MANILA, AUGUST 16, 2011 (MALAYA) By JIMMY C. CALAPATI - Despite uncertainties in the Middle East and Europe, remittances from abroad remain resilient, with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reporting that inflows for the month of June reached record levels.

Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks registered a record high of $1.737 billion, a 7 percent rise from the $1.623 billion posted in the same month last year.

For the first six months, remittances reached $9.635 billion, 6.3 percent higher than the year-ago level of $9.062 billion.

BSP governor Amando Tetangco said the record growth is unexpected at a time when officials see a slowdown in remittance inflows  due to uncertainties in some host countries.

Statistics from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas
May, 2011

"The sustained demand abroad for Filipino workers as well as the diversity of their skills and destinations have contributed to the resilience of remittance flows even with the lingering uncertainties on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regionís political situation and the euro zone sovereign debt crisis," Tetangco said.

However, the BSP has already lowered its growth forecast for remittances to 7 percent, a percentage point lower than its original forecast of 8 percent.

The new growth forecast will yield remittances of $20.1 billion this year. Last year, remittances grew 8.2 percent to $18.8 billion.

Tetangco said that for the period January-June 2011, the biggest sources of remittances were the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, UK, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.

With the recent financial crisis that the US and some European countries are experiencing, analysts are saying that remittance levels from these countries may go down in the coming months.

For the first six months, Filipinos in the US sent home a total of $3.998 billion in remittances, 41.5 percent of the total and registering a growth rate of 4.13 percent.

Tetangco said the appreciable expansion of fund transfers from Filipinos abroad was boosted by increased remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers that rose 15.0 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

Tetangco also attributed the higher growth level to the increased capture of money transfers, which has also been made possible with the expanded offering of financial products and services to overseas Filipinos by banks and other financial institutions that had established more tie-ups with foreign service providers.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that for the January 1- July 29, 2011 period, total approved job orders numbered 386,559.

Of this total, 136,070 job orders (representing 35.2 percent) were already processed while the remaining 250,489 are still to be filled up.

The processed job orders are expected to fill in requirements for production, service, professional, and technical workers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Taiwan, Qatar, Kuwait, and Hong Kong, among others.

The POEA also reported that for the first six months of 2011, the number of land-based workers who were classified as new hires and whose contracts were already processed, grew 23.4 percent to 262,562 from 212,738 a year ago, while that of sea-based workers increased 6.3 percent to 240,771 from 226,464 last year.

Moreover, the Government Placement Branch of the POEA also reported that employment prospects are anticipated following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Taiwan for Taiwan-based employers to directly hire Filipino workers.

Meanwhile, Tetangco also reported that according to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) labor office, job opportunities are being explored in the rubber and palm plantations in Malaysia.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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