Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Ong said the amount of money OFWs sent home between January and October this year fell to $5.43 billion from $6.46 billion last year.
KJ Rosales
Remittances from overseas Filipino workers in Middle East down
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - December 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Cash remittances from millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East are down by $1 billion or P53 billion, Leyte Rep. Henry Ong said yesterday.

Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Ong said the amount of money OFWs sent home between January and October this year fell to $5.43 billion from $6.46 billion last year.

Transfers from Saudi Arabia were down by 11.1 percent, Kuwait by 18.2 percent, Bahrain by 9.6 percent and from the United Arab Emirates by 11.1 percent, Ong said.

“In the second congressional district of Leyte, OFW remittances are crucial to the daily, weekly and monthly finances of residents. Long lines often form in money transfer outlets and pawnshops through which OFW families receive remittances of workers and relatives abroad,” he said.

Ong said the drop in remittances greatly affects both the local and national economy.

Earlier, Rep. John Bertiz of party-list group ACTS-OFW, the lone representative in Congress of Filipino workers abroad, said the decrease in OFW fund transfers from Saudi Arabia – which hosts the largest number of OFWs – is due to “Saudization.”

“Saudization simply means that certain job openings in Saudi Arabia previously available to foreigners, including Filipinos, may no longer be there because these are now being reserved for Saudi nationals,” he said.

However, he said Saudi Arabia is still one of the major sources of remittances, which have totaled $1.662 billion in the first nine months of this year.

“While Saudi Arabia’s labor market is shrinking, the demand for Filipino workers in other parts of the globe – in Asia, North America and Europe – continues to expand,” Bertiz added.

He cited government estimates that some 1.9 million Filipinos would be deployed all over the world this year.

Of the number, some 21 percent or 400,000 are new hires, while around 79 percent or 1.5 million are rehires, he said.

Bertiz said the decline in cash remittances from Saudi Arabia is being offset by money coming from Filipino workers elsewhere.

He said among the countries where fund transfers are increasing are Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway.

BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS CASH REMITTANCES OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS
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