Sun Life and Smart renew partnership to promote financial literacy among cooperatives

Sun Life Philippines (Sun Life), the country’s leading life insurance company for 12 consecutive years, has renewed its strategic partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart). The aim of this partnership is to enhance financial literacy among cooperatives affiliated with Smart.

Expanding the Program’s Coverage

The renewed partnership between Sun Life and Smart will broaden the program’s reach by conducting financial literacy trainings for cooperatives in various locations, including Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Metro Manila throughout the year. This expansion seeks to empower more cooperative members by providing them with essential knowledge about finance and its relevance to their industry.

Building on Previous Success

Sun Life and Smart are committed to surpassing the achievements of the program in 2022. Last year, the initiative successfully engaged and educated nearly 500 cooperative members on finance fundamentals. The partners aim to build on this momentum and continue empowering Filipinos to pursue their financial goals.

Advocating Financial Literacy

Sun Life has always been a strong advocate of financial literacy, recognizing its crucial role in leading individuals to a brighter life. With the renewal of the partnership with Smart, Sun Life President Alex Narciso believes they can further elevate their efforts and empower more Filipinos to achieve financial independence.

“Sun Life has always been a staunch advocate of financial literacy as we believe it plays a key role in achieving a brighter life. We are always looking for ways to elevate our efforts and help empower even more Filipinos to pursue their financial goals. I believe the renewal of our tie-up with Smart can help us do that,” Sun Life President Alex Narciso said.

Empowering Cooperatives through Financial Literacy

Cooperatives play a vital role in their respective communities and contribute significantly to the country’s economy. Recognizing their importance, Smart is committed to empowering these cooperatives through financial literacy and digitalization. By renewing its partnership with Sun Life, Smart reaffirms its commitment to supporting its partner cooperatives and providing them with relevant solutions.

“Given the key role that cooperatives play in their respective communities and in our country’s economy as a whole, it is important to empower them through financial literacy and digitalization. Through the renewal of this partnership with Sun Life, we are doubling down on our commitment to support our partner cooperatives and help provide them with relevant solutions,” FVP and Group Head of Smart Go-To Market and Subscriber Management Melvin Nubla said.

Joining Forces for Financial Empowerment

The collaboration between Sun Life and Smart represents a collective effort to promote financial literacy and empower Filipinos in their journey toward financial independence. As part of this endeavor, Sun Life encourages individuals to stay updated on the program and other initiatives by following @SunLifePH on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. To learn more about Sun Life and its products, visit its website at

Details provided in a recent press release.


Sun Life Foundation and Save the Children Philippines collaborate for “Project SUNBRIGHT”

Sun Life Financial-Philippines Foundation, Inc. (Sun Life Foundation), the philanthropic arm of Sun Life Philippines, and Save the Children Philippines have joined forces to launch “Project SUNBRIGHT.” This initiative aims to reduce and prevent malnutrition among children and pregnant or lactating mothers by promoting exclusive and appropriate complementary feeding.

Project SUNBRIGHT is set to benefit 600 individuals in Muntinlupa City, including parents with infants or children under two years old, teenage mothers, caregivers, health service providers, and pregnant and lactating women. The project’s objective is to determine the causes of undernutrition among these groups and prevent them by promoting optimal “Infant & Young Child Feeding” (IYCF) practices, capacity-building of health service providers, and using Socio-Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) strategies.

Sun Life Foundation officers handed over the giant check donation to Save the Children for “Project SUNBRIGHT” during the recent signing of the memorandum of agreement 

Empowering the Community through Advocacy

Through Project SUNBRIGHT, community groups among pregnant/lactating women and other stakeholders will be strengthened to promote IYCF. The project aims to enhance existing efforts to promote breastfeeding among beneficiaries who have children of breastfeeding age to minimize or eliminate malnutrition among Filipino children.

Lourdes Pambid, Program Manager for Urban Health and Nutrition of Save the Children Philippines, expressed her gratitude for the partnership. “Working with the Sun Life Foundation for this project has been truly fruitful and productive. They are very receptive of the project’s goals and have strong support for civil societies. Through this collaboration, we are able to provide a wide array of interventions that promote breastfeeding as well as enhance existing efforts through strong advocacy of the practice,” Pambid concluded.

Education and Awareness

Project SUNBRIGHT aims to bolster existing efforts in publicizing nutrition concepts and programs that prevent or reduce undernutrition through an education drive that will train participants on Republic Act No. 11148 or the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act,” maternal, newborn, infant, and young child nutrition, Kangaroo Mother Care, essential intrapartum and newborn care, and management of moderate to severe acute malnutrition.

Sun Life Foundation’s Efforts to Promote Health and Well-being

Kristine Dianne Millete, Executive Director of the Sun Life Foundation, emphasized that the initiative is anchored on “Health,” one of the organization’s pillars. She added, “The Sun Life Foundation is proud to have Save the Children as our implementing partner in this important endeavor to promote health and nutrition for mothers rearing up their babies. With this collaboration, we look forward to enhancing existing efforts to promote breastfeeding among the beneficiaries who have children of breastfeeding age in an effort to minimize or altogether eliminate malnutrition among Filipino children.”

Aside from Project SUNBRIGHT, the Sun Life Foundation continues to work with various organizations to promote health among its beneficiaries. One notable initiative is the Sun Life Barangay Health Stations, which provide basic healthcare in remote areas.

About Sun Life

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2022, Sun Life had total assets under management of CAD1.33 trillion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Details provided in a recent press release.

Header image by jcomp on Freepik

How to choose the best school for your child

Where your child goes to school is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Given how their education can impact their future, you might be tempted to take control and decide for them. However, you might be doing more damage than helping them in the long run. 

AIA Future Scholar 3

Your job as parents is to support them throughout the process so they can choose their path and find an educational institution that will not only make them happy, but also bring out the best in them as they prepare for real life. Here are helpful ways you can help determine the best school for your child without going overboard:

  1. Create a list of school options with your child. If your child doesn’t have a particular dream school, you should help them gauge their choices by brainstorming with them. It’s vital that you take time to listen and understand what your child needs and wants. 

For instance, if your child is an independent learner who learns best at his own pace, he might do better in a Montessori school. If your child responds better in a structured teaching style, then a traditional school might be best for him. Keep an open mind and decide on what will give your child what he needs.

  1. Visit school campuses with your child. Some academic institutions have impressive websites with carefully curated photos, but in reality, the school leaves much to be desired. Instead of relying on brochures and the internet, take time to visit school campuses with your kid. 

Schools are open to tours. You just need to schedule your visit in advance unless you’re an alumnus of that institution and have access to the grounds. You and your child can get a feel of the campus atmosphere to determine if it’s the right fit. 

AIA Future Scholar 2
  1. Provide guidance and support. While your child should have a say on where they will study, you should give them guidance based on pros and cons, and what you know about the school options. Choosing a school is a big decision and might cause anxiety for your child, so it’s best to be there for them. 

The best way to provide emotional support is by actively listening to them. You should make your child feel comfortable about discussing their options and fears. Listen to understand where they’re coming from so you can help them make the right choice. 

  1. Prepare financially as soon as possible. Tuition fees are very expensive, especially with rising inflation so you need to prepare and be ready to provide for your child’s education. This way, you will be able to provide the best education for them. 

Once you have made your choice for your child’s primary education, it is time to think ahead and prepare for the next big educational expense: college. You can save up on your own, or you can get AIA Philippines’ Future Scholar, an insurance product that gives guaranteed cash payouts that can help pay for your child’s tertiary education. Whatever happens, you’re confident your child will be able to get the college education that you envisioned. 

AIA Future Scholar 1

Future Scholar doesn’t just help you afford costly school expenses. Aside from guaranteed savings, Future Scholar has an investment component so you can look out for your child financially even after they graduate from college. Moreover, you can choose to build your child’s education funds in five years or until the child reaches the age of 17. Should you decide not to use the funds for educational expenses, it can also be used for other big expenses in the future like buying a car or post graduate studies abroad.

