| | | Effective PR

Remittances: Philippines sees continued growth in money sent home by offshore workers

BIScom Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

The Philippines Central Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, says that is has seen continued growth in remittances from Filipino workers overseas as the effects of the global financial crisis are factored out - but in March, the rate of growth was slower than in February.

One of the primary sources of remittances for the Philippines is the world's merchant shipping fleet where Filipino workers form a significant part of the labour force and a growth in business in the past year has led to a notable increase in the amount sailors send home.

But unrest in the Middle East - which has a large Filipino workforce in both construction and F&B plus office jobs due to the generally high level of English - plus the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are also negatively affected.

The Middle East has grown to account for around 15% of remittances with Japan accounting for some 5%.

But some of the growth is due to improved remittance channels as Filipino banks open offices in towns with large offshore Filipino populations, meaning that remittances now flow through formal, reported channels rather than through hawala-type systems which are unaccountable.

The importance of remittances to the Philippines economy cannot be overstated: last year they reported remittances amounted to some 10% of GDP.

Official requests for Filipino staff made via the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are currently running at the rate of around 50,000 per month.