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PALACE CITES PH IMPROVEMENTS AMID DROP IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS REPORT


MAY 31 -Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. --SEC SONNY COLOMA PRESS BRIEFING/ MAY 17,2016 Presidential Communication Sonny Coloma reacts during a press brief held in Malacañang Palace . The Secretary answers questions regarding the National budget and the smooth transition of powers from the present Adminsitration of President Aquino to incoming Adnministration of President elect Rody Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONFDOC
Malacañang on Tuesday highlighted improvements in the country’s business efficiency following the release of the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) ranking. According to the International Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) WCY report, the country went down a notch to 42nd in the world rankings, from 41st last year. It also went back to 12th place in the Asia-Pacific region from 11th last year. The ranking covers 61 countries and involves 342 criteria under four broad categories: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte admin to hike infrastructure spending to up to 7% of GDP
[AQUINO's CONTROVERSIAL DAP: “This practice has to stop. President-elect Duterte’s 2017 to 2022 budgets will be compliant with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP,” Diokno said. In 2014, a high court decision deemed DAP, which fast-tracked expenditures funded by government savings, unconstitutional.]


JUNE 3 -Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno The administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte plans a further hike in infrastructure spending to up to 7 percent of the economy this year, higher than the 5 percent target of President Benigno Aquino III’s government, as the incoming budget chief laments the present sorry state of infrastructure. “The Duterte administration will not spend money for spending’s sake,” incoming Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told the Inquirer. “The economy is deficient in all types of infrastructure—highways and bridges, ports and airports.” Specific infrastructure projects to be pursued by the Duterte government include “small, medium and large-scale projects [that] will be done in all regions—[both] highly developed and lagging—simultaneously, not sequentially,” Diokno said. The University of the Philippines economics professor and former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) chief during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada also said they would address the problem of underspending on public goods and services that prevailed during the past two years. “First of all, I will put a lot of effort in budget preparation. I know that underspending is partly due to poor budget preparation. Many programs and projects are included in the annual budget, yet they are not ready to implement. Some departments ask for a budget that they are unable to implement: they bite more than what they can chew,” Diokno said in an e-mail on Thursday. “Second reason for the underspending is the ineptness or incompetence of some department chiefs,” he added. “I propose to correct this by giving an executive briefing for secretaries and undersecretaries in charge of finance separately on the budget process. I will strengthen the project monitoring system.”  Controversial DAP Also, Diokno noted that “in the past, the budget planners provide slacks in the budget in the hope that they can play around with the slacks to finance projects not authorized by Congress,” which he said was what the controversial disbursement acceleration program (DAP) that the Aquino administration had put in place was all about. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino Finance chief backs Duterte's high spending, deficit thrust


JUNE 3 -Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima The Duterte administration's plans to increase spending and widen the budget deficit got the backing of the outgoing Aquino government, which was criticized for five years of below-target disbursements. "With the news of the next administration intending to double down on spending, raise the deficit ceiling and borrow more, (Finance Secretary Cesar) Purisima extended his support," the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement on Friday. Related Stories PM wants PALEA outsourcing gone P-Noy: Ferdinand Marcos unworthy of Libingan burial For his part, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said he "would not mind lifting the spending caps" on agencies which can fast track spending. His successor, Benjamin Diokno, said last Wednesday the next government is looking at a higher deficit equivalent to three percent of gross domestic product (GDP) deemed "manageable." If achieved, the figure will be the widest budget gap since 2010 when President Aquino took over and ended the year with a deficit of 3.5 percent of GDP. Since then, data showed deficit had consistently gone down to two percent in 2011, 2.3 percent in 2012, 1.4 percent in 2013, 0.6 percent in 2014 and 0.9 percent last year. 'Real challenge' In an e-mail, incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said he, Diokno and new Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will soon discuss the specifics of their government's macroeconomic policies. READ MORE...

ALSO: OFWs, travelers gain in new BofCustoms law


MAY 31 -Travelers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are top beneficiaries of a newly signed law updating the country's customs regulations that were last tweaked nearly 30 years ago.
President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), last Friday, amending the Customs and Tariff Code last touched in 1987, the Bureau of Customs said in a statement. "This is truly a milestone for this administration and the continuing reforms we institutionalize in the bureau," Customs commissioner Alberto Lina was quoted as saying. Included is a new provision that allows OFWs to send in balikbayan boxes, contents of which amounting to not more than P150,000 shall be tax-free. The privilege may be availed three times a year. For travelers, shopping just got a boost as the law allows bringing in personal valuables worth a minimum of P150,000 to a maximum of P350,000, depending on length of stay abroad. Returning OFWs get an additional P150,000 allowance. The original cap was pegged at P10,000. Values may now also be adjusted by the Department of Finance. READ MORE...RELATED, EDITORIAL - Abolition of corrupt agencies...

ALSO: Tourist arrivals breach 2-M mark


JUNE 4 -The tourism industry continued its upward trend as it breached the two million mark in international arrivals for the first four months of the year.
Latest data from the Department of Tourism showed that foreign visitors in the country hit 2.07 million from January to April 2016, up 15 percent from 1.8 million in the same period a year ago. Related Stories Dalton Pass declared a national shrine For April alone, international tourists rose 11.3 percent to 471,598. The country’s tourism industry has consistently grown by double digit in the past four months – 13 percent in January, 20 percent in February, 12 percent in March and 11 percent in April. “These encouraging tourism figures can be attributed to the DOT’s aggressive marketing activities, international events held in the country, and the foreign markets’ increasing awareness of the product offerings of the different Philippine destinations,” Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said. Receipts from tourism activities for April increased four percent to P19 billion, bringing the four-month tally to P86.7 billion or up 12 percent year on year. East Asia contributed the biggest arrivals for the country with 1.02 million visitors or almost half (49.2 percent) of the total visitor volume. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Palace cites PH improvements amid drop in IMD competitiveness report


Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. --SEC SONNY COLOMA PRESS BRIEFING/ MAY 17,2016 Presidential Communication Sonny Coloma reacts during a press brief held in Malacañang Palace . The Secretary answers questions regarding the National budget and the smooth transition of powers from the present Adminsitration of President Aquino to incoming Adnministration of President elect Rody Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONFDOC

MANILA, JUNE 6, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ May 31st, 2016 - Malacañang on Tuesday highlighted improvements in the country’s business efficiency following the release of the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) ranking.

According to the International Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) WCY report, the country went down a notch to 42nd in the world rankings, from 41st last year. It also went back to 12th place in the Asia-Pacific region from 11th last year.

The ranking covers 61 countries and involves 342 criteria under four broad categories: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

READ MORE...

“We note the WCY report stated the Philippines registered marked improvements in business efficiency and infrastructure and remained stable in government efficiency, while the country’s workforce emerged as the economy’s most attractive feature,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

He described the country’s ranking as “stable and resilient in the face of a general decline among most Asian economies such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and mainland China.”

Despite the slight drop, Coloma said the country has been making “significant gains” in the WCY “surging by more than 43 places from 85th place in 2010 buoyed largely by the social and economic reforms anchored on good governance that President (Benigno) Aquino (III) has instituted during his term.”

“And as the Aquino administration prepares to step down from power, we prepare to step down, we shall pass on a stronger, more competitive and broad-based and inclusive economy to the next administration,” he said. RAM

RELATED STORIES

PH falls 4 notches in world competitive ranking

PH improves standing in global competitive reports


INQUIRER

Duterte admin to hike infrastructure spending to up to 7% of GDP
INCOMING BUDGET CHIEF LAMENTS INFRASTRUCTURE LACK
By: Ben O. de Vera @BenArnolddeVera Philippine Daily Inquirer 05:08 PM June 3rd, 2016


Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno

The administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte plans a further hike in infrastructure spending to up to 7 percent of the economy this year, higher than the 5 percent target of President Benigno Aquino III’s government, as the incoming budget chief laments the present sorry state of infrastructure.

“The Duterte administration will not spend money for spending’s sake,” incoming Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told the Inquirer. “The economy is deficient in all types of infrastructure—highways and bridges, ports and airports.”

Specific infrastructure projects to be pursued by the Duterte government include “small, medium and large-scale projects [that] will be done in all regions—[both] highly developed and lagging—simultaneously, not sequentially,” Diokno said.

The University of the Philippines economics professor and former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) chief during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada also said they would address the problem of underspending on public goods and services that prevailed during the past two years.

“First of all, I will put a lot of effort in budget preparation. I know that underspending is partly due to poor budget preparation. Many programs and projects are included in the annual budget, yet they are not ready to implement. Some departments ask for a budget that they are unable to implement: they bite more than what they can chew,” Diokno said in an e-mail on Thursday.

“Second reason for the underspending is the ineptness or incompetence of some department chiefs,” he added. “I propose to correct this by giving an executive briefing for secretaries and undersecretaries in charge of finance separately on the budget process. I will strengthen the project monitoring system.”

Controversial DAP

Also, Diokno noted that “in the past, the budget planners provide slacks in the budget in the hope that they can play around with the slacks to finance projects not authorized by Congress,” which he said was what the controversial disbursement acceleration program (DAP) that the Aquino administration had put in place was all about.

READ MORE...

“This practice has to stop. President-elect Duterte’s 2017 to 2022 budgets will be compliant with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP,” Diokno said. In 2014, a high court decision deemed DAP, which fast-tracked expenditures funded by government savings, unconstitutional.

The latest DBM data showed that while infrastructure spending jumped 52.8 percent to P104.8 billion in the first quarter, the government continued to underspend below the level it should to support faster economic growth.

DBM data released last week showed that expenditures on infrastructure and other capital outlays during the first three months grew from P68.5 billion a year ago, such that the government already used up 16.8 percent of the programmed amount for the year.

Total capital outlays, which include equity as well as capital transfers to local government units, amounted P145.8 billion, up 65.1 percent from P88.3 billon a year ago.

“Among the particular programs or projects that helped boost capital expenditures include completed works of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from its regular maintenance, repair and rehabilitation operations of road networks nationwide, transport infrastructure projects of the Department of Transportation and Communications, implementation of local infrastructure development projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the health facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health,” the DBM said in a report.

AFP modernization program

First-quarter expenditures on capital outlays also included “projects under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program such as purchase of ammunitions and acquisition of C130 aircraft; and construction of police stations and procurement of various equipment under the capability enhancement program of the Philippine National Police,” the DBM added.

Total government disbursements, including current operating expenditures, in the first quarter reached P591.5 billion, up 17.3 percent from P504 billion in the same period last year.

The DBM said the increase in expenditures was “the highest annual growth recorded for the first quarters in the last 12 years.”

However, the government failed to spend all P680.7 billion programmed for the period.

“Most of programs/projects are being obligated by line agencies during the first few months of the year but these are expected to be fully obligated in the succeeding months which will allow spending to catch up with the program,” the DBM explained.

While the economy grew at a better-than-expected rate of 6.9 percent in the first quarter, the economy could have expanded at an even faster pace had it been able to spend the programmed expenditures on public goods and services.

For the rest of the year, the DBM said “disbursements for the succeeding months are expected to gradually increase.”

Midyear bonus

“Higher personnel services spending is anticipated in May due to the release of midyear bonus equivalent to one month’s basic salary. This would be higher than the previous year’s levels as a result of the salary increase this year. Likewise, capital expenditures are likely to continue on its upward trajectory as suggested by spending trends during the second quarter owing to the DPWH taking advantage of the summer season for its construction activities, and programming of the Department of National Defense relative to the implementation of projects under the AFP modernization program,” the DBM said.

The government had programmed to spend P2.995 trillion in public goods and services this year, an amount equivalent to a fifth of the target gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2015, expenditures rose 12.6 percent to P2.231 trillion but the Aquino administration failed to spend all P2.559 trillion programmed as “underspending remained to be a challenge,” the DBM had said.

For infrastructure outlays, about P86.3 billion or 20 percent of last year’s programmed amount were not disbursed as the DBM had blamed “low obligations of agencies arising from procurement difficulties and weak planning capacities.”

Moving forward, the annual budgets to be proposed by the Duterte administration would prioritize the following: higher infrastructure spending of 5-7 percent of the GDP; investment in human resources (education, healthcare and nutrition) in order to develop a dynamic and nimble work force; agriculture modernization and rural development in order to make growth inclusive; raising rural incomes; and making food available and affordable, Diokno said.

The Aquino administration had been underspending on vital infrastructure during the past two years as same old challenges persist, DBM data showed.

In 2014, infrastructure expenditures accounted for only 2.74 percent of GDP, below the 3.5-percent target. As of the third quarter of last year, the infrastructure spending to GDP ratio was at 2.55 percent, also lower than the program of 4 percent. The government exceeded its infrastructure spending target only in 2013.

Implementation bottlenecks

The DBM blamed slower than programmed infrastructure spending to the following: lack of forward planning that affects the absorptive capacities of implementing agencies and the private sector; right-of-way and just compensation issues; the presence of obstructions involving electric power lines and posts, telecommunication lines, natural gas pipelines, and, water distribution lines; presence of informal settler families and the required investment for their relocation, housing and livelihood; difficulty in securing social acceptability of projects such as coal-fired plants, large multi-purpose dams, and sanitary landfills; and delays in securing permits from relevant government agencies.

“In order to meet the medium-term infrastructure spending targets, the government has to address the [aforementioned] implementation bottlenecks,” the DBM said in a recent report.

Asked what reforms the DBM would undertake under his leadership, Diokno said he “will continue the reform adopted by the Aquino administration of using the general appropriations act (GAA) as release document.”

“This is not novel. I’ve done this 16 years ago when I adopted the ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ budget execution system. However, this was forgotten by [former president Gloria] Arroyo during her entire term and [President] Aquino during his first [few] years in office,” Diokno said. The DBM adopted the GAA as a release document scheme since 2014, scrapping the special allotment release order or Saro system.

Diokno also said that under his watch, the DBM would “revisit” the bottom-up budgeting (BUB) scheme, another program introduced by the Aquino administration that allows local government units as well as civil society and community groups to pitch the priority poverty-reduction projects and programs to be funded by the annual national budget.

“We may continue [BUB] but only for the poorest municipalities,” Diokno said.

Also, the Duterte administration “will revisit the CCT [conditional cash transfer] program with the intention of minimizing the leakages (giving benefits to those undeserving and not giving benefits to the deserving) and minimizing the administrative costs,” Diokno said, referring to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

“We will adopt economic measures so that a bigger part of the budget will be used for projects that will truly benefit the Filipino people,” he said.


PHILSTAR

Aquino admin backs Duterte's high spending, deficit thrust Prinz Magtulis (philstar.com) - June 3, 2016 - 4:36pm


Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration's plans to increase spending and widen the budget deficit got the backing of the outgoing Aquino government, which was criticized for five years of below-target disbursements.

"With the news of the next administration intending to double down on spending, raise the deficit ceiling and borrow more, (Finance Secretary Cesar) Purisima extended his support," the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement on Friday.

Related Stories

PM wants PALEA outsourcing gone

P-Noy: Ferdinand Marcos unworthy of Libingan burial

For his part, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said he "would not mind lifting the spending caps" on agencies which can fast track spending.

His successor, Benjamin Diokno, said last Wednesday the next government is looking at a higher deficit equivalent to three percent of gross domestic product (GDP) deemed "manageable."


ABAD

If achieved, the figure will be the widest budget gap since 2010 when President Aquino took over and ended the year with a deficit of 3.5 percent of GDP.

Since then, data showed deficit had consistently gone down to two percent in 2011, 2.3 percent in 2012, 1.4 percent in 2013, 0.6 percent in 2014 and 0.9 percent last year.

'Real challenge'

In an e-mail, incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said he, Diokno and new Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will soon discuss the specifics of their government's macroeconomic policies.

READ MORE...

In his eight-point economic agenda, Duterte earlier vowed to "continue and maintain" Aquino's policies, but added he would increase infrastructure spending to five percent of GDP from last year's 3.3 percent.


NEW FINANCE CHIEF DOMINGUEZ

Quoted in the statement, Purisima said he is convinced the fiscal space generated under Aquino will allow Duterte to maneuver to pump prime the local economy.

"The past six years has built the right foundations, setting the stage for wider policy options to sustain growth," the finance chief said.

"Enough confidence and fiscal space has been amassed for the government to support a more expansionary fiscal policy stance," he added.

On the revenue side, DOF said it increased tax revenues by "at least" two-thirds from their pre-2010 levels. Taxes collected as a percentage of GDP rose from 12.2 percent in 2009 to 13 percent in the first three months.


NEW BUDGET CHIEF DIOKNO

Borrowing funds may also be charged with "reasonable" rates, Purisima said, citing the country's investment grade rating.

Abad, meanwhile, said there was no lost opportunity for Aquino to speed up spending and boost economic expansion more than the 6.9 percent recorded in the first quarter.

"It was more of a consequence of some agencies unable to keep pace with growth. For so many years, these agencies had been used to having limited budgets," he said in a text message.

"When suddenly they had funds to spend, their planning, procurement and execution capacities could not absorb the additional funds," he added.


NEW SOCIO-ECONOMIC PLANNING CHIEF PERNIA

According to DOF data, budgets in education, health and infrastructure rose by 125 percent, 336 percent and 360 percent, respectively since 2010. These, however, were not all spent.

For instance, last year's capital outlays, which include infrastructure, only amounted to P436 billion, more than a fifth below the P546.7-billion program.

"The real challenge is improving the absorptive capacity of certain agencies," Abad said.


PHILSTAR

OFWs, travelers gain in new Customs law 6 Share Prinz Magtulis (philstar.com) - May 31, 2016 - 3:15pm

MANILA, Philippines -- Travelers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are top beneficiaries of a newly signed law updating the country's customs regulations that were last tweaked nearly 30 years ago.

President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), last Friday, amending the Customs and Tariff Code last touched in 1987, the Bureau of Customs said in a statement.

"This is truly a milestone for this administration and the continuing reforms we institutionalize in the bureau," Customs commissioner Alberto Lina was quoted as saying.

Included is a new provision that allows OFWs to send in balikbayan boxes, contents of which amounting to not more than P150,000 shall be tax-free. The privilege may be availed three times a year.

For travelers, shopping just got a boost as the law allows bringing in personal valuables worth a minimum of P150,000 to a maximum of P350,000, depending on length of stay abroad.

Returning OFWs get an additional P150,000 allowance. The original cap was pegged at P10,000.

Values may now also be adjusted by the Department of Finance.

READ MORE...

Last year, Customs drew flak when it ordered the opening of balikbayan boxes it claimed were being used to smuggle undervalued and illegal goods. It later on withdrew the rule on Aquino's orders.

Aside from this, a returning Filipino martial arts fighter also cried foul when she was charged P6,000 for her championship belt. Lina said the duties on the prize were properly computed.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said CMTA also modernizes Customs to promote faster trade facilitation, including advance clearance procedures and minimal discretion given to customs officers.

"Embracing technology and updating regulatory frameworks reduces opportunities for corruption and streamlines client experience with the BOC," he said in a separate statement.

Lina said Customs began investing on its Information Technology systems ahead of the law's signing. For one, it launched a partnership with Microsoft to fight hacking on its systems two weeks ago.

"The CMTA will establish the requisite foundation for a cashless, faceless and paperless environment in Customs," he said.

Sought for comment, Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., said CMTA could assist the country on its bid to become part of US-led trade pact Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"This streamlines our processes with other countries, which could help facilitate more trade with our neighbors," Ortiz-Luis said in a phone interview.

---------------------------

RELATED PHILSTAR EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL - Abolition  Chris Co (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2016 - 12:00am

Some quarters dismiss the statement as hyperbole, but incoming president Rodrigo Duterte’s comment about abolishing what he described as the three most corrupt government agencies was an accurate expression of his frustration over the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Land Transportation Office.

President Aquino, with his avowed commitment to daang matuwid or the straight path, did what he could to clean up the BOC and BIR. Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares has been widely commended for her performance – and feared by tax evaders. Her successor must continue her relentless campaign as corruption persists in the bureau.

The housecleaning efforts at the BOC, meanwhile, have had mixed results.

Two of the President’s former Customs chiefs have lamented that BOC personnel keep finding ways to undermine reform efforts, while influence peddlers from many sectors ensure that corrupt practices are perpetuated.

Short of abolishing the BOC, Duterte can order a review of its functions as tariffs fall to zero and the world moves toward free trade regimes. In several countries, Customs personnel now look out mainly for contraband such as prohibited drugs, goods that are hazardous to public health, guns and weapons of mass destruction.

The Philippines is part of the recently created ASEAN Economic Community, and economic integration includes the lowering or lifting of tariffs on a wide range of goods. This requires adjustments in the functions of the BOC.

As for the LTO, it is one of the agencies whose performance has actually deteriorated since it gained ISO certification during the Arroyo administration. Persistent red tape plus the failure of the LTO to release vehicle license plates and driver’s license cards are believed to be among the public frustrations that propelled Duterte to a landslide victory in the presidential race.

The incoming chief executive may not actually abolish the three agencies. But he can initiate a thorough purge and a drastic overhaul of their functions, with loopholes providing opportunities for corruption plugged. The agencies may not be shuttered, but old ways of doing business can be abolished.


PHILSTAR

Tourist arrivals breach 2-M mark Share Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - June 4, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The tourism industry continued its upward trend as it breached the two million mark in international arrivals for the first four months of the year.

Latest data from the Department of Tourism showed that foreign visitors in the country hit 2.07 million from January to April 2016, up 15 percent from 1.8 million in the same period a year ago.

Related Stories Dalton Pass declared a national shrine For April alone, international tourists rose 11.3 percent to 471,598.

The country’s tourism industry has consistently grown by double digit in the past four months – 13 percent in January, 20 percent in February, 12 percent in March and 11 percent in April.

“These encouraging tourism figures can be attributed to the DOT’s aggressive marketing activities, international events held in the country, and the foreign markets’ increasing awareness of the product offerings of the different Philippine destinations,” Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said.

Receipts from tourism activities for April increased four percent to P19 billion, bringing the four-month tally to P86.7 billion or up 12 percent year on year.

East Asia contributed the biggest arrivals for the country with 1.02 million visitors or almost half (49.2 percent) of the total visitor volume.

READ MORE...

Korea remained the top contributor of international tourists with a total of 481,596 arrivals or a 23 percent share of the total inbound traffic.

The US supplied the second biggest inbound arrival with 303,951 visitors while the Chinese market also grew and ranked third with a total of 238,523 visitors.

The fourth and fifth major markets were Japan with 183,620 and 88,496 arrivals, respectively.

Other top visitors include Taiwan (71,656 arrivals), Canada (68,288), United Kingdom (63,039), Singapore (61,033) and Malaysia (48,835).

For this year, the DOT is eyeing 6.5 million international arrivals.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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