Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks reached US$1.4 billion in April 2009, registering a year-on-year growth of 2.2 percent, bringing the cumulative remittances during the four-month period to US$5.5 billion. The 2.6 percent growth registered in the first four months of 2009 was supported by higher remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers of 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
“Steady remittance flows–averaging US$1.4 billion in 2008 and in January-April 2009–continued to be driven mainly by sustained demand by host countries for Filipino skills and competence. This, combined with expanded and easier access to enhanced banking services by overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries helped sustain remittance flows into the country,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. stated. A report from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that demand for Filipino workers abroad remained broadly strong. As of 29 May 2009, a total of 758,412 active job orders has been reported, of which 37 percent have been processed while 63 percent are still to be filled up. The bulk of the job orders was in the production, services, and professional skill categories.
Demand for Filipino workers abroad is expected to be sustained by employment opportunities gained from hiring agreements forged between the Philippines and host countries in need of Filipino manpower for their development and construction needs, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Australia, among others. The POEA also reported the deployment in May 2009 of 273 health workers (93 candidate-nurses and 180 candidate-caregivers) who will undergo training under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) before taking the licensure examination that will enable them to work in Japan on a regular status.
While weaker global economic conditions continued to pose some risk to the continued strength of the deployment of Filipino workers abroad, the Philippine government remains focused on job generation programs to help displaced overseas workers find alternative jobs in emerging markets and in countries that are not severely affected by the global financial meltdown. As a result, the increase in the number of displaced OFWs has decelerated in recent weeks.
For the period January-April 2009, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.