MANILA, MAY 16, 2007
(MALAYA) Money sent home by OFWs through banks rose by 26 percent in March to $1.3 billion, the 11th consecutive month the inflows were above the $1-billion mark, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said yesterday.

The March remittance brought the total remittances in the first three months to $3.5 billion, up by 24 percent from last year, the BSP said.

BSP governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said remittances surged after banks introduced innovative remittance services and improved tie-ups with their partners abroad.

"Financial institutions have continuously forged tie-ups with remittance centers overseas; thus, increasing access to financial services and facilitating transfers by OFWs to their beneficiaries," Tetangco said.

Tetangco said remittances rose despite the lower OFW deployment in the first three months compared to last year.

Citing preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Tetangco said total deployment declined by 11 percent to 251,009.

The number of land-based workers fell by 9.2 percent to 191,937 while the number of sea-based workers dropped by15 percent to 59,072, Tetangco said.

However, the deployment of more professionals and higher-paid workers such as doctors, nurses, teachers and IT specialists helped offset the impact of weaker deployment, Tetangco added.

In the first three months, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan and Hong Kong were the major sources of remittances, Tetangco said.

During the period, remittances from Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, UAE and UK rose significantly, Tetangco said.

The BSP is expecting total remittances, to include those passing through informal channels, to reach $14.7 billion this year from $14 billion last year.

"The deployment outlook continues to be favorable as Filipino workers’ competence and technical skills, as well as their high degree of trainability support the manpower demands of host economies," Tetangco said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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