Mariwasa, GMA Kapuso turnover newly-built classrooms in Yolanda-hit Guiuan town

ATT00002Ms. Carmela “Mel” Tiangco (right), GMAKF executive vice president and chief operating officer joins school and municipality officials in the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of Sulangan National High School in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

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Guiuan, Eastern Samar – Mariwasa, the country’s leading tile maker, once again joins GMA Foundation Kapuso in the inauguration of several high school and elementary school classrooms in Brgy. Sulangan of the said typhoon-hit town.

A total of five (5) rehabilitated classrooms and two (2) new classrooms were turned over in Sulangan National High School and six (6) restored classroom plus (2) new classrooms were also turned over in Sulangan Central Elementary School, all of which have a toilet inside the classroom where Mariwasa tiles were installed.

The ceremony was attended by GMA Kapuso Foundation, INC. (GMAKF) executive vice president and chief operating officer Ms. Carmela “Mel” Tiangco, together with several school and municipality officials and representatives of Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. (MSC).

In November last year, supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated vast parts of the Visayas area which left tens of thousands of people severely affected. Guiuan, a coastal town situated at the southern tip of Samar island, bore the brunt of the typhoon as it was the place where Yolanda first made landfall. The storm completely levelled the whole town damaging houses and buildings and leaving more than a hundred people dead or missing.

At the same month, MSC partnered with GMAKF and donated P1,000,000.00 worth of relief goods and in-kind products for rehabilitation use to help fellow Filipinos alleviate their suffering caused by the disaster.

MSC and GMAKF are long time partners in uplifting the lives of our countrymen in need as part of the former’s corporate social responsibility and the latter’s mission and long-standing initiative as a socio-civic foundation.

SSS lauds top companies in Balikat ng Bayan Awards

The Social Security System (SSS) has recognized 12 companies as national winners of the 2014 SSS Balikat ng Bayan Awards for their significant contribution to the attainment of SSS’ goals and mission. The 12 awardees received “Balikat ng Bayan” plaques, specially made by renowned Filipino sculptor Dr. Antonino Raymundo during the awarding ceremonies held at the SSS corporate headquarters on September 25.

Handing out the awards were Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando V. Tetangco, Jr who was the guest of honor and speaker together with Social Security Commission Chairman Juan B. Santos and SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros Jr.

SSS Balikat ng Bayan Awards Committee Chairman and Chief Legal Counsel Voltaire P. Agas said the 2014 Balikat ng Bayan awardees consisted of two top employers, four best collection partners, three best paying partners and three best media partners.

“Every year, we mark our anniversary by honoring institutions that have helped us outstandingly in advancing the social security protection of Filipino workers. The term “Balikat ng Bayan” aptly represents the kind of partnership that we have between them, which benefits millions of SSS members and their beneficiaries,” Agas said.

This year’s SSS Top Employer distinction went to Cebu Mitsumi Inc., an electronic parts manufacturing company with over 13,000 employees, and PYP Agro Industries Inc., a Tarlac-based company engaged in ice and cold storage and water refilling and bottling station with 70 employees, the two emerged as winners in the large and small/medium accounts categories, respectively.

“Both companies exercised strict compliance with the SSS law, which requires for the compulsory coverage of employees, remittance of SSS contributions and loan payments, and accurate and timely submission of collection reports, among others.” Agas said.

For SSS’s collection partners for members’ contributions and loan payments, the winners were Bank of the Philippines Islands as Best Commercial Bank, RCBC Savings Bank as Best Thrift Bank, and One Network Bank Inc. as Best Rural Bank. The Best Collecting Partner for OFW remittances was awarded to Ventaja International Corporation.

Three depository banks were named as SSS Best Paying Partners for servicing the accounts of SSS pensioners through their wide network of local branches. The winners under the category were the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company as Best Commercial Bank, BPI Family Savings Bank as Best Thrift Bank, and One Network Bank, Inc. as Best Rural Bank.

“Aside from partner employers and banks, we also deemed it worthy to recognize the efforts of those media organizations that have significantly elevated the discourse about the importance of social security coverage, particularly the SSS program,” Agas said.

Manila Bulletin was selected as the SSS’ Best Media Partner for Print for the third time in a row. UNTV’s Good Morning Kuya emerged as the winner in the television category, while Imbestigador of GMA Super Radyo DYSS Cebu won in the radio category.

The SSS for the first time presented special citations to Balikat ng Bayan Hall of Famers, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, and iRemit, Inc. Radio program Usapang de Campanilla of DZMM was also cited for its consistent display of efforts in putting forward the objectives and messages of the SSS.

The SSS Balikat ng Bayan Awards was one of the highlights of the 57thanniversary celebrations of the SSS. To date, a total of 159 companies have been given the distinction since it was first endowed in 1995. 

SSS unveils provident fund for members

The Social Security System (SSS) has opened a voluntary provident fund program that offers its members an additional way of saving for their retirement.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros, Jr said the new retirement savings scheme called the SSS Personal Equity and Savings Option (SSS PESO) fund is an alternative and tax-free investment that would help members accumulate adequate income in retirement and earn a reasonable rate of return.

SSS PESO savings can be used to supplement the benefits available under the regular SSS program. It offers guaranteed earnings based on rates higher than those at brick-and-mortar banks.” De Quiros said.

The SSS PESO fund is open to all members below 55 years old with six consecutive SSS contributions within the last 12 months prior to enrollment and have not yet filed final claims with the SSS.

Qualified members can participate for a minimum contribution of P1,000 up to a maximum of P100,000 per year.

One’s membership will start upon receipt of first contribution. Succeeding SSS PESO Fund contributions can be made anytime as long as there is a corresponding SSS contribution on the month of contribution,” De Quiros said.

De Quiros said self-employed, voluntary and OFW members should be paying the maximum SSS contribution to qualify. “They will also need to pay the maximum SSS contribution for the month they are to save in the SSS PESO Fund,” he added.

Savings in the SSS PESO Fund are invested in sovereign guaranteed investments, where 65 percent of the total fund is allocated for retirement, and 35 percent is for medical and general purposes. SSS PESO accounts will be charged a one-percent administration fee annually.

The portion for retirement is guaranteed to earn income based on interest rates of five-year Treasury yields, while earnings of the fund allotted for medical and general purposes will be based on 364-day Treasury bill rates,” De Quiros said.

Aside from the guaranteed earnings, De Quiros said SSS PESO Fund members may also get excess earnings, which will be credited automatically to their accounts, depending on the actual year-end performance of the SSS PESO Fund.

Savings in SSS PESO fund can be withdrawn upon the member’s effective date of retirement or total disability with the SSS either in monthly pensions over a minimum period of 12 months and P1,000 payment per month, in lumpsum, or combination of both.

In case they incur a need to withdraw funds early, they may only touch the portion of their equity allocated for medical and general purposes, and it will be subject to penalties and service fees if withdrawn earlier than five years,” De Quiros said, adding that if a member died before the maturity of his SSS PESO savings or expiration of the pension period, the member’s beneficiaries will receive the savings in the form of death benefit to be paid in lumpsum.

Launched on September 25, the SSS PESO Fund was created in accordance to Sec.4(a)(2) of the Social Security Law.

Epson Achieves Top Honors with 2014 Winter Pick Award For Outstanding A4 Mid-Size Workgroup Scanner

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Epson, a world leader in digital imaging and print solutions, has once again received top honors as it has been awarded Buyers Laboratory’s (BLI) 2014 Winter “Pick” award for “Outstanding A4 Mid-Size Workgroup Scanner.” Through a series of extensive product evaluations conducted by BLI, the Epson Workforce DS-510 scanner consistently outpaced the competition, earning better than average results for the majority of performance categories tested. The unit’s overall performance and “Highly Recommended” status helped it to win “Pick” recognition for the mid-size workgroup category.

“Our customers depend on us to provide reliability and high quality imaging, which is why we continue to push our innovations to provide only the very best,” says Koichi Endo, Managing Director of Epson Southeast Asia. “To be recognised by such a prestigious industry influencer truly underscores Epson’s commitment to innovation and dedications towards helping companies achieve their business goals.”

Aside from its faster than average speeds and a higher than average efficiency rate when measuring the unit’s hardware throughput, the WorkForce DS-510 has also been shown to maintain its hardware speeds even when increasing the resolution or changing image processing settings. The DS-510’s Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) handles a wider than average range of paper weights, while the additional features include the ability to scan to various cloud destinations, smaller than average file sizes in colour mode and a wider than average resolution range. With the bundled Epson Document Capture Pro Software, users can customize up to 30 profiles for frequently used scan operations.

