PRESIDENTIAL Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Tuesday lauded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the nearly 7 percent increase in remittances made in January compared to the same period last year.
Based on a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas report, cash and non-cash remittances from OFWs amounting to $2.002 billion in January 2014 was 6.8 percent higher than the $1.874 billion recorded in January 2013.
“The government recognizes the importance of these remittances in bolstering the country’s foreign currency reserves, boosting consumer spending, and supporting overall economic growth,” Coloma said.
Coloma said the government, through its Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, continues to promote programs that will create and increase employment opportunities for Filipino professionals and skilled workers in tandem with similar programs in country to create manufacturing-based and more highly remunerative jobs.
However, Coloma said the administration is still hoping that OFWs would return home because they are seeing a transformation in the government and in the society.
“We affirm President Aquino’s vision of ‘a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity. And when its citizens do choose to become overseas Filipino workers, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority,’” he added.
Meanwhile, Coloma said the Department of Labor and Employment has implemented a P2-billion national reintegration program administered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, which has already created 4,000 jobs for returning OFWs since the inception of the program.
“Through Land Bank of the Philippines, this program has granted and released total loans amounting to P632.5 million,” he said.
“Most of which were used to fund businesses on general merchandising, groceries, water purifying stations, auto supply, hardware, trucking, and ready-to-wear, as well as agriculture-based enterprises such as grains trading, piggery, poultry, agriculture supplies, post-harvest, bakery, fruits and vegetables farming, copra trading, and fisheries,” he added.