Tuesday, October 27, 2020

BDO Regains Momentum in 3Q 2020

BDO Unibank, Inc. (BDO) posted P12.3 billion in net income in the 3Q 2020 despite
the continuing impact of the pandemic. This brings earnings for the first nine months
of the year to P16.6 billion, a decline of 48% from the same period last year, due to
the upfront provisions booked in 2Q 2020 in anticipation of potential delinquencies
due to the pandemic.

Despite BDO’s promising results, the Bank recognizes that the pandemic difficulties
still lie ahead. The delinquency problem on loans have not yet peaked, interest rate
caps on credit cards will be instituted soon and there are added costs in doing
business as a result of necessary precautions inherent in the Bank’s operations. All
of these and more are seen to put pressure on the Bank’s earnings.

Loans rose at a more tempered 6 per cent to P2.2 trillion, driven by corporate and
consumer accounts. The Bank remained supportive of its borrowing clients, ensuring
continued access to their credit facilities to help them manage their funding
requirements during these challenging times, notwithstanding loan payment
deferments under Bayanihan I and II.

Asset quality remained stable, with gross non-performing loans (NPL) ratio at 1.97
per cent. Meanwhile, the NPL cover settled at 138 per cent. Total provisions for 9M
2020 amounted to P23.8 billion, inclusive of the pre-emptive provisions in 2Q 2020.

Total deposits grew to P2.6 trillion, driven by the faster growth in Current
Account/Savings Account (CASA) deposits, with almost all of the Bank’s branches
operational since 2Q 2020.The Bank’s CASA ratio climbed to a new high of 79 per
cent. Net interest income (NII) went up by 13 per cent year-on-year to P99.8 billion.

Non-interest income settled at P36.8 billion, led by fee-based income and insurance
premiums with P20.2 billion and P10.9 billion, respectively. Wealth management
remained resilient with trust volume and fees sustaining steady growth despite soft
market conditions. However, some of the Bank’s businesses, specifically those that
rely on face-to-face interaction, are still gradually rebuilding their volumes.

Operating expenses declined by 3 per cent to P83.6 billion on lower volume-related

The Bank’s balance sheet remains solid with a capital base of P378.6 billion. Capital
Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio were at 14.3 per
cent and 13.2 per cent, respectively, remaining well above regulatory minimum.

BDO believes that its strong business franchise and robust balance sheet place the
Bank in a good position to leverage on a post-pandemic economic recovery.

About BDO
BDO is a full-service universal bank which provides a wide range of corporate and retail
banking services. These services include traditional loan and deposit products, as well as
treasury, trust banking, investment banking, private banking, rural banking, cash
management, leasing and finance, remittance, insurance, retail cash cards and credit card
BDO has the country’s largest distribution network, with over 1,400 consolidated operating
branches and more than 4,400 ATMs nationwide. It also has 16 international offices
(including full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore) in Asia, Europe, North
America and the Middle East.
BDO ranked as the largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits and trust funds
under management based on published statements of condition as of June 30, 2020. For
more information, please visit www.bdo.com.ph.

Monday, October 26, 2020

BDO Warns Against Scam Mobile Device Takeover Attempts

BDO Unibank, Inc. alerts clients to be cautious about attempts by scammers to mimic official banking communications. Using the name and logo of the bank, these scams claim to be legitimate security notices asking for personal information from customers, which the scammers can then use to access and steal money from online bank accounts. BDO reiterates that it would never send text messages or e-mails asking for personal information from customers.

A recent modus finds scammers tricking clients into initiating BDO’s “Add Device” security alert, which is part of the bank’s two-factor authentication process to protect clients from unauthorized transactions. When account holders reply “Add Device” to this bank-sent text message, scammers get access to their online bank account.

BDO reminds account holders: “Only add trusted devices to your digital banking app. Do not reply to Add Device text messages if you did not make an Add Device request.” For added protection, the bank advises clients to limit permission to just one device.

How “mobile device takeover” scam works

The modus operandi starts with an email or text message that urges clients to click on a link to verify their accounts and avoid deactivation. Scammers often get clients’ data from scraping the internet for email addresses and mobile numbers. BDO reminds clients to be prudent when sharing personal information online.

