OFW Remittances Rising 5.4% Annually March 20, 2012

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Remittances from overseas Filipinos (OF) coursed through banks remained resilient, rising by an annual rate of 5.4 percent to US$1.6 billion in January 2012, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said in a statement.

Remittances from both sea-based and land-based workers increased, as their transfers grew by 19.8 percent (to US$369 million) and 1.6 percent (to US$1.2 billion), respectively.

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In particular, more than three-fifths (60.2 percent) of land-based workers remittances in January came from seven countries: U.S. (24.4 percent), Canada (13.1 percent), Saudi Arabia (8.4 percent), the United Arab Emirates (3.8 percent), Italy (3.5 percent), Japan (3.5 percent), and the United Kingdom (3.2 percent). Meanwhile, remittances from sea-based workers originated mostly from the U.S. (13.4 percent).

Sustained demand for professional and skilled Filipino workers underpinned the steady flow of remittances. Recent data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that total processed job orders stood at 22,688 for the first two months of 2012. Job orders were intended for manpower requirements in Saudi Arabia (39 percent), UAE (18.1 percent), Qatar (10.9 percent), Taiwan (7.4 percent), and Kuwait (7 percent).

For 2012, enhancements in the recruitment systems of host countries, as reported by the POEA, are expected to support the resilience of remittance flows. These include the launching of the International Direct e-Recruitment System (IEeS) for Filipino workers in Taiwan in January 2012, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation and a Protocol on Regulating the Recruitment and Employment of Domestic Workers with Lebanon in February 2012 and Jordan in January 2012, and the amendment of the Korean Employment Permit System (EPS) in February 2012. Filipino workers under the Korean EPS rose by 66 percent year-on-year to 3,147 in 2011 due to previous amendments in the Korean EPS during the year. These include the streamlining of the waiting period and exemption of workers from taking the Korean language test and training, provided that certain criteria are met.

Meanwhile, banks and other financial institutions have been aggressively expanding their global financial services through tie-ups with foreign financial institutions and local telecommunication companies. This depicts the continuing efforts of local banks and other financial institutions to cater to the diverse money transfer needs of OFs and their beneficiaries. (BSP/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

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