In addition, Future Scholar gives you peace of mind. Whatever happens, your child will have money set aside for his future needs. Aside from that, your child or your chosen beneficiary can also be entitled to an additional lump-sum cash benefit should anything untoward happen to you.

AIA Future Scholar 4

“We know that the pandemic and the volatile economy has made everyone insecure about their savings. As a parent myself, I understand every parent’s desire to ensure that there are guaranteed benefits intended for their child’s future,” said Tennyson Paras, AIA Philippines’ Head of Products. “And this is what we had in mind when our Products Team designed AIA Future Scholar. We wanted to make sure that no matter what happens, a healthier, longer and better life awaits our children.”

If you want to know more about AIA Future Scholar and how it can help you guarantee savings for your child’s future needs, click here.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

#TechVocInThePhilippines: Why not?

Tech-voc professionals should be regarded as graduates with equal opportunity, job security, professional status, and recognition in our society that professionals of four-year higher education programs currently enjoy.

It’s around that time of the year again when a fresh batch of new college graduates join the workforce.

For many of these graduates, after studying and struggling for years to earn their degree, a tough road lies ahead before they land their first job. If they’re lucky, they will be able to find work that aligns with their interests and the degree they worked so hard to attain. If they are not so lucky, they may find themselves in jobs that are not related to their degree, are underpaid for the jobs that they do have, or worse, have no job at all.

In a recent report on in-demand jobs in the country, IT/Computer Software, Clerical/Administrative Support, IT/Network/System/Database and General Work are among the top specializations that are being hired. In a separate salary survey, on the other hand, Computer/IT, Services, Manufacturing and Building/Construction are among those with the highest salaries for entry-level positions.

These are jobs that the new members of the workforce could have been prepared for by a technical-vocational education.

An unpopular choice

Unfortunately, tech-voc education has rarely been a first choice among high school graduates in the country. This may be due to the perceived lack of glamor or prestige of pursuing further education in the tech-voc sphere compared to a university degree, or the erroneous impression that workers in this field lack of job security or professional status compared to their peers who took university courses. Also coming into play may be the existing bias that only the ‘bobo’ enroll in these courses.


Whatever the reason, many members of our workforce are being denied employment opportunities and productive careers simply because they did not opt to pursue education in the tech-voc field.

This is such as shame because our technical-vocational institutes (TVI), if managed and monitored well, are fully capable of producing world-class and skilled graduates at par with those of our neighboring countries. Tech-voc graduates perform key roles in various industries both local and abroad. A job-ready and globally competitive batch of tech-voc graduates joining the workforce can also greatly contribute to the national income and economy.

To get to this stage, we as a country need to place importance in the possibilities offered by the technical field in providing a decent and productive life to our citizens.

TECH VOC blog images
Existing Philippine Qualification Framework and Ladderized Program Law

A need to revise our framework

You will notice that our highly-industrialized Asian neighbors like Japan, Singapore, and Korea have made necessary adjustments in their educational system, with particular focus on academic excellence and technology innovation. By placing emphasis on citizens becoming productive and contributing members to their national economy, these heavily invested in technical training.

A local proponent for tech-voc education is Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. According to him, a vocational or technical degree should be given a prominent position in our country’s educational framework. Expanding its curriculum and significantly improving its accreditation status will help produce young graduates equipped with the specific skills that match the requirements of the job market.

TECH VOC blog images
The TVET PQF NC’s is in need of a specific title for learners’ perspective to the industry or employers for clear and better recognition.

The Philippines has two main government agencies tasked in providing basic education in the country: DepEd (Department of Education) for the academics and TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) which is in charge facilitating quality technical education and skills development. Ideally, these two should complement each other, with no overlapping of roles that could result in conflicts during the implementation of their programs.

However, with the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, some of TESDA’s resources have been acquired by DepEd due to the need for technical experts to handle the tech-voc curriculum.

Both esteemed educators such as University of the Philippines professor, Clarita Carlos and government administrators like Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia have cited the sorry state of tech-voc education in the Philippines and made appeals to DepEd and TESDA to focus on their respective mandates, namely basic education and in the students’ academic performances for DEPED and technical skills formation for TESDA.

