Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks reached US$1.6 billion in April 2011, growing by 6.3 percent from the year-ago level. This favorable development brought the cumulative remittances during the four-month period to US$6.2 billion, higher by 6.0 percent compared to the US$5.9 billion level recorded in the same period last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today. The sustained growth in cash transfers from overseas Filipinos was due to increased remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers, which rose by 12.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
Remittance flows continued to draw support from the steady overseas demand for Filipino skills and expertise and the continuing efforts of banks and other financial institutions to extensively promote and improve upon the financial products and services they offer in the remittance market.
Data obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that demand for Filipino workers abroad remained strong. For the period 1 January - 31 May 2011, the approved job orders reached 269,386, of which 32.0 percent (86,300) were already processed while 68.0 percent (183,086) are still to be filled up. These job orders were intended for the manpower requirements in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Taiwan and Hong Kong, among other countries. Moreover, the POEA also reported that new rules have been issued to strengthen the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in Canada effective 1 April 2011 to better protect foreign workers and maintain the Canadian government's focus on alleviating temporary labor shortages.
Banks and other financial institutions have also been actively introducing innovative remittance products (e.g., adding a remittance feature to credit cards which was recently introduced in the market) and providing reliable services to enable OFs to transfer money swiftly and securely to relatives back home. These initiatives are expected to encourage the use of the formal channels to capture a bigger share of the global remittance market.
For the period January-April 2011, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Italy.