Worried of the potential inconvenience, many clients click on the link, which prompts a fake website to open. Clients “log in” the fake website with their online bank account username and password. Scammers get their victims’ login details from the fake website and key these in the mobile app.

As a security protocol, BDO sends a text message to the client’s registered mobile number in case an unknown or new device is being used to access his or her online banking account. The alert asks the client to reply “Add Device” to get a One-Time PIN (OTP) to register the known and trusted mobile device. 

Deceived by the scammers’ email, some clients reply “Add Device” to this prompt, thinking it will reactivate their “deactivated” online bank account.

BDO reassures clients that it will never ask clients to verify their bank accounts via email or a text message, or ask them to click on links to do so. The bank advises account holders to ignore or send these messages to ReportPhish@bdo.com.ph.

Report unauthorized transactions to BDO

If clients mistakenly register the scammers’ device, scammers will then send money from their victims’ account to theirs. When a fund transfer is successful, the bank sends a confirmation email to clients’ registered email address.

If they receive confirmation emails about transactions they didn’t do, BDO advises clients to immediately report it to its Customer Care Hotline at 8631-8000. They may also reach out by logging in Messenger and looking for BDO Customer Care with the blue verified checkmark from Facebook.

Again, never share OTPs

Scammers obtain their victims’ OTPs through the fake website. OTPs add another layer of protection for online banking. As the last part of the bank’s two-factor authentication process, the unique six-digit numbers register a mobile number to BDO Online Banking and confirm an online transaction. They can be used once and only within a short span of time.

BDO reminds clients not to give their bank account login information, such as username, password, and OTPs to protect their online bank accounts from theft.

About BDO Unibank, Inc.

BDO UNIBANK is a full-service universal bank which provides a wide range of corporate and retail banking services.  These services include traditional loan and deposit products, as well as treasury, trust and investments, investment banking, private banking, rural banking, cash management, leasing and finance, remittance, insurance, retail cash cards, credit card services and stock brokerage services.  

BDO has one of the largest distribution networks, with more than 1,400 operating branches and over 4,400 ATMs nationwide.  It also has full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as 13 overseas remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

BDO ranked as the largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits and trust funds under management based on published statements of condition as of June 30, 2020. For more information, please visit www.bdo.com.ph.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Bouncing back with BDO Cash Agad


Entrepreneurs and workers in small and medium-sized enterprises are the hardest hit by the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. There are almost 1 million MSMEs in the country, and data from the Department of Trade and Industry showed that their businesses were closed by more than 50 percent of this amount, or around 525,000. This has left millions of unemployed Filipinos.

On the macro level, the Asian Development Bank announced that the Philippine economy had crashed in May or June and that, for the rest of the year, economic contraction is expected at 7.3% by the end of 2020. Recovery is projected to occur by 2021, when the pandemic is expected to be contained and the economy is expected to recover by 6.5 per cent.

Cash Agad Partner Agent

Even with the prevailing economic downturn, the country has seen signs of a gradual recovery , especially in some small and medium-sized enterprises/MSMEs.

One of them is Krystal Bantic of Quirino province in the Cagayan Valley region. Krystal runs a grocery store in her town and she became a Cash Agad partner agent last year. 

Krystal Bantic, owner of Ivee’s Sari Sari Store and a Cash Agad partner agent in Quirino, Cagayan Valley facilitating a withdrawal transaction.

Cash Agad is a service provided by BDO to far-flung and unbanked communities where residents have little to no access to bank services. Many faraway places in the country do not have banks or ATMs where residents may conveniently get cash. This is due to several reasons.

It could be that communities are located in distant islands where motorized boats are the only means of transportation. Some towns and barrios are located in mountainous or hilly areas with rocky and uneven terrain. Others are separated by sheer hundreds of kilometers from urban areas and have no concrete roads nor highways. All of these factors and more prevent banks from building and maintaining physical branch offices in these faraway towns.

The Cash Agad service provides a simple, elegant, and practical solution to all that. By partnering with stores and shops already established in the community, BDO turns them into community-based ATM terminals. The shop owner receives a POS terminal for use in transacting locally-issued ATM cards, whether debit or prepaid and facilitates basic transactions like cash withdrawals and balance inquiries.

