OFW  INFLOWS  HIT  RECORD  HIGH  OF $956 MILLION  IN  AUGUST

MANILA, October 15, 2005
 (STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - Filipinos working abroad sent home a record $956 million in August, bringing total remittances for the first eight months of 2005 to $7 billion, a 28-percent increase from a year earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the "vigorous marketing campaign" of commercial banks to encourage more Filipinos to send their money back home through official banking channels accounted for the increase, along with the growing number of Filipinos who are going abroad to work.

Almost eight million Filipinos, out of a population of 84 million, have left the country to seek work abroad, attracted by salaries that far outstrip what they could earn at home.

Government economic planners have previously forecast remittances would reach about $10 billion this year.

"Given the more than 20 percent year-on-year expansion that has prevailed since February, remittances are expected to remain strong going into the (Christmas) holiday season," Tetangco said.

OFW remittances are the country’s largest source of foreign exchange, propping up the country even during times of financial crisis.

The US, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Britain, the UAE and Singapore are the main sources of Filipino overseas remittances, the BSP said.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the total number of deployed workers rose by 1.6 percent to 660,726 following the continuing efforts by the government in cooperation with the private sector to provide skills-enhancing and other development programs.

Classified by type of worker, the number of deployed sea-based workers rose by 9.7 percent to 165,896, compensating for the minimal 0.8 percent decline in the deployment of land-based workers.

Moreover, the deployment of higher-paid overseas workers (e.g., seafarers, service staff, professional/technical workers, production related workers) also boosted the level of remittances during the eight-month period.

For the first semester of 2005, remittances accounted for about 11 percent of nominal gross domestic product and about 18 percent of total current account receipts.

The Philippines has the third-highest remittances from nationals working abroad, after Mexico and India.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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