By Sean Millare and Michael Mislos
The cumulative personal remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) for the first quarter of 2021 has already reached $11.028 billion according to the latest report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). This represents a 5.1 percent growth year-on-year from $10.494 billion posted in the comparable period last 2020. Personal remittance is defined by BSP as the total net compensation of employees, personal, and capital transfers.
While April 2020 had a reported $2.276 billion, April 2021 had a reported $2.574 billion, an increase of 13.1 percent. Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one-year or more rose by 15.2 percent while those workers who only have less than a year contracts also saw an increase of 4.9 percent.
Similarly, cash remittances from OFWs that get coursed through banks rose also by 12.7 percent to $2.305 billion this April 2021 from $2.046 billion last April 2020 because of increased receipts from land-based workers by 15.2 percent to $1.779 billion (from $1.545 billion) and sea-based workers by 4.9 percent to $574 million from $547 million in 2020.
According to the BSP, the growth of cash remittances of OFWs in January-April 2021 mostly originated from the following ten countries, which accounted for 78.1 percent of Philippines total cash remittances; United States (US), Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom (UK), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, South Korea, Qatar, and Taiwan. Note that data may be skewed towards the U.S. because a common practice of remittance centers around the world is to course it through corresponding banks that are located in the U.S.
The numbers are higher than last year and even before the pandemic. The news did not receive a warm reception after it was posted by BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno. According to Susan Ople, an advocate of OFW rights and the current head of the Blas Ople Policy Center (BOPC), the struggling OFW has become the “ayuda” source of their household back home.
Another user posted that the government should not overlook why there was an increase in remittances: OFWs may have also sent their employment separation pay back.
Just a few days ago, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) continued to highlight the importance of Digitalization in the New Economy.
“The future is digital, and it is here. We need to make sure that our constituents and the public that we serve are not left behind.” said by BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno in their recent webinar on digital inclusion.
“Let us prepare them for the new economy and equip them with access to transformative digital financial services,” he added.
In a recent article, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno cited ways on how the public sector can prepare their constituents for the new economy and its transformative digital financial services which includes support for digital payments for social welfare programs and public services.
This article is published on BitPinas: Overseas Filipinos Send More Money Back Home, Higher than Pre-Pandemic