Best of all, Cash Agad accepts transactions using ATM cards from different local banks and non-bank financial institutions in the Philippines, not only those from BDO. It's really a service that benefits entire communities.

According to Krystal, she actually had few customers availing of Cash Agad in her grocery store in the year before the pandemic struck. This was because at that time, people were used to traveling all the way to Candon City in Ilocos Sur province, which is more than four hours away from Quirino, in order to go to banks and ATMs, enjoy fast food restaurants, and buy essential goods.

"People would make the trip to Candon even though it's quite far because it was a mix of both business and leisure for them. Also, goods are priced lower in Candon because over here in Quirino our shops are simply getting our goods from there as well," said Krystal.

The trip to Candon is quite far and the transport available are passenger vans. It takes more than four hours across 289 kilometers. The fare costs at least 200 pesos and even more if a person was also loading some baggage in the van for the trip. When going to Candon, residents of Quirino would have to allot an entire day and at least four hundred pesos for a two-way trip. They would spend more if they included food expenses.

From lockdown to opportunity
The pandemic caused subsequent lockdowns and quarantines which prevented people from leaving Quirino as they were used to. This meant that their usual access to cash (banks and ATMs) and goods in Candon was closed off. But fortunately, Krystal and her Cash Agad kiosk at her grocery store was available.

"Grabe po, noong nagka-lockdown dito sa amin. None of us could leave. The local government ordered all transportation to stop. No one was allowed to go out. People had nowhere else to go to get needed cash to spend for food and other basic needs. So more and more people come to my store not only to withdraw cash but also to buy essential goods," said Krystal.

Krystal faced her own challenges as a Cash Agad partner agent. She was also covered by the travel ban so she could not easily replenish the cash reserves meant for Cash Agad withdrawals. She was able to solve this by either renting a private vehicle to go to the BDO branch in Candon to get cash or she would get the help of the local government to provide transportation to Candon. After all, Krystal had become a frontliner and essential worker since she was the only source of cash for the residents in her town.

Soon enough, practically everyone in the communities around Krystal's store became her customers. Teachers, government workers, policemen, and even farmers and construction workers all depend on her store and its Cash Agad service to get their salaries. Her store also became the official channel for the government cash assistance given to 4Ps beneficiaries. This was done with the help of the local government.

It's not just Krystal's store that benefits from Cash Agad. Other business owners in the area, from other sari-sari stores to eateries, to hardware shops, and even stalls for vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish at the wet market--all of them thanked her for being able to provide cash to the community. This is because the amount of local spending had become greater than ever. People were spending their cash on local businesses instead of those in faraway Candon City.

"Krystal's experience really shows how the Cash Agad service expands financial inclusion in far-flung, hard-to-reach areas in the country. The result is a boost to the local economy. Established businesses earn more. More businesses are set up. The engine of local economic activity is revved up and eventually, there's improved quality of life for the residents.

"If the country's economy is ever going to bounce back from the pandemic, it will take all of us--big businesses, MSMEs, and both urban and rural communities and their local governments--to help each other and do our part. There's a certain inspiration, a beautiful sort of hope when you see communities working together to rise up and recover from a crisis. BDO is doing its part in helping communities recover economically through the Cash Agad network," said Mr. Jim Nasol, Head of Agency Banking, BDO Unibank.

For more information about Cash Agad, go to www.bdo.com.ph/cash-agad or send an email to cashagad@bdo.com.ph  for inquiries.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

BDO Cash Agad: Your Partner for Recovery at this time of the Pandemic


Not just because of the fear of COVID-19, but also because of how it affected their livelihoods, the pandemic had severe effects on families and communities in the country. Many firms are closing down , causing widespread job losses. For those who still had any money left, since public transit was shut down during the lockout and quarantine periods, they could not access their cash so easily at banks and ATMs.

Still, some residents were fortunate that there were Cash Agad partner agents in their communities who were ready to provide banking services even amid the pandemic.  While Cash Agad partner agents were also affected by the restrictions of the community quarantine, they were still able to help their respective barangays and are now bouncing back and continuing with their recovery in order to further build their businesses.  

The Cash Agad partner agents network is comprised of small to medium business owners in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao who are operating the Cash Agad service in their communities. This service aims to provide ready access to cash for distant communities, especially those who are not so easily reached by public transportation. These would include communities in places that were located in challenging terrain like mountains, hilly areas, or those in far flung islands only reachable by boat. 

