Remittances of overseas Filipinos (OF) coursed through banks continued to be above the US$1 billion mark in November at US$1.3 billion, posting a year-on-year growth of 10.5 percent. Cumulative remittances for the eleven-month period reached US$15 billion, 15.1 percent higher than the level recorded in the comparable period a year ago. This level is only US$1.3 billion short of the BSP’s projection of a full year 2008 OF remittances coursed through the banks of US$16.3 billion.
“The steady stream of remittances from overseas Filipinos continues to provide the economy with much needed foreign exchange liquidity in the midst of a challenging external environment,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said. Factors contributing to sustained remittance flows were the continued demand for Filipino workers abroad, specifically professional and skilled workers, as well as greater accessibility of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to a wide array of financial services by banks that facilitated funds transfer.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that, during the first eleven months of 2008, the number of Filipinos deployed abroad increased considerably by 24.4 percent to 1,221,829 from 982,286 a year ago. The POEA data also showed that 90 percent of newly hired overseas Filipino workers in the first ten months of 2008 consisted of professionals and skilled workers, and that the deployment was concentrated in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Hong Kong.
While there are concerns that deployment could decelerate in the coming months due to the continuing global economic slowdown, the POEA indicated that the decline could be mitigated by strong labor demand in Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The Philippine government has signed memoranda of agreement with various provinces of Canada and with Qatar, and is currently in negotiations with South Australia for possible employment opportunities for Filipino skilled labor. Moreover, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through its overseas labor offices in more than 30 strategic host destinations worldwide, has continued to conduct marketing missions and employment facilitation programs to widen the productive opportunities for Filipino workers both in the local and global fronts.
For the period January-November, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Canada, U.K., Italy, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.