Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coursed through commercial banks breached the US$1.0 billion mark for the third consecutive month since May this year. Year-on-year growth of remittance flows in July 2006 stood at 18.4 percent, bringing total remittances for the first seven months of 2006 to US$7.0 billion.
The 15.8 percent expansion during the seven-month period was attributed to the combined impact of rising demand for Filipino workers and increased access to commercial banks and private remittance agents’ services. Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on new hires and rehires showed that in July 2006, total deployment of overseas workers grew by 43.1 percent to 102,105 boosted by higher demand for both seabased and landbased OFWs. Deployment of landbased workers, in particular, showed a significant improvement in July (55.4 percent), rebounding from consecutive declines since April this year. Meanwhile, demand for seabased workers continued to rise, posting double-digit growth of 12.8 percent during the month. For the first seven months of the year, deployment totalled 661,360 or 5.0 percent growth compared to the level for the same period last year. Of the cumulative seven-month total deployment, 162,533 (or 24.6 percent) are seabased workers and 498,827 (75.4 percent ) are landbased workers, growing by 14.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, over the same period last year. The continued government and private sector initiatives to enhance workers’ competence through skills upgrading, technical training and better education contributed largely to the increasing preference for the Philippines as a source of skilled labor.
OFW remittances during the first seven months of the year continued to come from the U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, and United Arab Emirates. Further boosting the growth in remittances was the remarkable improvement in remittances from other countries such as Canada (190.7 percent), Taiwan (53.3 percent) and Singapore (22.7 percent).
Meanwhile, commercial banks and private remittance agents continue to provide more efficient remittance services to OFWs abroad and their beneficiaries through a) better-offered rates to clients; b) intensified bank product endorsements; c) strengthened tie-ups with foreign money transfer agents and non-bank channels; and d) enhanced electronic banking services. With these, the projected OFW remittance level for the full year 2006 of US$11.9 billion is attainable.