PLDT, Smart, Cignal and PayMaya team up with The SM Store for Freedom Sale

Customers of the Philippines’ largest, fully integrated telco PLDT, its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), and its affiliates Cignal TV and PayMaya will enjoy exclusive offers at The SM Store from June 11 to 15, 2021.

Smart and TNT are offering a 20% discount on selected prepaid load, and 30% off on all WiFi devices. Meanwhile, new Smart Signature or Smart Bro Postpaid customers will also receive free SM Gift Pass e-vouchers for successful applications on selected plans. PLDT is offering free installation and modem fees for customers who will sign up for PLDT Home Fibr Unli 1699, 2399, and 2999 plans during the period.  

Customers who will purchase prepaid Cignal kits or boxes will also receive a free P1,000 load, or waived minimum installation fees for postpaid accounts. Shoppers at The SM Store can also get a 6% discount when they buy selected Cignal prepaid load cards. PayMaya users can get a chance to receive cashbacks when they shop at The SM Store or use SM’s Call to Deliver service with a minimum spend of P1,000 per transaction via the PayMaya app. Aside from that, the SM Store is also offering exclusive discounts and rewards for selected PLDT, Smart, Cignal products via SM’s Call to Deliver service. Customers can also get to buy select items for only P1 from The SM Store via its Call to Deliver service when they shop for their Smart prepaid essentials on June 12, 2021.

“This is a way for us to encourage and empower PLDT, Smart, Cignal, and PayMaya customers to pursue their passions and live life to the fullest through our customer-focused offers,” said Precy P. Katigbak, FVP and Head of National Key Accounts at PLDT and Smart. “Through the years, our partnership with The SM Store has allowed us to reach more customers, particularly as we celebrate the country’s Independence Day.”

“The SM Store is excited to take part in another campaign that will greatly reward our customers. Through this partnership, we aim to provide our valued customers convenient access to the technology tools they need for their increasingly digital lifestyle,” said Dhinno Francis S. Tiu, SVP for Business Development of The SM Store.

Freedom Sale raffle promo

Aside from exclusive offers, over 200 lucky customers may get a chance to win load, SM gift passes, cash, gadgets, and a grand prize of P150,000 PayMaya credits. Each purchase of a PLDT postpaid line, Smart load or WiFi device, Cignal load, use of PayMaya in The SM Store or via SM Call to Deliver service, or P2000 worth of items from The SM Store entitles a customer to register for the promo.

Customers simply need to scan the corresponding QR codes that are deployed at The SM Store to join the Freedom Sale raffle promo.

Visitors at the stores are encouraged to strictly follow health and safety guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, and practice social distancing protocols inside the malls.  For more information, visit www.smart.com.ph.

I-Pay bolsters longtime partnership with Western Union, Offering Money Transfers into Bank Accounts with Shopee

I-Pay, a longtime direct agent of Western Union in the Philippines, will now offer millions of  Shopee users the choice to redirect international and domestic Western Union money transfers into their bank accounts digitally with its ‘Direct-to-Bank (DTB)’ service.

As part of its partnership with Shopee Philippines, I-Pay will leverage Western Union’s cross-border digital capabilities on Shopee’s popular online shopping platform, enabling customers to enjoy the convenience of directing any Western Union money transfers into their bank accounts.

This partnership is timely given the limitations brought about by the continuing enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19, as people search for convenient options in completing important tasks, especially receiving remittances.

“This brings about added convenience and assistance to remittance beneficiaries faced with challenges during the ongoing community quarantine, wherein health risks and social distancing measures make it quite an ordeal, along with having to deal with having to travel far away to visit a limited number of available sub-agent outlets,” said I-Pay Commerce Ventures President Ronald Allan Aquino. “With I-Pay’s partnership with Shopee, our long-held vision of servicing beneficiaries in the most convenient and helpful manner is now realized.”

Alberto Castañeda, Brand Acquisition Manager of Shopee Philippines welcomed the I-Pay alliance as this would expand the mobile commerce site’s reach and offer the opportunity to serve more Filipinos. “Shopee has always been in the forefront of providing shopping convenience to the people, especially during this unfortunate pandemic, particularly offering essential products and services. With users able to arrange their remittance bank transfers soon through the upcoming I-Pay Direct-to-Bank feature in our interface, Shopee is certainly delighted to have this opportunity to serve more people needing such critical services in their lives.”