Cash Agad is  the solution provided by BDO Unibank to unbanked and financially underserved communities, especially those places where setting up a building or bank branch or even an ATM machine would prove to be impractical and unfeasible.  

Community shops-turned-ATMs

A community shop owner (the business might also be a salon, drugstore, hardware store, etc.) is usually tapped to be Cash Agad partner agent. Since such a business owner has long been part of the locality, has an establishment close to the residents, and is a trusted  figure in the community, it’s much easier for the people to trust him or her with their money-related transactions. 

Once the shop owner becomes a Cash Agad partner, he or she is  given a POS terminal that is capable of accepting transactions using any Philippine-issued ATM card whether debit or credit.  And even though BDO Unibank is the one that runs the Cash Agad service, the POS terminal accepts ATM cards from all banks in the Philippines.  

Cash Agad and LGUs 

Another advantage of using Cash Agad is that it does not depend on banking hours. As long as the Cash Agad partner shop is open, it can accept transaction. This was modified, however, when the pandemic struck and community quarantines were imposed.  Local official had to set schedules and limit operating hours for Cash Agad transactions in order to follow physical distancing requirements designed to keep customers safe and prevent disease transmission. 

Even LGUs depend on Cash Agad to deliver government’s financial aid to those in need.  For example, the beneficiaries of 4Ps withdraw their monthly cash assistance  from Cash Agad.  Even the IPs or memberes of the indigenous people’s communities are able to get their financial aid through Cash Agad. All these are possible thanks to the cooperation between LGUs and Cash Agad partner agents. 

LGU employees, policemen, and teachers in the community likewise depend on Cash Agad for their salary withdrawals. Private employees, families of overseas Filipinos, all of them now access salaries and remittances from Cash Agad, too. 

All of these were a great relief to residents who, for several months during community quarantine, were unable to travel due to lockdowns and checkpoints. Their mobility had been restricted within their own or the nearby barangays. They could no longer go to urban areas to transact with banks or go to ATMs. 

Helping local businesses

According to Lorna Taruc, owner of Jan Pau convenience store and Cash Agad partner agent at San Simon, Pampanga, the Cash Agad service is a big help to their community.  

Lorna Taruc, owner of Jan Pau convenience store and a Cash Agad partner agent in San Simon, Pampanga facilitating a withdrawal transaction.

"It’s so much more convenient and easier for people here to go to my store and withdraw their cash. They no longer need to travel so far. Especially during the lockdown when it was so difficult to find public transportation.  Apart from this, I had more customers buying from my store.”

Meanwhile, another Cash Agad partner agent, Roselyn Abela of Pitogo, Bohol, said that many residents were afraid to leave their town during the  community quarantine because they heard news that there were many COVID-19 cases in the city where they usually go to transact with banks and use ATMs. 

Roselyn Alaba, owner of FBA Merchandise and a Cash Agad partner agent in Pitogo, Bohol facilitating a withdrawal transaction for a local security guard.

This city is quite far from Pitogo. A person traveling there would need to ride a habal-habal (passenger motorcycle) then cross the sea by boat to another island. At the island, he or she would have to ride another habal-habal to reach the city. It takes half a day to an entire day to travel there and back again to Pitogo.  A two-way trip costs 500 pesos. 

"When the community quarantine was imposed, people were thankful that I have Cash Agad at my store. They withdraw their cash here and then afterwards, they buy some of the essentials they need at home. That’s why my sales at the store also increased,”, said Roselyn. 

Financial Inclusion
According to Jim Nasol, Head of Agency Banking (Cash Agad) of BDO, the bank has been planning to have Cash Agad partner agents in secluded areas for a long time. This is because they want to help rural areas across the country to be more progressive.

“Many Filipinos are smart and hardworking; they dream of better livelihoods. But they are being held back because of their lack of access to cash and capital. There are a lot of Filipinos who don’t have  enough money because just withdrawing it already takes a lot of time and a huge expense.”

“Our Cash Agad partner agents are the key to broadening financial systems. We see that in places like Pitogo, financial inclusion can go a long way in making lives easier for Filipinos in secluded communities,” he explained.

