The amount of cash remittances by overseas Filipino workers reported by commercial banks increased year-on-year by 18.5 percent in February 2005 to reach US$720 million. This brings the cumulative two-month cash remittances coursed thru the banks to US$1.4 billion, a growth of 17.2 percent from the level a year ago.
The rise in remittances of overseas workers was attributed mainly to deployment of higher paid Filipino workers such as nurses, engineers and musicians. This muted the effect of the 2.0 percent contraction in the total number of deployed OFWs due in part to the stricter implementation of immigration laws in some host economies resulting in a delay/slowdown in the deployment process of Filipino workers abroad. According to data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the number of land-based OFWs declined by 3.9 percent to 140,783 while the number of sea-based workers increased by 5.8 percent to 39,249. Also contributing to the higher reported remittances was the sustained marketing efforts by local commercial banks to attract remitters to use the banking channels by providing efficient modes of fund transfers, establishing additional remittance centers abroad, forging arrangements with foreign financial institutions, and offering incentives to deposit accounts of beneficiaries of worker-remitters (e.g. no maintaining balance, lower service charges, free insurance coverage).
Countries such as the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, U.K., Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates remained as the major sources of these remittances.