Roel Landingin

Roel Landingin has been the FT's Manila correspondent since 2001. He was business editor of an English-language newspaper in the Philippines and Manila bureau chief of Bloomberg News.

Christmas has come a few months early for families in the Philippines getting remittances from relatives living and working overseas.

Money sent home rose 7.4 per cent to $2.1bn in August from the same period a year ago, according to data released by the central bank on Wednesday. Last year, remittances reached that amount only in December, when transfers hit their annual peak because of holiday spending. Continue reading »

Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday lifted the Philippines’ credit score one notch from Ba1 to Baa3, becoming the third international credit rating agency to give the southeast Asian country an investment-grade rating. It said the Philippines’ ratings outlook is positive, making another upgrade possible in the next year and a half. Continue reading »

Philippine electronics exports, which account for almost half the country’s overseas sales, surged by a surprising 11.2 per cent from a year ago in July to $1.9bn, in what could be the start of a rebound from a plunge of almost a fifth in the first half of the year. Continue reading »

In another sign that the benefits of faster economic growth in the Philippines have yet to trickle down, the country’s jobless rate in April rose to 7.5 per cent, the highest in almost four years, the government statistics office said Tuesday.

That is roughly in the same quarter that GDP surged 7.8 per cent, the highest in more than two years. Asia’s fastest growing economy also has one of the region’s biggest unemployment problems. Continue reading »

Just a day or two after mid-term elections that tightened Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s hold on Congress, his economic managers unveiled a package of potentially contentious proposals to raise mining taxes that will test the president’s grip on the law-making body when it convenes in July. Continue reading »

It may look like a belated internal housekeeping job, coming long after rivals did the same thing. But the Philippine SM Group’s announcement on Friday that it will combine its various real estate businesses with its shopping mall operations under one company is making a big splash.

Stock exchange trading for the group’s four publicly-listed vehicles was suspended to make way for the announcement of the creation of the country’s largest property company. Continue reading »

The Philippine economy grew 7.8 per cent in the first quarter from a revised 6.8 per cent the previous quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of an increase of just 6 per cent, as sharply higher investments and government spending offset the impact of faltering demand from China, America and Europe that slowed economies elsewhere in the region. Continue reading »

Elections in the Philippines are said to be decided by three Gs: guns, gold and goons. In a few cases, luck must be added into the equation.

When two candidates for mayor of San Teodoro, a small town in central Philippines, each got exactly the same number of votes (3,236) in a poll this week, election officials decided to break the tie by tossing a coin. Continue reading »

Millions of Filipinos headed for voting booths on Monday to choose candidates for 18,054 local and national government posts in a generally peaceful election that polling groups and analysts say will likely tighten president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s grip on the legislature.

Aides to Aquino (pictured) say having allies and supporters in both houses of Congress is critical for a continuation of the president’s anti-corruption and anti-poverty reforms as he enters the second half of his single six-year term that ends in the middle of 2016. Continue reading »

Like many management buzz words, corporate social responsibility has come to mean many things to many people. But if a bit of business do-gooding is required by the authorities as a condition, say, for granting a local government permit, is it still CSR? Continue reading »

Investors do love an emerging market success story.

A day after LT Group, the listed holding company of Lucio Tan, the Philippines’ second richest man, raised 37.7bn pesos ($920m) from a follow-on offering, its shares have risen 4 per cent. Continue reading »

As a seasoning, salt goes well with rice. In many developing countries, poor families who cannot afford any dish at all sometimes eat boiled rice with nothing but a pinch of salt.

But salt in the soil where rice is grown ruins the crop, a problem that is worsening in Asia. Can anything be done? Continue reading »

Philippine exports in February fell 15.6 per cent from a year earlier to their lowest level in 14 months, after falling 2.7 per cent the previous month as demand for the country’s main shipments of semiconductor chips and electronics devices has slumped.

The sharp fall in exports suggests the Philippines will struggle to meet the government’s GDP growth target of 6 to 7 per cent for 2013 after last year’s robust expansion of 6.6 per cent, the highest among south-east Asia’s five biggest economies. Continue reading »

Just a week after Fitch upgraded the Philippines investment grade, it is becoming apparent why the much sought-after ratings move is not likely to boost foreign direct investments into the country any time soon.

On Wednesday, the Department of Energy warned it may cancel the exploration contract of a consortium led by BHP Billiton Petroleum for an oil and gas block off Palawan island in the western Philippines due to delays in drilling an offshore exploration well. It’s hardly a move to reassure investors. Continue reading »

San Miguel Corp, the increasingly diversified Philippine conglomerate, surprised on the upside on Thursday by announcing consolidated net income in 2012 of 27.6bn pesos ($677m), up 57 per cent on 2011 and exceeding analysts’ expectations.

It is easy to take the figure as another sign of the success of San Miguel’s daring diversification strategy, in which the 122 year old company has expanded rapidly from its core food and drinks business to take in fuel, power and infrastructure. Continue reading »