In addition, Arnold Katipunan, Head of Sales of Cash Agad in BDO, said that financial inclusion and access to money is very important during this time of the pandemic, when a lot of people and businesses need to rise up from the dampening effects of the crisis. Ultimately, their recovery will bring new life to the national economy.

The number of Cash Agad partner agents in the country continue to increase. For more information about Cash Agad, go to the BDO website
http://www.bdo.com.ph/cash-agad or send an email to cashagad@bdo.com.ph

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

5 Points to know when buying the Women's Best Waist Trainer

Are you looking for the right waist trainer for women and its Black Friday online deals season? 
Basically, as far as getting rid of those love handles is concerned, these products are easy but successful. We recommend you get a decent waist trainer if you are going to attend an event in the near future. 5 items you might want to consider when opting for a thigh and waist trimmer are provided below. To find out more, read on.

1. Comfort 

Comfort is another important aspect, after easy breathing, that you may want to consider when making this purchase. Below are the elements that can have a significant effect on the comfort level of the item you choose to buy, especially for plus size waist trainer.

  • Product for manufacturing 
  • Type of Fabric 
  • The pin and hook positioning

2. Breathing 

Make sure that the product helps you to breathe without any trouble, first of all. As a result, it is of no use if you can not breathe properly when wearing the product. If you are driving, sitting or standing, you should be able to inhale and exhale. You may as well want to consider the range of motion.

3. Fit & Shape 

If you want to buy the right women's waist trainer, make sure you also remember your measurements. It won't take much longer than a couple of minutes. Regardless of the standard of the waist trainer, the desired results will depend on the product's fit and shape.

4. Bulge and Roll

You will want to take a closer look at your product to make sure it does not have a problem with bulging or rolling. You can swap the product if it has either of the two issues. Leading to the wrong fit, this problem occurs. At times, it occurs regardless of the estimating the measurement.

Usually, bulging is when the product is too tight or does not grip the waist properly. In simple terms , that means that there is not enough pressure or excessive pressure on the product. You have a serious issue in either case, which may prevent you from achieving your goals. 

Another sign that the fit is not right and you need to exchange the product is if the product rolls around your hips. Keep in mind that it will be of no use to you if the item does not offer the best fit.

5. Stretch & Shrink 

It is important to note that with the passing of time, your waist will keep shrinking. Therefore, depending on your waist size, you may want to invest in a waist trainer that can stretch. For proper overtime modification, it should have a lot of hooks. Make sure you try it first before you purchase one. 

In short, if you are looking for the best thigh and waist trimmer to get back into shape, these are 5 things that you might want to consider. Holding in mind these points would make it easier for you to get the right and best product.

I hope these points can help you decide on what waist trainer for women to get this coming Black Friday online deals

Thursday, October 8, 2020

BDO was named the BEST BANK in the Philippines by Alpha Southeast Asia

During its 14th Financial Institution Awards, Alpha Southeast Asia named BDO Unibank, Inc. as the Best Bank in the Philippines, as well as the Philippines' Best Cash Management Bank.

The financial publication also recognized the bank’s subsidiaries led by BDO Private Bank, which has won the Best Wealth Management Bank in the Philippines for the 13th straight year. Investment banking arm BDO Capital and Investment, for its part, was awarded the Best Equity House in the Philippines.

Alpha Southeast Asia evaluated the deals and transaction volumes of financial institutions based in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam from June 2019 to May 2020. After a “thorough and intensive” process, it arrived at this year’s list of awardees.

“These are truly important awards for BDO, especially during this time. They belong to the bank’s 38,000-strong workforce. Because of their commitment and resourcefulness to serve Filipinos amid the new normal, we are now operating at 100%—a true testament to the ‘We Find Ways’ philosophy of BDO,” said Nestor V. Tan, president and chief executive officer of BDO.

Best Bank & Cash Management Bank

BDO is a nine-time Best Bank in the Philippines Awardee in the Financial Institution Awards. This year, Alpha Southeast Asia noted the bank’s resiliency against a very challenging backdrop: 

“Despite a global economic slowdown, the resilience of the local economy has helped banks like BDO surpass previous highs including significant improvement on profitability, net income, bank’s cost-to-income ratio, asset quality as well as total shareholder returns.”

