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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Global OFW remittances to approach US$17-b in 2009 -- DOLE

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said that as the current trend sustains, the global remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may likely reach, if not surpass, the US$ 17 billion mark for the entire 2009.


Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque affirmed the projection even as the distinctive global preference for the OFWs continues to complement the worldwide efforts to dispel the lingering effects of the global financial crisis.


In particular, Roque pointed to a report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that OFW remittances, underpinned by a steady global demand for OFWs, reached US$6.98 billion in the first five months (January to May) of 2009.  The five-month figure, averaging almost $1.4-b per month, represents a growth rate reaching 2.8% compared to the level previously registered in the same period in 2008.


Earlier, a stronger-than-expected level reaching US$16.4 billion in 2008, representing a growth rate of 13.7% compared to the figure in 2007, had been remitted by the OFWs to the country's economy, at the same that global OFW deployment attained a new record level reaching 1,376,823 (+27.8%) in 2008, compared to 1,077,623 in 2007.


Subsequently, preliminary figures furnished by the DOLE's Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the growth trend had sustained, as the total global deployment of OFWs grew by another 27.3 percent to 283,348 in the first two months (January to February) of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008. 


The Labor and Employment Secretary affirmed that the global crisis' effects had been counterweighed effectively by the strength of continuous DOLE bilateral missions, which assured continuing opportunities for OFWs, while activating interventions to dispel the crisis' impact, and push back displacement in vulnerable overseas economies.


As a result of such bilateral efforts spurred by the country's network of Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) in strategic areas worldwide, the Labor Chief said that RP had forged successful accords leading to increased opportunities for OFWs.


Roque said that the favorable "agreements include those forged between the Philippines and the OFW-host nations of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and between the Philippines and Australia,  Canada, and Japan."


At the same time, Roque confirmed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) had been successfully entered into by the DOLE with its counterpart in South Korea in May, which would prospectively engage up to 5,000 OFWs in that country's manufacturing and other industries.

In Tripoli, Libya, meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office also began bilateral efforts with the Libyan Health Ministry towards the prospective engagement of 4,000 OFWs in that host country's healthcare sector.


Furthermore, the Labor Chief affirmed that the DOLE's relentless bilateral thrusts had significantly resulted in the deceleration of the number of OFWs in vulnerable overseas economies negatively affected by the global economic crisis through displacement -- while simultaneously ensuring the necessary welfare interventions to assist and ease the plight of any affected OFWs.

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