OFW REMITTANCES UP 18.2% TO $9.6 BILLION IN JANUARY TO JULY
MANILA, SEPTEMBER 16, 2008 (STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - Dollar remittances from overseas Filipino workers rose by 18.2 percent to $9.6 billion during the first seven months of this year from $8.13 billion recorded in the same period last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
In July alone, remittances rose by 24.6 percent to $1.4 billion from $1.09 billion a year ago. The latest figure, however, is five percent lower than the P1.45 billion recorded in June.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. attributed the increase in remittances during the seven-month period to the increase in the deployment of Filipino workers abroad.
“The continued deployment of Filipino workers overseas boosted the level of remittances during the first seven months of 2008,” Tetangco said.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that during this period, the number of Filipinos that left for employment overseas reached 761,836, an increase of 28.2 percent from last year’s 594,445.
While this reflected foreign employers’ preference for Filipino workers, it also reflected the lack of gainful employment opportunities in the country.
The BSP expects employment prospects abroad to improve following the recently concluded arrangement among Southeast Asian nations to standardize, regulate and monitor professional standards such as those for accountants, dentists and medical practitioners.
The move is expected to facilitate the mobility of professionals within the region, the central bank said.
There are also ongoing discussions between the Philippine government and prospective employers from France, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Norway and Finland for possible deployment of more Filipino professionals.
Tetangco said banks and remittance centers also continue to improve their money transfer services.
“Better access by overseas workers and their beneficiaries to money transfer services provided by banks and non-bank remittance agents, through the establishment of more remittance centers and tie-ups abroad, has also contributed significantly to the robust growth in remittances during the seven-month period,” he said.
To date, the bulk of the remittances continued to come from the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
For this year, the central bank expects remittances from overseas Filipinos to hit $17 billion, above its earlier forecast of $16.4 billion.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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