OFW remittances remain stable despite financial crisis
Manila (17 February) -- Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OF) remain a dependable source of foreign exchange for the economy amidst the challenges posed by the global financial market strains and the economic downturn, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Armando Tetangco said.
For 2008, remittances sent home by overseas Filipino workers reached US$ 16.4 billion, 13.7 percent higher than the level recorded in 2007 and slightly above the BSP's growth forecast of 13 percent or US$ 16.3 billion for the year.
In a BSP report, Tetangco cited the sustained demand for Filipino manpower worldwide—particularly professional and skilled workers—combined with greater access by overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to expanded remittance transfer facilities helped shore up remittance flows.
The major sources of remittances were the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Canada, U.K., Italy, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the number of Filipinos deployed abroad in 2008 grew by 27.8 percent to 1,376,823 from 1,077,623 in 2007. However, the number deployed abroad in December declined by 5.8 percent to 89,799 compared to the deployment figure in December of last year.
The BSP report cited favorable developments that provide some reason for optimism for Filipinos in overseas employment despite the global economic slowdown.
These overseas opportunities include the strong labor demand as indicated by POEA in countries like Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The latter, in particular, could continue to demand foreign workers in the power/energy, tourism/hotel and real estate sectors.
Also, the hiring program for nurses and caregivers in Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) which will commence by end of April or early May this year and the implementing agreement covering the entry of nurses and caregivers which was signed by the POEA and the Japan International Corporation for Welfare Services (JICWELS) last 12 January 2009.
Moreover, according to the BSP, Filipino workers could benefit from the rapid expansion of New Zealand's dairy industry, spurred by higher milk prices, which created demand for dairy farm workers. (PIA) [top]