, FEBRUARY 18, 2013 (PHILSTAR) (Xinhua) - Remittances sent back by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) went up 6.4 percent on year to $23.8 billion in 2012, the central bank said today.

In December alone, remittances expanded by 9.7 percent on year to $2.2 billion.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the growth in remittances last year was "driven by higher personal transfers from land-based OFWs with work contracts of one year or more, as well as sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts."

Cash remittances coursed through banks rose by 6.3 percent on year to $21.4 billion in 2012.

The BSP said of the remittances, 42.6 percent came from the United States, 9.2 percent from Canada, 8.1 percent from Saudi Arabia, and 5 percent from the United Kingdom.

NEDA: Returning OFWs to boost MSMEs in the country Jovan Cerda | Updated Monday February 11, 2013 - 9:55am

MANILA, Philippines - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to the country are expected to give the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector a boost as the government sets up entrepreneurial programs for their reintegration, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

"We are beefing up efforts to reintegrate OFWs so we can harness their experience and expertise in contributing to the country's socioeconomic development," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement.

He added that OFWs will give the sector a boost through the resources they bring to the country.

In a report, NEDA said the government has set up the BALinkBayan (Business Advisory Link para sa Bayan) web site which helps returning OFWs to set up businesses in the Philippines.

The web site provides links to the Trade Department's One-Town-One-Product Program and other projects of the Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources.

"As of June 2012, a total of 19,403 participants were trained in weaving, bamboo processing, making handmade papers, branding, management and values formation to increase their productivity and access to credit and markets, among others. In 2011, a total of 2,034 OFWs were also provided training by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Trade Training Center to encourage them to become entrepreneurs," the state agency said.

It added that the government's lending project to small enterprises has already released a total of P254 billion worth of financial assistance to spur growth in the microenterprises.

"As of June 2012, a total of 44,061 microenterprises have been provided microfinancing (126 percent of target) while 22,073 (or 147 percent of target) had been provided business development services, including capacity building, product development, market linkages, among others," it said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved