Aquino: Vibrant economy enticing OFWs to come home

CALBAYOG CITY - President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday said more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are planning to come home due to the vibrant economy the country is experiencing now.

In his speech at the meeting with local leaders and the community at the Calbayog Sports Complex here, the President cited the newly opened Solaire Resort & Casino on Roxas Boulevard, Manila, where one of its chefs - a Filipino who has been staying in the US for 24 years - has decided to come home to work here.

President Aquino said Solaire Resort & Casino has so far employed around 500 OFWs who have decided to come home than work abroad.

"If you are an OFW, your income is tax-free. Back in the Philippines, even if you receive the same salary as when you're working abroad, you have to pay income tax. But, if I am an OFW, if this means I can be with my family, I might as well go home," he said in Filipino.

"Our OFWs are now realizing the fruits of our good governance, they were not forced to come home, but have decided that working and living now in the Philippines is better than working abroad," he said.

In a span of four decades, the number of deployed OFWs has skyrocketed from 36,035 in 1972 to an estimated 2.2 million in 2011.

OFWs and Filipino immigrants continue to be an important source of money remittances to the Philippines, providing a vital lifeline for their families.

Personal remittances from OFWs reached US$ 1.9 billion in January this year, representing an increase of 8.4 percent compared to the year-ago figure of US$ 1.7 billion, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In 2012, cash remittances from OFWs coursed through banks represented about 6.5 percent of the country's gross national income and 8.5 percent of the gross domestic product. (PNA)