Philippine exports up 12% in April 2017

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Philippine exports posted a 12.1 percent growth toUS$11.7 billion in April 2017, offsetting the 0.1 percent decline in imports.

“For exports, East Asia and the EU remain the top destinations of our products, accounting for 62.3 percent of total export receipts,” 
said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

Secretary Pernia is optimistic of the country’s trade performance for the rest of the year considering thriving exports and trade linkages, especially to Europe and East Asia.

Exports to EU and East Asia grew by 36 percent and 10 percent in April 2017, respectively.

“Despite global uncertainties, we remain upbeat that the country will sustain the 
strong performance of export and trade growth recorded in the first quarter,” said Pernia.

Meanwhile, sales of exports to 
Hong Kong (36.8%), China (26.4%), South Korea (18.9%), and Taiwan (26.4%) posted double-digit growth while exports to Japan fell (-16.6%).

“We aim to deepen our engagement with our neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region to enhance trade and investment links,” said Pernia.

Pernia
 noted the positive contributions of trade connections and cited China as an example, where merchandise exports increased by 27.7 percent from October 2016 to April 2017 compared with the 7.1 percent decline from January to September 2016.

“Also w
orth noting is the tripling of exports to the UAE and India in April. This was the third month that receipts to UAE tripled, and the second month for India.” 
Exports to UAE and India 
grew by 286.4 percent and 204.1 percent, respectively.

“We see an opportunity to strengthen 
bilateral ties with India as it becomes a major player in the global economy. Their large consumer base can be an important market for Philippine products,” Secretary Pernia added.

PAL promo ticket sale ends June 15

PAL promo An ongoing ticket sale promo by Philippine Airlines (PAL) intends to give bargain-hunters reason to celebrate the country’s 119th independence.

Manila to Guangzhou (Canton) roundtrip tickets can go as low as $115 or Cebu-Singapore tickets at $124 or Manila-Vancouver at only $596.

The PAL Independence Day Seat Sale runs from June 8 to 15, 2017.

It covers all domestic, regional and international flights, including domestic flights originating from Manila (to 22 destinations), Cebu (12 destinations) and Clark (8 destinations), as well as international fares for Business Class, Premium Economy and Regular Economy for flights coming from and to Manila and Cebu. It also covers flights to and from the US, Canada and London.

The low fares will still get passengers ample legroom, free baggage allowance, wifi connection and in-flight snacks for domestic flights and hot meals on international flights.

The promo tickets are available at all PAL ticket offices, PAL website (philippineairlines.com), PAL Reservations (855-8888) or any accredited travel agent.

Travel period is from July 1, 2017 to March 15, 2018. For details of applicable travel periods of particular routes, refer to the PAL website, PAL’s Facebook account (facebook.com/flyPAL/) or print ads.

PAL will soon offer a new Premium Economy service on flights from Manila to Haneda, Narita, Osaka, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Shanghai andSingapore; and Business Class on flights to Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait and Dubai.

World Bank okays US$99-M financing to Philippine agrarian reform program

Agrarian reform

The World Bank (WB) has approved US$99.3 million in financing for the  Philippine agrarian reform program that would benefit 300,000 farmers and farm workers under a new government project designed to enhance the competitiveness of agrarian reform communities.

To be implemented over five years by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness (IPAC) Project will support the efforts of farmer organizations to improve productivity and the quality of products, as well as find more markets in order to raise farmers’ incomes. World Bank financing will comprise $99.3 million of the $231 million project, as approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, while the government and beneficiaries contribute $131 million and $28 million, respectively.

The Philippine government would contribute US$131 million to the project to be implemented among agrarian reform community clusters across 44 provinces. The objective of the project is to help strengthen the capacity of farmer organizations to engage in commercial agriculture, provide extension services, develop enterprises, secure individual land titles for their members, and improve rural infrastructure.

“The country’s agrarian reform program gives lands to landless farmers, but we don’t stop there,” said Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano“The government also provides support services. Through the farmer-driven matching grants, IPAC will strengthen our efforts to help small-holder farmers and their organizations engage in sustainable agri-enterprise projects. This will raise their incomes and help them become self-reliant.”

The matching grants, which are channeled through farmers’ organizations, support a number of initiatives, including production facilities such as nurseries and green-houses; processing and marketing facilities; production of high-value agricultural products; promotion and investments in food safety; and product development.

“Through the project, farmers and other beneficiaries will be able to directly identify and implement activities that will empower them to improve their lives,” said World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Mara K. Warwick. “As a long-term partner of the Philippines, the World Bank supports the country’s efforts to develop a competitive farming sector that may bring down poverty and vulnerability in rural areas.”

