PAL expands domestic routes

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has expanded its domestic network with the opening of eight new routes – from Clark and Cebu – in the first quarter of 2017.

These are:

  • Clark-Cebu
  • Clark-Davao
  • Clark-Puerto Princesa
  • Clark- Coron (Busuanga)
  • Cebu-Puerto Princesa
  • Cebu-General Santos
  • Cebu-Surigao
  • Cebu-Coron (Busuanga)

“We are introducing new domestic routes to allow travelers to reach their desired destinations without the need to transit in Manila. Passengers get to experience the unique PAL brand of service even on short flights,” said PAL President Jaime J. Bautista.

The four times a week Clark to Cebu service started on January 30, 2017, departing Clark 7:00 AM. Flights will increase to daily on March 26.

The three times weekly Clark to Davao flight started on February 1, leaving Clark 10:50 AM. The service increases to four times weekly on March 26.

The three times a week Clark to Puerto Princesa service starts March 26, departing Clark also at 10:50 AM.

The daily Clark to Coron flights, using the 56-seater Q300 airplane, will begin also March 26.

The other new routes out of Clark will use the 199-seater Airbus A321 jet.

PAL started using Clark as hub of operations on Dec. 16, 2016 with a Clark-Caticlan service, followed by the first international flight, Clark-Incheon, on Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, the four new routes out of Cebu will start March 26.

Cebu-Puerto Princesa flights will be four times a week; Cebu-General Santos three times a week; Cebu-Surigao three times a week; and Cebu-Coron daily.

Flights to Puerto Princesa and General Santos will use the 156-seater A320 aircraft. Flights to Surigao will use the 76-seater Q400 while those to Coron will use the Q300.

The new routes from Cebu bring to 12 the total number of domestic points, apart from Manila, linked to Cebu.

PAL operated its first Manila-Cebu flight in 1946 after World War II. The flag carrier used to operate missionary flights to link the islands and help spur economic development in the countryside.

NEDA wants sectors to diversify

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) wants sectors of the Philippine economy to diversify their products and markets and build resiliency to support higher growth.

The country’s chief economist, NEDA director-general Ernesto Pernia says: “We need to champion innovation and diversification in the industry sector as it is still heavily dependent on external demand.

Pernia says the services sector, on the other hand, need for a policy environment that makes it easier for firms to set up and operate businesses, as well as to comply with regulations.

“In this respect, we need to make our regulatory system much more efficient and transparent,” he noted.

The NEDA chief expects the industry and services sectors to remain strong this year.

“The construction industry, in particular, will be in the limelight following the government’s aggressive commitment to approve and implement critical infrastructure projects,” he said.

The Philippine economy expanded 6.8 percent in 2016, with services contributing 4.3 percent and industry sharing 2.7 percent. The agriculture sector contributed negative 0.1 percent.

The agriculture sector returned to negative territory at 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, reeling from the effects of typhoons “Karen” and “Lawin” during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Pernia identified extreme weather disturbances like the El Nino among the risks to economic growth which is projected at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.

“The country remains vulnerable to very strong typhoons. There is a strong call to develop our agriculture sector and make it resilient to such shocks.”

Philippine Airlines is the official airline partner of the Miss Universe pageant in Manila

PAL A320

The Miss Universe Organization has designated Philippine Airlines (PAL) as official airline partner of the 65th edition of the annual beauty pageant to be held in Manila this month. This is the third time the country is hosting the prestigious event.

As official carrier and global sponsor, PAL will fly the 85 candidates to top local destinations (Cebu, Davao, Boracay, Vigan, Baguio, Batanes etc.) to savor Filipino culture, cuisine, beaches and famous tourist attractions.

A number of activities have been lined up by the organizing committee, culminating in the coronation on January 30, 2017, 8:00 AM at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, where 2016 Miss Universe Pia Alonso Wurtzbach will transfer her crown to her successor. Pia is concurrently a PAL brand ambassador.

Aside from some candidates, all members of the organizing committee and working staff will be flown by PAL to Manila.

Maxine Medina, 2016 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and daughter of PAL flight purser Maximo Guillermo Medina, will represent the country in the pageant. The 26-year-old Maxine was also picked by airline executives as Miss Philippine Airlines for showing potential to portray the Heart of the Filipino.

Last December 7, nine of 12 contestants (representing Japan, Australia, China, Korea, Thailand, USA, New Zealand, Indonesia and Vietnam) as well as Miss Universe Organization President Paula Mary Shugart arrived in Manila via PAL for the pageant’s kick off event that included a photo shoot at beaches of Siargao.

PAL has lots of experience flying beauty queens. PAL was official carrier of the 1994 Miss Universe and a sponsor of the 1974 edition, both held in the Philippines.

PAL flew then 18-year-old Gloria Diaz back to Manila in 1969 when she took home the country’s first Miss Universe crown, and Margie Moran, the country’s second Miss Universe titlist, in 1973.

Since partnering with the Bb. Pilipinas pageant organizers, PAL has been flying the country’s representatives to and from the top beauty competitions.

