Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks rose by 6.7 percent in October 2009 to reach US$1.5 billion, the highest monthly remittance level recorded thus far, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today. This brought the cumulative level of remittances for the first ten months of the year to US$14.3 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 4.5 percent. Higher transfers of funds were made by both land- and sea-based workers.
The continued deployment of Filipino workers abroad, particularly skilled and higher-paid workers, has provided support to the steady flow of remittances over the ten-month period. Remittances in October were buoyed up by the seasonal pick-up in inflows during the fourth quarter to pay for semestral education expenses of OF families. In addition, higher transfers to families whose properties were damaged by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng that hit the country in late September and early October contributed to the rise in remittances. The country's long-term deployment outlook has remained favorable in the Middle East countries, specifically in Saudi Arabia's construction and health sectors. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has also adopted measures to assist OFWs who may be displaced as a result of Dubai's financial difficulties to find alternative work in Qatar, Oman, and other areas in the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharja,Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaiman and Fujairah). Furthermore, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) together with member banks of the Association of Bank Remittance Officers, Inc. (ABROI) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to utilize the BSP's real-time gross settlement system linking remittances of overseas workers to the beneficiaries' accounts in other banks, thus allowing for faster and cheaper delivery of remittances to beneficiaries. The MOA also included an agreement among participating banks to lower the back-end processing fee from P100 - P550 per remittance transaction to P50 per remittance transaction, translating into lower overall remittance costs. These developments and initiatives are expected to further help promote a steady stream of foreign exchange inflows from overseas Filipinos' remittances.
For the period January-October 2009, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.