by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com
MAKATI CITY – Overseas Filipinos sent a whopping $4 billion to their relatives in the Philippines during the first quarter of 2008, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) documents obtained by the Asian Journal.
Remittances coursed through banks climbed to $1.42 billion in March 2008, the highest monthly level recorded thus far.
The March 2008 inflows brought the first quarter level of remittances to $4.0 billion, higher by 13.2 percent than the year-ago level of US$3.5 billion.
Prior to March, remittances reached a high of $1.38 billion in December 2007 and 1.38 billion in October of the same year, bringing last year’s figures to $14.45 billion, a 13.23% increase from the $12.76 billion remitted in 2006.
“Remittances during the first three months of 2008 reflected the rising number of Filipino workers abroad, the shifts in skill composition as well as the growing efficiency of banks and other financial institutions as remittance channels,” the BSP statement said.
According to the BSP release, the number of deployed workers for the first three months continued to grow, with preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as of 24 March 2008 showing an expansion by 13.6 percent to 263,129 from 231,647 a year ago.
Classified by type of worker, the number of land-based workers grew by 11.7 percent during the three-month period to 200,398 while the number of sea-based workers rose by 20.1 percent to 62,731.
Overseas Filipinos’ remittances were also strengthened by additional tie-ups established by domestic banks and other local remittance companies with foreign financial institutions to promote a faster and more efficient delivery of remittances of overseas workers to their beneficiaries.
To date, the significant portion of remittances continued to come from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.