OFW INFLOWS JUMP 15% TO $2.5 BILLION IN 2 MONTHS
MANILA, APRIL 16, 2008 (STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - Money sent home by millions of Filipinos working abroad rose by 15.5 percent to $2.5 billion in the first two months of the year from a year ago level, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
In February alone, remittances rose to $1.3 billion or 16 percent higher than the figure recorded in the same month last year.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the number of skilled workers has risen, leading to the rise in dollar remittances.
“The continued strong growth in remittances could be attributed in part to the observed rise in the number of deployed skilled, and therefore higher paid Filipino workers overseas,” Tetangco said.
Workers deployed in the first two months of the year rose 14.6 percent to 199,378. The BSP said the proportion of more skilled Filipinos deployed to higher-paying jobs overseas had also contributed to the rise in remittances.
In 2007, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported an increase in the number of OFWs. These are in the fields of engineering, medical and healthcare, education and in the food and hotel service businesses.
Citing POEA data, the BSP said the trend continued in 2008.
“This trend has continued in 2008 as preliminary data for the period January to February 2008 showed that the number of deployed workers rose by 14.6 percent to 199,378 from 174,046 recorded a year ago,” Tetangco said.
By skill type, both the numbers of land-based and sea-based workers increased by 13 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively.
Tetangco said the sustained growth in the level of OFW remittances was also supported by local banks’ provision of enhanced banking services. One such innovation is the introduction of mobile banking services.
The continued tie-ups with foreign financial institutions that facilitated the transfer of dollar remittances to beneficiaries also boosted the growth of dollars sent home by OFWs, the BSP said.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong remained to be the major sources of dollar remittances.
The BSP expects remittances to grow by $15.7 billion this year from $14.4 billion in 2007.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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