Sunday, January 27, 2013

PAG-IBIG Launches Reloadable Prepaid Card powered by CITI

The Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card is a reloadable prepaid card and can be used for the disbursement of MPL and Calamity loan proceeds.  Members may sign up to avail of the card for the release of their benefits upon filing their loan applications.

Pag-IBIG multi-purpose loan (MPL) and calamity loan borrowers are in for a faster, more convenient and safer way of receiving and using their loan proceeds. Together with industry leaders Citi Philippines and Visa, the Pag-IBIG Fund launched the new Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card, powered by Visa. Available to all its members worldwide, the prepaid card is a stored value card that gives its owners the ability to pay for purchases in different establishments that accepts Visa cards such as department stores, appliance stores, grocery stores, drugstores, bookstores and others.

Pag-IBIG tapped the banking experience and the financial expertise of Citi Philippines to assist in the distribution of the monetary benefits to its more than 12 million members worldwide. With Berberabe at the press launch were Mylene Caparas, Head of Transaction Services for Citi in the Philippines; and Iain Jamieson, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam.

Borrowers who are interested to apply for the Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card can go to the nearest Pag-IBIG branch office and file their MPL or calamity loan application where they will receive their prepaid card. Once the application has been approved and the loan proceeds credited to their Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card, the member can then shop at over 130,000 Visa accepting merchants nationwide and withdraw cash at any local ATMs. The card powered by Visa ensures easy, secure and convenient payment transactions in tens of millions of establishments worldwide and online. Visa cardholders also have greater peace of mind when traveling, with access to 1.96 million ATMs in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

“Over the years, Visa has developed close relationships with governments around the world to create greater efficiencies through electronic payments. Our partnership with Pag-IBIG and Citi is just one of the many initiatives that showcase our commitment in providing cardholders with safe and convenient ways to make transactions, as well as extend the many benefits of Visa to a wider range of Filipinos,” said Iain Jamieson, Visa Country Manager, Philippines and Guam. “The Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid card allows us to extend the benefits of Visa to a wider range of Filipinos.”

The MPL program aims to provide financial assistance to members for their varied needs including, minor home improvements, additional capital in small business, tuition or educational expenses or for health and wellness. The loan carries an annual interest of 10.5% per annum.


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Friday, January 11, 2013

Lower-end iPhone?

According to some people briefed on this matter, Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone. This is a big shift in corporate strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped. While Apple has explored such a device for years, the plan is progressing and a less expensive version of its flagship device could launch later this year, said one of the sources.

The cheaper iPhone would likely resemble the standard iPhone but with a different, less-expensive body. One possibility under consideration is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic; in contrast, the iPhone 5 currently has an aluminum housing. Many other parts could remain the same or may be recycled from older iPhone models. A spokeswoman for the Cupertino, California, company declined to comment. Apple now faces greater pressure to make the iPhone more affordable. An onslaught of lower cost rivals powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system are rapidly gaining market shares.

As of the third quarter of 2012, Apple held only 14.6% of worldwide smartphone shipments, down from a peak of 23% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, according to IDC. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics Co.'s share, rose from 8.8% to 31.3% from the third quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2012. The Korean electronics maker on Tuesday said it capped its best year ever with another record quarterly profit, adding that it expects operating profit of $8.1 billion to $8.5 billion for the three months that ended in December.

Apple has been considering a less-expensive iPhone since at least 2009, viewing it as a way to grab market share and introduce people to the brand, said people familiar with the efforts. Before the launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010, the company developed designs for cheaper phones that were very similar to the iPhone at the time but had a less expensive back and sides, one of the people said. A less-expensive iPhone risks crimping the company's profit margins, which executives have been loath to sacrifice.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

List of 2013 Philippine Holidays

Malacanang recently released the list of holidays for the year 2013 and the list includes 4 long weekends for the said year. Proclamation 459 was signed by President Aquino declaring the regular, special non-working and special holidays for schools and offices next year. There will be a total of 16 regular and special holidays next year.

Regular Holidays
  • New Year's Day - January 1 (Tuesday)
  • Maundy Thursday - March 28
  • Good Friday - March 29
  • Araw ng Kagitingan - April 9 (Tuesday)
  • Labor Day - May 1 (Wednesday)
  • Independence Day - June 12 (Wednesday)
  • National Heroes Day - August 26 (Last Monday of August)
  • Bonifacio Day - November 30 (Saturday)
  • Christmas Day - December 25 (Wednesday)
  • Rizal Day - December 30 (Monday)

Special (Non-working) Days
  • Black Saturday - March 30
  • Ninoy Aquino Day - August 21 (Wednesday)
  • All Saints Day - November 1 (Friday)
  • Additional special (non-working) days - November 2 (Saturday)
  • - December 24 (Tuesday)
  • Last Day of the Year - December 31 (Tuesday)

Special Holiday (All Schools)

  • EDSA Revolution Anniversary - February 25 (Monday)

The proclamation stated that the national holidays for the observance of Eid'l Fitr and Eidul Adha will be declared "after the approximate dates of the Islamic holidays have been determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar (Hijra) or the lunar calendar, or upon Islamic astronomical calculations, whichever is possible or convenient".

Long Weekends
  1. March 28-31, 2013 - Holy Week
  2. August 24-26, 2013 - National Heroes Day
  3. November 1-3, 2013 - All Saints' Day
  4. December 28, 2013 - January 1, 2014 - Rizal Day and New Year

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