PERSONAL remittances from overseas Filipinos for January-June 2013 amounted to US$11.8 billion, representing a 6.2 percent increase from the level registered in the same period last year.
The Bangko Sentral in Pilipinas (BSP) announced that 75.1 percent of the remittances came from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or longer. These remittances increased by 5.1 percent, despite continuing gloom in some major economies abroad.
Remittance flows from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts grew by 7.5 percent. For June 2013 alone, personal remittances increased year-on-year by 5.7 percent to reach US$2.1 billion, the highest monthly level recorded during the year.
Cash remittances coursed through banks for the first six months of 2013 reached US$10.7 billion, sustaining the 5.6 percent growth in the same period last year.
In particular, remittances from both sea-based (US$2.5 billion) and land-based workers ($8.2 billion) expanded by 7.4 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, the BSP also said.
Major sources of cash remittances were the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada, and Japan. Total flows from these countries represented about three-fourths (74.8 percent) of the total cash remittances coursed through banks.
Remittances remained robust partly on the back of continued increase in demand for skilled Filipinos. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported the number of workers deployed overseas in 2012 increased by 6.8 percent to 1,802,031, from 1,687,831 in 2011.
“The steady stream of remittances also drew continued support from the efficient network of bank and non-bank remittance channels established worldwide and their expanding financial services to cater to the various needs of overseas Filipinos,” the BSP said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 17, 2013.