Filipino women spend least on makeup-YouGov


Filipino women spend the least on makeup across the Asian region with nearly three quarters (74%) spending less than US$40 per quarter, according to a survey by YouGov.

The top three cosmetic products used by Filipino women are lipstick (87%), powder (75%) and eyebrow pencil (56%).

Residents of Hong Kong spend the most on cosmetics per quarter, with 29% spending at least USD130 on cosmetic per quarter. This is nearly three times the regional average, with just 11% of Asia-Pacific netizens spending more than US$130 per quarter.

Lipstick is not just popular but also highly-prized. When asked to pick just two cosmetic products to use, lipstick (52%) and liquid foundation (28%) are seen as the most indispensable among women polled in Asia Pacific region.

The popularity of products is far from universal. While mascara is the most popular product in Australia with three out of four Aussie women using it, it is used by less than half (45%) of women across the region.

However, the popularity of lipstick transcends borders in Asia. It is used by over three-quarters of women (77%) in APAC. It is also the most used product in all APAC countries except Australia.

Cosmetics are key to many people’s beauty regime, but how regularly they are used varies significantly across the Asia Pacific region.

Thais and Indonesians use cosmetics most often, with over half of Thai women (53%) and Indonesian women (52%) using cosmetics daily, well above the regional average of 38%.

By contrast, women in Australia (27%), Singapore (27%) and Hong Kong (28%) are least likely to use cosmetics daily. Fewer than one in five women (18%) never use cosmetics, suggesting cosmetics play an important role in many beauty regimes across the region.

Despite other differences, four out of five APAC residents are united in valuing quality over price. Australians are the thriftiest shoppers, with 34% of those polled opting for price over quality. Indonesians value quality the most, with 90% prioritising quality over price tag.
YouGov says consumer habits in cosmetics appear to be well-entrenched, with the majority (62%) of those polled saying that they buy from brands they trust over buying new products or those recommended by friends. This also increases with age, with 71% of those over 45 only buying from brands that they trust. However, 40% of Chinese residents appear to be more easily swayed and would buy products if their friends, relatives or colleagues had it. This is more than double the regional average of 19%.

The survey noted that skincare stands alongside many beauty regimes as an important part of maintaining a healthy complexion. Tastes converge when it comes to recognising the importance of hydrated skin; moisturizer is the most commonly used skincare product across the Asia Pacific, with 69% of those polled using it regularly.

“Yet popularity of skincare products varies significantly across age groups. It should hardly come as a surprise to learn that the generational divide is starkest in use of anti-ageing products, used by just 19% of 16-29 year old women but by over double that (43%) when it comes to women over 45. By contrast, whitening is more popular for 18-44 year old women (38%) than for women aged 45+ (26%).”

Philippines sees 6-7% economic growth in 2016


The Philippines, one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, is confident of hitting the economic growth forecast of 6 to 7 percent in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2016.

“With a 7 percent GDP growth in the first three quarters, we are sure to achieve, if not surpass, our target of 6 to 7 percent growth for the whole of 2016,” says Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

“Our economy’s continuing strong growth, decreasing poverty, lower unemployment rates, and new foreign investments this year are all good signs of things to come.”

“Together with a low inflation environment, sustained strong growth will pave the way for continued and faster poverty reduction. We see this momentum continuing in 2017 and hopefully in the years to come,” says Pernia.

Pernia stressed that this strong growth will have to be supported by sustained and deepened reforms – comprehensive tax reform program, investments in infrastructure, easing of restrictions on foreign investments, reduction of cost of doing business, and strengthening agro-industrial linkages.

“High economic growth will mean nothing if the welfare of the poor and marginalized is not improved. Along with increased investments in human capital to improve access to economic opportunities, we will continue to prioritize agricultural development within the broader framework of rural and regional development.”

The NEDA is currently drafting the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, the first medium-term development plan to be anchored onAmBisyon Natin 2040, which envisions the Philippines as a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor; where our people will live long and healthy lives, be smart and innovative, and will live in a high-trust society.

“On the demand side, household consumption as well as investments in construction, public infrastructure and durable equipment drove economic growth, supported by low inflation, low interest rates, better labor market conditions and the steady growth in the remittances of our overseas Filipino workers.”

“On the supply side, the agriculture sector is starting to recover, finally breaking five consecutive quarters of decline. Growth in industry, particularly manufacturing, construction  and utilities, accelerated. The services sector likewise improved overall, with stronger expansion in trade, finance, real estate, and public administration.”

The Philippines is forecasting a GDP growth target in 2017 to between 6.5 and 7.5 percent.

Poverty in the Philippines is declining from 25.2 percent in 2012 to 21.6 percent in 2015, an indication that the government’s programs like the “Conditional Cash Transfer Program” are gaining traction, says Pernia.

“To accelerate poverty reduction, we will not cease to fight for the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law to take advantage of the demographic window we are in and to make women productive members of the labor force. If this is fully implemented in the next five years, we can substantially curb poverty incidence to 13-15 percent by 2022, helping us achieve our poverty reduction target of 1.5 percent per annum.”

