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Philippine Economy - Business and Economics in the Philippines

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World's 38th Freest Economy
A survey conducted by Canada-based Fraser Institute (FI) has tagged the Philippines, along with six other countries, as the world's 38th "freest economy", a term referring to the country's practice of free trade. The 2002 "Economic Freedom of the World" (EFW) survey gauged 123 countries' level of economic freedom or liberties enjoyed by foreigners and citizens to engage in trade or business. Among the factors measured were each country's observance of free trade, rule of law, property rights, freedom to trade and access to sound money.

The Philippines was ranked at 38th along with France, South Korea, Botswana and two other countries. On top of the list were Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States in that order. (Source: Businessworld)

40th Most Competitive Economy 
In its 2002 World Competitiveness Year Book, Swiss agency Institute for Management Development (IMD) ranked the Philippines as the 40th most competitive economy in the world. The Philippines was ranked ahead of Indonesia but behind other East Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, China and Thailand.

In a separate report also in 2002, the Philippines was ranked as 61st among 80 countries in the global growth competitiveness ranking of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is a project of the US-based Harvard Business School.

The local partner of WEF is the Makati Business Club (MBC) while the local partner of IMD is the Makati-based Asian Institute of Management (AIM). These two organizations supplied most of the data used in the country's ranking based on the results of surveys conducted among businessmen and investors.

77th in Standard of Living
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has ranked the Philippines 77th among 173 countries in terms of human development index (HDI), a gauge of standard of living. The Philippines got a score of 0.754 in 2002, slightly up from 0.749 that it received in 2001. Norway topped the list with an HDI of 0.942 and was followed by Sweden, with 0.941 and Canada, 0.940. Singapore bested all East Asian countries with an HDI of 0.885. (Source: Businessworld)

Philippine GDP Expands 4.6 Percent in 2002
The Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.6 percent YoY in 2002. The gross national product (GNP) - the sum of GDP and income from overseas, posted an even more impressive annual growth rate of 5.2 percent in 2002, powered by a 15.5 percent increase in net factor income from abroad (NFIA). 

The population grew by 2.12 percent from 80.08 million in December 2001 to 81.78 million in December 2002, per capita GDP increased by 2.4 percent while per capita GNP moved up by 3 percent. The per capita PCE also increased by 1.7 percent YoY. 

For 2002, GNP was estimated at P4.233 trillion (approx. US$79 billion) at current prices while GDP was valued at P3.977 trillion (approx. US$74 billion). Total services were valued at P2.127 trillion (US$40 billion) while total industrial output was placed at P1.258 trillion (US$23.5 billion). Combined output of agriculture, fishery and forestry was estimated at P592 billion (US$11 billion). 

Real Growth, 1.3 Percent in 2001
According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the three major segments of the Philippine economy - agriculture, industry and services - posted an average growth of 3.4 percent in 2001. However, real per capita income rose by only 1.3 percent as the Philippine population increased by about 2.1 percent.

GDP: P3.6 Trillion
In 2001 prices, the gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to P3.643 while the gross national product (GNP) reached P3.860 trillion. GNP is the sum of the GDP and earnings from abroad such as dollar remittances by overseas Filipino workers and income by Philippine companies in other countries. GDP is the total value of products and services produced in the country in a given year.

Personal Spending: P2.56 Trillion
Total output of agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors grossed P554.4 billion while industrial production amounted to P1.149 trillion. All services for the year were valued at P1.939 trillion. Total personal spending grossed P2.561 trillion while government expenses amounted to P444.5 billion.

Average Filipino Spent P33,590 in 2002 
The average Filipino spent around P33,590 (US$630) at 2002 value, higher by 4.9 percent than P32,031 in 2001 (US$600). At constant value, the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) per capita grew by only 1.7 percent YoY in 2002. Constant value is based on 1985 prices and is not supposed to reflect inflationary trends. At current value, the PCE per capita accounted for around 65 percent of the GNP per capita estimated at P51,758 (US$977) and around 69 percent of the GDP per capita estimated at P48,635 (US$918) in 2002.

Per Capita Income: P45,490
Per capita income was valued at P45,490 while per capita GNP was placed at P48,205. The average Filipino spent P31,983 last year.

