Categories
Asides

How to contact GCash Customer Service

For most of last week, there has been an issue with GCredit. It wasn’t showing up as an option when I tried to use it in a few purchases. Turns out that GCash has been doing some system maintenance to fix this. Last Wednesday, I decided to report it to GCash customer service, but knowing that their hotline 2882 is often useless, I tried one of their social media accounts. Globe has one @talk2Globe and they’ve answered customer service reports so I figured GCash would have one as well as they have @gcashofficial.

However it turns out that it was only for PR and marketing via social media, so I assumed they had a separate Twitter account for customer support. Searched for “gcash customer support” on Twitter and it led me to an account that posed as one. Turns out it was a fake account meant to steal GCash users’ credentials: mobile number, full name, date of birth and most importantly the MPIN. Cutting to the chase, I was alarmed when that fake account asked for my MPIN:

Fake Gcash customer support account
Fake Gcash customer support account almost got away with my MPIN

I stopped the conversation there even after they messaged back insisting that I reply with my MPIN. This is something that real customer service would never, ever do. Ever. So never give it to them and if they ever do, 99% chance that you are being scammed.

So I did what I should have done in the first place, use the Help Center right inside the GCash app. Tap on the upper-left icon to open the side menu, then Help > Help Center. You can browse the self-help topics or wait for the Live Chat icon to appear on the bottom-right corner of the screen. Tap on that, then tap Live chat and you would be connected to the real customer service team of GCash. No need to call their hotline 2882, you still can but Live chat would be enough to get help. A big improvement is that you would also get a transcript of your chat session sent to the email address associated with your GCash account.

So to recap, GCash customer service can only be contacted in the following ways: email (support@gcash.com), self-help options at help.gcash.com, 2882 hotline and the most convenient Live chat from right inside the GCash app. All the other Twitter accounts out there are fake and would just scam you.

Categories
Daily dose

How the novel coronavirus outbreak gave birth to #OustDuterte

A lot has happened in the past month since the world learned of the 2019 novel coronavirus that started an outbreak in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province. As of this writing, figures from the WHO are as follows:

Globally
11953 confirmed (2128 new)
China
11821 confirmed (2102 new)
1795 severe (268 new)
259 deaths (46 new)
Outside of China
132 confirmed (26 new)
23 countries (4 new)

Novel Coronavirus(2019-nCoV) Situation Report – 12 as of Feb 1, 2020

In the Philippines, the numbers from the Department of Health as summarized below:

DOH tracker of novel coronavirus cases in the Philippines

The first fatality in the Philippines also earned the distinction as the first one outside of China: 44-year old male who was the companion of the first patient, 38-year old female to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Both were tourists from Wuhan arriving at Cebu via Cebu Pacific flight 5J 241 (Hong Kong-Cebu) and DG 6519 (Cebu-Dumaguete) last Jan. 21, 2020. From Cebu, they then took a flight to Manila on January 25, 2020 via Philippine Airlines. Both airlines have pulled out the actual planes boarded by the tourists for disinfection and have had their cabin crews and pilots screened for the the coronavirus. They are also working with health authorities in tracking down and contacting the other passengers who sat nearby the two tourists.

For some measure of relief, 24 persons under investigation have tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

On January 31, the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. In response, neighboring countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Mongolia and Russia have declared travel restrictions on passengers from China. Meanwhile, here in the Philippines, all the government did was declare a travel restriction only to passengers coming form Hubei province where the epicenter of the of outbreak is. This slow response and deference to ‘avoiding the ire of Beijing‘ sparked public outrage that made #OustDuterte a top trending topic on Twitter.

Which was no surprise considering that on that same day, still active Presidential-aide turned Senator Christopher Go stated that President Duterte would meet have a meeting with heath experts and government officials to deal with the outbreak NEXT WEEK! Adding insult to injury, Presidential Spokesperson followed up with a statement that for Duterte, “weekends are sacred” and that he “likes to sleep long.