“The Philippines is an important market for Western Union,” said Jeffrey Navarro, Head of Network, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei & Indochina, Western Union. “It is also among the best-in-class examples of how our multi-channel strategy, aimed at using technology to provide consumer choice, comes alive. We are excited about the partnership of our direct agent I-Pay with Shopee, as it further illustrates our commitment to providing outstanding services to customers in the country.”

In addition to this new service expansion, I-Pay continues to provide both inbound and outbound Western Union money transfer services at over 1,000 of their retail locations.

Customer Guidance

To avail the service, customers must have a Shopee account. Customers can look up Western Union on the Shopee website search bar and click on the IPCVI Store to purchase a PHP20 service voucher.

After payment, the customer will receive a notification on Shopee which will include the voucher code. To receive a money transfer, customers can visit d2b.i-pcv.com and fill out a form including the Western Union Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) and the voucher code. I-Pay will then validate and process the remittance transaction via Western Union systems into the bank account of the customer.

Customers will be able to receive their remittances on the same day[1] via credit to bank accounts or e-wallets through InstaPay, an electronic fund transfer (EFT) service by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.


[1] Transactions will be paid out on the same day if received between 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Any transactions after 5:00 PM, will be processed the next business day.

PLDT’s digital literacy program instills lifelong learning

Over 19,800 learners nationwide participated in the 10 sessions of PLDT’s Infoteach Outreach Webinar Series, enabling learners and educators to carry on at home gaining new knowledge from experts.

Presented in partnership with the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), PLDT’s digital literacy program top-billed Lifelong Learning for its final session, attended mostly by Grade 7-12 students from public schools. 

Highlighting the value of learning even after completing formal education, Dr. Rustica R. Lorenzo of the Department of Education Schools Division of Valenzuela City advised that education doesn’t stop after college, because it is a lifelong process.

“We need to pursue knowledge voluntarily,” she said. “We need to go beyond career advancement. Lifelong learning will help you understand how the world works. It can help you realize your passions and boost creativity. Never cease to study and learn.”

As for UPOU Chancellor Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, she advised cultivating a positive attitude towards learning.  “Something has to change in our attitude towards learning and how we can look at learning,” she said.  “Hindi yan parusa sa atin (learning is not a kind of punishment). This is not something that we are doing because we are obeying our parents. Lifelong learners are motivated, hindi tayo itinutulak, hindi tayo pinipilit (We are not pushed, we are not forced). We are motivated to learn and develop because we want to do it. It is a deliberate and voluntary act.”

Among the benefits Bandalaria cited include renewing self-motivation – figuring out what inspires, recognition of personal interests and goals, and re-igniting what makes one tick.

As talks of Industrial Revolution 5.0 surface, cooperation between humans and machine is key to thriving, she added.  “These changes in the kind of work environment will really require us to continue learning. If we want to continuously be relevant in the job market, then we have to learn continuously.” 

The Infoteach Outreach training is the flagship program of PLDT’s corporate social responsibility initiatives. It provides beneficial digital literacy training to our country’s students and teachers.

“We, together with our UPOU partners, are happy to conduct these webinars,” said Katherine Diaz De Rivera, PLDT Community Relations Head.  “The courses were designed to offer more learning opportunities for students, despite pandemic conditions, encouraging them to engage in lifelong learning.” 

Aside from Lifelong Learning, PLDT’s Infoteach Outreach Phase 6 rollout training in May also took up the following topics, namely: Digital Productivity Tools; Online Collaboration Tools; 21st Century Competencies; Effective Communication Skills; Digital Literacy; Responsible Use of Social Media; Global Digital Citizenship; Cyber Security; and Introduction to Sustainable Development Goals. 

Infoteach is part of the broader, long-term program of the PLDT group to support the country’s education sector. It also underscores the company’s commitment to help the Philippines attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), particularly SDG #4: Quality Education as a foundation in improving people’s lives and obtaining sustainable development.

