pinas.    For referrals and more details, contact the Coca-Cola contact center at (02)-8813-COKE (2653). Spread the word to be one with the Company in helping our kababayan.

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AboitizPower banks on performance improvements in pursuit of RE goals

April 26, 2021

Aboitiz Power Corporation continues to ramp up efforts to improve the performance of its renewable energy facilities across the country, especially as it pursues a greater share of RE in its capacity mix by 2030.      AboitizPower President and CEO Emmanuel V. Rubio said that while a majority of the company’s RE aspirations involve building or acquiring power plants, they want to make sure their existing assets continue to serve the RE needs of the country.      “We continuously look for ways to improve the performance of our Cleanergy plants in order to achieve our availability and reliability targets. This will be an important part of our operations as we work on our goal of achieving a 50:50 balance between our Cleanergy and thermal portfolios in the next 10 years,” he added.      True to this commitment, AboitizPower’s run-of-river hydropower unit Hedcor logged a total generation of 182 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) for the first quarter of 2021, breaking its own forecast of 123 million kWh for the covered period.      “Aside from the favorable weather conditions, Hedcor’s performance for the first quarter of 2021 is largely driven by our continued efforts to improve plant reliability,” Hedcor Vice President for Operations Rolando Pacquiao said.      Hedcor has consistently hit its monthly generation targets while powering some 76,000 households, mainly attributed to the steady improvements in Hedcor’s reliability performance, which includes ensuring high availability and maintaining low unplanned downtime hours.      Pacquiao said this entails continuous efforts to automate its legacy hydro plants in Luzon, as well as the integration of the Manolo Fortich Hydros in Bukidnon to the Mindanao Control Center, which will allow Hedcor to control all its plants across Mindanao from a single control room. Hedcor’s automation initiatives include putting in place systems aimed at improving operational efficiency, enhancing safety by minimizing the interaction between plant operators and the various machines, as well as enabling real-time monitoring to help them stay on top of their operations.      Compared to Hedcor’s first-quarter performance in the past five years, the group’s daily generation percentage was at its highest and most consistent in 2021. The hydropower firm logged an average daily generation percentage of 145.41 percent versus last year’s first-quarter figure of 80.99 percent.      This outstanding performance of Hedcor translates to a larger equivalent benefit that Hedcor’s host communities will reap, a part of which includes educational assistance, livelihood projects, health programs, and environmental initiatives.      Amid the pandemic, Hedcor ensures to meet the energy needs of the community through clean and renewable energy. In 2020, Hedcor recorded an annual generation of 957GWh, powering around 400,000 households year-round.      AboitizPower envisions a 50:50 balance between its renewable and thermal portfolios by 2030, further growing its Cleanergy capacity along the way in an effort to help build the country’s RE market and contribute to the global RE goals.

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Apo Agua achieves 5 million safe man-hours

April 19, 2021

Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. (Apo Agua) through its Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Contractor J.V. Angeles Construction Corporation (JVACC), recently achieved five million safe man-hours, as it ramps up construction activities for the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP).      Apo Agua, a joint venture company between Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. and JVACC, continues to meet the safety standards set by the Department of Labor and Employment while working on Part A of the DCBWSP of Davao City Water District (DCWD). Part A includes the Water Intake Structure, Raw Water Transmission Lines, Water Treatment Plant, Hydroelectric Power Plant, and Treated Water Transmission Lines.       DCWD is working on Part B of the DCBWSP, which consists of the construction of facilities for various off-take points, primary transmission/distribution pipe mains and storage facilities, and the distribution of treated water to residential, government, commercial, industrial and bulk water end-users.      Once operational, the DCBWSP will provide an average of 300 million liters of treated water per day for more than one million Davaoeños.      “As we are hard at work to expedite the completion of the DCBWSP amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our team members and site workers remains to be a top priority for us. As such, we ensure everyone’s compliance with all our safety policies and health protocols,” said Shake A. Tuason, Apo Agua Operations Head.      The project has provided employment opportunities to over 4,700 workers to date, with the majority coming from Apo Agua’s host and partner communities.      “We at JVACC are very happy to have attained a significant milestone of five million safe man-hours without lost time accident. Even with the terrain and environment this project is subjected to, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that everyone at JVACC should return safely to their families,” said Kathryn Angeles, JVACC’s Chief Executive Officer.      “As the sum of our individual actions has contributed to achieving this milestone, we would like to thank everyone on our team for continuing to deliver and persevere,” she added.      This latest milestone affirms Apo Agua’s commitment to health and safety as it works to advance business and communities.

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Oca appoints New HISCOM

April 17, 2021

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno inducted into office the new members of the City Historical and Cultural Commission on Tuesday, April 13 following the expiration of the term of all members who were appointed on February 10, 2016.      Nicolas P. Aca, Jr, the city’s pre-eminent performance artist and also a member of the previous set of Hiscom members has been appointed chairperson with the following as members: Patrick U. Gabutina, Kristian Ian S. Sulmayor, Clara Marie Asuncion Gonzales-Elizaga and Froilan O. Gallardo.      The appointments were made by virtue of City Ordinance No. 3554-93, as amended by City Ordinance No. 4560-94, creating the “Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission,” which shall serve, among others, as an advisory body to the City Mayor and the City Council concerning local history and culture.      Executive Order No. 038-Series of 2021 further stressed the urgent need to reconstitute the membership of the Commission which shall spearhead efforts of the city government to preserve local history and promote Kagay-anon culture.      Two of the previous set of commissioners, Dr. Linda M. Burton and Dr. Glory M. Madale, passed away before the end of their appointed terms, while two others, Fr Dan Coronel and Mike Baños, resigned due to other pressing matters, leaving only Nicolas Aca as the sole remaining member.

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NHCP approves historical marker for Kagay-anon Patriot

April 15, 2021

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has approved the installation of a historical marker to honor the late World War II patriot Antonio Julian Montalván. Signed by Dr. Rene R. Escalante, NHCP Chairman of the Board, the approved text in Pilipino reads:   Antonio Julian Montalván y Corrales (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team as G-2, MC Liaison and Intelligence Officer, of the 10th Military District under Col. Wendell W.  Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  “He was a medical doctor, first assigned at the Misamis Provincial Hospital (now the Northern Mindanao Medical Center), then to Cebu, then Palompon in Leyte,” said his namesake and nephew anthropologist and columnist Antonio J. “Nono” Montalvan II. “He later served as public health doctor in Iligan.”   When the war began, he was the personal medic of Col. Wendell W. Fertig, head of the organized guerrilla resistance in Mindanao under the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines. He was recruited to serve as a spy by their cousin and brother-in-law Senator José Ozámiz.   The group helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. Later, he became part of a Manila spy network.   Montalván first served as courier between Manila and Mindanao. The boat would land in Pagbilao, Quezon near Tayabas. Then he would proceed to Manila to get in touch with the Manila spy network (Spyron). Then newly married to Rosario Llamas, a cousin of Virginia Llamas Romulo, -- the first Mrs. Carlos P. Romulo—he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai in Lucena, Tayabas town, in the house of his mother in-law Doña Tecla Capistrano Llamas. He was about to pack his bags for another clandestine boat trip to Mindanao after completing three successful trips when he was betrayed by one of the carpenters working in house.   The Japanese later detained and tortured him in Fort Santiago and at the Old Bilibid Prisons in Manila.   On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles "Chick" Parsons. The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery.   One of the perpendicular streets which links Burgos to Apolinar Velez streets in Cagayan de Oro City has been named in his honor. Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo describes Montalván as a "World War II hero of Mindanao".   BGen Restituto L. Aguilar, (ret.), NHCP Executive Director, and former Chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) acknowledges much remains to be done in giving Filipino patriots and heroes of World War II the respect and recognition they deserve.   “The Second World War produced thousands of heroes but very few of them were known,” Aguilar notes. “Unlike in the Philippine Revolution and Fil-Am War where the concentration of large-scale fighting was in the 8 provinces around Manila, with some in various provinces, resistance to Japanese invasion and occupation was from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.” “After the war, there were over 400,000 guerrillas who were recognized. Add to these the over 100,000 who died fighting for our country. This was a big percentage to our population which was 18 million at the outbreak of war.” “Every veteran who fought for our country’s freedom are heroes that we must treasure. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices for fighting for the freedom we enjoy today. Their investment was their blood, sweat and tears.” “It is time for us to rediscover the unsung and unknown heroes in our family and we will be surprised to know that we have the blood of heroes in our veins. It is our duty in this generation to honor our heroes.”

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