The response of the administration’s supporters was not totally unexpected: the deployment of online trolls and bot farms with a different, albeit hypocritical narrative: an appeal for sympathy for our Chinese brethren and that a travel ban smacks of racism:

Be careful with sharing the sob stories you read surrounding current events. Some of them are fake/propaganda…

Posted by Martin Luke Lastrilla Patiño on Friday, January 31, 2020

This quickly backfired as netizens used the troll’s message as a template to further mock and throw shade against the administration:

I'm sad. We have Chinese neighbors sa condo, and just now may nakasabay kaming babae (Chinese) with 2 kids. Ang sabi nya…

Posted by Rafael Antonio Anton Dulce on Saturday, February 1, 2020

There are a lot more of these and quite sure you’ve seen either type or both on your newsfeed. The key takeaway is this, at the very least the Duterte administration is sensitive to public opinion.

Categories
Daily dose

Volcano 101: Phreatic eruption in Filipino

Nagiging aktibo ang bulkan kapag ang magma ay umaangat mula sa ilalim ng lupa. Sa pag-angat at pagtama ng magma sa water table o bahagi ng lupa kung saan naipon ang tubig sa loob ng bulkan, lumililkha ito ng steam o water vapor na kumakawala palabas sa bunganga ng bulkan o iba pang biyak sa ibabaw ng lupa.

Sa sobrang bilis ng pagdami ng water vapor, naiipon ito sa loob ng bulkan hanggang sa ito ay sumabog. Sa sobrang lakas ng pagsabog, ang mga bato ay nagiging abo na ibinubuga sa kalangitan. Ang magkahalong steam, abo at maliliit na bato ang siyang dinadala ng hangin sa ibang lugar.

Kung ang bulkan ay magbubuga ng steam at magma ito ay tinatawag na Phreatomagmatic eruption.

Categories
Daily dose

New coronavirus in China similar to those found in bats – just like in the movie Contagion

Have you seen the movie Contagion? Released in back in 2011, it showed how a deadly disease could easily spread throughout the world thanks to the convenience of air travel. How that deadly disease started was accurately shown in the film’s final scene:

Pathogens crossing from animals to humans has long been established by science. The recent outbreak of a pneumonia-like illness in China and the discovery that the virus closely resembles those found in bats just made the movie a lot more scarier. It just happened in real life, in our present times.

ScienceMag has details from a transcript of an interview with Xu Jianguo, head of an evaluation committee advising the Chinese government on what we know so far of this outbreak:

Q: The virus has been isolated from one patient, is that correct?

A: Correct. Two groups isolated the virus from samples from one patient. The viruses are nearly identical in morphology under electron microscopy. Researchers did laboratory investigations of 34 patients. A total of 15 were positive for the novel virus, [based on] sequencing samples of [fluid injected into the lung and collected for examination]. The teams got complete genome sequence data from about 10 patients. They are now attempting to isolate the virus from those samples as well. There are 19 cases with no evidence of the virus. There is no information available for the results of the remaining 25 cases.

Q: How close is this new virus to the SARS coronavirus?

A: The virus is similar to some of the published viruses collected from bats. But it is not close to SARS and not close to MERS.


Q: Is there any progress in tracing the original source of the virus?

A: I have no information. Personally, I’m interested, too. The virus looks like viruses isolated from bats, but how it was transmitted from bats to people is still a question. Several groups in China have been working on bat coronaviruses for years. I imagine they’re working on this but so far there is no information.

Q: Are other live animal markets being checked?

A: The Wuhan market has been closed. I have no information about other [markets]. Wild animals carry the risk of exposing people to new viruses. I think we should have more strict regulations and inspections of markets that sell wild animals, especially since the source of the new coronavirus has not been identified and eliminated.

One fatality has already been linked to the outbreak. Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines has imposed screenings of travelers from mainland China. Hopefully the disease is contained and there won’t be a repeat of the SARS or MERS epidemic a few years ago.