The deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide reached 871,700 in 2004, surpassing by 3,731 the 867,969 OFWs deployed in 2003, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today reported.

Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said that the growth in OFW deployment was achieved as both emerging and traditional overseas job markets continued to prefer and employ OFWs.

In a preliminary report, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Deputy Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon of the DOLE’s Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) indicated that the actual daily numbers of OFWs proceeding to their work destinations overseas posted a 0.2 percent average increase to 2,382 last year compared to 2,378 in 2003.

According to Dimzon, rehired OFWs in the land-based sector increased to 392,058 from 272,373. There were also 254,520 newly-hired OFWs deployed in various overseas economies.

Significantly, the deployment of overseas Filipino seafarers for the entire year also grew to 225,122, surpassing the 216,031 seafarers deployed in 2003.

Amidst the growth in OFW deployment in 2004, OFW remittances increased by 9.5 % to US$6.937 billion as of October compared to $6.336 billion in the same period in 2003. This indicated that annual OFW remittances grew considerably from US$6.031 billion in 2001, to $7.189 billion in 2002, and to $7.639 billion in 2003. The $6.937 billion the OFWs remitted as of October already surpassed, by almost one billion dollars, the entire $6.031 billion they remitted in 2001.

“If the trend was maintained for the months of November and December, OFW remittances for the entire year of 2004 would exceed US$8.3 billion,” Sto. Tomas said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), earlier, attributed the rise in the level of OFW remittances to a “confluence” of factors as follows:

1) The increased deployment of higher-paid skilled and professional Filipino workers such as nurses, health workers, office and food service staff, and production related workers;
2) Improved capture of OFW remittances by the banks, as the OFWs encouraged local commercial banks to strengthen offshore presence, specially in countries with large OFWs populations, by increasing the number of bank remittance centers and/or by setting up tie-ups with overseas financial service centers, and non-bank money couriers; and,
3) Seasonal inflows, specially during the holiday season, as OFWs increased their fund transfers to their families and loved ones from the United States (US), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), and other host countries, which remain as major sources of OFW remittances.

More statistical information about OFW deployment and other relevant data are available at
www.poea.gov.ph

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