THE money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2013 hit a record $25.1 billion, boosted by the unprecedented remittances of $2.4 billion in December, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Last year’s cash inflow was higher by 7.6 percent than the previous year’s $23.35 billion.
A huge chunk of the money came from Filipino workers in the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada and Japan.
The central bank said the robust growth of land-based and sea-based workers supported the “sustained” rise in personal remittances during the year.
The data showed that the remittances of land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 6.1 percent, while transfers of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts went up by 7.8 percent.
Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks also reached the highest level, hitting $2.2 billion in December 2013, a 9.1-percent increase from the level registered in the same period in 2012.
For the entire 2013, cash remittances posted a 6.4-percent increase to reach $22.8 billion. It exceeded the BSP’s projection of $22.5 billion or a 5-percent growth for the year.
Cash transfers from land-based and sea-based workers grew by 6 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. Cash remittances from land-based workers accounted for more than three-fourths or 77.1 percent of total cash transfers.
“The solid growth of remittances from OFWs remains supportive of economic activity, with cash remittances accounting for 8.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2013,” the BSP said.
The central bank added that remittances remained robust on the back of strong demand for skilled Filipino manpower abroad, particularly in the Middle East.
Furthermore, the continued presence of financial service providers in foreign countries that cater to the various needs of overseas Filipinos facilitated sustained remittance flows.
The bank said as of end-December 2013, commercial banks’ established tie-ups, remittance centers, correspondent banks, and branches/representative offices abroad reached 4,740.
The central bank also cited preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), which indicated that the number of deployed OFWs for the year reached 1.8 million.
Job orders totaled 793,415 for 2013, of which 40.9 percent were processed job orders mainly for services, production, and professional, technical, and related workers, intended for the manpower requirements of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Qatar.