Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks rose by 10.6 percent year-on-year surging to US$1.6 billion in September 2010, BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr., announced today. The double-digit growth registered for the month was the highest during the year. As a result of the sustained growth in remittance flows since the start of the year, the year-to-date remittance level expanded by 7.8 percent, summing up to US$13.8 billion during the nine-month period. Remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers increased, by 11.4 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. The major country sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the U.K., United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, and Germany. The aggregate transfer of funds from these countries represented 84.0 percent of the total remittances reported by the banks.
The continued preference for the skills and competencies of Filipino workers combined with the expanding international remittance transfer network of bank and non-bank channels are factors that could explain the steady flow of remittances into the country.
Preliminary data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that for January-October 2010, approved job orders reached 525,472, of which about four-tenths (38.5 percent) was comprised of processed job orders for service, production, as well as professional, technical and related workers. The bulk of the approved job orders was mainly for jobsites in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The POEA also reported that land-based workers classified as new hires with processed contracts and awaiting deployment rose by 16.2 percent to 320,915 for the period January-September 2010 from 276,192 in the same period a year ago.
The recruitment and hiring prospects for OFs continued to be broad-based across host countries. According to POEA, South Korean demand for Filipino manpower in manufacturing, construction, services, agriculture and livestock, and fishing sectors continues to be strong. Moreover, as reported in the POEA market update, Germany, to boost its economy, opened its labor market for highly qualified migrant workers particularly technicians and engineers which could also be tapped by overseas Filipinos. In addition, the POEA recently lifted the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino domestic assistants (au pairs) to selected European countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.
Meanwhile, the expanding presence of remittance banks and non-banks globally has provided OFs and their beneficiaries easier access to financial products and services for their money transfer requirements. This has further shored up the stream of remittances that pass through the banking system. As of end-September 2010, the number of banks’ branches, remittance centers, correspondent banks and tie-ups totaled 4,392 compared to 3,730 as of end-December last year.