OFW  INFLOWS  HIT  NEW  HIGH  OF  $1.53  BILLION  IN  OCTOBER

MANILA, DECEMBER 17, 2009
(STAR) By Lawrence Agcaoili - Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) went up by 6.7 percent to $1.53 billion in October, the highest monthly remittance level recorded so far, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

The October figure was equivalent to a 3.7 percent growth from the previous month’s remittance level of $1.446 billion. It also brought the country’s total remittance inflows to $14.3 billion for the first 10 months of the year, a 4.5 percent increase from a year ago level.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said OFW remittances coursed through banks in October surpassed the previous record monthly level of $1.498 billion in June.

“Remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks rose by 6.7 percent in October 2009 to reach $1.5 billion, the highest monthly remittance level recorded thus far,” Tetangco said.

“Remittances in October were buoyed by the seasonal pick-up in inflows during the fourth quarter to pay for semestral education expenses of overseas Filipinos’ families. In addition, higher transfers to families whose properties were damaged by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng that hit the country in late September and early October contributed to the rise in remittances,” the BSP chief said.

He pointed out that remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers expanded during the first 10 months of the year. Major sources of remittances were the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UK, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.

“The continued deployment of Filipino workers abroad, particularly

skilled and higher-paid workers, has provided support to the steady flow of remittances over the 10-month period,” he explained.

According to him, the Department of Labor and Employment has put in place measures to assist OFWs who may be displaced by the debt crisis being experienced by Dubai by finding alternative employment in Qatar, Oman, and other areas in the United Arab Emirates.

He said the country’s long-term deployment outlook has remained favorable in the Middle East countries specifically in the construction and health sectors in Saudi Arabia.

The BSP is now looking at a four percent growth in OFW remittances to a record level of $17.1 billion this year from $16.4 billion last year. It was originally looking at a zero growth but later revised the outlook due to the steady deployment of Filipino workers abroad and the increase access to formal remittance channels.

OFW remittances are expected to grow faster at six percent next year especially with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the BSP and member banks of the Association of Bank Remittance Officers Inc. (ABROI) on the use of the central bank’s Philippine Payments and Settlements Systems (PhilPaSS) to send the remitted money to the beneficiaries’ accounts in other banks.

“These developments and initiatives are expected to further help promote a steady stream of foreign exchange inflows from overseas Filipinos’ remittances,” Tetangco said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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