OFW INFLOWS SURGE 11.6% TO $866 MILLION IN FEBRUARY
MANILA, APRIL 13, 2006 (STAR) By Des Ferriols - Despite the decline in deployed labor, remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) posted double-digit growth rates in February, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
Based on reports by the banking industry, the BSP said OFW remittances reached $866 million in February, or a year-on-year growth of 11.6 percent over the same period last year.
The February remittances, according to the BSP, brought the two-month total to $1.8 billion, up from last year’s $1.6 billion.
According to the BSP, the increase in OFW remittances reported by banks was due mainly to the expansion in the remittance network of the banking industry which enabled them to capture segments that used to be served by informal channels.
The BSP said that commercial banks, in particular, were even more aggressive in providing transfer services and coming up with innovations to entice OFWs to use banks instead of couriers.
The BSP said more banks were providing such services as telemoney products and services such as phone-banking, Internet/online banking, bills payment services, specifically in Hong Kong, USA, Italy and the UK.
The BSP said banks were likewise strengthening and expanding their tie-ups with foreign money transfer agents and non-bank channels.
"These activities by commercial banks overshadowed the decline in the total number of deployed overseas workers," the BSP said.
Preliminary figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that for the first two months of 2006, the total number of deployed land-based workers contracted by almost 10 percent to 134,436.
On the other hand, the number of sea-based workers rose by 5.9 percent to 41,595.
Despite the overall decline, the BSP said the increased deployment of highly-skilled, thus, higher-paid land-based workers compensated for the reduction in the number of workers going abroad.
The BSP said deployed labor were mainly engineers, teachers, ship and pilot/aircraft officers, production related workers and service providers.
The BSP said the major sources of remittances remained to be the US, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, UK, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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