Manufacturers See Collaborative Robots as Key Driver to Higher Productivity

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the manufacturing production in the Philippines reported an annual rate of -46.5 percent in February, a drop from its previous months’ annual rate of -16.7 percent. [1] This downturn was continuous from February last year amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic. In time of strict distancing measures, collaborative robots are the solution to help perform tasks that people in groups could not safely do. An additional advantage is that cobots are immensely capable of handling increased workload due to backlogs. With this, there is an optimism that the country’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) will continue to improve in 2021.

According to “Collaborative Robot Market by Payload, Component, Application, Industry, and Geography – Global Forecast to 2026″ report by Markets and Markets, cobots are increasingly being adopted by various industries due to advantages such as increased productivity and effective employee utilisation. The market is expected to reach US$7,972 million by 2026 at a CAGR of 41.8%. Cobots’ market in APAC is also expected to surpass that in Europe by 2021 due to large scale manufacturing industries especially automotive, electronics, and metals sectors which are increasingly deploying cobots.[2]

The Philippine manufacturing industry may leverage on the use of robotics in processes that involve repetitive work in confined, structured spaces, and environments. Additionally, cobots can work around the clock and can produce consistent output at any given condition.

Today, UR’s cobots allow employees to move from repetitive, low-value tasks to higher value activities that increase work productivity and quality. “Ever since the term ‘Collaborative Robotics’ was coined, we have been the frontrunners in the robotics industry. We have also marked an entire decade since the very first cobot from Universal Robots was deployed in South Asia. Safety is imperative and has become the cost of entry into the cobot market now. UR believes in developing affordable, lightweight, and flexible cobots that could deliver a rapid ROI for the manufacturing industry,” says James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

With an average payback period as short as twelve months due to increased productivity, quality, and consistency, manufacturers may foresee a return of investment (ROI) before year-end or early 2022.


Safety and Versatility

Yokota Corporation, a Japan-based company that designs and manufactures bearing races, Factory Automation (FA) equipment, machines for assembly, packing and inspections, selected UR5 cobots to address its labour shortages[3]. The company tried engaging part-time employees and redeploying workers from other departments. However, these measures proved unproductive. Traditional industrial robots were also considered as a solution but were later found not feasible due to additional space requirements and the need for safety guarding.

With safety and versatility as key benefits, the deployment of UR5 cobots led to the establishment of a stable production system, delivering a 20 percent production increase without the need for additional human resources. As Asia remains the strongest market for industrial robots, Universal Robots encourages local manufacturers to deploy cobots on manufacturing floors.
“By lowering automation barrier within the reach of manufacturers who never thought that they could deploy robots due to cost and complexity, we hope to help the Philippine industries realise higher productivity and maintain effective utilisation of their plants,” concludes McKew.


[1] https://psa.gov.ph/content/production-index-and-net-sales-index-monthly-integrated-survey-selected-industries-february

[2] https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/collaborative-robot.asp

[3] https://www.universal-robots.com/case-stories/yokota-corporation/

BETTER ISLAND-HOPPING IN CORDOVA

Smart has donated connectivity devices such as Smart Bro LTE pocket WiFi and 5G SIM cards to the Cordova Boat Owners and Tour Operators, helping revive tourism.

“We find this partnership a new blessing to Cordova. We are happy to experience Smart’s fast connectivity while we are in the middle of the sea. These donations are a big help to open and promote Tourism in our town especially during pandemic,” says Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy.

Smart earlier provided the organization with sweatshirts with QR loading codes and retailer packages to help them with their livelihood amid pandemic.

“Smart has a lot of initiatives to help the communities. Part of our initiatives include reopening the Tourism industry. Rest assured that our support does not stop here, we will always be in full support to Cordova as one of our valued partners,” says Melvin Nubla, Department Head/VP Smart Go-To-Market & Subs Management. These form part of Smart’s continuing support to the organization and to the Municipality of Cordova to help jumpstart their tourism industry, vital source of livelihood of Cordovahanons.

Universal Robots Unveils Enhanced UR10e with 25% Greater Payload

Universal Robots (UR) is launching an enhanced UR10e with an increased payload of 12.5kg (27.55lbs), creating new possibilities for applications such as palletising, machine tending, and packaging. The robot’s price remains unchanged.

