JOLLIBEE ONE OF THE BEST FAST-FOOD CHAINS IN THE U.S. 

Jollibee, the country’s leading fast-food chain, was cited as one of the top 10 international
fast-food restaurants in the United States. US-based food and drink website The Daily Meal listed Jollibee as among the favorite foreign food chains in the country. The website described Jollibee as “hugely popular in the Philippines, and has locations scattered around the US, largely in California. Aside from burgers, they offer fried chicken, spaghetti, noodles, and unique breakfast dishes like Spam, beef tenders, or sweet pork with rice.”

Completing The Daily Meal’s list of America’s favorite foreign chain restaurants are Pie Face from Australia, Pret a Manger from Great Britain, Maoz from Amsterdam, Pollo Campero from Guatemala, Paris Baguette from South Korea, Tim Hortons from Canada, YO! Sushi from Great Britain, Nando’s Peri Peri from South Africa, and Go Go Curry from Japan. The Daily Meal draws over eight million unique visitors per month and ranks as one of the fastest-growing content sites of all time. The food and drink website also produces annual reports, including the 50 Most Powerful People in Food, 101 Best Restaurants in America and 150 Best Bars in America. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines named Asia-Pacific region’s most outstanding destination

The Philippines is named as the most outstanding destination in Asia-Pacific region by world’s oldest travel trade newspaper Travel Trade Gazette (TTG). In a statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT)announced that the Philippines was awarded the Destination of the Year at the 25th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2014 held in Bangkok, Thailand last Thursday night. As the DOT raises the country’s international profile with its Visit the Philippines Year 2015 campaign, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr (photo), thanked the TTG Asia Media’s Travel Trade Publishing group for the recognition.

“We would like to thank TTG for the invaluable support extended to our organization in our marketing and information dissemination efforts. As a trusted travel trade publication, it has been a formidable partner throughout these years in bringing the Philippines closer to our markets,” Jimenez said. The TTG Travel Awards, a prestigious travel industry event, has been recognizing the exemplary organizations that raise the bar of excellence in of Asia-Pacific’s travel trade since 1989. The TTG event honors organizations and individuals in four categories: Travel Supplier, Travel Agency, Outstanding Achievement, and Travel Hall of Fame.

Jimenez accepted the award before Asia’s tourism professionals at the Awarding Ceremony and Gala Dinner held at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center in Thailand. The Philippines was chosen as the region’s most outstanding destination in 2014 for distinguishing itself with its proactive steps and initiatives towards the development and promotion of the travel industry. The Destination of the Year falls under the Outstanding Achievement Awards. Other categories include Travel Personality of the Year, Best Travel Entrepreneur, Best Marketing and Relationship Effort, and Best Trade Supporter. The winners are determined by TTG’s editorial team.

The TTG Travel Awards is now reputed as the most coveted and influential awards to be garnered in the region’s travel industry. * READ MORE...

ALSO: WB downgrades Phl growth outlook  

The World Bank has revised downward its economic growth projections for the Philippines this year and the next, warning that growth would largely depend on public spending, disaster reconstruction, and further structural reforms. In a report, the World Bank said baseline growth projections were revised downward from the original 6.6 percent to 6.4 percent for 2014, and from the earlier 6.9 percent to 6.7 percent for 2015. According to the World Bank, private consumption driven by strong remittance inflows would drive the economy “but growth will depend heavily on the ability of the government to ramp up spending.”

“An acceleration of reconstruction spending can support growth at above six percent,” the World Bank said. A number of external and domestic factors could likewise pose risks to growth, it added. External risks could come from disorderly policy normalization in high-income countries, a disorderly adjustment in China’s property market, political tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and territorial disputes with China. On the domestic side, the main sources of risk are low government consumption, slow reconstruction spending, and domestic reform lags, in particular reforms to raise tax revenues needed to raise infrastructure and social services spending. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PLDT expands, extends free Internet 

Leading multimedia and telecommunications provider Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has expanded and extended its free Internet service as part of efforts to promote the use of mobile devices to connect to the Internet. PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan made the announcement about the expansion and extension of the free Internet service via his Twitter account @IamMVP.  “Even better – free Internet now open to all prepaid, postpaid, and broadband subscribers of Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun #SmartFREEInternet for ALL,” Pangilinan said.

The free service now covers the 72 million subscribers of the PLDT Group that includes Smart, TNT, and Sun Cellular. Last Sept. 26, the PLDT Group announced free internet access to the 66 million prepaid subscribers of Smart, TNT, and Sun Cellular wherein each subscriber is given free access to the internet with a volume of 30MB per day until Nov. 30. However, the PLDT Group expanded the offer to include postpaid as well as broadband subscribers and at the same time extended the period to Jan. 5 next year. “TY for the overwhelming response to #SmartFREEInternet. Our early Christmas gift to our loyal and new subs - offer now extended to Jan. 5,” Pangilinan tweeted.

Charles Lim, executive vice president of PLDT and head for wireless consumer business at Smart, said all the 72 million subscribers of the PLDT group would be covered by the special offer and could enjoy browsing through all their favorite websites as well their social media accounts using their data-enabled handsets. Lim added that subscribers could also send and receive emails, use their favorite mobile apps, and shop online without incurring additional data charges. “This is our way of thanking our subscribers as well as a response to the requests of our postpaid and broadband subscribers to be included in the special offer. It is part of our overall strategy in accelerating mobile Internet adoption and usage in the country,” he said.

On top of free Internet, PLDT said all subscribers could also enjoy “unli” “all-you-can” Facebook access - including sending messages via Facebook messenger and viewing of videos embedded in the social networking site. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Manila Times Opinion: Your daily dose of disambiguation 

At the end of last week, there were two routine economic reports issued by the government: The report on the government’s fiscal position, which is provided monthly by the Department of Finance, and the monthly report on collections by the Bureau of Customs. The objective of the people whose job it is to craft press releases is not to exercise absolute candor, but to put the results that must be reported to the public in the best possible light. On a very basic level, what the government reports is not dishonest; the reports do contain facts which are accurate at the time they are published. Whether or not they are stated in a way that gives a reader who accepts them at face value an impression that accurately reflects reality is another matter.

If you read or listened to most news reports about the two releases last Friday, you would have learned that the government recorded a P29.9 billion budget surplus in August, which reduced the cumulative budget deficit for the year to date to P25.9 billion, both figures being significant improvements on the govern­ment’s fiscal position at the same time last year. And although you would have received the bad news that the Bureau of Customs missed its collection target for August by P4.4 billion, it nevertheless continued its pattern of double-digit revenue growth this year, collecting some 11 percent or almost P3 billion more than it did in August last year.

The picture these two news items paint, the picture the government undoubtedly wants everyone to see, is that the government’s books are in manageable shape if not exactly balanced, and that revenues are increasing. While it would be inaccurate to say that the government’s finances are unstable, the same data actually indicates they are not as rosy as the government would like us to believe. Among the various figures presented in the release about the government’s fiscal position is this one: P266 billion, which is the full-year deficit amount programmed into the government’s budget for 2014. Through eight months, the cumulative budget deficit should be P177.3 billion, but instead it is just P25.9 billion, less than 15 percent of what was planned.

Every analyst who has offered any sort of forecast about the Philippine economy for this year has cited “weak government spending” as an obstacle to better performance, and now we can actually quantify the problem: The government has spent at least P151.4 billion less than it should have in the first two-thirds of this year, which works out to P227.2 billion for the full year, unless it decides to embark on a massive spending spree in the last quarter. Ramping up spending, however, might not be easy, because of the lag in government revenue collection.

Earlier in September, the Bureau of Internal Revenue also reported it had missed its collection target in the same terms as the Bureau of Customs did last week—collections higher (by about 8 percent year-on-year in the BIR’s case), but the revenue goal still missed (by 10.5 percent, or almost P15 billion). And in the same fashion as the BOC, the BIR is falling behind its yearly goal; as of August the BOC is about 9 percent short of the total it should have collected through eight months, while the BIR is about 8.4 percent behind. On their current trajectory, these two bureaus will collectively shortchange the national budget by a little more than P159 billion by year’s end. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Jollibee one of best fast-food chains in US



MANILA, OCTOBER 6, 2014
(PHILSTAR)
By Helen Flores - Jollibee, the country’s leading fast-food chain, was cited as one of the top 10 international fast-food restaurants in the United States.

US-based food and drink website The Daily Meal listed Jollibee as among the favorite foreign food chains in the country.

The website described Jollibee as “hugely popular in the Philippines, and has locations scattered around the US, largely in California. Aside from burgers, they offer fried chicken, spaghetti, noodles, and unique breakfast dishes like Spam, beef tenders, or sweet pork with rice.”

Completing The Daily Meal’s list of America’s favorite foreign chain restaurants are Pie Face from Australia, Pret a Manger from Great Britain, Maoz from Amsterdam, Pollo Campero from Guatemala, Paris Baguette from South Korea, Tim Hortons from Canada, YO! Sushi from Great Britain, Nando’s Peri Peri from South Africa, and Go Go Curry from Japan.

The Daily Meal draws over eight million unique visitors per month and ranks as one of the fastest-growing content sites of all time.

The food and drink website also produces annual reports, including the 50 Most Powerful People in Food, 101 Best Restaurants in America and 150 Best Bars in America.

* In 1988, Jollibee opened its first US store in Daly City, California. Currently, it has 30 outlets in California, Nevada, New York, Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia.

Jollibee’s international store network has grown to 111 today with additional branches in Vietnam, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Last year, Singaporeans voted Jollibee’s Chickenjoy as the best fried chicken.

Jollibee’s Halo-halo and its signature Amazing Aloha Burger also received the praise of American chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain.

In one of the episodes of “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain’s television show on CNN, he drove through a Jollibee branch in Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, where he had a taste of the signature Amazing Aloha Burger.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Philippines named Asia-Pacific region’s most outstanding destination by Chino Leyco October 3, 2014 MANILA BULLETIN Share this:


JIMENEZ JR.

The Philippines is named as the most outstanding destination in Asia-Pacific region by world’s oldest travel trade newspaper Travel Trade Gazette (TTG).

In a statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT)announced that the Philippines was awarded the Destination of the Year at the 25th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2014 held in Bangkok, Thailand last Thursday night.

As the DOT raises the country’s international profile with its Visit the Philippines Year 2015 campaign, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr., thanked the TTG Asia Media’s Travel Trade Publishing group for the recognition.

“We would like to thank TTG for the invaluable support extended to our organization in our marketing and information dissemination efforts. As a trusted travel trade publication, it has been a formidable partner throughout these years in bringing the Philippines closer to our markets,” Jimenez said.

The TTG Travel Awards, a prestigious travel industry event, has been recognizing the exemplary organizations that raise the bar of excellence in of Asia-Pacific’s travel trade since 1989.

The TTG event honors organizations and individuals in four categories: Travel Supplier, Travel Agency, Outstanding Achievement, and Travel Hall of Fame.

Jimenez accepted the award before Asia’s tourism professionals at the Awarding Ceremony and Gala Dinner held at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center in Thailand.

The Philippines was chosen as the region’s most outstanding destination in 2014 for distinguishing itself with its proactive steps and initiatives towards the development and promotion of the travel industry.

The Destination of the Year falls under the Outstanding Achievement Awards. Other categories include Travel Personality of the Year, Best Travel Entrepreneur, Best Marketing and Relationship Effort, and Best Trade Supporter. The winners are determined by TTG’s editorial team.

The TTG Travel Awards is now reputed as the most coveted and influential awards to be garnered in the region’s travel industry.

* The signature trophy, a statuette of Hermes (the god of travel and protector of travellers in ancient Greek mythology), is cast in solid pewter and plated in 24K gold. Weighing two kilograms, the Hermes trophy has since then been the icon of the annual awards.

“This award belongs to all Filipinos. It is the Filipino people that have ensured the acceptance of It’s More Fun in the Philippines as a true and accurate description of the participative and active role every Filipino plays in ensuring a successful and enjoyable visit to the Philippines,” Jimenez said.

“Again, the determination of the Filipino people, coupled with the support of our President, Benigno S. Aquino III, is our inspiration to build a brighter tourism future for the Philippines—an industry that is more profitable and more inclusive,” he added.

The DOT is gearing up its efforts to promote Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015 – an invitation for all to experience the enduring promise of more fun in the Philippines.

FROM PHILSTAR

WB downgrades Phl growth outlook By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 6, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank has revised downward its economic growth projections for the Philippines this year and the next, warning that growth would largely depend on public spending, disaster reconstruction, and further structural reforms.

In a report, the World Bank said baseline growth projections were revised downward from the original 6.6 percent to 6.4 percent for 2014, and from the earlier 6.9 percent to 6.7 percent for 2015.

According to the World Bank, private consumption driven by strong remittance inflows would drive the economy “but growth will depend heavily on the ability of the government to ramp up spending.”

“An acceleration of reconstruction spending can support growth at above six percent,” the World Bank said.

A number of external and domestic factors could likewise pose risks to growth, it added.

External risks could come from disorderly policy normalization in high-income countries, a disorderly adjustment in China’s property market, political tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and territorial disputes with China.

On the domestic side, the main sources of risk are low government consumption, slow reconstruction spending, and domestic reform lags, in particular reforms to raise tax revenues needed to raise infrastructure and social services spending.

* Inflation is projected to reach the ceiling of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ three-to five-percent target.

It will also force monetary tightening and greater use of macro-prudential measures, such as further increases in the RRR and policy rates.

The World Bank report, entitled East Asia Pacific Economic Update, warned that food supply could remain tight throughout 2014 because of poor harvests due to weather-related disturbances, and could be exacerbated by droughts due to El Niño.

In addition, because rice is a basic consumption necessity with inelastic demand, any delay in the importation of rice, which is controlled by the government, could result in sharp increases in rice prices. Moreover, short-term depreciation of the peso and higher fuel prices are sources of inflation.

The World Bank said growth can be sustained and made more inclusive by pursuing structural reforms and investing more in human and physical capital in the medium term. Key structural reforms include protecting property rights, promoting more competition, and simplifying regulations.

The report noted the government’s planned doubling of infrastructure spending to five percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and significant increases in health and education spending, which require new sources of revenues.

“This can be achieved through a package of tax policy and administrative reforms,” the World Bank said.

There is scope to increase tax revenues, by, for example, broadening the base and making the tax system simpler, more efficient, and more equitable, while simultaneously lowering certain tax rates to increase the political feasibility of such a package.

The government has successfully raised taxes by 1.2 percentage points of GDP in the last three years through the sin tax reform, improved tax administration, and higher growth.

Accelerating the current reform momentum would help the country yield additional tax revenues to create the fiscal space needed to enhance growth in the coming years.

Meanwhile, economic growth of developing East Asia is seen to slow down to 6.9 percent this year, from 7.2 percent in 2013 due to various external risks.

World Bank East Asia and Pacific regional vice-president Axel Vann Trotsenburg said the region has the potential to continue to grow at a higher rate and faster than other developing regions if policy makers implement an ambitious domestic reform agenda.

The region remains vulnerable to a sharp slowdown in China, which though unlikely to happen, could hurt commodity producers which include metal exporters in Mongolia and coal exporters in Indonesia.

PLDT expands, extends free Internet By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 4, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Leading multimedia and telecommunications provider Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has expanded and extended its free Internet service as part of efforts to promote the use of mobile devices to connect to the Internet.

PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan made the announcement about the expansion and extension of the free Internet service via his Twitter account @IamMVP.

“Even better – free Internet now open to all prepaid, postpaid, and broadband subscribers of Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun #SmartFREEInternet for ALL,” Pangilinan said.

The free service now covers the 72 million subscribers of the PLDT Group that includes Smart, TNT, and Sun Cellular.

Last Sept. 26, the PLDT Group announced free internet access to the 66 million prepaid subscribers of Smart, TNT, and Sun Cellular wherein each subscriber is given free access to the internet with a volume of 30MB per day until Nov. 30.

However, the PLDT Group expanded the offer to include postpaid as well as broadband subscribers and at the same time extended the period to Jan. 5 next year.

“TY for the overwhelming response to #SmartFREEInternet. Our early Christmas gift to our loyal and new subs - offer now extended to Jan. 5,” Pangilinan tweeted.

Charles Lim, executive vice president of PLDT and head for wireless consumer business at Smart, said all the 72 million subscribers of the PLDT group would be covered by the special offer and could enjoy browsing through all their favorite websites as well their social media accounts using their data-enabled handsets.

Lim added that subscribers could also send and receive emails, use their favorite mobile apps, and shop online without incurring additional data charges.

“This is our way of thanking our subscribers as well as a response to the requests of our postpaid and broadband subscribers to be included in the special offer. It is part of our overall strategy in accelerating mobile Internet adoption and usage in the country,” he said.

On top of free Internet, PLDT said all subscribers could also enjoy “unli” “all-you-can” Facebook access - including sending messages via Facebook messenger and viewing of videos embedded in the social networking site.

* Likewise, subscribers could also enjoy all-day Wikipedia access as well on top of their daily 30MB free data allocation.

PLDT and Smart technology head Roland Pena reiterated that the company’s extensive network infrastructure would be able to cope with the expected heavy volume of internet usage from its subscriber base.

“With millions of subscribers going online, our network has been performing very well, enabling them to sign-up for the service to take advantage of the free Internet offer,” Peña said.

The PLDT Group has thus far rolled out about 90,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables all over the country providing the transmission facilities needed to support Internet services. It has also the most extensive international cable systems needed to connect the Philippines to the rest of the world.

Last Wednesday, PLDT also announced that it is spending P540 million to boost the capacity of its 90,000-kilometer domestic fiber optic network by 13 percent to 4.6 terabits per second starting the first quarter of 2015.

The PLDT Group is likely to spend between P30 billion and P35 billion for its capital expenditures next year from P32 billion this year.

Manila Times Opinion: Your daily dose of disambiguation
October 3, 2014 8:10 pm by Ben D. Kritz


Ben D. Kritz

At the end of last week, there were two routine economic reports issued by the government: The report on the government’s fiscal position, which is provided monthly by the Department of Finance, and the monthly report on collections by the Bureau of Customs.

The objective of the people whose job it is to craft press releases is not to exercise absolute candor, but to put the results that must be reported to the public in the best possible light.

On a very basic level, what the government reports is not dishonest; the reports do contain facts which are accurate at the time they are published. Whether or not they are stated in a way that gives a reader who accepts them at face value an impression that accurately reflects reality is another matter.

If you read or listened to most news reports about the two releases last Friday, you would have learned that the government recorded a P29.9 billion budget surplus in August, which reduced the cumulative budget deficit for the year to date to P25.9 billion, both figures being significant improvements on the govern­ment’s fiscal position at the same time last year.

And although you would have received the bad news that the Bureau of Customs missed its collection target for August by P4.4 billion, it nevertheless continued its pattern of double-digit revenue growth this year, collecting some 11 percent or almost P3 billion more than it did in August last year.

The picture these two news items paint, the picture the government undoubtedly wants everyone to see, is that the government’s books are in manageable shape if not exactly balanced, and that revenues are increasing.

While it would be inaccurate to say that the government’s finances are unstable, the same data actually indicates they are not as rosy as the government would like us to believe.

Among the various figures presented in the release about the government’s fiscal position is this one: P266 billion, which is the full-year deficit amount programmed into the government’s budget for 2014. Through eight months, the cumulative budget deficit should be P177.3 billion, but instead it is just P25.9 billion, less than 15 percent of what was planned.

Every analyst who has offered any sort of forecast about the Philippine economy for this year has cited “weak government spending” as an obstacle to better performance, and now we can actually quantify the problem: The government has spent at least P151.4 billion less than it should have in the first two-thirds of this year, which works out to P227.2 billion for the full year, unless it decides to embark on a massive spending spree in the last quarter.

Ramping up spending, however, might not be easy, because of the lag in government revenue collection. Earlier in September, the Bureau of Internal Revenue also reported it had missed its collection target in the same terms as the Bureau of Customs did last week—collections higher (by about 8 percent year-on-year in the BIR’s case), but the revenue goal still missed (by 10.5 percent, or almost P15 billion).

And in the same fashion as the BOC, the BIR is falling behind its yearly goal; as of August the BOC is about 9 percent short of the total it should have collected through eight months, while the BIR is about 8.4 percent behind. On their current trajectory, these two bureaus will collectively shortchange the national budget by a little more than P159 billion by year’s end.

* Even if that revenue shortfall is accounted for and the national budget adjusted accordingly, the government has still underspent by close to P46 billion through the first eight months of 2014; in other words, the unexpectedly low revenue collections are not a valid excuse. To put the under­spending in some kind of perspective, that P46 billion (which is a conservative estimate) is approximately the same amount as the combined budgets of the Department of Health and the Department of Energy for this year.

There are a couple of conclusions that ought to be taken from all this. First of all, it should remind the media, economic observers, and the general public, whether they are inclined to support the current government or not, to exercise a bit of critical thinking when assessing these routine performance reports—the same data can tell more than one story.

Second, and more specifically, there is a clear problem with the Aquino Administration’s approach to financing. Were it not for the DAP and PDAF scandals, the Administration’s method could be simply criticized as over-cautious; the scandals, however, raise suspicions that there are ill motives involved. Either way, continual government promises to “ramp up spending” in the month or quarter to come have proven to be no substitute for actually engaging in the spending.

The cautious approach does have one advantage in that it positions the country well to absorb the shocks from a general regional or global downturn. If that does not happen, however—and it appears unlikely, despite the various troubles in the world at present, in the foreseeable future—the country falls further behind its economic competition, which is reflected in persistently low foreign investment levels, trade volumes, and GDP per capita, among other things.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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