Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday thanked overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for helping keep the country’s economy afloat through their remittances to their families.
Binay, at the same time, vowed to lessen the number of Filipinos working abroad through increased domestic job generation.
“Hindi lamang pamilya nila ang natutulungan ng perang ipinadadala nila, kundi na rin ang ating ekonomiya [It is not only the OFWs’ families that are benefiting from the money they are sending home, but also the economy itself],” he said.
Binay, a former presidential adviser on OFW concerns, added that the remittances to the Philippines are helping drive the economy through domestic consumption activities done by the families of the OFWs.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data showed the OFWs sent home $2.2 billion dollars in October this year.
The remittances reached $20.6 billion from January to October, a 3.67- percent increase from those recorded during the same period last year, according to the BSP.
In 2014, the OFWs sent a record high $24 billion to the Philippines, which accounted for almost a tenth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to Binay, foreign currencies are also used by the economy in paying for imported goods and services, aside from keeping the peso stable.
The Vice President, however, said his administration—if he is elected President in the 2016 elections—will work to increase the domestic job generation to lessen the number of Filipinos working abroad.
“Pwede na nating sabihing mag-a-abroad tayo dahil gusto natin, at hindi dahil napilitan lang tayo [Eventually, we can say that we are going abroad to work because we want to, not because we are forced to],” Binay added.
In previous speeches, he said, “My administration will focus on strengthening the five biggest creators of employment which are agriculture, manufacturing, mining, business process outsourcing and export to provide more jobs.”
The Vice President added that in the short term, he will continue to improve financial literacy programs taught to OFWs.
Through these programs, he said, the OFWs’ families will be taught to invest, not merely spend, the money sent home,” Binay said.
Ito ay upang masiguro sa pangmatagalang panahon ang epekto at ginhawang dulot ng pagtatrabaho ng ating mga OFWs dahil may oras na kailangan na nilang umuwi rito sa Pilipinas [Investing ensures over the long term the better quality of life enjoyed by the OFWs and their families that has been made possible by overseas employment because there will come a time when these workers have to return to the country for good],” the Vice President added.
He said he sees the OFWs remitting more during the Christmas season.