MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) hit a new record high of $20.117 billion in 2011, 7.2 percent or $1.254 billion higher than the $18.763 billion in 2010, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
BSP officer-in-charge Juan de Zuniga attributed the substantial rise in remittances to a 14-percent increase in inflow from sea-based workers and a 5.5-percent increase from land-based workers.
De Zuñiga said land-based workers accounted for 78.4 percent of total remittances in 2011.
“Remittances remained resilient throughout the year amid the political turmoil in some parts of the Middle East and North African (MENA) states, the slowdown in global economic growth and intensified financial strains brought about by the euro area sovereign debt crisis,” De Zuniga said.
The BSP official said the increase could be attributed to the diversified destinations and skills of overseas Filipinos, the strategic network of bank and non-bank service providers across the globe as well as the new financial products and money transfer services offered in the remittance market.
Data showed that as of end-December, established tie-ups of commercial banks, remittance centers, correspondent banks, branches, and representative offices inched up by 3.1 percent to 4,723 from 4,581.
De Zuniga said major sources of remittances include the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and Norway.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Association (POEA) reported that it processed 12.3 percent or 7,160 of the total 58,123 total approved job orders in January.
For December alone, the BSP said remittances went up by 6.2 percent to a new monthly record high of $1.799 billion from $1.694 billion last year. This exceeded the previous monthly record high of $1.783 billion booked in November.
De Zuniga said the full-year growth of 7.2 percent exceeded the revised remittance growth target of seven percent. - By Lawrence Agcaoili