By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA — Rep. John Bertiz of ACTS-OFW party-list group last December 16 cited a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data showing OFWs sent a total of $21.3 billion (more than PHP 1 trillion) in the first nine months of 2018, an increase of 2.5 percent from $20.7 billion in the same period in 2017.
“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,” Bertiz said, noting Saudi Arabia is still one of the biggest sources of remittances despite a decrease in deployment.
In a report by The Philippine Star, a projection from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) found that a 30 percent decrease in OFW deployment to Saudi Arabia has contributed to a slowdown in remittances from the first nine months of 2018 compared to the same period last year to $1.662 billion from $1.894 billion.
“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 said, noting some 1.9 million Filipinos would be deployed across the world next year.
Remittances hit 1-year low in September
In a report by the BusinessMirror, another BSP report revealed remittances sent by OFWs at the start of the “ber” months this year have hit lowest volume at $2.237 billion, a 2.3 percent decrease.
“The muted cash remittance flow for the month brought the total nine-month remittance cash inflow to $21.294 billion, up 2.5 percent from the $20.781 billion in the same January-to-September period last year,” the report reads.
According to BSP, OFWs must post a monthly growth rate of 8.5 percent in the last quarter of the year to achieve its 4 percent on average remittance projection for 2018.
“Over the nine-month period, cash remittance from both land-based and sea-based workers grew during the period,” BSP Officer-in-Charge Maria Almasara Cyd Tuano-Amador said.
“Remittances from land-based workers, in particular, grew 2.2 percent to hit $16.8 billion, while those from sea-based workers grew 3.5 percent to hit $4.5 billion,” the report noted.
Moreover, more than 79 percent of the total cash remittance for the first nine months of the year came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Hong Kong, Qatar, Canada and Germany.
The BSP also noted that remittances from Taiwan, the US and Canada have contributed greatly to September’s remittance increase.
In another report by BusinessWorld, another BSP data noted that OFWs’ remittances have contributed to the overall economic growth, with the October data the fastest in six months.
“The economy grew by 6.1 percent in the third quarter, averaging 6.3 percent year to date against the government’s current 6.4-6.9 percent GDP growth target for whole-year 2018 that was revised down from a 7-8 percent initial projection,” the report noted.