Friday, July 19, 2024

PH Curling Team Dares to Dream for a 2026 Winter Olympics Bid

Can a team from a tropical country excel in an ice sport like curling?


That’s what the Philippine National Curling Team – composed of four Fil-Swiss players -- are out to prove when they go through the rigorous preparations of vying for a slot in the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Milan, Italy.


Alan Frei, Filipino-Swiss entrepreneur, economist, curler and spokesman of the team said the Philippine men’s squad bagged a silver medal in the B-Division of the Pan Continental Curling Championships in Kelowna, Canada in 2023. The team aims to repeat the feat this October in Alberta to move up to the A-Division in the 2025 championships.The top two teams there get guaranteed spots in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.


Frei, a relative newcomer to curling, joined the Filipino team in March 2023, a year after he sold his Swiss e-commerce business and decided “to become an Olympian”. Sharing his dream are teammates Christian Haller, a two-time world junior championship medallist, and brothers Marc and Enrico Pfister who previously competed for Switzerland in world curling championships. 


All Swiss-born like Frei, Haller, and the Pfister brothers are eligible to play for the country because of their Filipino mothers.


“The sport of curling is like playing chess on ice. It’s a combination of strategy and physical skill. We have a huge advantage in the strategy part because we have the experience of the three guys who have played on the world stage,” said Frei.


To test their skills further, the National Men’s Curling Team will be competing in an off-season tournament this August, the Baden Master’s in Switzerland where they will face World’s No. 1 Italy in their first game. Currently placed at 51st in the men’s rankings of the World Curling Member Association, Frei said the team is excited to play Italy so they can gauge exactly where they stand.


The Swiss-Filipino team hopes that more Filipinos can become aware of their goals and what they’ve been doing so they can be inspired even more.


Frei said the curling team shoulders all their expenses at present, citing their need to first achieve “success” before asking for financial support from the POC and other possible sponsors.


The Swiss-Filipino athletes are also eyeing a podium finish against top Asian countries like China and Korea in the 2025 Asian Winter Gamesin Harbin to gain national recognition.


“The curling team aspires to pave the way for future curling athletes from the country in their bid for the Olympics. We are trying to foster [Filipino talent] more and more just by being a role model and having this super ambitious goal,” Frei said.


With the help of the POC and national sports associations, the team plans to hold exhibition tournaments in the country and provide training for aspiring Filipino curlers. The Curling Winter Sports Association of the Philippines, which the team is a part of, also aims to increase its membership from about 50 to 100 people this year according to Frei.


Frei said Filipino communities come out to support them anywhere they play, worldwide.


Single-minded in their dream to bring honor to the country, Frei revealed they want to achieve what the Jamaican Bobsled Team did in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. Received as underdogs in a cold weather sport, the Jamaicans competed against all odds and came out the favorites.  


“We don't have a plan B. We have only one plan and that is to go to the Olympics,” Frei concluded.

DOST PCIEERD Presentation, “Boosting Semiconductor Industry Through Upskilling and Career Development

Government and Private Sector Come Together to Regain PH High-Value Market Position and Reach Target 128,000 Semiconductor Engineers and Technicians By 2028. Officials from DTI/BOI, DOST-PCIEERD, industry associations, integrated circuit (IC) design companies and the academe exchange views about boosting the semiconductor industry through upskilling and career development. 

Present during the press briefing were (L-R) Engr. Robert James Y. Lomoton, Dean, Colegio de Muntinlupa; Dr. Alex Co Abad, Asst. Professor, Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering, Gokongwei College of Engineering, De La Salle University – Manila; Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa, DTI-Board of Investments; Earl Qua, President, EIAPI (Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines Inc.); Dr. Danhhhhh Lachica, President, SEIPI (Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc.); Engr.  NiƱaliza H. Escorial, Deputy Executive Director, DOST PCIEERD (Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development); Dr. Louis Alarcon, Head - Microelectronics Department, University of the Philippines and Director, CIDR (Center for Integrated Circuit and Devices Research and Charade Avondo, President and General Manager, Xinyx Design.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

