Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coursed through the banks grew strongly by 36.7 percent year-on-year in October 2006 to reach US$1.19 billion. The level of remittances in October is a high for the year to date. It brought the cumulative amount for the ten-month period to US$10.3 billion, higher by 16.6 percent relative to the level in the previous year. This cumulative level is only about US$2.0 billion less than the amount of remittances that is expected to be coursed through the banking system for the whole of 2006.
The sustained expansion in remittances reflected the continuing strong demand for Filipino manpower and the financial system’s provision of innovative remittance services in response to OFWs’ clamor for secure, timely and cost-efficient modes of transfer of funds to their beneficiaries.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on new hires and rehires show that total deployment rose by 24.6 percent in October 2006 to 89,543. The number of deployed land-based workers in October (at 66,029) was higher year-on-year by 33.0 percent while the number of deployed sea-based workers rose by 6.0 percent to 23,514. On a cumulative basis, the total number of deployed Filipino workers for the ten-month period reached 962,025, 12.7 percent higher than last year’s level. Classified by type of worker, the cumulative number of both land-based and sea-based workers grew by 12.1 percent and 14.8 percent to reach 726,732 and 235,293, respectively. The major destination countries were Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong, Kuwait, Taiwan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. In 2006, Filipinos deployed overseas were mostly skilled and professional workers, such as medical and healthcare personnel, food and hotel service staff, information technology personnel, engineers, performing artists and construction and manufacturing workers.
Domestic banks and non-banks continued to improve as conduits of remittances by providing enhanced remittance transfer services (such as internet/on-line banking, phone banking), broadening the types of services offered (such as bills payment arrangements), establishing more remittance centers and tie-ups abroad, and offering competitive service charges and conversion rates.
The U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, the UAE, Singapore and Taiwan remained the major sources of Filipino worker remittances.