Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) grew by 4.8 percent year-on-year to US$2.6 billion in June 2016. This brought personal remittances for the first semester of 2016 to US$14.6 billion, 3.1 percent higher compared to the level posted in the same period last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. announced today.1 Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more reached US$11.3 billion while compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts (excluding their expenditures abroad) amounted to US$3.1 billion.
Meanwhile, cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks amounted to US$2.3 billion in June 2016, posting a 4.8 percent growth from the year-ago level. On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances totaled US$13.2 billion, higher by 3.2 percent than the US$12.8 billion recorded in the comparable period in 2015. In particular, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers summed up to US$10.4 billion and US$2.8 billion, respectively. About 80 percent of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.2
The continued demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad supported the steady remittance inflows. Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the number of workers deployed in the first half of the year reached a total of 223,116 for land-based (new hires) and 93,600 for sea-based workers. The number of deployed land-based (new hires) workers increased by 0.9 percent year-on-year, while that of sea-based workers declined by 55.6 percent compared to the year-ago level. Reports further showed that for the period January-June 2016, processed contracts for land-based workers were largely for services and sales, elementary occupations (such as those working in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, construction, manufacturing, and transport sectors), and craft and related trades. The top country destinations were Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
The steady stream of remittances was supported by the efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide to cater to the various needs of OFs. As of end-June 2016, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad reached 5,228.
1 The BSP started to release data on personal remittances in June 2012. As defined in the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position 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 formation 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. Also remittances coursed through money transfer operators (MTOs) cannot be disaggregated by actual country source and are lodged under the country where the main offices of the MTOs are located, which, in many cases, is in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. would show up to be the main source of OF remittances because banks attribute the origin of funds to the most immediate source