In a bid to downplay the wave of job losses due to the global economic crisis, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque yesterday said both the global deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dollar remittances to the country’s economy have continued to increase despite the global financial crisis.
Roque cited the latest report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that notwithstanding the global financial slowdown, OFW remittances from more than 190 host countries worldwide reached more than $1.265 billion in January 2009, representing a positive 0.1 percent growth from the same period in 2008.
He said, the earlier confirmation made by the DoLE’s Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that the total global deployment of documented OFWs reached a robust growth to 165,737 in January this year, up worldwide by 25.3 percent, from 132,285 in the same period last year.
“This resoundingly affirms the sustained global preference for our skilled and semi-skilled overseas Filipino workers, and their productive role in staving off the adverse effects of the global slowdown in the greater portion of the world’s economies.”
The secretary said that while there have been concerns about the effects of the recession in some economies on the continued deployment of OFWs, the data provided by the POEA covering January 2009 affirm a double digit growth up by more than a quarter (25.3 percent) of the previously record remittance figure registered in January 2008.
He pointed to the strength of the country’s bilateral relations and agreements for assuring sustained employment opportunities for OFWs, particularly those entered into by the RP government with major host destinations such as Canada, Australia, Japan — alongside the vibrant outlook of Middle Eastern economies such as Qatar in industries which prefer our skilled and semi-skilled OFWs such as health care, education, real estate, and power and energy.
Australia and New Zealand, however, just announced that they are cutting down on migrant workers, as there are already many jobless citizens, who would have first crack at the jobs previoulsy offered to migrants.
The Labor and Employment chief, based on the BSP report, cited the United States, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Canada, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates as the top sources of the almost $1.3 billion the OFWs remitted to the nation’s economy in the first month of 2009. –Mina Diaz, Daily Tribune