Remittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) rose for the fourth consecutive month since June 2004 reaching US$735 million, or a year-on-year growth of 22.6 percent in September. This brings the cumulative nine-month remittances to US$6.2 billion, 9.4 percent higher over the US$5.7 billion posted in the same period last year. Given the trend and the expected strength of OFW remittances during the last quarter of the year, the projected 6 percent growth for the whole of 2004 is likely to be exceeded.
The sustained growth in remittances was due mainly to the higher deployment of both land-based and sea-based workers. Deployment of land-based workers, consisting largely of higher-paid professionals and technical workers, service staffs and skilled production workers rose 3.1 percent to 519,785 during the first nine months of 2004 while deployment of sea-based workers was up by 2.7 percent to 168,030 during the same period. By country of destination, bulk of Filipino workers is deployed in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong, Japan and Italy. The huge potentials of the remittance market from Filipinos working abroad urged local commercial banks in recent months to strengthen arrangements with foreign correspondent banks and money courier companies. This has helped contribute to the observed increase in fund transfers from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, and the Middle East. By country, the major sources of remittances are USA, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, and UK.