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Filipino remittances thrive in February

Thanks to more Filipinos working overseas to support their families, remittance flows in the month of February were up significantly, a new report confirms.

According to newly released data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, money sent home by overseas Filipinos totaled nearly $1.6 billion in February. That's an increase of nearly 6 percent when compared with the same month in 2011, when remittances totaled $1.5 billion.

With more Filipinos being able to send money to the Philippines, the total remittances the country has received since the beginning of the year amounts to $3.14 billion, almost 6 percent more when contrasted with the same two-month period last year, BSP reports.

Amando Tetangco, governor of the BSP, noted how Filipinos are proving to be a hot commodity on the employment front throughout the world.

"The continued inflow of remittances is supported by the sustained demand for Filipino manpower in various foreign labor markets," said Tetangco. "Latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that for the period January-March 2012, job orders for professional and technical, service and production workers increased by 24.6 percent to 200,010 in the comparable period last year."

While the U.S. is one of the most highly sought after locations for Filipinos with regards to seeking work, employment opportunities mainly came from other countries in February, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Taiwan, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong. BSP said imposed bans that had prevented Filipinos from working in certain countries have since been lifted, including those in Nigeria, Libya and South Sudan. The POEA said the bans were rescinded because security conditions have noticeably improved in these countries.

BSP's report also revealed where many of the remittances in February came from. Just over 76 percent of money transfer orders were land-based, while approximately 24 percent were from workers who earn their living on the sea.

As for the top countries that sent remittances to the Philippines, the U.S. led the pack, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, UAE, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong. These 10 countries accounted for more than 85 percent of all cash transfers reported by banks and other financial institutions, BSP indicates.

Read more from E. Asia, Money Transfer

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