“Universal Robots is committed to continuous improvement based on meaningful conversations with customers and our ability to address critical market opportunities. Our customers have already deployed UR collaborative robots (cobots) on a wide variety of palletising applications. Over time, they have identified opportunities to utilise our UR10e cobot in handling tasks with heavier items,” says Kim Povlsen, President of Universal Robots. “In response to this demand, we have enhanced the UR10e to support greater payloads, providing customers with exciting new deployment capabilities.”

The enhanced UR10e retains the small footprint, intuitive programming experience, uncompromising repeatability, commitment to quality, and trusted performance that Universal Robots customers have come to expect, but its increased payload capacity means that users can now do more:

  • The UR10e can now be used in palletising applications with cartons weighing up to 10kg and a 2.5kg gripper.
  • The UR10e is now more versatile for other material handling tasks, too, such as loading and unloading heavier workpieces in machine tending deployments and packaging of heavy items.
  • The enhanced UR10e’s greater payload takes more weight from the hands and shoulders of humans, leading to improved ergonomics and working conditions. With overexertion/strenuous movements accounting for a total of 38,235 occupational accidents that occurred in 2017 in the Philippines, this provides relief to human workers.

“One of the major benefits of cobots is its flexibility in taking over unergonomic activities, freeing human workers from dangerous and injury-prone tasks. UR cobots are designed to work alongside humans and perform best as a minimally disruptive solution to safety concerns. The results of deploying cobots are clear; a boost in productivity, improved quality outcomes, enhanced working conditions and leaving space for businesses to re-evaluate how to best use the problem-solving abilities of their workforce,” says James McKew, Regional Director Asia-Pacific Universal Robots.

Feedback from UR partners has been extremely positive; MBO Postpress Solutions in Germany has integrated the UR10e as part of its CoBo-Stack stacking cobot.  “Increasing the payload of the UR10e will make our MBO CoBo-Stack much more profitable for our customers by expanding their application possibilities to include larger packages and heavier products, such as perfect bound or saddle stitched catalogues and brochures,” says Sebastian König, Head of Research & Development at MBO Postpress Solutions GmbH.

In addition, the updated UR10e also provides plug-and-play compatibility with products from Universal Robots’ UR+ ecosystem of hardware and software peripherals, ensuring that users can quickly and easily get started with collaborative applications.

Nicolas Lauzier, Senior Product Manager at Robotiq comments: “The greater payload of UR10e makes a big difference to palletising applications by enabling users to handle loads up to 12.5kg in weight. With 25% greater automation potential, it also means that the UR10e can help whenever there is a single line that needs to palletise a wide range of products of different weights.”

Clients in the Philippines can place orders for the enhanced UR10e at this corporate mobile number +63 1800 1 320 0139. Shipments of the new UR10e are scheduled to start in the second half of June.

For further product details, please go to https://www.universal-robots.com/products/ur10-robot/

champion mental health advocacy through creative expression

PLDT and its wireless unit, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have just launched Time Capsule Project, a virtual art festival on mental health and wellness under its Better Today program.

Through the virtual festival, the youth is encouraged to express themselves, by submitting entries in the form of drawings, paintings, poems or short stories. The top winners of Better Today’s Time Capsule Project will have the opportunity to receive from PLDT and Smart a matching donation, which they can then give to their chosen mental health organizations and advocacy groups.

The entries for the Time Capsule Project is anchored on four key mental health pillars and narrative namely, Passion and Purpose (which are things that inspire and keep us going); Resilience (things that push us to power through difficulties); Empathy (things that unite us and uplift the spirits of those in most need); and Hope (things that give light amid darkness).

As participants embark on self-reflection and create their own time capsules, they are also encouraged to dedicate matching art and thoughtful pieces for those in need within the larger community. These include the country’s health care workers who brave the frontlines and risk their lives every day in the performance of their duty to the country; vulnerable children who suffer abuse and are deprived of a happy childhood; and fellow Filipinos who struggle through lonely isolation and mental health issues due to the circumstances of the pandemic.

