Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) amounted to US$2.0 billion in February 2014. This brought the cumulative remittances for the first two months of the year to US$4.0 billion for a year-on-year growth of 6.4 percent, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.1 Personal remittances continued to draw strength from the steady rise in transfers from land-based workers with long-term contracts (4.3 percent), and sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts (10.3 percent).
Meanwhile, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks increased in February 2014 by 5.6 percent year-on-year to US$1.8 billion. For the period January-February 2014, cash remittances grew by 5.8 percent to US$3.6 billion, compared to US$3.4 billion registered in the same period last year. Cash transfers from both land-based (US$2.7 billion) and sea-based (US$903 million) workers expanded by 4.3 percent and 10.3 percent year-on-year, respectively. The major sources of cash remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and Canada.2
The continued demand for skilled OF workers contributed partly to the steady flow of remittances. Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that in January-February 2014, approved job orders totaled 75,064, of which 33.2 percent (or 24,895) were processed job orders intended for manpower demand for service, production, and professional, technical and related job categories in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Kuwait and Qatar. Reports from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) showed that the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania remain possible employment options for OF workers.
Likewise, the continued efforts of bank and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic market coverage through tie-ups and establishment of remittance centers abroad to capture a larger share of the global remittance market provided support to the sustained flow of remittances.
1 The BSP started to release data on personal remittances in June 2012. As defined in the Balance of Payments Manual, 6th Edition (BPM6), personal remittances represent the sum of net compensation of employees (i.e., gross earnings of overseas Filipino (OF) workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries), personal transfers (i.e., all current transfers in cash or in kind by OF workers with work contracts of one year or more as well as other household-to-household transfers between Filipinos who have migrated abroad and their families in the Philippines), and capital transfers between households (i.e., the provision of resources for capital purposes, such as for construction of residential houses, between resident and non-resident households without anything of economic value being supplied in return).
2 There are some limitations on the remittance data by source. A common practice of remittance centers in various cities abroad is to course remittances through correspondent banks, most of which are located in the U.S. Meanwhile, remittances coursed through money couriers cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices are located, which, in many cases is in Canada. Therefore, the U.S. and Canada would show up to be the main sources of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source.