Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks reached a record high of US$1.5 billion in June 2009, posting a year-on-year growth of 3.3 percent. This positive development brought cumulative remittances for the first half of the year to US$8.5 billion, indicating a 2.9 percent increase from the year-ago level. Remittances from sea-based and land-based workers posted gains of 4.5 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
“The continued growth of remittance flows since January this year accompanied by emerging signs of improving global economic conditions have affirmed the positive outlook for steady remittances for 2009,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said. The sustained foreign demand for highly-skilled and professional Filipino workers combined with wider access of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to a broad array of financial products and services offered by banks and other financial institutions have been the driving factors behind the sustained growth in remittances.
Deployment of Filipino workers abroad is anticipated to be steady in the months ahead given the employment arrangements between the Philippines and host countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia and South Korea. Apart from the prospective recruitment of about 4,000 Filipino medical workers in Libya, the Tripoli-based Philippine Overseas Labor Office is also exploring employment opportunities for OFWs in non-traditional markets such as Algeria, Chad, Malta, and Morocco, particularly in the hotel, oil and gas, and technical services sectors. Moreover, the POEA reported that the employment of additional production workers in Taiwan will be facilitated starting August this year through the special hiring program for Taiwan (SHPT) in cooperation with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO). The Philippine government’s strong support for overseas Filipino workers in crisis-affected countries has also resulted in the deceleration in the OFWs displacement rate.
Meanwhile, bank and non-bank service providers’ continued expansion of their international and domestic market coverage to capture a larger share of the global remittance market has also helped to sustain the inflow of remittances. The enhancement of their operations overseas and the introduction of new products and services have contributed significantly in addressing the remittance needs of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries.
For the period January-June 2009, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.