Philippines Telco Introduces GK1MB Service Card

Apr. 26, 2007

NAGA CITY, PHILIPPINES — As part of its continuing support for the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Foundation, leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) announced last week that it will soon introduce a new GK service card featuring the mobile commerce services of the Smart Money platform.

The announcement was made during the 14th Youth for Christ (YFC) International Leaders Congress in Naga City last April 14, where more than 10,000 participants attended. At the same venue, Smart also said that it will hold a competition for the graphic design for the GK service card. The winner will also win a mobile TV-enabled handset. SMART will donate a home in the GK village chosen by the winner of the design competition.

The GK service card, which will be powered by SMARTs mobile commerce platform, will function not only as an ID with stored data, but also as a cash and payment card that members can use to pay for purchases in stores. The YFC and GK Foundation are both ministries of the church-based group Couples for Christ.

The GK service card will be issued to those who sign up to be part of GK Isang Milyong Bayani (1MB), a campaign which aims to mobilize one million volunteers to support the organizations GK777 goal to build 700,000 houses for homeless Filipino families in 7,000 communities in seven years or by 2010.

The GK service card will be more than just a regular ID. Members may also use the card to send and receive money locally and even from abroad, reload their Smart prepaid cellphones, pay for purchases in stores that accept Smart Money cards, and use as an ATM card, said Rec Babasa, Financial Services and New Wave Communications Marketing manager, New Business Streams Group, SMART.

Since it is powered by SMARTs mobile commerce platform, the GK service card will also be customizable. Using the information stored in the cards, GK will be able to more efficiently build its member database, added Jeffrey Lo, SMART head for Wireless Consumer Solutions department.

Contest mechanics

Heroism will be the overall theme of the nationwide design contest, which will be open to GK members. More detailed contest mechanics will be announced within the month.

Entries will be judged based on originality and overall impact (35%), creativity and general appeal (25%), and relevance to the GK theme (40%), said SMARTs Babasa. The winning design will be unveiled in June.

SMART has been partners with GK since 2003 when it first adopted a community in Baseco Compound, Tondo. Together with PLDT and PLDT Foundation, the group has adopted seven PLDT-SMART Amazing GK Villages nationwide. SMART is now harnessing its resources to assist GK by providing a sophisticated ID system, online registration, web hosting, wireless Internet access, and live video streaming and broadcast. Through these, GK will be able to reach out to more people not only in the Philippines, but also in other countries, said Ramon Isberto, Public Affairs Group head, SMART.

GK1MB online registration

SMART likewise provided technical and communications support to the GK1MB Challenge and the YFC meet in Naga City recently.

To support the GK1MB campaign, SMART set up computers with wireless Internet access for the online registration of GK volunteers at the eight build sites across Bicol region and Marinduque during the five-day Bayani Challenge from April 9 to 13, and at the Naga stadium during the International Leaders Congress from April 13 to 14. Online registration was done by accessing GKs new website,, which is hosted by SMART.

Registration through SMS using SMART mobile phones was also available. To register via text, simply key in GK1MB and send to 286. A text message will be sent, asking the user to type GK1MB REG /Gender/email address> and send to 286. For example, type GK1MB REG Cruz,Pat/ Batangas/100375/Male/ then send to 286.

For a list of Gawad Kalinga sites, send GAWAD SITES to 286. Subscribers will be charged P2.50 per message.

Those who registered through the Internet and through text will be issued a GK service card after undergoing a GK seminar.

SMART, together with parent firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), the PLDT Foundation and the First Pacific Co. Ltd. have committed to build seven PLDT-SMART Amazing GK villages consisting of 100 houses each in different locations.

The seven sites are located in BASECO Compound, Tondo, Manila; General Nakar, Quezon; Camp Abubakar, Barira, Maguindanao; Cebu City, Cebu; Arevalo, Iloilo; Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija; and in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte.

Over 300 major corporations are now partners of GK. We now have more than 1,200 GK communities nationwide. By the end of the year, we are targeting to have 2,000 GK communities. By 2010, we will have 7,000 communities. There will be no more squatters in our country, said Tony Meloto, head for GK International. @

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