DOLE SEES BIGGER REMITTANCES WITH PESO DROP

MANILA, November 4, 2003  (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - If the business sector thinks the pesoís plunge is a bad omen, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) believes otherwise.

Acting Labor Secretary Manuel Imson yesterday projected growth in remittance from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) this year primarily because of the high value of the dollar.

"For one, we are expecting our workers abroad to send more money to their relatives back home, instead of buying products outside because of the favorable peso-dollar exchange rate," Imson said.

He also said OFWs are expected to send more money home because of the coming holiday season. The Christian holiday of Christmas and the Muslim celebration of Eid-ul Fitr, the end of the Ramadan fast, are just weeks away.

As of August, OFW remittances had already reached a total of $5.06 billion. The figure was 4.79 percent higher than the recorded $4.83 billion in remittances sent home by OFWs during the same period last year.

"Filipinos abroad canít be prevented from sending money to their loved ones, especially during the Christmas season," Imson said.

He also said he is confident that dollar remittances from OFWs would exceed last yearís total remittance of $7.19 billion.

"The drop in (OFW) deployment is not substantial, so we expect to maintain, if not exceed, last yearís remittance from Filipino workers abroad," Imson said.

He said there have been years when the country recorded a drop in deployment but still posted dramatic growth in remittances from Filipino workers abroad.

Imson said the drop in OFW deployment was recorded in Asia, not Europe or America, where the bigger income group of OFWs are employed.

"Our workers who are getting higher pay and sending more money to their relatives back home were not affected by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic that has affected Asia, he said.

Based on DOLE data, the US remained the main source of remittances from 1985 to 2002. During this period, remittances from the US grew by $3.45 billion from $339 million in 1985 to $3.682 billion last year.

Remittances also increased from OFWs in Japan, Hong Kong and Britain.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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