OFW remittances hit $16.4B in 2008

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2009 02:41 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2009 12:02 AM

Remittances from overseas Filipino workers climbed to $1.4 billion in December, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Monday.

The latest figure took remittances in the whole of 2008 to $16.4 billion, up 13.7 percent from 2007 and above the BSP’s growth forecast of 13 percent or $16.3 billion for the year.

"Amidst the challenges posed by the global financial market strains and the economic downturn experienced by host economies, remittances from overseas Filipinos remain a dependable source of foreign exchange for the economy," BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said.

BSP said the major sources of remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Sustained demand for Filipino manpower worldwide—particularly professional and skilled workers—combined with greater access by overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to expanded remittance transfer facilities helped shore up remittance flows.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that the number of Filipinos deployed abroad in 2008 rose considerably by 27.8 percent to 1,376,823 from 1,077,623 in 2007. However, the deployment figure in December declined by 5.8 percent year-on-year to 89,799.

The Philippines is one of the world's leading sources for skilled and unskilled workers with up to nine million people, about 10 percent of the population, living and working in 140 countries.

Their remittances have become a major pillar in supporting the economy contributing to about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

The government has been promoting the deployment of more workers overseas as the world financial crisis sent exports plunging 40 percent in December. With reports from Reuters, AFP