Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks rose by 9.8 percent year-on-year to reach US$1.5 billion in August 2010, BSP Officer-in-Charge Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. announced today. The near double-digit expansion in August was the highest monthly growth of remittances recorded during the year. With sustained inflows since January, cumulative remittances for the first eight months of 2010 amounted to US$12.2 billion, higher by 7.4 percent from the year-ago level. Increased remittances were noted from both sea-based (by 11.3 percent) and land-based workers (by 6.5 percent). By source country, remittances continued to originate largely from the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the U.K., Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany. The combined flows from these countries represented 84.0 percent of the total remittances reported by the banks.
Even as the pace of global economic recovery remains uneven, remittances from overseas Filipinos remained steady due to the diverse skills of deployed workers and their geographical distribution across the globe, continued increase in demand for skilled Filipinos abroad, and efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide to service the remitters’ needs.
Preliminary data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the total number of deployed overseas workers for the first six months of 2010 grew by 5.7 percent year-on-year to 787,777 from 745,147 in the comparable period a year ago. The POEA also reported that land-based workers classified as new hires with processed contracts and are awaiting deployment rose by 2.4 percent to 252,443 for the period January-August 2010 from 246,637 in the same period last year.
Moreover, for January-September 2010, approved job orders aggregated 478,400, of which 37.2 percent were comprised of processed job orders for service, professional, technical as well as production and related workers. The report also indicated that land-based workers were mainly deployed in countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and America. By skills category, service workers (at 41.7 percent) accounted for the bulk of new hires deployed in 2009, followed by production and related workers (35.5 percent) and professional, technical, and related workers (14.4 percent). However, over the past three years, the share of professional workers (particularly nurses, doctors and engineers/engineering technicians) to the total number of deployed new hires has been increasing.
The sustained demand for skilled Filipino workers is further supported by continuing hiring agreements forged between the Philippine government and some host countries, namely: (a) the renewal of Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Labor and Immigration of the province of Manitoba, Canada, which aims to sustain the recruitment and deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that started in 2008; and (b) the deployment of the second batch of caregivers to Japan under the Japan-Philippines Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
The global remittance network of banks and non-banks also continue to widen through strategic alliances and tie-ups. Recent reports cite a money transfer agreement between a local universal bank and a U.S.-based bank as well as a tie-up between a private remittance company and a government pension fund offering insurance benefits to overseas Filipinos. Another private remittance firm likewise increased the number of its branches in Europe in line with its overseas expansion program. These initiatives are expected to generate broader capture of remittances through the formal channels.