MANILA -- The coronavirus pandemic could shave 20 to 30 percent off dollar remittances from Filipinos overseas, as the contagion halts businesses worldwide, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Tuesday.
Overseas Filipino workers or OFWs are either coming home to their families or waiting for the resumption of economic activity in their countries of assignment, Pernia told ANC.
Cash remittances, or those coursed through banks and financial institutions, hit a record $30 billion (P1.5 trillion) in 2019, helping drive consumption and strengthening the peso against the dollar.
"We can expect maybe 20 to 30 percent reduction in OFW remittances if this COVID pandemic persists in some form or another,” Pernia said.
"We have to look for other sources of finance at the same time, we are also losing revenue from taxes because economic activity has been down and even trade has been down also," he said.
As of Monday, the Philippines confirmed 3,660 cases including 163 deaths and 73 recoveries. Among Filipinos abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs tallied 535 cases, 347 of whom are undergoing treatment, 133 have recovered and 55 have died.
The country's coronavirus task force recommended an extension of the lockdown of millions in Luzon to April 30.