The Filipino economy is expected to continue its strong growth, according to the International Monetary Fund. While some of Southeast Asia is experiencing a reduced rate of growth, the Philippines could be headed in the opposite direction.
A growing economy in the Philippines
According to the Philippine Star, projections are high for the country. This can be good news for many people who send money to friends and family there, and a revitalized economy can have a positive effect for a large number of citizens. The numbers indicate a faster growth rate than the previous two years, which saw an increase of 6 percent and 5.5 percent.
"The economic growth momentum here is higher," said Shanaka Peiris, of the IMF. "The region has been softer than expected. Most countries' (forecasts) were reduced but the Philippines is an outlier."
He added that growth for the Philippines could reach 7 percent this year, but might eventually slow down to only 6 percent in 2014.
The rate of growth is positive for several other regions of Southeast Asia, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – in addition to the Philippines – potentially experiencing positive gains of 5.6 percent in 2013, with an increase to 5.7 percent for 2014. While these numbers are slightly less than expected, they are still indicative of a strengthening economy in the region.
One major reason for the strong Filipino economy is good state spending, on items like the country's infrastructure, according to the IMF. This can help the boost growth in the short term, but steps need to be taken to ensure that the future isn't bleak.
"We can't sustain growth without doing anything… so structural reforms are very important…," said Peiris. "Looking at other countries, what we found is that for this growth take off to be sustained, what you need is growth in investments."
Domestic demand is another key reason for the increased strength, which contributed to gross domestic product growth of 7.8 percent in 2013, according to the Philippine Star. The IMF also reported that the rate of money transfers in the Philippines rose by 5 percent.
A booming industry, and an increase of jobs
One large company in the Philippines is using the strengthening economy to grow as well. Bosch Philippines expects double-digit growth in 2013, and its numbers are rising alongside IMF predictions for the country as a whole.
According to GMA News, the multinational engineering and electronics company is predicting the increase in sales and production because of an introduction of several new products and services, as well as a new facility in Cebu.
Joseph Hong, managing director of Bosch Philippines, mentioned that another reason for its growth has been the strong Filipino economy, and the positive statistics overall are helping his company thrive.
"The economy is quite strong, all economic indicators are positive," said Hong. "Based on this backdrop and internal activities, such as introduction of innovative products and services going forward, these are the key drivers for our growth."
The Cebu location is the first for Bosch Philippines outside of Manila, and the company saw a 30 percent increase in sales in 2012, up to $28.8 million. The executives still intend to expand further into the country, with the goal of adding more service centers for their booming automotive industry. That business grew by 11 percent in the last year.
"We're still expanding this service workshop concept," said Sangjo Park. "We are targeting nine more across the country this year."
Bosch Philippines also wants to expand its security system and thermotechnology sections as well, according to GMA News. Thanks to the overall Filipino economy strengthening, there is little reason to doubt that growth will continue. This is a positive sign for everyone who sends money to the Philippines.
The month of July is Philippines-Japan friendship month, and many locations across the Philippines are celebrating in various, unique ways.
One of them involves the Eiga Sai film festival, which began at the beginning of the month, and is being held at cinemas in different parts of the Philippines. Sponsored in conjunction with The Japan Foundation, the Embassy of Japan, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the festival was the jumping off point for a month-long celebration of improved Japan and Philippines relations. An online money transfer to the Philippines is a great way to support loved ones, and watching one of the twelve films shown at Eiga Sai can be a fun way to take a break from daily life.
According to the Embassy of Japan, the film festival is a way of celebrating the 56 years of friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Philippines, and while Eiga Sai started the fun, there will be great festivities and cultural celebrations for the remainder of July. July 23 was named Philippines-Japan Friendship Day in 2006. Starting in 2012, the month-long events were expanded to other provinces in the Philippines, including Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.
The Eiga Sai film festival
As the starting point for the month, Eiga Sai featured 12 Japanese films, made between 2005 and 2012. This year marked the 15th year for the festival, and each time it provides a unique glimpse into Japanese culture for many citizens of the Philippines.
