Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) coursed through banks rose to US$1.6 billion in February 2012, posting a year-on-year growth of 5.8 percent, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today. About three-fourths (76.1 percent or US$1.2 billion) of the total cash transfers for the month were sent by land-based workers while nearly one-fourth (23.9 percent or US$0.4 billion) came from sea-based workers. The top ten source countries of cash remittances from OFs are the U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the U.K., Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong, with these countries accounting for 86.3 percent of the total fund transfers reported by banks. Meanwhile, cumulative remittances for the first two months of 2012 reached US$3.1 billion, higher by 5.6 percent than the level recorded in the same period last year.
The continued inflow of OF remittances is supported by the sustained demand for Filipino manpower in various foreign labor markets. Latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that for the period January-March 2012, job orders for professional and technical, service and production workers increased by 24.6 percent to 200,010 in the comparable period last year. These are mainly intended for employment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Taiwan, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others. Going forward, the lifting of the bans imposed by POEA in deployment to Nigeria, Libya and South Sudan, following improved security conditions in these countries, could provide additional employment prospects abroad for Filipino manpower.
Moreover, local banks and other financial institutions continued to expand their presence abroad to serve the remittance needs of Filipino workers. The improved accessibility of remittance centers, and the wider array of financial products on offer, supported the increase in remittances and encouraged more overseas Filipinos to send money to their families and other beneficiaries in the Philippines.