NSO: 1 in 5 OFWs
working in S. Arabia
ROUGHLY one-fifth of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide toil in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO) 2010 Survey of Overseas Filipinos.
The results were released as the government and overseas employment agencies prepare for the implementation of the “Saudization” policy by Saudi authorities on September 10.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) figures on overseas remittances show that earnings sent from Saudi Arabia totaled $1.54 billion last year and $491.89 million from January to April this year. The 2010 sum represents about 9 percent of all monies OFWs remitted.
The survey said that, from April to September last year, there were 2 million Filipino workers deployed all over the globe.
“The sheer volume of workers working temporarily overseas indicates the lack of employment opportunities and suggests that domestic investments and entrepreneurship are being held back,” according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) via the Philippine Development Plan 2010-2016 of the Aquino Administration.
Trust in the banks
Only a little over half, 54.7 percent, of OFWs send their remittances through the banks.
Of the P141.23 billion equivalent of foreign exchange sent home, only P77.26 billion were transferred via the banking system, indicating that there is still much room for improvement in the campaign of the BSP and the banking system to get more OFWs to use the formal remittance channels.
Some P20.6 billion of monies sent via banks were earnings of the laborers and unskilled workers. NSO data showed that 1 in 3 OFWs works as a laborer or unskilled worker while only 18 percent are in higher-paying positions as managers, professionals, and technicians.
Many OFWs still prefer to carry home their earnings themselves. A significant P30.13 billion chunk was “cash brought home” while “pasalubongs” in kind were estimated to be worth P6.23 billion. Some trusted their employment agencies, door-to-door services, friends and co-workers to bring their hard-earned cash to their dependents.
“In 2010, remittances coursed through banks amounted to US$18.8 billion, an increase by 8.2 percent from the level recorded in previous year,” NEDA said in the PDP. If that total represents only 54.7 percent of all remittances, as the NSO figures suggest, then total remittances in 2010 was somewhere in the order of $34.37 billion. (GMA News)