Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks grew year-on-year by 5.6 percent in March 2010 to reach US$1.6 billion, the second highest ever monthly remittance level recorded by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). This favorable outcome brought total remittances for the first three months of the year to US$4.3 billion, BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today. The 7.0 percent year-on-year growth registered during the three-month period was supported by higher remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers (expanding by 11.0 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively).
The steady remittance flows–averaging about US$1.4 billion in 2009 and in the first quarter of 2010–continued to be propelled mainly by sustained strong demand for Filipino skills and expertise as well as the expanded access to enhanced banking services by overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries. Prospects for global deployment of overseas Filipino workers remain positive, especially as employment opportunities are expected to rise along with clearer signs of global economic recovery. Data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the approved job orders for the period 1 January – 31 March 2010 aggregated 155,334. Of this total, 29.2 percent (45,393) consisted of processed job orders which comprised largely of service, professional, technical, and production and related workers intending to take up employment in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Qatar, Kuwait, and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the continued expansion of bank and non-bank service providers in 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 upgrading of their operations abroad and the innovations they have introduced in the products and services offered have encouraged more overseas Filipinos to use the formal channels in transferring funds to their beneficiaries. As of March 2010, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks and branches/representative offices abroad increased to 4,483 from 4,192 at end-2009.
For the period January-March 2010, the bulk of the total remittances reported by local banks (about 81 percent) were sourced mainly from the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, Italy, and United Arab Emirates.