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NEWS UPDATES 2 November 2009

Remittances keep Philippine economy growing

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Remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers will continue to drive Philippine economic growth over the next seven years at least, the Manila Bulletin quoted Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) President and CEO Reynaldo G. David as telling the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) CEO Forum in Manila.

“In the future, migrant workers will be concentrated in the Middle East, Asia and countries whose immigration laws are very stringent. Sea-based workers will continue to grow,” he projected. However, “Remittances will not be the Philippines saving strength forever. As a major development financial institution, DBP is in a constant quest for long-term solutions so our migrant workers can come home where they belong.”

To date, cash transfers from nine million Filipinos abroad account for 10 percent of the country’s economic output. Although many OFWs lost their jobs, remittances over the past 8 months totaled $11.3 billion, up 3.6 percent year-on-year, mostly from Filipinos in the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Italy.

Already, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) revised its 2009 forecast, saying remittances will grow 4 percent, on the average, to $17.1 billion from last year’s $16.4 billion, indicating that the global turmoil had an insignificant bearing on the amount of money OFWs send in.

“Remittances may even grow faster in the next two months of the year as our mostly Christians workers send in more money for the Christmas season,” according to David. With the global economy on its way to recovery, remittances may even surge in the months ahead and DBP sees a more favorable outlook for remittances through end-2009.

While the last two typhoons took its toll on economic growth, strong overseas remittances continue to buoy up the economy. In fact, “We believe these natural disasters triggered incremental remittances. We are just awaiting the official remittance figures for September and October,” the DBP President noted.


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