Budget Deficit Reaches P212.7 Billion in 2002 
The country's budget deficit reached an all-time high of P212.7 billion, representing about 5.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002. In 2001, the national government incurred a budget gap of P147 billion or only 4 percent of the GDP. At current prices, the country's GDP is estimated at P3.6 to P3.8 trillion (around US$72 billion). 

Data from the Bureau of Treasury show that government expenditures reached P778.7 billion while revenue collections amounted to only P566 billion in 2002. 

In particular, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the government's main tax collection arm, missed its original target by P53.4 billion and collected only PP393.6 billion while the Bureau of Customs, which is in charge of tariff and import duties, missed its target by P18.9 billion and hauled in only P96.25 billion in 2002. 

To fund the deficit, the government borrowed a total of PhP264.176 billion from domestic and foreign sources for the year. This was higher than the PhP111.807 billion in borrowings the government programmed for 2002. 

For 2003, the government set the budget deficit ceiling at P147 billion or around 4.7 percent of the GDP. 
Four Filipino Billionaires
While Filipinos had a per capita income of less than US$1,000, four of them were listed among the world's 497 billionaires (in US dollars) in 2001. Ironically, Finland and Austria, two European countries where per capita income exceeded US$24,000, had no representative in the billionaires' list. 

Lucio Tan, Richest Filipino
In its latest list of world's billionaires, US-based Forbes Magazine identified the four Filipino billionaires as Lucio Tan, with a net worth of US$1.7 billion; Henry Sy, US$1.5 billion; George Ty, US$1.1 billion; and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and family, US$1 billion. The combined wealth of these Filipino billionaires amounted to about US$5.3 billion or almost 7 percent of the country's GDP of US$75.2 billion in 2001. The first three billionaires were immigrants from China while Ayala was a scion of an aristocratic Spanish clan.

Tan, 67, owns Asia Brewery, Fortune Tobacco, Philippine Airlines and Philippine National Bank while the 77-year-old Sy manages the SM shopping malls. Ty, 69, runs Metro Bank, the country's largest commercial bank while Ayala, 42, heads Ayala Corp., the largest conglomerate in the Philippines.

Other Billionaires
Other Filipinos who figured in previous billionaires' lists are John Gokongwei, a property and retail tycoon; Danding Cojuangco, chairman of San Miguel Corp.; the family of the late Tan Yu, a property mogul; and the Lopez family, which controls the country's power, water and broadcast utilities.

Richest Filipino Senator
Manuel Villar, a property magnate, was the richest Filipino senator while her wife Cynthia was the richest congresswoman in 2001. In their statement of assets and liabilities for 2001, the couple reported a net worth of P405 million. All 24 senators were in fact millionaires, with six of them reporting a net worth over P100 million and 21 declaring net assets over P10 million.

The second richest senator was Ralph Recto who reported a net worth of P228 million while the third wealthiest member of the Philippine Senate (12th Congress) was Ramon Magsaysay Jr. with a net worth of P113 million. 

Magsaysay was followed by Teresa Aquino-Oreta with a net worth of P113 million; Robert Jaworski, P111 million; Loren Legarda-Leviste, P106 million; Renato Cayetano, P87.514 million; Ramon Revilla, P49 million; John Osmeña, P45 million; Sergio Osmeña III, P41 million; Luisa "Loi" Ejercito, P34 million; Vicente Sotto III, P29 million; Noli de Castro, P25 million; Rodolfo Biazon, P21 million; Edgardo Angara, P21 million; Panfilo Lacson, P21.6 million; Francis Pangilinan, P16 million; Aquilino Pimentel, P15 million; Robert Barbers, P12 million; Franklin Drilon, 11 million; and Joker Arroyo, P11 million.

Senator Juan Flavier, a former barrio doctor from Tondo, reported the lowest net worth of P2 million. The other two senators who reported a net worth below P10 million were Blas Ople, with P7 million and Gregorio Honasan, P7 million. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Filipino-Chinese and the Economy
The enterprising Filipino-Chinese traders now own and run most of the Philippines' largest corporations. In East Asia, over 80 percent of billionaires are Taipans or traders of Chinese lineage. In the Philippines, Filipino-Chinese traders hold a large portion of economic resources. While they comprise only two percent of the Philippine population, they control 50 to 60 percent of non-land share capital in the country. Here, they are the leaders in banking, airlines, property and retail industries.

