Recruiters press for P55-to-$1 rate

Published by rudy Date posted on January 23, 2009

The local recruitment industry urged the government yesterday to allow the peso to depreciate to a 55 per dollar rate to encourage the eight million Filipino workers abroad to send more money back home and boost the country’s economy.

“We have recommended it before and we hope the government will consider imposing a fixed peso-to-dollar exchange, particularly for our OFWs so we could sustain the economy,” recruitment leader Loreto Soriano said.

Due to the global financial crisis, Soriano said Filipino workers now have the tendency to hold back from sending more remittances to their families back home.

“As in the past financial crisis, most OFWs are likely to cut down on the amount of money they are sending to their loved ones and this will lead to lower remittances which has long been fueling our economy,” Soriano pointed out.

According to Soriano, the country may not immediately feel the impact of the financial crisis, but this will eventually lead to a decline in the remittances from Filipino workers abroad.

He noted that the during 1997 financial crisis, the dollar remittances from OFWs only posted a decline after 12 months.

“The decline reached 17.5 percent through formal bank channels and it took five years for the OFWs to get back to its previous remittance level,” Soriano said.

He warned that the current crisis could lead to a similar drop in remittances in the next three years unless appropriate measure are undertaken immediately. 

He said one such measure is for the government to peg the exchange rate to at least P53 per dollar to encourage OFWs to continuously send money so their families will be able to maintain their previous consumption.

“Children of OFWs who are studying in private schools would also be able to continue their studies and our exporters would also be able to revive their business which has been dampened by the crisis,” Soriano added.

Over a year ago, various sectors have also proposed the imposition of a fixed dollar peso exchange rate to protect OFWs from dollar depreciation.

The government, however, suggested the lowering of bank service charges instead of imposing a fixed dollar peso rate.–Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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