The project builds on previous community-driven development projects supported by the Bank which provided farmers and rural communities with basic infrastructure, including irrigation systems, roads and bridges. These initiatives also helped farmers improved their ability to manage their enterprises.

At least 30% of the beneficiaries are women, and 20% suffer from poverty. The targeted provinces include:

  • Abra and Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region;
  • La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte in Region 1;
  • Cagayan, Isabela, and Nueva Vizcaya in Region 2;
  • Bulacan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales in Region 3;
  • Batangas and Quezon in Region 4-A;
  • Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro and Palawan in Region 4-B;
  • Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon and Camarines Norte in Region 5;
  • Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in Region 6;
  • Bohol, Cebu and Negros Oriental in Region 7;
  • Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar and Western Samar in Region 8;
  • Misamis Occidental in Region 10;
  • Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental in Region 11;
  • Sarangani in Region 12; and
  • Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Cebu Pacific ties up with Visa

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Visa cardholders can now avail of an all-inclusive seat sale to some of the most popular international destinations within Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) extensive flight network.

Beginning today until June 16, 2017, Visa cardholders will be able to avail of special fares to nine of CEB’s 26 international destinations. Flights will be for travel from July 1 to November 30, 2017, perfect for those who want to catch up on their travels during the upcoming four long weekends.

Flights to Hong Kong from Cebu, Clark, Iloilo or Manila are for sale at only Php1, 099, as well as flights to Singapore from Cebu, Clark, Davao or Iloilo. Cardholders may also opt to visit Taipei either from Cebu or Manila for the same affordable fare.

Those interested to visit Singapore, Busan, Guangzhou, Xiamen from Manila will be able to do so for as low as Php2, 099; passengers from Cebu, Kalibo, or Manila may also fly to Incheon for the same low fare. Also included in this sale are flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Manila sold at only Php3, 099.

“For five years now, we have been working hand-in-hand with leading financial services organization Visa in providing great travel deals, which in turn, allows us to ensure we remain committed to fulfilling our promise to make travel accessible for everyJuan, not only within our archipelago but to the rest of the world as well. We encourage all our valued guests to grab this opportunity and book flights to these wonderful destinations right away,” said Candice Iyog, CEB Vice President for Marketing and Distribution.

All fares quoted are for one-way flights and are inclusive of country-specific taxes, web admin fee and terminal fee. Baggage allowance, meals, travel insurance and other ancillaries may be added to the fare upon the preference of passengers.

Cebgo adds new routes in Mindanao-visayas

The Philippines’ leading airline, Cebu Pacific is adding five new routes to its inter-regional network, connecting more islands from Mindanao to Visayas to the rest of the archipelago.  The new routes stem from requests from stakeholders, particularly in Mindanao, to improve connectivity of key cities.

The new routes stem from requests from stakeholders, particularly in Mindanao, to improve connectivity of key cities.

Starting July 26, 2017, CEB wholly-owned subsidiary Cebgo will fly three times weekly  between Cebu and Masbate, Davao and Dumaguete, and Zamboanga and Cotabato. Cebgo will also begin flying four times a week between Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga, and Davao and Tacloban on July 27, 2017. The new routes will be serviced by the Cebgo fleet of ATR aircraft.

“Cebu Pacific is very pleased to continue to help promote domestic and international tourism and a logistics enabler to move goods across the country. As we expand into new routes and destinations across the Philippine archipelago, we are committed to being a partner in spurring trade and tourism, helping pump-prime the local economy and providing everyJuan with more travel options with year-round affordable fares,” said Alexander Lao, President and CEO of Cebgo.

CEB offers its lowest all-in one way year-round fare from Cebu to Masbate at Php1,758; from Cagayan de Oro to Zamboanga at Php1,906; from Davao to Dumaguete at Php2,590 and Davao to Tacloban at Php 2,142; and Zamboanga to Cotabato at Php1,806.

“Travelling across the Philippines is easier and more convenient for everyJuan. To get from the Visayas to Mindanao and back, travellers now have more choices and need not pass through larger airports in Metro Manila or even Cebu.”

Cebu Pacific has launched eight new routes: Manila-Masbate; Manila and Tablas, Romblon; between Cagayan de Oro and Tagbilaran; to and from Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod; Cebu-Cotabato; Cebu-Busuanga (Coron); Clark-Busuanga (Coron); and Clark-Caticlan (Boracay).

Aside from its Cebu and Davao hubs, CEB also operates flights out of four other strategically placed hubs in the country: Manila, Clark, Kalibo, and Iloilo. CEB enhances inter-island connectivity within the country and across the globe with its 66 destinations with over 100 routes, spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA.