Quezon City gov’t taps e-commerce platform to help small businesses

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2020   •   278

The Quezon City government has partnered with the online shopping platform, Shopee to provide free registration for the city’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), the local government announced.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the partnership is part of its move to strengthen its programs supporting small businesses affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We value the economic well-being of our MSMEs in the city as they are our important partners in developing the local economy. With Shopee, we will be able to help more of them survive and continue their businesses despite the ongoing health crisis,” Belmonte said.

The QC government through its Small Business and Cooperatives Development and Promotions Office (SBCDPO) shall screen applicants and endorse qualified MSMEs to Shopee for onboarding and training.

MSMEs may apply provided that they are compliant with the local government business registration requirements.

“We are happy to partner with Quezon City to help their local sellers step up on their digitalization efforts and capture the growing proportion of online-first consumers,” said Martin Yu, associate director of Shopee Philippines.

Interested applicants may get in touch with SBCDPO through their Facebook page.

DSWD to utilize new facility for SAP payout in QC

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) plans to tap a new payout facility to hasten distribution of the Social Amelioration Program’s second tranche of cash aid to Quezon City residents.

This, after the DSWD reached out to the Quezon City local government to settle issues over delay in the payout of cash subsidies to many of the SAP beneficiaries in the city.

According to the agency, the delay were often caused by lack of information, particularly the contact numbers of beneficiaries.

“Naipaliwanag sa amin na nahihirapan sila sa pamimigay dahil marami sa mga benepisyaryo ay hindi kumpleto ang impormasyon, gaya ng cellphone number (They said they had difficulties in releasing the cash assistance because of incomplete information on the beneficiaries such as cellphone numbers),” said  Mayor Joy Belmonte.

The new payment facility is expected to hasten the payout process as well as provide manual payout delivery services to recipients who do not have contact numbers for wire transfers.

“Pinaplantsa lang nila ang mga detalye para ito’y agad na maisakatuparan at upang mapakinabangan na ng ating mga residente ang SAP na ipinangako sa kanila ng national government (They are ironing out the details before proceeding so that the residents can finally benefit from SAP which the national government promised to them),” she added.

So far, the city’s Social Services Development Department said only 151,192 beneficiaries have received the second tranche of the cash assistance amounting to P8,000 out of the 377, 584 SAP recipients in the city, 

Once settled, the payout will begin in October.

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Gatchalian wants to regulate online business transactions to protect consumers

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday pushed for the passage of a bill seeking to put in place strict regulations to protect consumers amid the radical change in the country’s business climate with more online businesses registering.

In a statement, Gatchalian said his Senate Bill No. 1591 or the Internet Transactions Act aims to update the country’s regulatory environment to protect consumers from “unethical and unscrupulous practices” on the internet.

Gatchalian said it is important for the government regulatory board and online shopping platforms “to get their acts together” to easily track down those liable from unscrupulous online trading as more and more people and entrepreneurs are shifting their transactions online.

The lawmaker took note of the significant increase in the number of online businesses registering with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from March 16 to August 31, or a total of 73,276 businesses registered. This is a sharp rise from the 1,753 online businesses that have registered with the agency before the strict community quarantine was imposed in the country.

While e-Commerce makes transactions easier and faster and strengthens the country’s digital economy, Gatchalian said consumers may run the risk of being fooled into buying products to the detriment of their health.

He is particularly referring to supplements being sold in various online selling platforms despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.

“This is a dilemma of the future. There are a lot of online platforms right now and they have the entire marketplace where suppliers can get all the products all over the world. Walang habol ang online buyers kung may problema sa nabili nilang produkto. They are left holding the bag,” he said.

“So, this is something that the bill wants to solve – to make online platforms liable so that they can keep track of the supplies they’re selling in the marketplace,” he added.

He said online selling platforms should step up and implement measures to stop unscrupulous activities.

“What are they doing to stop this? Up to this time, this is still happening. Our kababayans are consuming all products they see online but obviously these online platforms are not doing enough,” he added.

Gatchalian stressed that it is paramount to enact the bill into law to resolve key concerns in the country’s eCommerce industry such as internet and logistics infrastructure, payment mechanisms, taxation, and online consumer complaints.

QC launches online consultation system for COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   August 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — In partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), the Quezon City government has launched a telemedicine system.

Dubbed as QC COVID Telemed, the program aims at providing remote medical assistance to confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the city.

It is an online system that allows patients undergoing home quarantine or those admitted to the city’s community health facilities to consult with their doctors without having to personally meet them.

“Dito sa QC gagamitin nila ang telemedicine sa pagmo-monitor doon sa mga kaso na naka-quarantine para nang sa ganoon, nasusubaybayan nila araw araw ang sintomas nila (Here in Quezon City, they will use telemedicine to monitor the cases of those under home quarantine so their symptoms will be monitored daily),” explained DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag.

“Pwede rin naman para kamustahin ang mga nagumpisa nang magrecover para sa ganoon nalalaman nila kaagad kung baka may iba pang taong nahawa (It could also be used to check on those who are starting to recover to determine if there are other persons who have been infected),” he added.

According to Mayor Joy Belmonte the program would limit physical contact between COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers thus minimizing the risk of further transmission.

The mayor added that the program would also enable doctors who are unable to do full-time hospital duties, such as elderly doctors and those with comorbidities, to perform their profession with no restrictions.

Based on the city health department’s data, the city has around 10,736 confirmed cases to date.

“Sobra po akong nagpapasalamat sa Kagawaran ng Kalusugan dahil talagang kailangan na kailangan namin. Sa datos natin ngayon talagang tumataas bilang ng mga COVID positive patients natin (I am extremely thankful to the Department of Health because we really need this. Based on data, our number of COVID-19 positive cases is increasing),” Mayor Belmonte said.

“Kulang na kulang po tayo sa doktor at healthcare professionals. Sa pamamagitan ng telemedicine matutulungan natin ang mga pasyente (We are short on doctors and healthcare professionals. So, through telemedicine, we will be able to help our patients),” she added.

In support of the program, DOH has provided the city government with 15 laptop and desktop units which will be distributed to various HOPE facilities and selected health centers across the city. MNP (with inputs from Joan Nano)

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