MANILA, August 15, 2005
 (STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) jumped 22 percent in the first semester to $4.88 billion from $4 billion in the same period in 2004, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. attributed the increase to higher deployment, deployment of higher-paid skilled and professional Filipino workers and greater access of OFWs to remittance channels.

For the month of June 2005 alone, remittances grew by 32 percent to $935 million, from $708.01 million in the comparative period in 2004.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show that for the first semester of 2005, total number of deployed Filipino workers rose 6.8 percent to 527,573.

Classified by type of worker, deployed land-based workers grew by 6.1 percent to 402,332 from 379,255 a year ago. Sea-based workers, rising 9.2 percent, reached 125,241 from 114,692 last year.

The BSP chief said the demand for both land-and sea-based Filipino workers has continuously grown on account of the value-enhancing trainings provided to local workers prior to deployment.

These trainings include multi-lingual proficiency, information technology literacy which develop and hone the workers’ capabilities as well as boost their competitiveness and marketability.

Among the top destinations of OFWs are Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, UAE and Japan.

Data from the POEA also show that for the first quarter of 2005, production-related, professional/technical, and service providers comprised the bulk of deployed workers.

Tetangco noted that banks continue to intensify their efforts in extending banking services to overseas Filipino workers by increasing the number of remittance centers abroad, introducing innovative of remittance transfer and establishing ties with foreign financial institutions.

Bulk of remittances continued to come from the USA, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE.

OFW remittances have been increasing for the past four years from $6 billion in 2001, to $6.88 billion in 2002, $7.57 billion in 2003 and $8.55 billion in 2004.

This year, the BSP has projected that OFW remittances would grow by 10 percent to $9 billion to $10 billion.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has a more optimistic projection for OFW remittances this year. NEDA said emerging figures show that the OFW remittance could reach $12 billion this year.

This continuing rise in OFW remittances also prompted the government to maintain its economic growth target of 5.3 percent this year.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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