"With a wide variety of genres from action, to animation, family drama, to mystery, we want Filipinos to understand the current situation in Japan through this select Japanese cinema," said Shuji Takatori, director of the Japan Foundation. "Most of the festival films tackle current pressing issues that confront the Japanese people and society, both in the cities and rural areas."
Held at the Shrangri-La Plaza Mall, the festival is scheduled to run from July 4 to July 14, and the films are shown with English subtitles. Each movie is open to the public on a first-come first-serve basis.
In addition to films, Eiga Sai will have other events, like photography, cultural exhibits and music concerts.
2013 is the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and the month-long celebration helps commemorate the milestone. Many cinemas are showing films for Eiga Sai, including the Shang Cineplex Cinema at the start of July, then the FDCP Cinematheque in Davao City July 19 to the 28, Ayala Center Cinema 4 in Cebu City in August, and the UP Film Institute in Quezon City in late August.
The films being showcased
Out of the 12 films shown for Eiga Sai, the highlight will be the trilogy Always Sunset on Third Street, by director Takashi Yamazaki. The films are comedy-dramas, and revolve around the daily lives of residents of a working-class Tokyo neighborhood. Part one takes place in 1958, the second film in 1959, and the final installment is set in 1964. The films have resonated with audiences because of the hope of better times, according to Takatori.
"There is nothing like the shared experience of watching a film that unites people together," he added. "Cinema has the capability to connect us, to push the creativity and the capacity of our human spirit, to move us continuously to strive and to do better – to be better."
The first film shown at Eiga Sai was (About Her Brother) Otuoto, by famous filmmaker Yoji Yamada. The themes of the movie are unconditional love and family tensions, and the film was featured at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival as well.
Many people send money to the Philippines, and engaging in some of the Philippines-Japan friendship month activities can be a unique way to experience some culture and heritage of both countries.
Send first money transfer of $100 or more to the Philippines and receive a free U.S. immigration law consultation with Tancinco Law Offices
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 9, 2013 – Xoom Corporation (NASDAQ: XOOM), a leading digital money transfer provider, today announced it is offering a promotion with Tancinco Law Offices, a professional law corporation based in San Francisco. First-time Xoom customers who send money to the Philippines from now until August 15, 2013 will be able to schedule a free U.S. immigration law consultation with Tancinco Law Offices.
“We are excited to offer customers a free U.S. immigration law consultation, as a means to discover how convenient, safe and fast it is to send money home with Xoom,” says Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development. “Tancinco is an established full-service law firm specializing in immigration law for the Filipino community in the United States.”
Filipino customers can visit Xoom.com/law, click the designated link, and then send their money transfer of $100 or more to the Philippines. Xoom will email the customer a code (usually within one hour after the transaction is complete), along with information on how to schedule one free U.S. immigration law consultation with Tancinco Law Offices. A consultation is up to 30 minutes long and can be done via phone, Skype or in person at Tancinco’s San Francisco location. Consultations must be scheduled by September 30, 2013 and completed by December 31, 2013.
Xoom is a digital money transfer provider, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using a smartphone, tablet or computer. During the 12 months ended March 31, 2013, Xoom’s more than 840,000 active customers sent more than $3.6 billion to family and friends in 30 countries worldwide. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at Xoom.com.
Tancinco Law Offices (TLO) is a professional law corporation based in San Francisco, California, with satellite offices located in Vallejo, California and Makati, Philippines. Established in 1992, TLO is a full service law firm assisting clients in their business and immigration matters. The firm has been providing services for more than 20 years and prides itself on providing efficient and dependable legal solutions in all areas of U.S. immigration law. TLO specializes in family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, temporary work visas, removal/deportation proceedings and naturalization.
In the Philippines, bananas are not only tasty treats for many residents, but these fruits also provide significant support to the local economy. In fact, banana plantations around the Philippines have noticeably impacted the republic for years and will continue to deliver substantial assistance to several of its businesses and residents.
According to BusinessWorld Online, AgriNurture, an importer of various fruits, will invest up to $24 million in Filipino banana plantations. AgriNurture’s announcement came at the International Food Expo Philippines in May 2013, and the investment could help the company increase its profits. Additionally, AgriNurture president Antonio Tiu said that his firm takes an aggressive approach in its operations and expects a significant return on its Filipino banana plantation investment.
More Filipino banana shipments are coming to the U.S.
Filipino residents who live in the U.S. and send money to family members back home may soon have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Filipino bananas. BusinessMirror reports that more Cavendish bananas are expected to be shipped to the U.S. in 2013, which could significantly impact the Philippines and its citizens. By sending more bananas overseas, the Philippines may increase its revenue and attract additional investors from around the globe.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) representatives noted that sending Cavendish bananas to the U.S. may help the republic’s economy for the next few years. Emmanuel Esguerra, NEDA deputy director general, stated that Filipino officials are also exploring opportunities to export sugar to more nations as well.
Overall, Filipino exports totaled $343.9 million in February 2013, up 43.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
Filipino leaders consider myriad ways to manage expenses
Esguerra told Malaya that new processes and policies are necessary to help the Filipino economy, particularly for banana and sugar exporters.
“Exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso,” Esguerra told the news source. “This can be overcome by better infrastructure, efficient logistics, lower power costs and other measures to reduce the cost of doing business.”
The Philippines Bureau of Plant Industry noted that 3 million kilograms of bananas were scheduled to be shipped to the U.S. in April. Between February 2012 and February 2013, Filipino banana exports rose 96 percent, and refined sugar exports also increased 27 percent. By providing new exports to the U.S., the Filipino economy could further boost its profits.
A banking sector overhaul could provide a wide variety of benefits to Mexico, and the nation's leaders are discussing several options that may help the country's economy.
According to The Associated Press, Mexican officials are actively pursuing solutions to make credit readily available to residents. Additionally, these administrators are studying ways to make credit cheaper, which could affect Mexican citizens who currently work in the U.S. and send money to family members in their homeland.
While the economic recession of the late 2000s affected many nations, Mexico's financial crisis of 1995 had far-flung effects that still impact the country today. During the crisis, many of the nation's banks nearly went bankrupt, but federal leaders provided short-term financial assistance. Several larger Mexican banks were later sold to foreign investors, and five of these financial institutions have dominated the nation's banking segment since that time.
"When the banking sector was opened to foreign firms, [Mexican leaders] thought it would increase competition, but [these banks] didn't compete," economic analyst Rogelio Ramirez told the news source. "What we need is a reform to have them compete more and make the market more attractive, but the banks are happy to just issue credit cards."
Banking sector changes could provide additional support to the Mexican economy
Agustin Carstens, Mexico's central bank governor, told Reuters that banking sector reforms could have immediate effects on Mexican residents. In fact, boosting credit across the nation may add 0.5 percentage points to the Latin American economy within two to three years.
Increasing competition among banks could also encourage these financial institutions to provide additional loans to Mexican citizens. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that these banks may develop incentives for mid-sized businesses that list their shares on the stock market, which could deliver a substantial boost to the nation's economy.
"The [objective] is … for banks to lend more, and more cheaply," Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told the news source. "Credit is a key input for growth."
Mexican Bankers Association officials said that they would need to study the proposed banking sector reforms to determine exactly how Mexican residents would be affected. However, these leaders stated that they agreed with the goals of the reforms, but specific measures must be followed to ensure that Mexican residents will enjoy the benefits of various economic changes.
The Philippines' economy is on the rise, and several financial experts have recognized the republic's recovery from the economic downturn of the late 2000s. According to Bloomberg, Philippine stocks recently earned an investment grade from Standard & Poor's, a positive sign for the republic's economy.
S&P officials said that the Philippines' economy appears stable, which bodes well for the republic over the next several years. As many Filipinos accept jobs in the United States and send money to their families back home, the republic could watch its economy grow in the near future.
Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that republic leaders are frequently searching for ways to improve the area's economy. S&P's investment grade could have long-term effects on the Philippines, and Purisima noted that numerous opportunities are being explored to further assist the republic and its residents.
"We're continuing to address constraints to growth," Purisima told the news source. "We're fast tracking our infrastructure projects. We're looking at areas we can open up to foreign investors."
Benigno Aquino, the Philippines' President, has significantly assisted many republic citizens by launching a variety of economic improvement campaigns in the past. With S&P's investment grade, Philippine officials could lay the foundation for future economic growth that may help the republic enhance its global reputation.
"For the Philippines, this is yet another confirmation that Aquino's reforms have borne fruit, which would help in attracting not just short-term flows, but long-term direct investments," Santitarn Sathirathai, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG, told the news source.
Philippine leaders help reduce the republic's total debt
While economic recovery from the global downturn has been slow in many areas of the world, ambitious initiatives from Aquino and other Philippine leaders have helped the republic's economy improve in a short period of time.
BusinessWorld Online reports that Philippine officials have lowered the republic's total debt by 14 percent over the past 10 years. However, Philippine administrators stated that plenty of work lies ahead, and these leaders will review various options to help republic residents.
Purisima said that S&P's investment grade is a vote of confidence for the republic, but there are many areas where the republic could improve. Thankfully, Philippine officials are dedicated to supporting the local economy and will invest the necessary resources to help citizens.
It's been more than six months since Filipino fans of Manny Pacquiao made a money transfer to their families so they could watch the Fighting Congressman take on Juan Manuel Marquez on pay-per-view. And if his training goes as he plans, he hopes to return to the squared circle relatively soon to take on the man who knocked him out in the sixth round.
According to The Philippine Star newspaper, Pacquiao wants what would be a fifth go-round with Marquez. However, instead of in Las Vegas – where most of his fights have been – he wants to face off with the 39-year-old Mexican in his home country.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, shares his fighter's wish.
"I want the last fight in Mexico," said Roach before a group of television and print news reporters at The Venetian Macao in China. "That's my dream."
While Pac-Man's thoughts and actions are almost constantly involved with boxing and training to be a better fighter, his associates say that he's devoting most of his attention toward politics these days, as elections are just around the corner in his home country of the Philippines.
Bob Arum, who has promoted a great deal of Pacquiao's fights, told the reporters that the election can't come soon enough, as once it's over, the 34-year-old Pacquiao will likely recommit himself toward training and preparation.
Singapore, Macau other potential cities for upcoming fight
Meanwhile, even though Roach and Pacquiao say that they'd like to have their next contest in Mexico – mainly because the tax rate would be more affordable there than if they had it in Las Vegas – Arum said he's hoping for a different host city. The Philippine Star pointed out that "he sounded like he was pitching for either Macau or Singapore" as the venue for Pacquiao's next bout.
Wherever Pacquiao's upcoming fight happens to be, the chances that it will be someplace outside the U.S. are almost certain. Roach told reporters at The Venetian Macao that the tax rate in Las Vegas where his previous matches have been held have skyrocketed over the last couple of years, jumping from 31 percent to nearly 40 percent. Plus, Pacquiao's popularity has grown in the international arena and there are several cities that would like to host a major boxing match with the Fighting Pride of the Philippines as the main event.
Rose Tamayo, Pacquiao's representative, also spoke on behalf of her client to reporters recently.
"The fight is definitely in September," said Tamayo, according to the United Kingdom-based newspaper the Daily Mail. "We will talk about the opponent and the place after the May 13 elections."
Tamayo corroborated some of the statements Arum and Roach made about boxing in the U.S., saying that the tax rate in Las Vegas has become too cost-prohibitive. Thus, some of the top considerations for the host city include Mexico, Macau, Dubai and Singapore.
Those close with Pacquiao, as well as boxing experts, believe that Marquez will, in fact, be the next boxing match on the docket for the 34-year-old. In an interview with Boxing Scene, former heavyweight boxer George Foreman told the online news source that he has every confidence that Pac-Man will redeem himself.
"All the odds are in his favor to become champion again," said Foreman.
He added that the best thing going for him is his peak condition and stellar training, which he says has enables Pacquiao to recover more quickly than the typical in-ring fighter.
At 34 years old, Manny Pacquiao is still a young man, who no doubt has a lot of life left to live as one of the best pound-for-pound boxing champions his home country – and the boxing world in general – has ever seen. But there has been some speculation that the Fighting Pride of the Philippines will hang up his gloves in the not-too-distant future and further pursue his political aspirations.This has left some people to question who might fill his shoes when he decides to leave the squared circle for good.
That said, a new Filipino-born pugilist has been gaining notoriety in the boxing profession by the name of Nonito Donaire.
Described as the "Filipino Flash" by his fan base, Donaire isn't exactly a fresh face, as he turned professional back in 2001. As with other boxers, once he got into the profession, many of his bouts weren't highly publicized. Over time, though, he has gained somewhat of a following because of the success he's had.
For example, less than a year after turning pro, the 30-year-old defeated Kaichon Sor Vorapin, earning himself the World Boxing Organization Asia Pacific flyweight title, which was held by no one prior to his claim of the crown. It wasn't simply that he beat Sor Vorapin that impressed boxing experts, but how quickly and the way in which the contest was one, scoring a knockout mere minutes into the second round.
After notching several more victories – some coming by knockout, others by decision – Donaire went on to win the International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organization Fly Weight World Titles after defeating Vic Darchinyan in July 2007. The Armenian southpaw was undefeated prior to losing to Donaire in the fifth round. And once again, as with his other matches, Donaire's performance in the ring earned him not only championship belts but also the highly sought after designations for delivering the "Knockout of the Year" and "Upset of the Year," which The Ring Magazine determines on annual basis.
Donaire has lost only once
Since these notable victories, Donaire has gone on to prove that he can compete with the boxing world's most elite. With an amateur record of 68 wins and 8 losses, many boxing aficionados would call that type of record one worthy to be proud of. His professional record has been even more impressive. In the 32 occasions in which he's fought as a pro, he's won 31 times, notching 20 knockouts in the process. His only loss came mere months after he turned pro, falling to Rosendo Sanchez by way of decision. Even today, many people believe that Donaire was the better performer.
On April 13, the Filipino Flash – who Ring Magazine calls the fourth-best pound-for-pound boxer in the industry – puts his near perfect title to the test when he faces Guillermo Rigondeaux. In 2012, Donaire fought on four separate occasions, but this matchup will be his first bout of 2013.
Donaire recently indicated that he's ready for whatever Rigondeaux brings.
"I watched Rigondeaux's last fight with [Robert] Marroquin and he's pretty decent," said Donaire recently, according to ESPN. "He's pretty good at countering, so I was getting excited about fighting him. It's a good fight. I look forward to taking that belt. That's my goal."
Should Donaire improves his record, he won't be making a money transfer to the Philippines for his family back home after he collects his earnings. However, he does hope to settle down relatively soon.
"I will do as much as I can this year, but my primary thing this year after this fight is having a family," said Donaire, ESPN reports. "I can win titles and more titles and it pays the bills but I also want to be a good father and husband."
Xoom Changes the Game with “POWR”– Customers Pay Nothing Until Money Sent is Received by Their Loved Ones
Feel the POWR: “Pay Only When Received” — Another Xoom Innovation in Remittance
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, March 13, 2013 –Xoom Corporation (NASDAQ: XOOM), a global online money transfer provider, is launching POWR, or Pay Only When Received, a breakthrough initiative that gives customers assurance that Xoom will not withdraw a dime from their bank accounts until the money is received by their loved ones.
POWR is available beginning today to qualifying Filipino remitters who choose to send with their bank account. Xoom is unlike other money transfer companies in that Xoom will only withdraw the total amount of the money transfer once the money has arrived.
“With POWR, we show once again how Xoom is revolutionizing money transfers,” says Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development. “When our customers send money and pay with their bank account, Xoom will not charge them until their loved ones get their padala. We believe in giving people ‘power’ for a convenient, safe and fast way to send money home.”
For 10 years, Xoom has been serving the Filipino community and pioneered instant bank deposits to the Philippines. POWR is Xoom’s latest product offering to give customers peace of mind and reassurance. Earlier this year, Xoom introduced its Filipino customers to StatusTrak an online tracking service that provides ways for people to track their transfer via SMS text messages, email updates and 24/7 phone support.
“When our customers send money, they want the peace of mind of knowing that their loved ones have safely received it,” King added. “Both POWR and StatusTrak provide very reassuring money transfer experiences with Xoom.”
Xoom is a global online money transfer provider, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using their mobile phone, tablet or computer. During the year ended December 31, 2012, Xoom’s 750,000 active customers sent more than $3.2 billion to family and friends in 30 countries worldwide. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at www.xoom.com.
For many years, people who send money to the Philippines were transferring funds to a country whose economic engine was largely represented by farmers. But as a recent article published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reveals, farmers in the country aren't nearly as prevalent as they once were.
According to the UN's news and analysis source IRIN, fewer Filipino people who are still in their younger ages or choosing to enter the agricultural market, opting instead to seek out education for jobs in the city, working in an office or in an industrial setting.
Asterio Saliot, director of the agriculture department at the Agricultural Training Institute, told the news source that the farming industry could be in a predicament over the next decade or so, mainly because so few Filipinos are choosing a career path of tending to the fields.
"The average age of the Filipino farmer is 57," said Saliot. "Assuming an average lifespan of 70, we might reach a critical [shortage] of farmers in just 15 years."
Kala Pulido-Constantino, who serves as the communications coordinator in the Philippines with the international confederation Oxfam, indicated that the dearth of farmers in the country may be a self-inflicted wound.
"We didn't pay enough attention to the agricultural sector because we thought that we could always import our food if we couldn't grow it ourselves," Pulido-Constantino told IRIN.
This may stem from the government putting fewer resources toward buoying the agricultural industry in the Philippines. IRIN points out that based on statistics from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, more than one-tenth of the Philippines' gross domestic product derives from farming. But in 2011, less than 5 percent of government investment went toward this sector.
Something else that's had an impact on the Philippines agricultural sector is the pace at which young people are leaving parts of the country where farming is common. IRIN notes that because certain industries bring in more money than others – such as commercial and industrial – some families are choosing to move to more urban locations where these opportunities are more available, such as in Manila.
Benefits of farming need to be emphasized
Jose Rene Gayo, president of the non-governmental organization Foundation for People Development, noted that what the Filipino people and the government need to do is make farming an industry worthy of pursuing.
"We must now change the mindset of the younger generation and make farming appealing for them," said Gayo.
This may come through promoting the fringe benefits of farm life, such as being able to work in the outdoors and generate a larger profit margin by advertising to businesses in need of fresh produce.
IRIN's report shouldn't necessarily suggest that farming is a dying industry in the Philippines. According to the Philippines' BAS, the agricultural sector expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2012, led by poultry, livestock and crop farmers. In addition, overall crop production increased by more than 4 percent last year, accounting for more than half of total agricultural yield. Some of the biggest crop yields were corn and palay producing 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, more than in 2011. Palay is what rice is before it's been husked.
In addition to palay, some of the main crops the Philippines produce for the country and for other parts of the world include corn, sugarcane, coconut, bananas, pineapple, coffee beans and mangoes.