228,786 Business Establishments
The NSO said that as of 1994, there were 228,786 business establishments in the country. Among these establishments were 207,158 micro enterprises or those that employed less than 10 workers. There were also 19,261 small-scale industries, employing 10 to 99 workers each and 1,165 medium-scale establishments, with 100 to 199 workers. Large businesses or those that employed 200 or more workers totaled only 1,202. 

11 Million Housing Units
As of 1990, the country had 11,018,208 housing units. However, 1,830,118 or nearly 17 percent of these households had no toilets.

Gross International Reserves
As of November 2002, the country's gross international reserves (GIR) was placed at US$15.74 billion, slightly lower than US$15.945 billion recorded in October. The Central Bank predicted that the GIR would end between US$14 billion and US$15 billion by December.

Inflation Rate at 3.1 Percent in 2002
Prices of consumer products and services increased by 3.1 percent YoY in 2002, slower than the 6.1 percent registered in 2001. 

P152 Billion Pension Fund
As of August 2002, the Social Security System, or the government-operated pension fund for all private employees, only has P152 billion in its treasury. Because of its dwindling fund, the government wants members' contribution increased to 9.4 percent of their monthly income from 8.4 percent.

US$61.7 Billion Foreign Trade 
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippines traded some US$61.701 billion worth of merchandise goods with the rest of the world in 2001. Total exports reached US$32.138 billion while imports amounted to US$29.550 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$2.6 billion.

Exports Reach US$35 Billion in 2002 
The country's merchandise exports went up by 9 percent to US$35.061 billion in 2002 from US$32.150 billion in 2001. Last year's figure, however, was 7.9 percent lower than the all-time high of US$38.078 billion registered in 2000 and was comparable only to the US$35.037 billion in 1999.

Electronic Exports, 52.5 Percent
Electronic products comprised 52.5 percent of the total Philippine exports in 2001, down from 59.1 percent in 2001. Export receipts of electronic items plunged 25 percent to US$16.889 billion in 2001 from US$22.515 billion in 2000, as a result of poor demand in the American and Japanese markets.

Agriculture exports amounted to US$1.104 billion; garments exports, US$2.4 billion; and woodcraft and furniture exports, US$593.5 million. Exports of coconut oil reached US$417.6 million; banana exports, US$296.6 million; and aquaculture exports (shrimps and prawns), US$286.985 million.

Exports to US, 27.9 Percent
Exports to the US, accounting for 27.9 percent of the aggregate export revenues, amounted to US$8.974 billion while shipments to Japan, accounting for 15.7 percent of the total amount, grossed US$5.055 billion. Other major trading partners of the Philippines are the Netherlands, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Germany, China, United Kingdom and Thailand. 

Agriculture Employs 11 Million
Agricultural products comprised only about 5 percent of the country's exports, with electronic products accounting for almost 52 percent of export receipts. While the agriculture sector employed 11 million Filipinos or 36.4 percent of the entire employed population estimated at 30.186 million workers as of April 2002, the sector contributed only 21 percent to the GDP in 2001.

World's Third Largest Banana Producer
The Philippines is considered as the world's third largest producer of bananas, after Costa Rica and Ecuador. Large plantations in southern Mindanao produce most bananas exported by the Philippines. Some 30,000 hectares in the region are planted to bananas.

The Philippines is also one of the largest producers of coconut, cassava, mango, pineapple, tilapia, tuna, shrimps, and prawns.

Fishery Output, 166,101 Metric Tons
The country's total agricultural output grossed P621.4 billion or only 21 percent of the country's GDP in 2001. In particular, crop production amounted to P322.5 billion at 2001 prices; livestock production, P106.4 billion; poultry production, P85.9 billion; and fishery production, P106.6 billion. In terms of volume, total fish production reached 166,101 metric tons in 2001.

790,000 Cubic Meters of Logs
The Forest Management Bureau (FMB) said that in the year 2000 alone, the Philippines produced 790,000 cubic meters of logs, 124,000 cubic meters of lumber, 230,000 cubic meters of plywood and 130,000 cubic meters of veneer. 

36.5 Metric Tons of Gold
According to the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau, the Philippines produced 30.9 metric tons of gold and 27.5 metric tons of silver in the year 2001. In 1999, it produced 314 million bags of cement and 32.4 million cubic meters of sand and gravel. As of August 2002, there were 16 cement-producing companies in the Philippines.

Palay Output, 13.25 Million Metric Tons
In 2002, the Philippines produced 13.27 million metric tons of rice, up by 2.4 percent 12.95 million metric tons in 2001.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippines also produced 4.53 million metric tons of corn in 2001.

RP Imports 24 Million Bags of Rice
The Philippines, which remains largely rural and agricultural, has become the world's fourth largest importer of rice, after Indonesia, Nigeria and Iran. Citing a report of the US Department of Agriculture, Representative Satur Ocampo said the country imported about 1.18 million tons metric tons of rice in 2001 and a total of 1.2 million metric tons (24 million 50-kilogram bags) of rice in 2002.

Coconut Employs 3.4 Million People
According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the coconut industry employs 3.4 million Filipinos, who earn an average of P10,000 a year or P25 a day each. There are 3 million hectares planted to coconut palms, the second largest agricultural area after rice fields (4 million hectares). Coconut plantations form 74 percent of all commercial croplands in the country. The Philippines produces some 2.4 million metric tons (MT) of copra or coconut products annually. In terms of value, coconut products comprise 32.4 percent of all agricultural exports and 1.6 percent of the country's entire exports.

556,000 Sugar Farmers
Sugarcane is considered the largest non-cereal crop in the Philippines in terms of metric tons produced. According to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), around 556,000 farmers and 25,000 sugar mill workers are employed in the local sugar industry. In 1999, the total size of sugar farms was 359,977 hectares, with total production of 1.53 million metric tons.

The Philippines supplies 13.5 percent of the US sugar requirements under a quota system. Ironically, the country could not even meet its own local demand. It has to import around 350,000 metric tons of sugar in order to meet its domestic demand of about 1.9 million tons annually. Filipinos consume 150,000 metric tons of raw sugar per month. The country produced about 28.24 million metric tons of sugarcane in 2001.

3.4 Million Carabaos
According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), there were 3.4 million carabaos, 3.3 million cattle, 5.2 million goats, 11 million pigs and 115.6 million chickens in the country as of January 2001.

800,000 Cattle Consumed
The BAS said that the Philippines produced 660,000 new cattle but consumed 800,000 in 2000. Only about 10,800 metric tons of milk and other dairy products were produced in the country in 2001.

300,120 Metric Tons of Eggs
The Philippines produced 246,200 metric tons of chicken eggs and 53,920 metric tons of duck eggs in 2001. As of January 2002, the country had an inventory of 125.25 million live chicken. 

5.3 Million Hectares to Farmers
As of December 2001, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) claimed that the government has distributed some 5.3 million hectares of farmlands to farmers from their landlords since 1960s.

Irrigation Serves 5.2 Percent of Land
As of 1993, about 15,800 square kilometers or only 5.2 percent of the total land area had access to irrigation systems.

10,000 Bakeries
A local study by the Philippine Association of Flour Millers Inc. (PAMFIL) said that 85 percent of Filipinos prefer to eat bread instead of rice for breakfast. As the Philippines produces about 1.4 million metric tons of flour annually, the country sources wheat, the prime raw material for flour, from other countries. It imports about 2.4 million metric tons of wheat mostly from the United States. 

There are more than 10,000 bakeries in the country whose products are broken down to the following: 50 percent for pan de sal or salt bread, 20 percent for loaf bread, and 30 percent for other varieties. In 1998, the average Filipino consumed 1.86 kilogram of flour. As of 2001, there were 14 flour millers, mostly large food manufacturers, in the country.

Personal Spending, 79 Percent
Personal spending accounted for 79 percent of the Philippine GDP in 2001. According to market research firm ACNielsen, the "A" and "B" markets accounted for only 15 percent of all grocery purchases in the Philippines; "D" and "E" markets, 46 percent; and "C" market, 39 percent.

53.5 Percent of Expenses for Food
In 2001, the average Filipinos allocated 53.5 percent of their total expenditure for food; 9.6 percent for household operations; 6.2 percent for transportation and communication; 4.6 percent for fuel, light and water; 3.5 percent for clothing and footwear; 2.9 percent for household furnishings; 2.3 percent for beverage; 2.3 percent for tobacco; and 15 percent for miscellaneous outlays.

3.7 Million Vehicles
Some 3.7 million vehicles were registered in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as of December 2000. This number included 1.2 million utility vehicles; 700,000 cars; over 200,000 trucks; 30,000 buses; 1 million motorcycles; and 23,500 trailers. The LTO added that as of 2000, some 4 million licenses were granted to Filipino professional, non-professional and student drivers.

298,776 Water Vessels
As of 2000, there were 298,776 water vessels registered in the country; 289,729 of them domestic vessels and 9,047 foreign vessels.

85,587 New Vehicles Sold in 2002
Sales of newly manufactured land vehicles in the country increased by 11.6 percent to 85,587 units in 2002 from 76,670 units in 2001, largely because of the 38.7 percent surge in the number of Asian utility vehicles (AUVs) sold during the period. AUVs are ten-seater commercial vehicles manufactured by Japanese car firms and enjoy tax-free privileges.

In particular, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) said that the total sales of AUVs, accounting for 43.7 percent of combined industry sales, climbed to 37,377 units last year from 26,939 units in 2001. Sales of other commercial vehicles - vans, pickup, and light trucks - that account for 30.9 percent of the total, increased moderately by 1.7 percent to 26,482 units in 2002 from 26,047 units in 2001. 

Total commercial vehicle sales, accounting for 74.6 percent of all sales, went up by 20.5 percent to 63,859 units in 2002 from 52,986 units in 2001. In sharp contrast, passenger car sales, accounting for 25.4 percent of industry sales, dropped 8.3 percent to 21,728 units in 2002 from 23,684 units in 2001. 

Overall, some 388,613 vehicles were newly registered in 2000.

55,600 Jeepneys in Metro Manila 
As of 2002, Metro Manila had 55,596 jeepneys, utility vehicles and FX taxis used as shuttle services; 52,932 motorcycles and tricycles; 11,086 commuter buses; 5,000 taxi cabs; 6,619 "for hire" trucks; and an estimated 883,699 private cars and vans. 

Half of Farmers Own TV Sets
A survey conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) showed that 53.7 percent of agrarian reform farm households owned television sets and 37.9 percent had refrigerators. The percentage was relatively lower among farmers who are not beneficiaries of the government's agrarian reform program. The PIDS based its data on the responses of 1,800 farm households in different provinces. The government research agency concluded that farm households correlated ownership of refrigerator with being non-poor.

6 Million New Appliances
Data from the Philippine Electrical Electronics and Allied Industries Federation showed that sales of electronic appliances in the country dropped by 7.5 percent to 6,077,500 units in 2001 from 6,574,000 units in 2000.

883,100 Color TVs
In the year 2001, sold were 883,100 units of new color TVs; 43,700 units of VCRs; 10,600 units of VCD players; 302,100 units of music centers; 206,300 units of radio cassettes; 75,700 units of karaoke; 466,900 units of refrigerators; 570,600 units of washing machines; 371,900 air conditioning units; 247,100 units of rice cookers; 430,900 units of flat irons; and 1,298,500 units of electric fans.

248,460 New Computers
According to International PC market research firm Gartner Dataquest, about 248,460 units of personal computers (PCs) were sold in the Philippines in 2001.

No. 1 in IT Knowledge Jobs
The Meta Group, a leading information and technology (IT) research and consulting company in the United States, has ranked the Philippines as the world's most competitive country in the "knowledge jobs" category of Global New e-Economy Index. The "knowledge jobs" category covers the availability of qualified engineers, IT skills and senior management and the level of education enrollment in the countries surveyed. 

Ironically, in a separate survey, the Philippines was ranked 58th among 75 countries in terms of networked readiness index (NRI), which gauges each country's capacity to exploit opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The ranking was prepared by Harvard University's Center for International Development in a paper entitled "The Global Information Technology Report 2001-2002: Readiness for the Networked World".

1.5 Million Internet Users
Industry experts claimed that there were between 1.5 million and 4.5 million Filipino Internet users as of August 2002. US market research firm ACNielsen, however, gave a more conservative estimate as it reported that as of the first quarter of 2002, there were 1.5 million Internet users in the country. Of this number, only 800,000 were surfing the web on a regular basis. Half of the Internet users in the country accessed the web in Metro Manila, 27 percent in other parts of Luzon, 13 percent in the Visayas and 10 percent in Mindanao. 

Four out of five Internet users were aged 29 years old and below. The main access points of Internet were schools, offices, Internet cafes and homes. Filipinos accessed the web for the following top reasons: electronic mail, surfing and browsing, chatting, research, file download, games, shopping and advertising or promotion. Of the total Internet users, only 180,000 users had tried to shop online. 

363 Government Websites
As of October 2002, the National Computer Center (NCC) said that 363 or almost 96 percent of the 379 national government agencies had their own websites, which provide basic information.

Using the criteria adopted by the United Nations and the American Society of Public Administration (UN-ASPA) Stages of E-government, the NCC classified 230 or 63 percent of Philippine national government offices in stage 1 or the emerging web presence stage; 87 or 24 percent in stage 2 or enhanced web presence stage; and 45 or 12 percent in stage 3 or interactive web presence stage. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the government's main agency on revenue collection, was classified in stage 4 or the Transactional Web Presence Stage. The BIR has already introduced online filing and payment of income tax returns.

162 Electronic Firms
As of December 2001, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (SEIPI) was composed of 162 companies. Among its members were Intel, Fujitsu, Texas Instruments, Amcor Technologies, Hitachi, and Analog Devices.

12 Million Mobile Phone Subscribers
As of June 2002, there were at least 12 million mobile phone subscribers in the Philippines. Smart Communications, the wireless subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) had a subscriber base of 6.6 million as of March 2002 while Globe Telecom had 5.4 million subscribers as of June 2002. The number of mobile phone subscribers is expected to double within the next three years. The Philippines is considered the "text capital of the world'' because of the popularity of short messaging service (SMS) in the country. 

Smart claimed that the volume of text messages passing through its network reached 240 million daily as of 2001. This excluded text messages sent via the other networks. 

4 Million Fixed Lines
According to Fitch Ratings, there were less than 4 million fixed telephone lines installed in the whole country in 2001. Only about 14 percent of Philippine households had fixed telephone lines as telecommunication companies refuse to invest in facilities in the provinces. 

In comparison, there were 11.1 million subscribers to mobile phone networks, 91 percent of them on prepaid subscription in 2001.

571 Radio Stations
As of 2000, the country had 571 radio stations; 270 of them at the AM frequency, 252 at FM and 49 at SW. There were also 75 television stations as of December 2000.

1.8 Million Foreign Tourists
According to the Department of Tourism (DoT), some 1.797 million foreign visitors visited the Philippines in 2001, down from 1.992 million in 2000 and 2.2 million in 1999. In particular, the country received 447,921 tourists from North America (US and Canada); 790,793 from East Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China); 199,345 from Europe; 80,002 from Australia and the Pacific; and 278,832 from other countries in 2001.

Average occupancy rate in Metro Manila hotels was placed at 55.8 percent. As of December 2001, Metro Manila had a combined 11,784 rooms in 59 hotels classified as deluxe, first class, standard, and economy. Average length of stay by each visitor in Metro Manila hotels was 2.73 nights.

8 Million Local Tourists
In 1996, some 8 million Filipinos spent P50 billion to visit different tourist spots in the country. (Source: Panorama)

Shopping Area: 3.36 Million Sq. M.
According to property consultancy firm Colliers Jardine Philippines, the total stock of retail space in Metro Manila was 3.36 million square meters, with an average vacancy rate of 13.7 percent at the end of 2001. Vacancy level at prime shopping malls like SM, Glorietta, Robinson's and Shangri La Plaza were below 5 percent. 

29,223 Insurance Agents
Gross premium earnings of life insurance companies, as reported by Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA), amounted to P31.3 billion in 2001 while gross premium earnings of nonlife companies, as reported by the Insurance and Surety Association of the Philippines (ISAP), reached P17.3 billion.

As of 2000, total insured assets by life companies reached P1.016 trillion; admitted assets, P144.62 billion; cash and investment assets, P137.78 billion; legal reserves, P67 billion; and net worth, P50.55 billion. The number of licensed insurance agents was placed at 29,223 while the number of employees was put at 6,862. 

Health Expenditure: P108 Billion
Healthcare spending in the Philippines was only 3.4 percent of the country's GNP in 1999, below the 5 percent minimum standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for developing countries. Total annual health expenditure in the country amounted to P108.3 billion in 1999 while per capita health expenditure was estimated at P1,449. Only about 13.5 percent of Filipinos had insurance coverage, according to the Insurance Commission.