“In a highly contested category, the Epson WorkForce DS-510 was able to go above and beyond typical workgroup scanners by offering superior functionality and an intuitive design all for an affordable total cost of ownership,” said Lisa Reider, BLI’s senior product editor for scanners. In their published award article, BLI highly recommended the Epson WorkForce DS-510 for workgroups and departments looking for an affordable and robust scanner able to process up to 3,000 sheets a day.

ZTE opens first PH full-line concept store

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ZTE Mobile opens its first full-line concept store in the country on September 15. The ZTE concept store, located at the third floor of GMall in Davao City, will feature ZTE’s full set of products to provide Filipino consumers with a wide choice of innovative and feature-rich devices, ranging from entry level to high-end smartphones and portable wi-fi devices. As the first flagship concept store, it will showcase the complete line-up of ZTE mobility products. Its current smartphone lineup includes KIS FLEX, KIS III, KIS FLEX II, BLADE G Pro, BLADE E, BLADE C, GRAND X, GRAND X2, GRAND X QUAD and GRAND X2L while its mobile wi-fi lineup includes MF 70, MF 63, MF65, and the 4G/LTE capable MF 90 and MF 93 D. In time with the opening of their first concept store, ZTE Mobile will likewise roll out its nationwide promo where customers get a limited edition basketball with James Yap signature for every purchase of any ZTE smartphone or device from September 15 to October 15 2014. ZTE is one of the world’s largest mobile handset and smartphone manufacturers and is a recognized partner in the telecommunications industry. Globally, it has strong alliances with telecomm operators like Sprint, AT&T, Aircel, Orange, Verizon, China Telecom and Softbank, to name a few.

Microsoft Philippines Recognizes MSI-ECS with 3 Partner Distributor of the Year awards

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Microsoft Philippines accorded MSI-ECS 3 prestigious awards during the recently concluded Microsoft Philippines 2014 Partner Awards held last August 19, 2014 at the Buddha-Bar Manila in Makati City. MSI-ECS, one of the country’s leading IT distributors, clinched the Best Distributor Partner for OEM, Best Distributor Partner for Open License, and the Sales Specialist of the Year awards.

The Microsoft Partner Awards highlight exemplary contributions of distributors, channel partners and individuals in growing the Microsoft business in the country. It features awards that celebrate Microsoft partners’ excellence in implementing technology solutions, rolling out of channel development and empowerment programs, achieving sales targets, and offering better customer support, among others.

In its citation, MSI-ECS was chosen as the Microsoft Distributor Partner of the Year for exceeding its COEM and FPP targets and for embracing Microsoft’s strategy of transforming to cloud computing by working with the Microsoft Consumer Channels Group to push Office 365 into the. The award was also given in recognition of the company’s effective and efficient positioning of Microsoft devices among computer retailers and consumers.  The marketing campaign of MSI-ECS was also called out as a best practice for “TouchWins”not just in Asia-Pacific but also in other regions. “TouchWins” is a new OEM Reseller Incentive program for sales of Microsoft Windows 8 PCs and Tablets.

The Distributor Partner of the Year Awards for Open License, on the other hand, was given to MSI-ECS in recognition of its proactive promotion of Office 365 and Windows 8.1 nationwide. Microsoft cited the company’s rigorous product awareness initiatives, channel empowerment, enablement and expansion, and investing to provide better customer support and acquiring competencies to align with Microsoft’s initiatives and programs for the award. 

Microsoft also accorded Mylene Mariano, MSI-ECS Product Manager for Microsoft OEM, the Sales Specialist of the Year award for her outstanding performance in the selling and distribution of Microsoft products and providing sales support and services to resellers all over the country.

Microsoft also recognized MSI-ECS for continuously growing its business and partner reach, and for continuing to equip its people with advance product knowledge and providing pre-sales support to resellers, growing the SQL Business to a new height as a result.

Jimmy D. Go, president and CEO, MSI-ECS Phils., credited the company’s success to the collaborative contribution of the whole MSI-ECS team, citing that the success came off as a result of “team effort.”