OFW remittances seen as dependable source of foreign exchange for RP economy
by T. Villavert
Iloilo City (19 February) -- "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," said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr.in the BSP website.
The BSP website disclosed that cumulative remittances of overseas Filipinos (OF) coursed through banks for 2008 summed up to 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 full year 2008. For the month of December alone, remittances continued to be above the US$1 billion mark at US$1.4 billion.
For the period January-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.
The BSP website further disclosed that 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. Specifically, 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. The implementing agreement covering the entry of nurses and caregivers was signed by the POEA and the Japan International Corporation for Welfare Services (JICWELS) last 12 January 2009. Moreover, 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, the BSP website disclosed. (PIA 6) [top]