The financial publication also underscored BDO’s strategy in ensuring cash accessibility to its clients for the fifth time with the Best Cash Management Bank in the Philippines Award. It lauded the bank’s consultative approach and innovative solutions to meet its clientele’s constantly changing requirements.

Alpha Southeast Asia also highlighted BDO’s contribution to moving corporate payroll from manual cash distribution to automatic account crediting for maximum ease and efficiency.

Best Wealth Management Bank & Equity House 

“BDO Private Bank is a unique institution unlike any other in the Philippines, and elsewhere. In a country where the biggest exports are its own people… it has carved out a niche to service an emerging segment of wealthy individuals,” said Alpha Southeast Asia.

It attributed BDO Private Bank’s 13-year reign as the Best Wealth Management Bank in the Philippines to its open architecture model, which provides clients with the freedom to design their investment strategy and achieve the best returns.

While many global private banks experienced cutbacks combined with an all-time low confidence level among high net worth individuals, the finance magazine noted that BDO Private Bank saw improvement in its balance sheet, “which is perhaps the greatest proof why its business model inarguably works best.”

During the awards period, BDO Capital partnered with several small, medium, and very large firms from diverse industries and helped conclude their deals. For exemplifying its expertise throughout each successful transaction, Alpha Southeast Asia honored the BDO subsidiary with the Best Equity House in the Philippines Award for the 5th time, calling it “one of the most powerful equity market distribution platforms in the Philippines today.”

The financial publication predicts that with the country returning to the radar of foreign investors and the improving performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange, BDO Capital is poised to sustain the upward movement of its market share.

To know more about their recent awards;

Earlier this year, BDO Unibank brought home other titles from Alpha Southeast Asia in the Philippines category.

11th Annual Fund Management Awards:

  • Best Asset Manager (Fixed Income Bonds)

  • Best Online & Mobile Platform (Asset Manager)

  • Best Fund with the optimal Sharpe ratio 

  • Best Fund Manager for Pension Mandates & Private Retirement Schemes

10th Annual Treasury & Foreign Exchange (FX) Awards:

  • Best FX Bank for Structured Hedging Solutions and proprietary Trading Ideas

  • Best Corporate Treasury Sales and Structuring Team

Best Bank in the Philippines. BDO Unibank, Inc. was named Best Bank in the Philippines by Alpha Southeast Asia during its 14th Financial Institution Awards. It also received the Best Cash Management Bank in the Philippines Award.



About BDO Unibank, Inc.

BDO is a full-service universal bank, which provides a wide range of corporate and retail banking services.  These services include traditional loan and deposit products, as well as treasury, trust banking, investment banking, private banking, rural banking, cash management, leasing and finance, remittance, insurance, retail cash cards and credit card services.  

BDO has the country’s largest distribution network, with over 1,400 consolidated operating branches and more than 4,400 ATMs nationwide.  It also has full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as 15 overseas remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

BDO ranked as the largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits, and trust funds under management based on published statements of condition as of March 31, 2020. For more information, please visit www.bdo.com.ph

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Asian Banking & Finance Honors BDO Foundation for 4 years in a row

BDO Unibank was honored by Asian Banking & Finance, a Singapore-based finance publication, for its corporate citizenship initiatives for the fourth consecutive year. The BDO Foundation's corporate social responsibility arm won an award for its promotion of financial inclusion and efforts to help increase the level of financial literacy in the Philippines.

The foundation was conferred the Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year Award for the financial education program for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), its partnership project with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

According to Asian Banking & Finance, "For showcasing a strong initiative to drive financial education among the country's citizens both within and outside the country as well as supporting key government agencies in monitoring and evaluating the state of financial education programs in place, BDO Foundation is deservedly taking home the award." BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito accepted the award at a virtual presentation of Retail Banking Awards 2020 organized by Asian Banking & Finance.

Asked by the award-giving body about the inspiration for and the achievements of the program, Deriquito underscored the significant contributions of migrant workers to the Philippine economy and the need to support OFWs through financial education. "Leveraging our partnership with OWWA and BSP, we developed educational materials and modules, which are now being used in training programs for OFWs and their families," Deriquito shared. "Together, we trained close to 600 subject matter experts tasked to handle financial literacy sessions. Ultimately, we were able to institutionalize financial education in OWWA's training initiatives."

