Gov’t optimistic on record-high remittances despite coronavirus outbreak

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 01:04 PM

Filipino travelers say goodbye to their loved ones on Valentine’s day at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, February 14, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Remittances from Filipino migrant workers are expected to reach a new record-high this year even as the world grapples with the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a Cabinet official said Monday.

While the Department of Labor and Employment has lowered its remittance projections for this year, overseas Filipino workers are still expected to send a record-high P1.74 trillion ($34.2 billion) in cash allowances to the country, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles told reporters.

A total of P1.70 billion in remittances was sent to the Philippines in 2019, data from the labor department showed.

“We are encouraged by historical data that shows that PH remittances have been resilient even in the face of global downtrends,” Nograles said during a Palace press briefing.

The growth projection for OFW remittances was originally set at 3 percent but because of the virus outbreak, Nograles said the government adjusted it to 2.2 percent or equivalent to P1.74 trillion

As for remittances of OFWs in China, where the outbreak began, and its territories Macau and Hong Kong, Nograles said these only account for 0.1 percent, 0.4 percent, and 2.7 percent of total allowances respectively.

“…[R]emittances from other source countries such as the US, UAE, and Saudi Arabia may help compensate for the possible slowdown in remittances coming from China, Macau, and Hong Kong,” Nograles said.