2019 Yearender: Business -- Taipans pass on, inflation eases, POGOs in spotlight
Two of the Philippines' taipans, whose businesses have become part of Filipinos' daily lives, passed on this year. On the economic front, borrowing costs went down as inflation eased. Chinese expatriate workers, who helped spur property demand, were placed under closer scrutiny.
UP, UP AND AWAY
Travelers in the Philippines continued to be on alert for news about seat sales, with flag carrier PAL's 78 come-on in February for its 78th anniversary setting the tone. As usual, the country's top airline Cebu Pacific's promos got good hits.
Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Hoping to be crowned with its first "A" credit rating by 2022, the Philippines will emulate Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray's example of leaving a global audience spellbound, then Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in May.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in February reiterated its warning to the public against defacing coins and bills, which could land violators in prison.
In November, Philippine Airlines Capt. Triston Simeon safely landed his Boeing 777 back to Los Angeles airport after an engine caught fire shortly after takeoff. All 347 passengers were safe.
Loren Elliott, Reuters
FOREVER 21 GOES BANKRUPT... IN US
The US retail landscape is changing as fast-fashion chain Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy last September. Operations in the Philippines were unaffected.
JOLLIBEE FLEXES TRADEMARK
The Philippines' largest fast-food operator, Jollibee, said in January that it was "taking steps" to protect its intellectual property after a store in China called "JoyRulBee" went viral.
HUNGER GAMES FOR BARGAINS
From 9-9, 10-10, 11-11, to 12-12, rivals Shopee and Lazada encouraged Filipinos to fill their virtual shopping carts and shift to the e-commerce side.
BEIJING SOUNDS ALARM
China urged the Philippines in August to protect its nationals working in offshore gaming firms from abuse, as Filipino authorities looked for ways to collect more taxes from the industry that has pushed up property prices.
RELIEF FOR DEBT HOLDERS
Inflation in 2019 eased from near 10-year-highs, giving the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas room to cut the benchmark borrowing rate by 75 basis points. Lower borrowing costs have begun to ripple in the real economy.
SM Corporation Handout/ AFP
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Two of the Philippines' richest men passed away in 2019: taipan Henry Sy, who founded shopping mall culture with his SM chain, and John Gokongwei Jr., who brought air travel to the masses through Cebu Pacific. Gokongwei's widow, Elizabeth, passed away shortly after his burial.