"The award is a testament to our successful collaboration with OWWA and BSP. It reaffirms our reputation as a staunch advocate of financial education. Embracing our role as a champion of financial inclusion, we will continue to promote financial responsibility among migrant workers and recipients of remittances," he added.

Through the on-going program, BDO Foundation contributes to OWWA's capacity to provide financial education for migrant workers and their families as it supports the implementation of BSP's National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. The award-winning initiative is expected to benefit an estimated 2.3 million OFWs in the short term and some 10.2 million migrant workers in the long term.

The Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year Award is the latest accolade received by BDO Foundation from Retail Banking Awards. Last year, the foundation was given the CSR Program of the Year Gold Award for the financial education program for public schools. In previous years, BDO Foundation was cited for constructing resettlement homes for persons with disabilities displaced by Typhoon Yolanda and successfully rehabilitating rural health units in disaster-stricken and economically disadvantaged communities all over the country.

Currently in its 15th year, Retail Banking Awards honors the outstanding products and services of banks and financial institutions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Training financial literacy trainers. As part of the financial education program for OFWs, BDO Foundation, OWWA and BSP trained more than 500 OWWA officers tasked to conduct training sessions for OFWs before they leave the Philippines.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Teachers’ Paradigm Shift in the New Normal

It’s no secret that education systems here and abroad took a heavy beating from the COVID-19 pandemic. And while we often hear of students’ and parents’ struggles with online learning, teachers have their fair share of challenges as well. 

From preparation of lesson plans to conducting the classes and the handing out of assignments, teachers have to make sure that the quality of learning remains even with the absence of face-to-face interactions.

Like the students and the parents, teachers would probably say that “the struggle is real.”

A different preparation

One of these teachers is former TV reporter and anchor Julius Segovia, who teaches various communications subjects, specifically TV Production, Journalism Principles, Visual Journalism, Multimedia Performance, and News Production in four different universities.

Before the pandemic, he prepared his lessons a few days or weeks before they are actually delivered to his students. This time around, his lead time had to be longer.

“You need to prepare and finish all the modules for the entire semester before the classes get started,” said Julius.

Another journalism teacher, Melanie Moreno, agrees that she had to pass hurdles upon hurdles to be able to conduct her classes, not only to keep things in order, but also to ensure learning among her students. 

“Preparing lessons during this pandemic is way more challenging than before since the concern is not just limited to making sure that the learning will be transferred to the learners, but also to making sure that this is actually delivered to them,” says Melanie, who teaches in a public high school in Cavite.

“The diversity of the learners in terms of academic performance and ability is now appended with their diverse socio-economic status and ability to sustain education amid the pandemic,” she adds.

Meanwhile, R-Jay Cayton, a teacher in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) mode of education, finds pre-work more complicated than before.

“The planning part is complex now since classes are online. My audio-visual materials, camera, and microphone need to be tested at least two days before my actual class. Before, it was a day before because I just needed to prepare my visual aids,” R-Jay, who teaches basic education-level English to mostly adult learners.

Challenging conduct of classes

As a TV reporter and online show host, Julius is used to talking in front of the camera. And while he doesn’t expect the camera to talk back to him, he knows that his messages get across because people react to what he says on those platforms. That’s not necessarily the case for online classes.

Like any other teacher, Julius is used to interacting with students face-to-face. And even if he is facing the camera, this time for classes, he may not be getting the same feedback from his students.

“Students are not required to open their camera because it consumes bigger bandwidth. With this, I am not sure if I am really talking to my students or I am just doing my monologue during class discussions,” he explains.

Julius also points out some obstacles in conducting blended learning sessions, or a mix of online and onsite classes, as directed by the Commission on Higher Education.

“[Students] will be given modules in lieu of virtual meetings. Meaning, you have students with different learning modalities. Medyo nakakalito 'yun sa part ng teacher,” he says.

Classes for public schools are set to begin on October 5, which also happens to be World Teachers’ Day. But even before this, Melanie already conducted a dry-run of her online class, particularly for her Grade 10 students in order to identify issues that have to be addressed.

