REMITTANCES HIT $8.5 BILLION IN FIRST 6 MONTHS
[PHOTO AT LEFT - BSP GOVERNOR TETANGCO]
MANILA, AUGUST 18, 2009 (PHILIPPINE STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - Millions of Filipinos working overseas sent home a record high $1.5 billion in June, up 3.3 percent from last year, allaying fears that remittances will dry up amid the global slowdown.
The June data brought total remittances for the first half of the year to $8.5 billion, up 2.9 percent from a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
The June figure raises hopes remittances for the full year could top the previous record of $16.4 billion set in 2008.
“The continued growth of remittance flows since January this year accompanied by emerging signs of improving global economic conditions have affirmed the positive outlook for steady remittances for 2009,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said yesterday.
He said that sustained foreign demand for highly-skilled and professional Filipino workers combined with wider access of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to a broad array of financial products and services offered by banks and other financial institutions have been the driving factors behind the sustained growth in remittances.
The government expects deployment of Filipino workers abroad to be steady in the months ahead given the employment arrangements between the Philippines and host countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia and South Korea.
Apart from the prospective recruitment of about 4,000 Filipino medical workers in Libya, the Tripoli-based Philippine Overseas Labor Office is also exploring employment opportunities for OFWs in non-traditional markets such as Algeria, Chad, Malta, and Morocco, particularly in the hotel, oil and gas, and technical services sectors.
Furthermore, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported that the employment of additional production workers in Taiwan will be facilitated starting August this year through the special hiring program for Taiwan (SHPT) in cooperation with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO).
The government’s strong support for overseas Filipino workers in crisis-affected countries has also resulted in the deceleration in the OFWs displacement rate.
The BSP also said that the continued expansion of bank and non-bank service providers’ of their international and domestic market coverage also helped sustain the inflow of remittances.
The enhancement of their operations overseas and the introduction of new products and services have contributed significantly in addressing the remittance needs of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries, the BSP said.
For the period January to June 2009, the major sources of remittances were the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.
The World Bank had earlier projected a four percent drop in remittances this year but Tetangco said that signs of a global economic recovery “affirmed the positive outlook for steady remittances for 2009.” – With AP
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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