MONEY sent home by Filipinos working overseas may have continued to grow in February but in a slower pace, partly as a result of deployment bans that imposed by the government.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks rose to $1.6 billion in February, up by close to 6 percent versus the $1.5 billion that was sent during the same period from a year ago.
The growth, however, slowed down as compared with the 6.2 percent increase enjoyed during the previous year.
“The continued inflow of remittances is supported by the sustained demand for Filipino manpower in various foreign labor markets,” central bank Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.
The data, however, does not include remittances made through non-banking institutions and other non-informal channels.
“Going forward, the lifting of the bans imposed by POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) in deployment to Nigeria, Libya and South Sudan, following improved security conditions in these countries, could provide additional employment prospects abroad for Filipino manpower,” Tetangco added.
Some $1.2 billion or 71 percent of the total cash transfers for the month were wired by land-based workers while the remainder $400 million were sent by sea-based workers.
The top 10 source countries of cash remittances from Filipinos overseas are the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong. These countries accounted for 86 percent of the total fund transfers reported by banks.
Meanwhile, cumulative remittances for the first two months of the year reached $3.1 billion, higher by more than 5 percent from the $2.98 billion recorded in the same period last year.
Data from the POEA showed that for the first quarter, job orders for professional and technical, service and production workers increased by 24 percent to 200,010 from a year ago.
These are mainly intended for employment opportunities inSaudi Arabia, UAE,Qatar,Taiwan,Kuwait,SingaporeandHong Kong, among others.
Local banks and other financial institutions are consistently expanding their presence off-shore to cater to the remittance needs of Filipino workers.
“The improved accessibility of remittance centers, and the wider array of financial products on offer, supported the increase in remittances and encouraged more overseas Filipinos to send money to their families and other beneficiaries in thePhilippines,” Tetangco said.