Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks reached US$7.9 billion in the first five months of 2011, registering a year-on-year expansion of 6.2 percent from the year-ago level. For the month of May alone, remittances rose by 6.9 percent to reach US$1.7 billion, the second highest level since December 2010 when a record-high level was realized, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today. The steady inflow of cash transfers from overseas Filipinos was due to increased remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers, which rose by 21.4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. For the period January-May 2011, the major sources of remittances were the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany.
Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that Filipino workers continued to be deployed abroad, offsetting the job losses resulting from social unrest in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region and the disasters that occurred in Japan. This, combined with the growing presence of bank and non-bank money transfer channels both locally and internationally as well as the expanding variety of products and services offered by the remittance networks, have enabled overseas Filipinos to send a higher value of remittances using more innovative financial services in the market.
In particular, POEA data indicated that the total number of deployed overseas workers for the period January-December 2010 grew by 3.4 percent to 1,470,826 from 1,422,586 in the same period a year ago. Of the total deployed overseas workers (new hires and rehires), 76.4 percent were land-based workers. In addition, prospective employment opportunities are expected to rise as the POEA also reported that for the period 1 January - 30 June 2011, approved job orders reached 330,498, of which 33.3 percent (110,018) were already processed while 66.7 percent (220,480) are still to be filled up. These job orders were intended for the manpower requirements in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Taiwan and Hong Kong, among other countries for production, service, professional, technical and other related workers.
Meanwhile, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Saudization program will have a minimal impact on the existing and future deployment of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia. Large Saudi companies are already eighty percent compliant with the Saudization program. Only OFs who are employed by small establishments will likely be most affected, as they have largely been non-compliant with the program to-date. To support OFs who will be displaced by the Saudization program, the government is exploring job opportunities offered by other countries such as Australia and Canada.