Better Today is PLDT and Smart’s collaborative platform for change making in the digital space. The program emphasizes the companies’ commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being. The downloadable link for the tool kit and mechanics can be found in Better Today’s social media platforms. To know more about the Time Capsule Project and the details on how to join the art festival, please follow Better Today PH at (@bettertodayph) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

MSI reveals sizzling gaming promos this summer

MSI, a world leader in producing high-performance and innovative laptops, welcomes summer with a blazing heat sale starting May 1 until June 13, 2021.

Gamers and enthusiasts can upgrade their gears for summer and save up to P17,005 on select MSI gaming laptops and even score a free gaming backpack or bag on select purchases.

Great value meets performance with MSI gaming laptops

The MSI GL75, GF63, GF65 Thin gaming laptops and Modern 14 are the best picks for streamers and are now available at lower prices for a limited time only.  

The GL75 has high-end core gaming features and sleek design that will up anyone’s game. It also has a cooler boost 5 system and red backlit steel series with a silver lining print keyboard for the ultimate gaming experience. Get this during the promo and save up to P17,005.

Sleek yet heavy-duty, the GF Series, is the choice for gamers and enthusiasts looking for both aesthetic and function. Enjoy high-performance on a budget and save up to P14,005 with its promo price.

Meanwhile, score free MSI gaming bags when you buy GF65 Thin, the PC Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Laptop Winnerwith all-new NVIDIA® GE FORCE RTX™ 3060 Laptop GPU 6GB GDDR6.

The stylish and high-performance Modern 14 laptop is also up for grabs at a more affordable price. This laptop fuels gaming, productivity, and content creation on the go, lasting up to 10-hours and is powered by the latest AMD RYZEN 4000 series processor.

The MSI Summer Gaming Promotion runs from May 1 to June 13, 2021 only, so get them at their sizzling best prices today. For full details, visit https://ph.msi.com/Promotion/2021PHSUMMERPromotion/nb.

Smart champions Living Smarter for a Better World in new campaign

Over 100 Filipino celebrities and influencers have also joined in, pushing their respective advocacies to spark a conversation with their communities and followers on how to “Live Smarter for a Better World”.

“This campaign is one of the biggest initiatives produced by Smart advocating personal revolutions that inspire collective action,” said Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio.

“Being the country’s largest integrated telecommunications company has put us in the best position to give back to society, through CSR programs that leverage on our expertise, digital technology, and robust network – the fastest in the Philippines,” he said.

“Going big doesn’t happen overnight. This is a big effort by the company to signify our work in improving customer experience.  We have made a lot of investments to ensure that our service is world-class, and keep a strong focus on our north star, which is customer-centricity,” Panlilio added.

Jane J. Basas, SVP and Head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart, emphasized how big and small efforts can contribute to making a better world, highlighting the importance of Smart’s network and services in keeping Filipinos connected and empowered. “This is the driving force that has kept us going. It has always been in our DNA to serve and improve the lives of Filipino people—not just our customers,” she said.

Addressing questions from media, Lloyd Manaloto, Smart FVP for Corporate Marketing and Strategy, said the campaign’s message is that everyone can be a hero. “It’s a very powerful story–it’s all about personal revolutions and advocacies. When an individual pursues their advocacy and inspires other people to also follow, it becomes a collective. It becomes more powerful,” he said. “In that sense, everyone can become a hero.”

Smart Communities

Darwin F. Flores, Head for Community Partnerships at Smart, underscored Smart’s continuous mission of enabling communities using technology, especially in the areas of education and agriculture, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Flores highlighted two of Smart’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, School-in-a-Bag and Buy Local campaign, which are solutions aimed at bridging the digital divide.

“School-in-a-Bag and Buy Local are just examples of how simple solutions can make a difference in the world. And we can do this together, forged by our connections, while also pursuing independent initiatives that help make our homes, our community, our country, and the world a better place to live in for us and for the future generations,” Flores said.

Flores also highlighted Smart’s efforts in helping students continue learning despite the challenges of the pandemic. “We are working very closely with the Department of Education to ensure quality learning continues despite a distance learning environment. Last year, we conducted an online forum to over 400,000 teachers across the country, on a disaster-resilient, low-cost yet effective teaching strategy that promotes independent learning. It is our contribution towards ensuring that No Learner Gets Left Behind during this crisis,” Flores said.

Over 75,000 student-beneficiaries

The School-in-a-Bag is designed to provide access to technology, connectivity, content, and a disaster-resilient pedagogy even for schools in remote areas without electricity. Each water-resistant backpack carries a laptop and pocket WiFi for the teacher and 10-20 tablets for the students, all pre-loaded with interactive, multimedia content accessible even if offline.  

Through various initiatives implemented with PLDT and with the support of external organizations, Smart deployed 86 School-in-a-Bag packages in 2020 alone. Since its launch in 2016, close to 300 bags have been deployed, benefiting over 75,000 students and more than 2,500 teachers in last-mile communities. True to the company’s commitment to helping the Philippines attain the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with SDG #4: Quality Education as a key area, education continues to be the flagship CSR program throughout the PLDT group, with a strong emphasis on digital literacy.

Championing Corporate ‘RICE’ponsibility, the “Buy Local, Buy Smart” initiative enjoins employees of PLDT, Smart, and its sister companies to buy their produce directly from local farming communities. By providing a sure and direct market for their produce, Smart is helping small-scale farmers earn more. Through the program, a sustainability fund for farmers is also established. For every purchase of rice from store.cropital.com, up to Php100 goes to funding their next planting cycle. 

Since launching the online initiative in November 2020, 200 farmers have been supported with sales of more than Php 1.2 million from 27 tons of rice orders. The program is Smart’s contribution to Sustainable Development Goal #1 of No Poverty, especially for the marginalized farming communities.

Smart’s other initiatives also include building a culture of disaster resilience among communities with its #SafePH campaign, enhancing tourism through digital innovation with its Digital Tourism efforts, and preserving nature through mobile and communications technologies with its various environmental protection programs.

Local celebs for a #BetterWorld

Among the celebrities to push their advocacies under the #BetterWorld campaign is TV personality and host Luis Manzano, who shares how his passion for the ocean has led him to work with WWF-Philippines to help spread awareness about trash in the sea. “Let’s keep garbage away from the beautiful waters. What are you prepared to do to make the world better?” he says.

“We all have the opportunity to create positive change in our community. We have to stick with what we love doing and encourage people to do the same,” says Januarius Paglinawan, whose love for football spawned the Agriko Youth Football Club, a football clinic for youth in the agricultural town of Dumingag in Zamboanga del Sur. Along with his siblings, Paglinawan is also passionate about helping develop local talent. “We started a movement to help enhance local talent and develop their skills to be able to reach a global platform making it adaptable to our ever-growing environment.”

Meanwhile, musician Nina Juan is using her platform to advocate for animal welfare and sustainable living. “There are so many ways to show your love and respect for animals, and adopting is one of them! Rather than shopping in stores that promote breeding and exploiting innocent animals, make a choice and adopt or take in a stray,” she says. “Whether it be eating less meat, buying sustainable products, or adopting a stray, we all have a choice to make this world a better place. Are you ready to take up that challenge?”

For more information, visit http://betterworld.smart/

Faith and Resilience Keep These Women Going

Reporting for work physically amid the current pandemic is a tough and heroic act Essential Workers do everyday. Their cast iron determination combined with a sunny disposition in performing their crucial tasks have made them extremely important in any organization. In the telecoms sector, two women – Teisha Marie Peroy and Mary Ann Galos – exemplify these remarkable people who have been going out to work to help their families and serve other people’s needs, despite the risks which they do their best to mitigate.

Establishing connections amid the pandemic

Teisha is undaunted. The threat of Covid-19, and now its more transmissible variants, does not deter her from going out to work everyday to serve people’s connectivity needs. “I’m a huge believer in the saying ‘my faith is greater than my fear.’ Covid cannot stop me from doing the things I love to do, of course with many precautions. I make sure that I am protected by wearing a mask, face shield and keeping myself healthy. Most importantly, I pray for protection not just for myself but for all the employees as well,” says the junior manager of Smart Communications’ retail operations in Misamis Occidental.

Work, for her, is invigorating, finding it “very challenging yet satisfying.” Assigned to manage a Smart store located in a mall, Teish supervises and validates reports, sales activities, aftersales services and store merchandising. Before the pandemic, her routine included going out to do office-to-office selling and conducting sales activities in different establishments as well as other cities or municipalities within Misamis Occidental. She also travelled for meetings and trainings.

With the pandemic still around, Teish and her team are now mostly confined to the store. She says her biggest challenge is meeting their sales target continuously in this current situation. But her strong will and determination take center stage, especially in times like these. She pointed out that, “I am very fortunate to be part of this aggressive team who has managed to embrace challenges in a positive way. Having a positive attitude despite all the negative things happening around us is the best mindset we can have. At the end of the day, it’s all about the right attitude and passion for your job. Performing your task with a heart makes a big difference because it’s not just a responsibility but a commitment.”

A people-person by nature with an engaging personality, Teish doesn’t have difficulties leading her team in the Smart store. “I have been with them for quite some time already.  We know each other well, so I don’t have any difficulty supervising them. However, I am very particular with time management and implementation of business process. Strict, as they say, but it benefits them and the entire store.” Her enthusiasm and passion for work has inspired her team. “I can say that I have influenced them with my courage in facing the pandemic. So far, they were able to adapt to the current situation and learned to live with it. They managed to embrace the great change.”

Teish could have been a healthcare worker, having earned a B.S. Nursing degree from Misamis University, but after a short stint as a volunteer in a government hospital, she decided to pursue an office career instead, applying in Smart as a customer care assistant in 1997.  “I learned to love my job. So, until this very moment I’m still here, helping to establish connections among people which is a necessity especially in this pandemic,” she relates.

Her supportive husband, Christian, also works in sales so he understands the nature of her job. “He is currently working from home with very minimal travels due to the pandemic so he can drive me to and from work. Christian is a very patient and cool guy,” Teish says of her husband. They have three kids – a girl and two boys – and a three-year-old nephew whom Teish considers as one of her own. Like their Mom, they are very independent, with 18-year-old Sophia taking care of her younger siblings when both their parents are at work. Teish’s mother, who stays with them, also looks after the children.

Love and loyalty are important parts of her DNA. She was born and raised in Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental, studied there, working there, and is raising her own family there as well. “Ozamiz is a small place and less populated. It’s just like living in a big compound or subdivision where you know almost everyone. Here, we still have fresh air and traffic doesn’t exist. Although there are lesser opportunities in terms of job, technology and shopping, I still prefer my ‘probinsya’ life here. It’s not that I don’t want to explore other places, I love to travel. But at the end of the day, there’s really no place like home. And this is my home,” Teish enthuses.

Serving others and making a difference

A year after she was hired in PLDT, the Covid-19 pandemic turned up in the country, disrupting people’s routines and sending them home to work, but Mary Ann needed to stay behind at her workplace to supervise the cleaning, disinfection, and the urgent Covid-related set-up of PLDT RC Building’s facilities.

For Ann, it was a new experience to live and work at the PLDT headquarters in Makati RC Building, with some of her colleagues, for seven months during the strict lockdown in 2020. According to her, “At that time, they really needed the workforce from Facilities Management so we responded to the call. We value the importance of service and the need to facilitate the implementation of Safe Work Practices for the returning employees.” Since November last year, she has returned to her apartment but still continues to go out to work everyday. 

As a building maintenance engineer, Ann’s duties include managing the Disinfection Team that performs the housekeeping chores for both RC and MGO buildings. “In managing the team, I set the pace for them to follow through and ensure that they finish well. Our work is agile and results-driven so we need to work together to deliver an ‘Excellent Result’ through our concerted efforts as a team,” she explains.

“Challenges arise, especially when there is a Covid probable case which entails a level 3 disinfection or a UV disinfection. The pandemic has tested our strength of mind and spirit, but we really have to be resilient and move forward with faith in God,” reflects Ann.

Her profound faith has been her constant companion in her life’s journey. And she has travelled far – from Bulusan, Sorsogon where she was born, brought up, and attended elementary and secondary schools, to the Bicol University in Legazpi City where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig where she worked initially, and to her current job in Makati. She is now setting her sights on doing something that will make a difference in the lives of other people. “I believe I can accomplish this by serving others. Perhaps I can be the salt and light in my workplace or wherever God sends me.”