By Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter
The remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) further rose in March 2013, reaching $1.9 billion, up by 3.7 percent year-on-year increment.
The March figure brought the cumulative remittances for the first quarter of 2013 to $5.6 billion, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. said the remittances from January to March were higher by 6.2 percent than the level registered in the same period last year.
The robust remittance flow from land-based OFWs with work contracts of one year or more ($4.2 billion) as well as sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts ($1.3 billion) supported the steady increase in personal remittances.
On the other hand, the BSP said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks for the first quarter also went up to $5.1 billion, 5.6 percent higher than last year’s figure.
Also, remittances from both sea-based ($1.2 billion) and land-based workers ($3.9 billion) increased by 6.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
With 42.6 percent of total cash remittances, the United States emerged as the top source of remittances during the period, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore and Japan.
“Remittances remained strong partly on account of sustained demand for skilled Filipino workers overseas,” the central bank said.
It noted that latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employments Administration (POEA) reported that approved job orders totaled 292,483 from January to April 2013, adding that 27 percent of the processed job orders were for services, production, professional, technical and related workers.
Job orders mainly came from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Hong Kong and Kuwait. “The expanding operations of remittance service providers across the globe are also expected to allow a broader capture of remittances through the formal channels,” the central bank said.
It explained that as of end-March this year, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks and branches/representative offices abroad reached 4,750 from 4,732 the last year.
The BSP expects remittances to expand further as the government continues efforts to promote the welfare of OFWs. It cited the agreement signed by the POEA and the German Federal Employment Agency regarding the placement of Filipino health care professionals for employment in Germany