An expanded role for TESDA

TESDA needs to take on the complete responsibility for technical and vocational training as a distinct and separate agency from DOLE, DTI and DepEd, with a scope beyond merely providing technical instructions and training. Its purview should include thorough skills assessment to meet globally-competitive criteria, and granting professional license to successful graduates to elevate their status to professional practitioners of their chosen skill.

As the final “quality control” check before graduation and the practice of their profession, passing the licensure exam becomes a mark of pride and achievement for the graduates, a basis for demanding a higher salary and compensation for their services and an undeniable proof of their parity with the technical graduates of progressive countries.


Licensure examination is but one wheel in the big cog of Philippine Qualifications Framework which supposedly sets multiple criteria to measure the quality assurance principles and standards of the Filipino professional, technician and craftsman.

TECH VOC blog images
Trifocal education system with the implementation of K-12 has totally diminished the quality skills training for TVET.

Performing this mandate would require TESDA to review and rescan its current services and offers in order to attract enrollees and be an effective government agency for manpower development.

To do this, it is proposed that TESDA curriculum be organized in two tracks that serve different purposes and will be monitored accordingly:

Product-Oriented TrackService-Oriented Track
No pre-requisitePre-requisite: HS graduate
Only product quality controlCustomer and Practitioner’s Protection Service
Do not require higher academic achievementService-Oriented professions are measured by quality of service thru
customer satisfaction
This is measured only through quality controlIt promotes respect, prestige and protection to the client and also the

Product-oriented tracks may be in the form of cottage industries and are designed to provide livelihood opportunities at the barangay level to folks such as stay-at-home moms, out-of-school youths, drug dependents, seniors/retirees, jobless folks, and surrenderees, with TESDA providing the necessary tools and materials as well as equipment for this skill training. Some of these are:

PTV Tracks
Livelihood tracks aims to provide skills training to its target beneficiaries, to engage them in livelihood projects that are income generating

The Service Oriented Sector/Industry, on the other hand, are professional tracks that go beyond a simple trade, and are identified by specific specialization based on the industry qualification. These will require a high school diploma as a basic requirement. These include the following:

PTV Tracks
Only by professionalizing all Service Oriented Tech-Voc Courses will uplift the image of techvoc students, graduates and practitioners in the country.

Giving TESDA a free rein as well as an expanded role will help it perform its main mandate faster and more efficiently to address current joblessness and lack of experts in vocational and technical skills and to uplift the status of tech-voc in the Philippines.

Now that the country is entering the COVID-19 recovery phase, opportunities abound for smart investment in tech-voc education and training to “build back better” programs and systems. These may also cater to students who dropped out during school closures and reskill or upskill those who have become unemployed.

To greatly improve employability and professional development of tech-voc students, focus must be given to developing their foundational cognitive and socioemotional skills, such as empathy and resilience, while investing in learning technology and digital skills of tech-voc instructors.

TECH VOC blog images
TECH VOC blog images

In conclusion, if TVETs are compliant with global standards and are at par with similar institutions of our Asian neighbors, the “Filipino Diaspora” will be minimized because tech-voc graduates are capable of getting better-paying jobs locally or establish their own enterprises without leaving the country.

TECH VOC blog images
The state of tech-voc in the Philippines must be reshaped in such a way that the skills and training competencies are given priorities to attain job-readiness of workers as well as uplift our skilled workers as licensed professionals.

To this end, while TESDA should be independent from other government agencies in providing technical-vocational training and education, it can be greatly helped by agencies like DepEd with its focus on the basic education of children, as well as DOLE and DTI in providing employment assistance and livelihood programs to tech-voc graduates.

Young Filipinos who wish to lead productive lives can look forward to brighter and more productive futures with the tech-voc track, provided they are given the proper incentives, multisectoral support and a supportive policy environment.

With the government, industry and the academe working together in strengthening the country’s tech-voc ecosystem and reinforcing the knowledge that the “Pinoy tech-voc ay hindi bobo,” a career in this field will become a promising path for our future graduates.

Student photos by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels