OFW remittances in 2008 reach USD16.4 billion
Manila (17 February) -- Remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks reached 16.4 billion US dollars in 2008, which is 13.7 percent higher than the level recorded in 2007.
The figures are also above the Bangko Sentral Pilipinas' growth forecast of 13 percent or 16.3 billion US dollars for the same year.
Latest data from the BSP show that for the month of December alone, remittances continued to be above the 1 billion US dollar mark at 1.4 billion US dollars.
"Amidst the challenges posed by the global financial market strains and the economic downturn experienced by host economies, remittances from overseas Filipinos remain a dependable source of foreign exchange for the economy," BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. said.
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.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show that the number of Filipinos deployed abroad in 2008 rose considerably 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 2007.
While there are expectations that the number of Filipinos deployed overseas could contract in the coming months due to the global economic slowdown, there are favorable developments that provide some reason for optimism.
The POEA indicated that labor demand could remain strong in 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.
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 also provide opportunities for Filipinos in the field of health and medical care.
Filipino workers could also benefit from the rapid expansion of New Zealand's dairy industry, spurred by higher milk prices, which created demand for dairy farm workers.
From January to December 2008, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Canada, U.K., Italy, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. (PIA-MMIO) [top]