MANILA — Over 400,000 contractual workers have been given permanent employment as part of the anti-“endo” campaign of the government, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on Wednesday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that from January to December 3, a total of 411,449 private sector employees were regularized by their employers.

“I know it is still low, percentage wise, considering the number of contractual workers in the country,” Bello said in statement.

“But that 400,000 plus figure is unprecedented in our country. Never in history has that number been achieved,” the DOLE chief added.

Bello noted 65 percent of the figure have been regularized due to the voluntary compliance of the private companies.

While the remaining 35 percent were given regular employment statuses as a result of the issuance of compliance orders.

Of the number, he said some 11,660 are workers from the SM malls chain. They have been regularized this year as of the end of the third quarter.

“It could even be higher if we include the last quarter of the year,” Bello added.

SM malls in the National Capital Region (NCR) had the most number of regularized workers with 4,800; followed by those in Calabarzon with 2,865; and those in Mimaropa with 1,476.

Meanwhile, Bello also reported that the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has promised to regularize all their workers.

“ECOP said all its members will regularize all their employees. We are just waiting for their timeline,” he said.

In turn, the DOLE offered ECOP members to be exempted from the regular labor inspection activities.

“I offered to waive the inspection of their members unless, of course, there is a complaint filed against them,” Bello added. (PNA)


MANILA — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday announced that the PHP25 increase in the minimum wage for workers in Metro Manila will take effect on November 22.

In a press briefing, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the latest salary increase of National Capital Region (NCR) employees will be effective 15 days after the order has been published in a newspaper of general circulation.

“It will take effect in November 22, it was published on November 7,” he said.

At the same time, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NPWC) clarified reports that the effectivity of the Order is on Nov. 22 and not Nov. 27 as earlier reported.

On Nov. 5, the DOLE reported that the Regional Tripartite Productivity and Wages Board (RTPWB)-NCR has approved the wage increase for minimum wage in the private sector.

The increase makes the minimum salary from PHP512 to PHP537.

According to Wage Order No. NCR-22, the salary adjustment covers non-agriculture workers and those in the retail/service establishments.

For those who are employing 15 workers or less, and manufacturing establishments regularly employing less than 10 workers, the new minimum wage rate would be PHP500 from the current PHP475. (PNA)


The growing presence of thousands of Chinese workers in the Philippines has become a cause of concern for some Filipinos, even as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) defended issuing half of all Alien Employment permits (AEPs) to these Chinese nationals.

According to a Tuesday report on GMA News TV program “State of the Nation with Jessica Soho”, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had revealed during a recent budget hearing that around 25,000 of over 40,000 AEPs issued in the last two years were given to Chinese workers.

Grilled on the possible impact this would have on employment opportunities for Filipinos, Bello explained, “They will only issue these permits to foreigners if the foreigner performs a job that cannot be performed by a Filipino citizen.”

The Bureau of Immigration (BI), for its part, said it was intent on cracking down on all illegal aliens regardless of their nationality.

“Not just Chinese but also other nationals coming to the country,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said. “Nakikita po natin, ‘yung iba sa kanila, nag-convert to working visa. ‘Yung mga nakukuha nating reports na illegal workers, tinutugis po ‘yan.”

‘Cause of concern’

However, for filmmaker Mark Meily found the matter troubling.

“It’s a cause of concern because we are in a situation where our sovereignty ng Philippines is being challenged,” Meily explained.

“Normally kasi, if you see a lot of foreigners, a lot of Chinese, I am not alarmed. But, obviously, these people are not here as tourists… and then they are not investors.”

Meily added that he did not believe that these Chinese expats were creating business that would offer employment to Filipinos. “Hindi ito nag-e-Airbnb. Ito ‘yung makikita mong naka-tsinelas, naka-short, very, very casual,” he argued.

Meily said the strong presence of Chinese nationals in the country had rapidly become noticeable in other aspects of society, as well.

“Pagpasok ko, merong mga grupo ng customers and they are smoking. This is Makati ha, so bawal doon mag-smoke sa public places. They don’t speak Filipino and then, later on, ang dami,” he said.

“This happened in a span of a year, ang dami na sa Yakal na mga restaurants, businesses, na walang English or Filipino signs,” he added.

Meily also noted that the proliferation of movie posters and advertisements bearing only Chinese characters. 

“Obviously, they are catering to a specific market,” he said. — Margaret Claire Layug/DVM, GMA News



MANILA — Malacañang on Monday backed the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) decision to require foreign and Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) to register with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) before their licenses to operate can be renewed.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described this development as a “good measure” since it also aims to monitor the number of Chinese nationals working in the online gaming industry.

“That’s a good measure, to determine exactly how many Chinese nationals were here in violation of our laws,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Asked if the executive was alarmed by the rise in the number of Chinese workers in the country, Panelo explained that it was simply to make it easier to collect corporate tax more efficiently.

Siguro hindi naman alarm, siguro gusto talaga ma-determine ng BIR yung number of nationals kasi konektado yun sa declaration ngincome. Para makakolekta tayo ng tamang corporate tax (Perhaps we’re not alarmed, perhaps the BIR just wants to determine the number of nationals because it’s connected to the declaration of income. So that we can collect correct corporate tax),” he added.

Under BIR’s Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 78-2018 last year, “foreign-based and Philippine-based operators, including those that have already been issued an offshore gaming license by PAGCOR, are required to register with the BIR on or before the commencement of business; or before payment of any tax due; or before or upon filing of any applicable tax return, statement or declaration”.

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development is set to hold a hearing on the influx of illegal foreign workers in the Philippines on Feb. 21.

This after Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the committee, expressed concern over the growing number of Chinese nationals working in the country.

Citing National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) data, Villanueva said 95 percent of foreign nationals arrested or charged in court for various offenses last year were Chinese nationals.

Of the cases involving Chinese nationals, 114 individuals have been arrested for illegal online gambling.

Earlier, former President Benigno Aquino III also expressed concern over the increased presence of Chinese skilled workers in the country taking over jobs supposedly for Filipinos.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), however, assured that it will prioritize the employment of Filipino skilled workers before hiring foreigners. (PNA)


The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) fell short of its P2.043-trillion revenue target for 2018, collecting only P1.961 trillion in taxes last year, BIR Assistant Commissioner for Collection Services Alfredo Misajon reported to the House Committee on Ways and Means Tuesday.

The BIR official said the collection shortfall reached P82.04 billion or 4.01 percent as against target.

Tax collection in 2018 was 10.5 percent higher than in 2017’s P1.780 trillion, Misajon noted. Of the P1.961-trillion collection in 2018, P982.47 billion came from income tax collection; P358.27 billion from Value-Added Tax; P290.64 billion from excise tax; P113.93 billion from percentage tax; P216.21 billion from other taxes; P3.65 billion from estate tax; and P3.50 billion from donors tax.

“We think the decrease, the 4.01-percent is still tolerable level, considering the fact that the salaried employees benefited from this,” Misajaon said.
But, Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing raised eyebrows at Misajon’s “unacceptable” declaration.

“Hindi acceptable that the deficit of 4.01 percent is tolerable. Once the target is set, you are bound to meet your targets,” she pointed out.

She even chided Misajon for not being “specific with his reasons” for the shortfall.

“Andami naming kalaban dito sa TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law pero kayo sa BIR hindi nyo ginagawa ang dapat nyong gawin,” Suansing said.

TRAIN Law or Republic Act 10963, which was signed on December 19, 2017 and took effect on January 1, 2018, reduced the personal income tax, but imposed higher tax on sugary beverages, fuel, cars and tobacco.

Misajon said one of the economic factors which affected the performance of their collection is the inflation.

“Naglinger kasi, medyo mahabang period, the consumption pattern of our consumers. In fact sa report ng NEDA, nag contract yung consumption, and of course resulting to that, nag contract ‘yung consumption, bababa ‘yung dinedeclare ng businesses. Some of them may go out of business, some might have shifted to other kinds of non taxable consumption, na wala na kaming makokolekta na taxes,” he said.

During the hearing, he disclosed that the BIR failed to meet its P332.80-trillion excise tax collection target and P435.88-trillion VAT collection target for 2018. Last year, BIR only collected P290.64-trillion in excise taxes and P358.27-trillion in VAT.

He attributed the VAT collection shortfall to the reported decrease in revenues/receipts from sale of goods and services; and increase in input taxes claimed from purchase of services/domestic goods and importation.

Misajon cited the following the reasons for the excise tax collection shortfall: a. Petroleum—loss of market share by two refineries-Petron and Pilipinas Shell; importations of diesel and LPG grew by 158 percent and 184 percent, respectively; petroleum products did not generate excise tax; and fuel marketing project was not implemented; b. Sweetened beverages—shift from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at the rate of P12 per litre to ordinary sugar at P6 per liter; c. Automobile—decline in volume of removals and higher excise tax on most cars; d. Minerals—appeal of tax exemption by Semirara Mining and Power Corp. and suspension of operation of some mining companies; and e. Cosmetic procedures— implementing rules and regulations have not been issued.

“But overall, yung collection ng BIR despite the perfect storm that hit us, the high inflation and the deteriorating peso dollar rate, we survived. In fact, we registered a double-digit increase in our collection, that’s a good sign. Hopefully this year, na nag taper out na yung inflation pressure, we expect that business environment will continue to prosper,” he said.

During the hearing, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel asked the BIR about its revenue target for 2019 and to ensure that it would meet its collection target for this year.

Misajon expressed confidence that they would meet their P2.339-trillion collection target for 2019, given the “improving” economic condition.

“With the current performance of the economy, I think we are pretty well confident that we will reach the goal, the fact that the storm that had prevailed last year is not present. At the moment, we feel that the economic condition is improving then there are indications that we can have very good collection prospect,” he told the panel.

For his part, BIR Commissioner Ceasar Dulay said the agency will exhaust all means to reach its target.

“Well, we’ll have to do everything to reach the target. We have programs already. We have a program of intensified audit, and we have to continue with our RATE (Run Against Tax Evaders) program,” he said.

He said the reason for the collection shortfall is “a combination of factors.”


The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has sentenced a gold trader of up to 10 years in jail for filing false income tax returns (ITR) for the years 2005 to 2009.

(Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The Court’s Third Division also ordered Rex Chua Co Ho to pay the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) deficiency income taxes amounting to P12.2 billion for the five-year period including nterest and surcharges.

The consolidated tax evasion cases arose from non-declaration of the businessman’s income from multi-billion peso gold and silver transactions with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Ho admitted he did not include the sale of the gold and silver in his ITRs on the honest belief that it was tax exempt, pointing out that the BSP did not collect the required withholding tax.

He said what was declared was his earnings derived from his store Rex Gift Shoppe based along Ongpin St., Sta. Cruz, Manila.

In a 54-page decision, the court said the precious metal trader failed to supply correct information in his annual income tax returns as required under Section 255 of the Tax Code.

Associate Justice Erlinda Uy who penned the decision stated that the BIR was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally did not supply the correct information in his ITR.



Eliseo Rio Jr. may remain as the acting chief of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) at least through June. A source with knowledge on the matter told The Manila Times Rio, a retired military general, might keep his position “until end of June” or longer, as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to […]

THE stock market fell on Friday, closing out a volatile year that saw it hit a record high in January but then succumb to factors ranging from rising inflation and a weaker peso to the US-China trade war, among others. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell by 0.22 percent or 16.64 points to […]

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted a 6.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, resulting in the 6.2 percent full-year growth for 2018. The main drivers of growth for the quarter were Construction; Trade and Repair of Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Personal and Household Goods; and Other Services. Among the major economic sectors during the fourth quarter of 2018, […]


MANILA— The foreign tourist arrivals to the Philippines in September 2018 is 6.76 percent higher than the same period last year. At least 512,240 international tourists visited the country last month, making the overall arrivals since January this year 4,950,683, or about 8.32 percent higher than 2017. South Korean remains as the country’s top market […]

BORACAY — One of the world’s leading tourist destinations, Boracay Island, reopened its doors to holidaymakers on Friday, following six months of intensive rehabilitation. The Department of Tourism said as of Thursday (Oct. 25), a total of 157 accommodation establishments were given green light by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force to accept visitors. The task force […]

MANILA — The Philippines has set a record-breaking 7.1 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported Thursday. Data from the DOT showed that at least 7,127,168 foreign tourists visited the country, the “highest ever number” in the Philippines’ tourism industry, surpassing the 6,620,908 arrivals in 2017 by 7.68 percent. “This is […]


JAKARTA – The Philippines pulled off an unexpected four-gold medal harvest in the 18th Asian Games that came to a close on Sunday — but the improved performance was still lacking in almost all departments. The gold medals in weightlifting, golf and skateboarding placed Team Philippines at No. 19 among 37 of the 45-nation Games that […]

THE country’s pride Rachelle Ann Go was named Best Actress in a New Production or a Musical by BroadwayWorld UK — a leading theater site for West End and the UK. The news was announced in the award-giving body’s official website on Thursday (Manila time). Go reaped recognition for her role as Eliza Schuyler in […]

MANILA – Catriona Gray became the fourth Filipina to be crowned Miss Universe after she won the prestigious beauty pageant in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday. Gray redeemed herself from her runner-up finish in the 2016 Miss World by living up to the hype of her being the heavy favorite to win it all, as she prevailed […]

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