MANILA, July 15, 2011 (AFP) â€“ Philippine job losses from unrest in the Arab world and the Japan quake have had little overall impact on the amount of money the huge Filipino overseas workforce sends home, the central bank said Friday.
Cash transfers rose 6.2 percent from a year earlier to $7.9 billion in the five months to May, slightly down from its 6.6 percent growth in the same period last year, it said in a statement.
May transfers rose 6.9 percent year-on-year to $1.7 billion.
â€œData… showed that Filipino workers continued to be deployed abroad, offsetting the job losses resulting from social unrest in the Middle East and North African region and the disasters that occurred in Japan,â€ it said.
About 26,000 Filipino workers fled Libyaâ€™s civil war this year.
The Philippine government also ordered its 1,400 citizens last month to leave Yemen.
Remittances by sailors surged 21.4 percent in the first five months, while land-based workersâ€™ remittances grew by a slower 3.6 percent, the central bank said.
The bank said moves by Saudi Arabia, which hosts 1.3 million Filipinos, to transfer more jobs to its citizens should also likewise have minimal impact on those employed by big firms.
â€œOnly (Filipinos) who are employed by small establishments will likely be most affected, as they have largely been non-compliant with the program to-date,â€ it added.
Manila also plans to negotiate with Saudi Arabia after the kingdom stopped granting work permits to Filipino domestic workers last month amid a dispute over a $400 minimum monthly pay demand.
About nine million Filipinos live or work abroad out of a total population of 94 million, remitting a record $18.76 billion last year.
The cash injections provide a massive boost to a struggling domestic economy in which a fifth of the labour force is chronically unemployed or stuck in low-paying, part-time jobs. â–