CICC, GCash Nagbabala Ukol sa mga Fake Messages

Nagbabala sa publiko ang nangungunang finance super app na GCash, kaisa ng Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), ukol sa nagkalat na pekeng social media channels na nagpapanggap na GCash. Kaugnay sa mga fake social media page o group na ito ay mga followers na magkakalat ng mga phishing links na magiging sanhi ng account takeover o pagnanakaw sa kanilang mga account.
Kadalasang gambling o gaming ang mga fraudulent accounts na ito at may mga pangalang tulad ng “GCash88 Media”, “GCash Update”, at kung anu-ano pang mga mapanlinlang na pangalan.
“We always advise the public to avoid clicking any links from unknown or suspicious senders." ("Lagi naming pinapayuhan ang publiko na iwasang mag-click sa anumang link mula sa hindi kilala o kahina-hinalang mga nagpadala ng mensahe online,”) pahayag ni CICC executive Director Alexander K. Ramos. "Scammers used to send such links through SMS, but now they have found another platform.” ("Dati ang mga scammer ay nagpapadala ng mga link sa pamamagitan ng SMS, ngunit ngayon ay nakahanap na sila ng ibang platform,") dagdag niya.
Nagpahayag din ng patuloy na suporta si Ramos para sa kaligtasan ng digital ecosystem sa bansa. “Our combined resources with our fellow law enforcement agencies have already traced many suspects behind these social media pages and arrested them in law enforcement operations. Let this be a stern warning to other cybercriminals out there, you will be pursued, you will be found, and you will be apprehended." (Ang aming pinasagsamang pwersa kasama ang iba pang law enforcement agencies ang naging daan para matukoy at matunton ang mga suspek sa likod ng mga social media pages na ito. Magsilbi sana itong babala sa mga nagkalat na cybercriminals, kayo ay matutukoy at mahahanap, at kayo ay mahuhuli ng mga awtoridad,”) aniya.
Samantala, muling nagpaalala si GCash Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications Gilda Maquilan na iisa lamang ang social media page ng e-wallet.  "GCash’s official pages are @gcashofficial, which is where we come out with our promos, and @wearegcash, the official corporate page of GCash, nothing else.” We believe that social media platforms are still the best means to engage our users. However, we strongly warn our users that any other profile or username is fraudulent and should be avoided."(“Ang mga official Facebook page ng GCash ay ang @gcashofficial, kung saan kami naglalabas ng mga promo at ang  @wearegcash, na siyang official corporate page ng GCash,  wala nang iba pa. Naniniwala pa rin ang GCash na ang social media ay mananatiling pinaka epektibong paraan para makipag ugnayan sa aming mga users. Binabalaan po namin ang mga users na iwasan ang mga naiibang social media profiles at usernames na nagpapanggap na GCash,”) pahayag ni Maquilan.

Upang higit pang maprotektahan ang mga user laban sa mga online scam, patuloy ding nakikipagtulungan ang GCash sa mga awtoridad kabilang ang National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police-Anti Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG). Bilang resulta, nasa mahigit apat na milyon mga fraudulent ang naipasara nito, habang nasa 810 phishing sites at 45,000 malisyosong mga post at account sa social media naman ang na-block ng awtoridad noong 2023 sa tulong ng GCash.
"We will continue to work closely with our partners from law enforcement agencies, including the PNP, NBI, CICC, and others, in tracking down scammers behind these deceptive online channels and ensuring they are pursued by the authorities." ("Kami ay patuloy na makikipagtulungan sa aming mga partners mula sa gobyerno kabilang ang PNP, NBI, CICC, at iba pa, sa pagsubaybay sa mga scammers sa likod ng mga mapanlinlang na online channels at pagtiyak na sila ay matutugis ng mga awtoridad,") dagdag ni Maquilan.
Muling nagpaalala ang GCash sa mga users na huwag kailanman ibahagi ang MPIN o OTP kaninuman at iwasang mag click sa mga hindi kilalang websites, emails, at messaging apps.
Para sa tulong, maaaring makipag-ugnayan sa PNP-ACG sa kanilang hotlines sa (02) 8414-1560 at sa 0998-598-8116, o sa email na
Para isumbong ang mga scams at iba pang ilegal na gawain, maaaring ring bisitahin ng mga users ang official GCash Help Center sa, o mag message kay Gigi, at i-type ang “I want to report a scam.” Pwede ring tumawag sa GCash hotline na 2882 para sa anumang katanungan at concerns.
Para sa karagdagang impormasyon, bisitahin ang