“The employment rate as of October 2016 is at 95.3 percent. This means that there 41.7 million Filipinos employed. Unemployment rate also declined to a record low of 4.7 percent. The growth of our economy is truly becoming more inclusive it appears, engaging more and more Filipinos to participate in the labor market.”

“Infrastructure is one of the government’s main thrusts. President Rodrigo Duterte has made clear that his administration will keep a deliberate focus on developing the regions through connective infrastructure. That is why we are ramping up public infrastructure spending next in 2017, allotting at least 5 percent of GDP to go to infrastructure projects, until 2022.”


Philippine employment rate rises to 95.3%, the highest in 10 years

downloadThe Philippine employment rate rose to 95.3 percent in October 2016 to reach 41.7 million Filipinos employed, the highest rate in 10 years.

Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia says the growth of the Philippine economy is becoming more inclusive as it engages more and more Filipinos participate in the labor market.

The services sector remained the top employment contributor with a share of 54.9 percent or 22.9 million of the total employed.

The industry sector, meanwhile, accounted for 17.2 percent or 7.2 million of the total employed in October 2016, driven largely by strong growth in manufacturing and construction.

The unemployment rate in the country dropped further to 4.7 percent, the lowest rate recorded in the past decade.

“With the decrease of unemployment in October 2016, our implied full-year unemployment rate will be 5.5 percent, exceeding the government target for 2016 of 6.5 to 6.7 percent,” said Pernia. he added.

The unemployment rate among the youth continued to decline in October 2016 at 11.6 percent, also a record low for all October rounds of the LFS since 2006. Likewise, the share of inactive youth—those who are neither studying nor employed—has consistently been declining in the past four years and has dropped to 20.5 percent in October 2016.

On the other hand, underemployment increased to 18.0 percent in October 2016, making the full-year 2016 underemployment rate of around 18.4 percent. Underemployment was prevalent among those working in private households and those employed in family business.

The number of stable wage and salary employment grew to 25.3 million or 60.8 percent of total employed persons in October 2016, the highest since 2006. Private establishments employ nearly 80 percent of these workers, while the public sector employs just 13 percent.

“The increase in stable wage and salary employment reflects our economy’s strength and the result of the government’s clamp down on unlawful contractualization,” said Pernia.

More than a third of those who are employed are still vulnerable that a large portion of those employed, especially in the agriculture sector, are susceptible to external shocks and economic downturns.

“We must accelerate the improvement of local infrastructure and facilitate the link of the sectors, primarily between the agriculture and industry sectors, to help raise the productivity of farmers and increase the value of their products,” Pernia said.

“The government must seek to strengthen linkages between academe, technical education institutions and industry to ensure quality and relevance of education and that students gain competencies that are essential to thrive in today’s changing world of work.”

“We must go beyond cramming information into our youth and foster the development of soft skills to enable the country’s youth to make informed career decisions and develop life skills necessary to succeed in a competitive workplace,” said Pernia.



NEDA stresses need to increase Philippine competitiveness


The Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has stressed the need to raise the domestic industries’ competitiveness in the increasingly integrated global economy.

“We need to increase both public and private investments in research and development that would surely help in the exploration and development of new products, processes, and markets,” said Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

Domestic manufacturing output continued its rapid growth in October 2016 due to higher production of petroleum products, non-electrical machinery, and transport equipment.
“In order to support the manufacturing sector’s continued growth, the government efforts to improve the business climate must be sustained,” said Pernia.

In the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries for October 2016, the Volume of Production Index (VoPI) grew by 8.4 percent, a marked improvement from the 1.5 percent growth recorded in October 2015.

The Value of Production Index (VaPI) also grew by 4.3 percent—a turnaround from the 6.2-percent decline in the same period last year.

Pernia expects the manufacturing sector to benefit from the industrial strategy of the Department of Trade and Industry that would focus on industries with potential to generate employment and encourage entrepreneurship.

“With the Duterte administration’s commitment to fast-track implementation of infrastructure projects and programs, construction-related manufactures will be a major contributor to the growth of the sector.”

“Better infrastructure in future will further stimulate the expansion of the manufacturing sector, as well as more easily connect producers to the value chain, and then to local and international markets.”

In consumer goods, the food subsector recorded double-digit growth in October, with 14.3 and 16.8 growth rates in volume and value of production, respectively. These are complete reversals from the -14.7 and -14.9 percent contraction last year.

For intermediate goods, the petroleum products subsector continued to strongly recover with growth rates of 37 percent and 29 percent in volume and value production, also sharp reversals from -21.7 and -35.1 growth rates in October 2015.

For capital goods, transport equipment subsector also posted 19.4-percent and 17.7-percent growth rates in volume and value of production, which are improvements from last year’s 6.3 and 7.5 growth rates.

Non-electrical machinery subsector also grew by 24.4 percent and 8.8 percent in volume and value of production, a turnaround from last year’s -2.6 and -1.4