1,712 Hospitals
The Department of Health said that as of the year 2000, there were 1,712 hospitals in the country, 1,089 of which were private institutions and 623 were government hospitals. These excluded 14,400 barangay health centers. As of 1999, there were 2,948 doctos, 2,027 dentists, 4,945 nurses and 16,173 midwives working for public hospitals and barangay centers. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), there were 909 Filipinos for every hospital bed in 1998 and 9,689 Filipinos for every physician in 1999.

Foreign Investments, US$858 Million
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), foreign direct equity investments in the country amounted to US$857.8 million in 2001, or 39 percent lower than US$1.398 billion in 2000. 

The ADB said that the Philippines had the third lowest gross domestic investments as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the entire Asian region. The country's investment ratio to the GDP was placed at 16.6 percent in 2001, or only higher than that of Pakistan at 14.7 percent and Cambodia at 16.2 percent. China topped all East Asian economies with an investment ratio to the GDP of 36.3 percent.

OFWs Remitted US$40 Billion
According to Senator Francisco Pangilinan, the seven million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide have remitted over US$40 billion to the Philippines from 1991 to 2001. In 2002 alone, the Central Bank was expecting that dollar remittances from the OFW would climb to an all-time high of US$8 billion.

39 Ecozones
As of December 31, 2001, the Philippines had 4 public ecozones and 35 private ecozones supervised by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). These excluded the Subic Bay Freeport, Clark Development Corp. and business zones administered by the Board of Investments.

The Philippines maintain these special economic zones to lure foreign capital by dangling fiscal perks and other incentives like a six-year income tax holiday. In the year 2000 alone, foreign and local firms were able to get as much as P15 billion in combined fiscal incentives, or almost a third of P45 billion total corporate tax collection during that year.

7,492 Banks
As of June 2002, there were 7,492 banks in the country. In particular, there were 44 head offices of commercial banks and 4,185 branches, 98 head offices of thrift banks and 1,251 branches, and 776 head offices of rural banks and 1,138 branches. These banks had combined assets of P3.33 trillion.

P1.6 Trillion Money Supply
The Central Bank reported that the country's money supply - M3 or domestic liquidity composed of money in circulation, demand deposits, peso savings, time deposits and deposit substitutes - reached P1.6 trillion as of October 2002.

3.5 Million Credit Cards
As of December 2002, the banking industry has already issued some 3.5 million to four million credit cards in the country, with total credit card transactions amounting to over P50 billion on a quarterly basis. There were about 15 major credit card companies accounting for over P100 billion in annual gross card billings at 30,000 or more retail and service establishments nationwide. The industry expects the number of establishments that accept credit cards to double by 2005. Among the top players are Citibank, which has issued over 500,000 cards; Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI), 400,000; and Equitable PCI Bank, 400,000.

P319 Billion Stocks
According to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) the total value turnover at the Philippine stock market amounted to P319.11 billion in 2001 or 12 percent down from P357.66 billion in 2000. 

1.13 Million Building Constructions
The National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that from 1977 to 1998, the total number of applications for building permits reached 1.13 million in the whole country. Some 287,051 or 25 percent of these applications were received from Metro Manila. Applications for residential type of construction accounted for more than 50 percent of the total number of applications. 

In the first quarter of 2002 alone, the number of applications for building permits numbered 24,337 covering a total floor area of 3.656 million square meters. The average cost of residential building construction was valued at P6,587 per square meter in Metro Manila and P5,131 in the whole country while the average cost of non-residential building construction was estimated at P20,237 in Metro Manila and P12,791 in the whole Philippines.

Office Space Rent, Down 50 Percent
Colliers Jardine Philippines estimated the total office space stock at the Makati commercial business district (CBD) at 2.6 million square meters as of December 2001; Ortigas CBD, 876,000 square meters; and Alabang, 148,000 square meters.

The vacancy level was estimated at over 17 percent of the total office space stock. Colliers Jardine Philippines said the weighted average rent for an office space in Makati has dropped by nearly 50 percent to about P350 per square meter per month from P686 per square meter per month in 1997. Weighted capital value was placed at P40, 456 per square meter, or nearly 40 percent lower than its 1997 value.

P180,000 Per Sq. M. of Land
In 2001, the average land value in Makati was estimated at P180,000 per square meter while the value of land in Ortigas was placed at P80,000. These rates were almost 50 percent lower than their 1997 levels.

Advertising Expenses: US$1.4 Billion
US-based market research firm ACNielsen Media International said advertising expenditures in the Philippines amounted to P70 billion (US$1.4 billion) in 2001. Some P46.8 billion in ad spend was paid to television stations; P13 billion to radio stations; and P10 billion to newspapers and magazines. The figures excluded outdoor advertising expenses and internet-based expenditures.

29,055 Kilometers of Roads
As of 2000, the combined length of Philippine roads was 29,055 kilometers. Only 10,336 kilometers or 36 percent of these roads were concrete; 6,683, asphalt; and the rest, gravel and sand. 

7,306 Bridges
The country has 7,306 bridges with a total length of 271.29 kilometers.

172 Airports
As of 2000, the country had 172 airports, 87 of them private. As of 1999, there were 1,592 ports in the whole archipelago.

479 Billion Cubic Meters of Freshwater
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Philippines had a total of 479 billion cubic meters of annual renewable freshwater resources or 6,332 cubic meters of freshwater per capita in 2000. In 1995, it was estimated that the entire Philippine population withdrew some 55.42 billion cubic meters or 11.6 percent of the country's total freshwater resources. This translates to an annual freshwater withdrawal of 811 cubic meters per capita. Groundwater withdrawal per capita was estimated at 82.8 cubic meters, comprising nearly 10 percent of per capita freshwater withdrawal. The country's reservoir capacity amounted to only 2.2 percent of its of total freshwater resources. 

As of 1995, Filipinos were using 8 percent of their freshwater resources for domestic purposes, 4 percent for industry, and 88 percent for irrigation. As of 2000, 92 percent of the country's urban population and 80 percent of the rural population had access to water supply while 92 percent of urban population and 71 percent of rural population had access to sanitation.

Only about 65 percent of the population actually had access to acceptable water facilities (public waterworks and tubed/piped deep well), with the rest sourcing their water from tubed/piped shallow well (8 percent), dug well (14 percent), spring lake, river rain, etc. (11 percent) and peddlers (2 percent). Only 42 percent of the population had access to public waterworks or community water systems. Of the figure, 23 percent had own piped connections while 19 percent was sharing connections.

245 Million Barrels of Fuel
According to the Department of Energy (DoE), the Philippines consumed 245.28 million barrels of fuel oil equivalent (MMBFOE) in 2001. In 1999, the country produced 40.745 billion kilowatt hour but consumed 37.893 billion kilowatt hour.

7,869 Megawatts of Electricity
At present, there is an oversupply of energy in the country, but Filipino consumers have to pay them in the form of purchased power cost adjustment (PPCA). While installed capacity totals 12,694 megawatts, the country's average daily power demand is only 7,869 megawatts. 

For example, an ordinary Filipino home charged with P1,220 in monthly electricity bill actually paid P650 for the PPCA in April, 2002. The country's most profitable company was power producer Mirant Philippines Corp., a subsidiary of an Atlanta-based energy firm that registered a net income of P8.5 billion in 2001.

As of May 2002, the country's power rate was said to be the second most expensive in Asia. A subsequent reduction in PPCA charges eventually made the Philippines sixth in the list. 

For the whole of 2001, the country consumed 46,119 million kilowatt hours (gigawatt hours), or 1.8 percent higher than 45,290 gigawatt hours consumed in 2000.

87 Percent of Barangays Have Electricity
Only 87 percent of 41,945 barangays or villages in the whole country have electricity. In its electrification program, the incumbent Arroyo government wants all barangays lighted with electricity by the year 2006.

Meralco Overcharged P28 Billion
On November 15, 2002, the Supreme Court ordered the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to refund its 3.1 million consumers over P28 billion in overcharged electricity bill since February 1994. 

In its ruling, the Supreme Court's third division, composed of five justices, voted unanimously in favor of the government represented by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), which in 1998 claimed that Meralco overcharged its 3.1 million customers by an average of P0.167 per kilowatt-hour. A consumer organization estimated that Meralco owes each household about P3,574 in refund. 

Meralco, a private company, now services some 3.4 million consumers in Metro Manila and parts of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. It buys electricity from the government-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) and its two independent power producers.

In June 2002, an independent study submitted to Malacanang Palace reported that Meralco had been overcharging its 3.4 million customers in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces by as much as P0.408 per kilowatt-hour. Ironically, the government has a 25 percent stake in Meralco, which is controlled by the Lopez family.Philippine Trivia

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