Like probably many teachers, Melanie describes this “impersonal” method of learning as quite challenging

“It takes a lot of reflective thinking and assessment since you would need to develop a uniform concrete material addressing the needs of a diverse audience. I believe that [developers of Alternative Delivery Mode] learning materials should therefore be very adept with the craft,” she shares.

Internet issue

The teachers themselves are saying that having good internet connectivity is a major issue in the delivery of their lessons. 

“Not all families can actually afford the expenses [of securing a stable internet connection]. The internet stability in our country is [also] really challenging, aside from the fact that the teacher's presence in the process of learning is actually compromised. [Limited] teacher presence affects the learning of the students according to studies,” Melanie says.

Aside from fluctuating internet connection, R-Jay is also bothered by the unnecessary background noises he hears, as these are distractions to both him and his students.

Shift in evaluating students’ learning

It’s common for teachers to give out seatworks and quizzes inside the classroom. Since there’s practically no classroom to speak of this school year, teachers had to make adjustments on how to ensure that their students have indeed learned or would learn their lessons.

“I am lenient in terms of deadlines. I give ample time for the students to finish the required output, but we strictly follow protocols on late submissions. They get deductions if they submit late,” Julius says.

“If they get to submit a superb TV or radio material, then it means they've learned something from me,” he emphasizes further.

Melanie’s early preparations have had its gains so far.

“Even before the opening of classes, [my learners and I] have been engaging in different online projects. We struggled at first. As time went by, we were able to establish an organized system, though, only using FB and Messenger, which are accessible even without internet data compared to other educational applications available nowadays which require internet access,” she shares.

Managing virtual classroom behavior

Keeping an entire class attentive has always been a challenge for teachers, especially in the basic education levels, but the “new normal” gave it a whole new dimension.

Like Julius’s students, not all of Melanie’s turn on their cameras; still, teachers find ways to manage their class’ behavior.

“I engage them in discussions. Sometimes, I do request them to open [their cameras], usually at the end of the meeting just to make sure that they are paying attention. Aside from that, their outputs reflect whether they have learned something or not,” Melanie says.

R-Jay, meanwhile, keeps his students in check by staying silent when they are talkative. 

Hopes for the “new normal” of education

In the end, the teachers hope that all things with online classes and blended learning turn out to be beneficial to students.

“I hope students would realize that they should work hand in hand with their teachers for the pursuit of online classes. Ika nga, kailangang magtulungan para maisakatuparan ang lahat ng ito. Hindi biro ang blended learning approach sa mga bata. [In the] same way, challenge din ito para sa mga guro, especially sa mga hindi techie,” Julius says.

“With careful planning, honest and realistic feedback for processing, I believe that education will still push through effectively. It just takes adaptability and synergy, as life should not end with the virus. It should rather open broader and more positive possibilities without compromising the precious lives of our teachers, students, and other stakeholders,” Melanie shares.

R-Jay’s students may be of age, but he still hopes that the pandemic and the sudden change in the conduct classes won’t hamper adults from continued learning.

“[I hope my students would] value themselves more, so they can dream bigger for themselves [because education promotes equity].”

Salute and commitment

The work of our teachers in shaping the minds of the nation is in itself a sacrifice and an act of love because it requires time, attention, and patience. These have doubled, maybe even tripled or more this pandemic.

Clearly, teachers have been finding ways to continue students’ learning process, refusing to give up on their calling. 

BDO is one with them in steadily serving the community through these tough times.

As its commitment to continued education amid the pandemic, its rural banking arm—BDO Network Bank—supported the health and safety campaign of the Department of Education for teachers and learners alike, donating P1 million worth of rubbing alcohol and washable face masks that will benefit 1,105 public schools, under the Brigada Eskwela program.

On the other hand, under the Balik Eskwela campaign, BDO Network Bank employees were encouraged to donate school items (school shoes, bags and school supplies) for DepEd teachers and students. In addition, as part of this program, P420,000 worth of ICT equipment (laptops, desktops, and scanners) were turned over to DepEd through the rural bank’s partnership with BDO Foundation and SM Foundation..

In addition, BDO Network Bank provided school materials to further help teachers and students, donating P1.4 million worth of bond papers under the Adopt-a-School program. 

Like the country’s dedicated teachers, BDO looks forward to getting through the pandemic, so that learning experiences may eventually safely resume beyond people’s homes and inside real classrooms.