Strong peso bad news for many OFWs

By Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2010 08:44 AM | Updated as of Oct 10 2010 07:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Erlinda Madiraga's husband Noli has been working in Saudi Arabia since 1986. Every three months, he sends her money.

But if Erlinda and her family are able to get by with his earnings before, she complains that it is no longer enough today.

Because of the strengthening of the peso against the dollar, the value of Noli's earnings have become considerably smaller.

The P10,000 Erlinda receives from her husband before has now been reduced to only P8,000.

“Sayang talaga. ‘Yung P2,000 na ‘yun isang sakong bigas pa pwedeng mabili. Isang buwan pa naming pagkain sa pamilya yun,” Erlinda said.

Virginia Feliciano shares the same sentiment. She now worries on how to stretch the money her daughter Melissa sends from Dubai to make ends meet for her and her grandson Vince.

“Hindi masyado kami nagigipit dati pero ngayon kulang na kulang. Sabi ng anak ko, magtiis-tiis lang,” Feliciano said.

On Friday, the peso's value rose to P43.4 against the dollar. Analysts say, this is due to the large volume of money overseas Filipino workers send home.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas confirms that OFW remittances have reached almost $10.7 billion in the first 7 months of 2010 alone.

But Erlinda is not impressed. She says, if this continues, she would be forced to send her husband home from Saudi.

“Kung ganun din lang naman, maliit ang sweldo nya, dito nalang sya at least magkakasama pa kami,” Erlinda said.

Analysts expect the peso to strengthen further in the coming months when OFWs would be sending more remittances in time for the holiday season. - Reporting  by Pia Gutierrez, ANC, ABS-CBN News