Remittances or fund transfers by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are one of the significant factors of the growing Philippine economy. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data released on February 15, 2013, showed that in 2012, OFW remittances transacted through banks reached $21.4 billion, up 6.3% from $20.1 billion in 2011, topping the government's 5 percent projection. The BSP reported that sea-based workers sent $4.8 billion, up 11.4%, while land-based workers sent $16.6 billion, up 4.9%. Major sources of remittances were Filipinos working and living in the United States of America, which accounted for 42.6%; Canada, 9.2% Saudi Arabia, 8.1%; United Kingdom, 5%; Japan, 4.7%; United Arab Emirates (UAE), 4.5%; and Singapore, 4.1%. For 2013 and 2014, the BSP forecast remittances to grow 5% per year.
There is increasing demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reported that 13,485 job orders were approved in January, 2013, mostly for service, production, and technical sectors in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Qatar, and Kuwait. Remittances keep the economy resilient and international reserves stable, less reliance on foreign savings, and more currency to help pay the country's debts and imports.
The government safeguards the welfare of OFWs and their families. It recognizes the vital role of OFWs in national development and the value of their contributions in attaining inclusive growth as well as developing human capital.
The BSP Consumer Expectations Survey showed that of 478 households that received OFW remittances in the 4th Quarter of 2012, 95.4% used them for food. The survey also showed that households that depend on remittances are getting into the habit of saving. There was an increase of 39.5% in the number of saving households in the 4th quarter of 2012, from 36.8% in the 3rd quarter.
Under the National Reintegration Program for OFWs, the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) conduct value formation, financial literacy, entrepreneurial development training, technical skills and capacity building training, to provide OFWs viable options upon their return to the Philippines DOLE set up a R2-billion Reintegration Fund to provide OFWs and their families a loan facility for micro-enterprises.
We congratulate Department of Labor and Employment headed by Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, and other Officers in their partnership to safeguard the welfare and well-being of Overseas Filipino Workers. We wish them the best and success in all endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!