Philippines

Philippine Labor Contracts: What You Need to Know

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

The Labor Code of the Philippines is the general labor law that regulates the relationship between the employee and the employer, and all employment-related matters in the country. The law applies to all Philippines’ enterprises and joint ventures, as well as to all employment relationships between Filipino nationals and foreign enterprises in the country.

There are several other special laws specifying statutory minimum employment benefits and standards that an employer must legally comply with. These include the Social Security Law, the National Health Insurance Act, the Sexual Harassment Law, and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act among others.

The Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the principal government agency responsible for enforcing employment laws in the country. DOLE monitors and administers companies’ compliance with labor standards, and addresses labor-related issues through the office of the secretary of labor and employment, or through its regional offices.

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The Philippines’ Investment Outlook for 2018

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

The Philippines is now among the fastest growing economies in Asia. Driven by a broad-based expansion in domestic demand, its economy has continued to perform strongly in 2017. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2017, in comparison to the projected 6.6 percent. The Philippines has grown at an average of 6.3 percent over the past five years in what economists expect will be a sustained trend in the next few years for the country.

The sustainability of economic growth and the economy’s limited exposure to uncertainty in global markets makes the Philippines an attractive investment destination in Asia for overseas investors. Duterte’ ascension to the presidency in 2016 has further strengthened the economy’s growth prospects. Known as a pro-reform, pro-infrastructure and anti-corruption president, Duterte has already introduced several big infrastructure projects that have the ability to make the country grow stronger in the coming years.

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The Philippines’ New Tax Reform Package Approved

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

On December 19, 2017, the Philippines’ much awaited tax reform package or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) was signed into law, paving the way for a simpler and fairer tax regime in the country. The revised law provides for personal income tax cuts and revises several other decade-old tax provisions that will have important implications for taxpayers and businesses in the Philippines.

In this article, we highlight the key changes introduced in the new Act.

Tax exemptions
  • Personal Income Tax exemption for lowest earners

TRAIN exempts those earning an annual income of up to ₱250,000 (US$4,975) from Personal Income Tax (PIT), and raises the tax exemption for 13th-month pay and other bonuses to ₱90,000 (US$1,791). In addition, it lowers income tax rates for those earning up to ₱8 million (US$159,200).  After 2022, the income tax rates will further be reduced for all taxpayers, except those earning an annual income above ₱8 million. 

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China SOEs Bid On Philippines Clark International Airport Development

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

clark-airport-inquirer (003)

Four of the seven bidders on the design and development contract for the Clark Airforce base in the Philippines are Chinese State Owned Enterprises, according to the Philippines Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).  The China State Construction Engineering Corp Ltd, China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd and Sinohydro Corp Ltd have all submitted tenders. 

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Investing in Manila

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By Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Investing in Manila (002)

The Philippines has shown strong economic growth in the last one year, and is expected to grow at the rate of 6.5-7 percent annually in the coming years. Given its strong economic prospects, it’s the best time for foreign businesses to explore business opportunities in the country.

Manila, the capital and main city of the Philippines, offers a variety of business possibilities in industries ranging from manufacturing to information technology (IT), and financial services. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the city’s investment climate.

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IP Protection in the Philippines Pharmaceutical Industry

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By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

The pharmaceutical industry in the Philippines

The Philippines is a major EU trade partner in South-East Asia. In this bilateral relationship, pharmaceuticals will play a growing role as a high-growth sector. In coming years, increasing population affluence and government healthcare initiatives will bolster pharmaceutical consumption in a population which already spends 46% of its out-of-pocket medical expenses[1]. Over the period 2010-2015, some predictions put Philippine out-of-pocket pharmaceutical expenditures as having risen from US$ 664 million to US$ 3.46 billion. Overall healthcare expenditures are predicted to grow at 11.2% annually and reach US$ 38.6 billion by 2023. Many of these sales will take place in retail chain pharmacies—the current dominant drug sales venue—and hospitals which are to be revamped under new government healthcare initiatives. The Philippines is unique in that its largest market players are local firms which maintain their market share through aggressive marketing and generics production.

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Gaming Industry in the Philippines Part II – Online Gaming

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Op-ed by Bob Shead

In this second part of a two-part article on the Philippine Gaming Industry, I will focus on the country’s online gaming industry. Together with the casino sector, which was the focus of the first part of this article, the online gaming industry is of enormous importance to the country’s economy. In this article, I will also identify possible investment opportunities in this rather complicated and sensitive industry. 

Background

The Philippines is an interesting and relatively new market for online gambling.  There are two distinct regions in the country, for gambling purposes.  The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) control the majority of the Philippines where gambling is controlled by the Government owned PAGCOR.   As previously mentioned in the casinos sector, PAGCOR operates their land-based casinos, and betting outlets across the country.

The second region is the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and Freeport which most people just call “Cagayan Freeport.”  This is based mainly at the Manila Entertainment Complex, mentioned earlier and located next to Manila Bay.  This is the only area in the Philippines not under complete control of PAGCOR.  In the Freeport area, there are numerous independent casinos that focus mainly on foreign tourists.

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Gaming Industry in the Philippines Part I – Casinos

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Op-ed by Bob Shead

In the first part of this two-part article on the Philippine Gaming Industry, I will focus on the country’s casino industry. Together with the online gaming sector, which will be the focus of the second part of this article, the casino industry is of enormous importance to the Philippine economy, and is intricately linked to the country’s tourism industry. In this article, I will also identify possible investment opportunities in this rather complicated and sensitive industry. 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the Philippine Government body, founded in 1976, that has the responsibility for governing the casino industry.  PAGCOR is 100% owned by the Philippine government, and is a controlled corporation under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.  The funds generated by PAGCOR augment the government’s budget for infrastructure and socio-civic projects.

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Entering the Philippine Market: Comparing Models

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By Harry Handley

Under the Foreign Investment Act, 1991, which was amended in 2015, a vast majority of industries in the Philippines are completely open to overseas investment, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in most cases. The country managed to attract over US$ 7 billion of FDI in 2016, 25 percent more than the previous year. The UNCTAD World Investment Prospects survey positions the Philippines as the 11th most promising host country for investment over the period 2016-18. In order to best leverage the advantageous conditions, such as widely spoken English and access to the ASEAN Economic Community, the most effective market entry model must be chosen by entrants.

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The Philippines Launches Visas on Arrival Program for Chinese Nationals

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) has launched a Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) program for Chinese nationals. As part of the program, the BI will issue “landing visas” to Chinese travelers upon their arrival at the airport of their destination. The program will be implemented in the capital Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as well as Clark International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport and at Kalibo International Airport. The VUA scheme will also be extended to Chinese travelers arriving at the Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Laoag, and Caticlan seaports.

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