Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coursed through commercial banks continued to post double-digit growth of 10.7 percent in December 2005 to reach US$962 million. This brought total remittances for 2005 to US$10.7 billion, 25.0 percent higher than that posted in 2004.
The sustained rise in the level of remittances for 2005 was largely due to the increase in the number of Filipinos working abroad. Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the number of newly hired and rehired OFWs grew by 5.2 percent in 2005 to 981,677. By type of worker, the number of land-based Filipino workers rose by 4.2 percent to 733,970, while that of the sea-based workers grew by 8.2 percent to 247,707. The continued demand for OFWS is due in part to efforts undertaken by the government, in cooperation with the private sector, to conduct various marketing missions aimed at promoting and identifying employment opportunities for Filipino workers and to pursue capability-enhancing programs (e.g. pre-departure training, computer literacy, seafarers training in strict compliance with international maritime standards). The deployment of highly skilled, thus, higher paid Filipino workers (e.g., engineers, teachers, nurses, medical workers) also contributed to the high level of remittances in 2005.
Meanwhile, to reach out to a wider range of Filipinos working overseas, financial institutions remained aggressive in pursuing marketing activities, such as opening more remittance centers and establishing tie-ups abroad, and introducing enhanced means of remittance transfer.
To date, the bulk of remittances come from the U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, U.K., United Arab Emirates and Singapore.