MANILA - Remittances from Filipinos in the United States and other parts of the world have helped the Philippines regain its position as Southeast Asia's best performing economy in the first semester of 2014.
Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said the Philippine economy grew by 6.4 percent during the second quarter of "because of the millions of dollars that our kababayans, especially those in the US, have been sending home."
"Our diaspora plays a very important role in the economic transformation now taking place in the Philippines," Cuisia said.
Citing figures from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), he said remittances from overseas-based Filipinos reached a new high for the year in June. He said inflows increased by 5.9 percent to $2.050 billion, raising the total for the first half by 5.8 percent to $11.422 billion.
"Our economy is performing well as result of a stronger industry and services sector and robust remittances from overseas Filipinos. This should make the Philippines more competitive and more attractive to investors, particularly those in the US," he added.
Cuisia, who paid tribute to the 3.5 million members of the Filipino-American Community in Washington, also urged a group of businessmen in New York to consider doing business in the Philippines.
"With all this dynamism and optimism, I hope your interest in the Philippines will continue," he told businessmen at the Harvard Club.
In response, Samish Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Transfast, a leading international money transfer company, said he will continue to be a major player in the remittance sector in the Philippines.
"The 3.5 million Filipinos in the US and the 850,000 in Canada send nearly $13 billion–or more than half of the approximately $25 billion—of global, cross-border remittances sent annually to the Philippines," Kumar said.
"Transfast delivers a large percentage of these remittances making the company a significant player in the Philippines economy," he added. "Transfast has a 25-year commitment to the well-being of Filipinos, wherever they may be across the globe. We are proud to be a contributor to the health and growth of the Filipino economy."