SM Mindpro

    SM to open first mall in Zamboanga City

    SM Prime Holdings Inc. is set to open its first mall in Zamboanga City, SM City Mindpro on December 8. This will be SM Prime’s seventh mall in Mindanao.

    Offering almost 38,000 square meters (sqm.) of gross floor area (GFA), the latest addition into SM Prime’s mall portfolio is located at the downtown area of Zamboanga, along La Purisima street.

    SM Mindpro will be opening with more than 90 percent of space-lease awarded. It will have four levels of mixed local and foreign shops that will provide entertainment and convenience in the city and its neighboring provinces.

    SM Prime started expanding in Mindanao with SM City Davao in 2001, followed by SM City Cagayan de Oro in 2002, SM City General Santos and SM Lanang Premier in 2012, SM CDO Downtown in 2017, and SM City Butuan, just recently, this early November.

    Jollibee Group CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

    Jollibee Group president and chief executive officer Ernesto Tanmantiong was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by Asia Leaders Awards (ALA) during its recently held awarding ceremony at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.


    Asia Leaders Awards, which focuses on Global Excellence of the awardees, is the culmination of the different Asia Leaders Forums held nationwide. Its Entrepreneur of the Year award highlighted the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of Tanmantiong, which has steered the year-on-year growth of the Jollibee Group. Under his helm, the conglomerate has expanded beyond the Philippines with 16 brands that have over 5,800 stores across 36 countries and territories. He has also led the company’s global transformation strategy as a response to the impact of the pandemic to the business.

    Disbursement of subsidy goes digital

    Bus and jeepney drivers in the National Capital Region have signed up to receive subsidy from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) via their PayMaya accounts as part of the service contracting program of the agency.

    Under the program, some 60,000 public utility vehicle drivers and operators stand to receive subsidies when they enter into a service contracting scheme with the government as a way to help transport sector players displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.  By disbursing the subsidies to their PayMaya accounts, drivers can continue practicing health and safety standards as they begin servicing commuters on the road again.

    Safe Side deals

    Toyota’s Live Life on the Safe Side deals offer flexible financing or discounts and freebies until November 30 on well-loved Toyota models.

    Customers get as much as P65,000 savings on a brand new Innova, or even P90,000 on a previous generation Hiace Commuter. Savings on selected variants are also available for the New Vios, New Wigo, Corolla Altis, Avanza, Rush, and Hiace.

    Customers may also choose to get Pay Low (all-in packages) or Pay Light (low monthly plans) financing deals on these models.

     For the month of November, periodic maintenance service up to 20,000 kilometers (kms) is free for a  purchase G, E, and XLE variants of the Vios, and customers also get five-year extended warranty and free one- year comprehensive insurance. Customers of the Vios XE, or selected variants of the Wigo, Corolla Altis, Innova, Avanza, Fortuner, and Hiace are entitled to the free one- year comprehensive insurance promo as well, while Corolla Altis, Rush, Innova, Fortuner, Hilux, and FMC Hiace customers also get free periodic maintenance service up to 20,000 kms for participating variants of their preferred Toyota model.

    For customers who want to trade-in their old vehicles for a new Toyota, up to P40,000 rebates which can be used on top of existing promos or to buy accessories are available for selected models and variants all month long.

    Balloon Payment Plus, Toyota Financial Services PH’s new finance product which offers light monthly payments, Periodic Maintenance inclusion, and guaranteed resale value, is also offered for selected variants of the Vios, Corolla Cross, New Fortuner, and New Hilux.

    MDRT expands member offerings

    Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) has made strategic moves to ensure financial professionals and their clients are well supported. The association announced its Productivity Action Plan, developed to help financial professionals qualify for membership in 2021, and equip them with proven strategies to drive their businesses and clients towards next-level success in the current climate and beyond.

    The MDRT Productivity Action Plan acknowledges the challenging business conditions financial professionals have faced in 2020. To provide its current and aspiring members with more opportunities to join, MDRT announced it has no plans to increase dues in 2021, and waived 2021 production requirements for 2019 and 2020 members, allowing those members to reapply for membership without submitting their production requirements. For prior-to-2019 members or first-time applicants, MDRT adjusted the 2021 production requirement, taking into account the economic impacts on the industry.

    MDRT is home to more than 72,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals, including 1,000+ from the Philippines.

    Though the pandemic has changed the way many financial professionals do business, MDRT is focused on providing them with the innovative ideas they need to continue succeeding. As part of the Productivity Action Plan, the association developed the MDRT Focus on Resources hub.

    Rakuten Viber marks 10 years

    Despite the many challenges brought about by the pandemic, 2020—which also marks Viber’s 10th year—is still considered a banner year for Rakuten Viber.

    This year 2020 , Rakuten Viber focused on providing people with reliable and life-saving information about COVID-19 by launching a special chatbot for the World Health Organization (WHO) to help fight misinformation about the pandemic.

    This year, Viber also introduced the group video calls and bolstered its capacities due to the higher-than-usual number of calls and messages within the app, doubling the maximum number of participants to 20 people at once in Group Video and Audio Calls.

    In the first half of 2020, the app recorded an 18 percent increase in activations, 104 percent in Community messages sent, and 109 percent in Community views in the entire Asia Pacific region. When compared the numbers with the numbers posted in the same period last year, there’s a 208 percent surge in Community messages sent and 129 percent increase in Community Views.

    Rakuten Viber has also announced the launch of Chatbot Payments through a partnership with Google Pay and Apple Pay this year. This feature enables users to purchase the products and services of the merchants securely and accept payments directly through the app, marking Viber’s move towards fintech.

    Rakuten Viber is rolling out this feature in the Philippines after forging partnerships with local industry leaders like Globe. Through this partnership with Globe, Filipino users can easily check out and order from small food businesses through the FoodPH bot. Soon, users will also be able to pay for their orders.

    Yara Asia donates masks to Red Cross

    Yara Asia, through Yara Fertilizers Philippines, Inc., donated 99,000 KN-95 masks to the Philippine Red Cross in support of the global fight against COVID-19.

    Through this donation, Yara aims to protect frontline workers and prevent the spread of the virus where risk is most prevalent.

    The donation was formally turned over to the Philippine Red Cross on November 5. IApart from the Philippines, Indonesia is also a beneficiary of the mask donations of Yara Asia.

    TESDA offers free entrepreneurship courses for repatriated OFWs

    Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced by the coronavirus pandemic may now avail of the free online entrepreneurship courses, which include personalized business coaching and access to livelihood assistance fund.

    Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA) Deputy Director General Aniceto Bertiz III made the announcement as TESDA, along with other government agencies, has recently launched a new reintegration program for repatriated OFWs.

    “Our OFWs, especially those who were repatriated, will be given the opportunity to learn new skills, prepare their own business plan, and link them to livelihood assistance fund so they can start their own small store or shops,” he added.

    TESDA, along with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), and Coca Cola Philippines recently launched the OFW Reintegration through Skills and Entrepreneurship (OFW RISE) Program.

    Under this new program, repatriated OFWs will be coached on how to develop their business idea, translate it into a business canvass, and allow them to access livelihood fund assistance from OWWA, PTTC and other micro-financing institutions.

    Among these business canvass or models include micro-retailing, wholesale distribution, agri-business ventures, home improvement services, consumer electronics and appliance repair services, home-based salon or home service salon services, and online selling of processed food and non-food products.

    This new OFW RISE program, Bertiz continued, offers four-hour online course in “edutainment format” developed in simple, easy to understand Filipino and English language, with at least one or two hours of business coaching sessions.

    To date, the government has repatriated about 289,000 OFWs who were displaced by the twin impact of protracted quarantines and abrupt closure of businesses due to the pandemic and is expecting around 100,000 more to return next month.


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