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February 17, 2009

Philippines: Remittances seen slowing down amid global crisis
The inflow of remittances from overseas Filipino workers is expected to slow down this year as many will lose their jobs due to the global economic crisis, officials said.

"Remittances from overseas Filipino workers will be affected by job losses," Diwa Gunigundo, deputy governor of the Philippine central bank, said in a recent press briefing.

The Philippines is one of the world's biggest labor-exporting countries, and remittances from migrant workers account for around10 percent of the aggregate economy.

There are more than 8 million Filipino living and working overseas, nearly 10 percent of the country's population. In 2008, remittances from overseas Filipinos rose 13.7 percent to $16.4 billion, according to a report released on Monday by the central bank.

The recession in the world's biggest economies -- including the United States, Western Europe and East Asia -- resulted in massive retrenchment. The Philippine labor department said that over 5,400overseas Filipino workers have been displaced by the global economic crisis as analysts expect more job losses in the next months.

But Gunigundo said that while the remittances may be affected, he didn't see a significant contraction given that the Philippines continues to deploy workers to other countries.

Indeed, there's reason for such optimism. Government data showed that 1.377 million Filipinos landed jobs abroad in 2008, 27.8 percent higher than the figure registered in the previous year.

Labour officials said that the potential effects of the continuing global economic slowdown on deployment could be mitigated by the strong labor demand in host countries like Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

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