Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coursed through commercial banks picked up strongly in May 2006 from the slowdown in April to reach a level of US$1.1 billion. This brought the five-month remittance level to a high of US$4.9 billion, equivalent to a 14.8 percent year-on-year expansion, thus sustaining the double-digit growth set since the start of the current year.
The growth in remittances was traced to the continued demand for Filipino workers as well as to the commercial banks’ more efficient banking services. Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on new hires and rehires showed that in May 2006, the total number of deployed overseas workers rose by 12.5 percent. For the first five months of 2006, deployed sea-based workers posted a 15.1 percent rise to 115,557, offsetting the 3.6 percent decline to 350,705 in deployed land-based workers.
The level of remittances during the five-month period was further boosted by the commercial banks’ increased number of remittance centers and tie-ups abroad combined with promotional/advertising campaigns that reached out to a greater number of overseas workers and their beneficiaries. It is expected that with the recent link-up of the three major ATM networks (Megalink, ExpressNet, and BancNet), beneficiaries of overseas workers will have increased access to financial services provided by commercial banks, encouraging utilization of formal channels for remittance transfers.
To date, the bulk of remittances continue to come from the U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, and United Arab Emirates.