MANILA, January 14, 2006
 (STAR) By Des Ferriols - Filipinos abroad sent home $895 million in November,bringing the 11-month total up by a strong 26.6 percent to $9.7 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

The November inflow was nearly 22 percent higher than a year ago level.

For the whole of 2005, the BSP expects total remittances to hit $10.7 billion as the country deployed more workers abroad, especially highly-skilled and highly-paid land and sea-based workers

More than 900,000 Filipinos left the country to work abroad in the first 11 months of 2005, four percent more than a year ago level, the BSP said.

"The sustained rise in remittances during the review period may be attributed to the continuing demand for Filipino workers," the BSP said.

Remittances also helped the BSP boost its foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $18.1 billion in November, little changed from the previous months and surpassing the official goal of $17 billion for the year.

According to the BSP, reports from the the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed a four-percent increase in the total number of deployed workers from January to November 2005, reaching 900,639 from 867,125 during the same period in 2004.

"The continued preference for Filipino sea-based and higher-paid land-based workers (e.g., production, professional and service staff for the period January to October 2005) helped support the level of remittances during the 11-month period," the BSP reported.

Classified by type, land-based workers, comprising almost three-fourths of deployed workers numbered 674,365 while sea-based workers reached 226,274.

By country of destination, the BSP said majority of Filipino workers are deployed in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Taiwan.

Moreover, the consistent efforts by financial institutions to direct remittances through the banking channels also contributed to the higher level of remittances.

These efforts, the BSP said, targeted OFWs by improving the system of money transfer, establishment of remittance centers abroad and arrangements with foreign financial institutions to service the banking needs of overseas workers.

Other major sources of remittances are the US, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, UK, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

The Philippines ranks third, afer Mexico and India, in the amount of money sent home by citizens abroad, according to the Asian Development Bank. More than 7.4 million Filipinos work outside the country.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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