Dahilan kung bakit bawasan ang remittances – dahil ina abuso ng govt

June 24, 2012

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Grassroots NGO lists 5 reasons vs $1-billion Philippine loan to IMF

Kampanya Para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) lists five arguments against the $1 billion Philippine loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF):

1. Filipinos need that money.

Many don’t live a life of dignity. Of the 90 million Filipinos, 60 million remain poor, 30 million live on less than $1 a day, 22 million go hungry, at least 12 million are without jobs, and at least 2.5 million are homeless in Metro Manila alone.

2. The amount can be spent on more pressing needs.

One billion dollars can build 105,000 socialized housing units at P400,000 per unit, hire 350,000 health workers receiving P10,000 a month for one year, and provide 700,000 elderly people a monthly pension of P5,000 for one year.

3. Filipinos were not consulted on this loan.

According to Central Bank Vice-Governor Diwa Gunigundo, the Philippines can afford to give out loans because it has a huge gross international reserve (GIR), currently at US$77 Billion, and the country has finished its debt payments to IMF since 2006. He also said the GIR cannot be used for purposes other than being a reserve, even funding government programs.

So what’s the Aquino policy on reserves? Who decides on what to do with the money? Why were the Filipino people not consulted on this critical decision? Not even indirectly through the budget process.

4. Filipinos are victims of IMF policies.

Many Filipinos have remained poor because of stringent IMF conditions when it lent (not gave) money to the Philippines. It required the deregulation and privatization of key industries at the expense of basic social services, and the liberalization of Philippine economy that allowed the massive exploitation of the country’s natural resources with little return to its citizens in terms of social protection programs. These policies have resulted in a stunted Philippine economy with huge under- and unemployment rates.

The country remains in deep debt, with P357 billion of the country’s P1.8 trillion 2012 budget allocated to debt servicing. Filipinos are thus asking, why is the victim supporting its tormentor?

5. The IMF-supported profit-driven system is a failure.

The collapse of the US and European economies shows that the economic system that puts profit above people and planet is a failure. And the affected citizens, through Occupy movements in the US and Indignants protest actions in Europe, are already looking for alternatives. So why is the Philippine government supporting the purveyor of the system that has failed us and even themselves?

What is KAMP?

The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) is a network of grassroots organizations advocating for a rights-based approach to social protection, particularly for decent and affordable housing, food security, employment guarantees, universal health care, education for all, and pension for the elderly and persons with disability. KAMP leads in the formation of the Asia-wide Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP), which now has campaign partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, advocating for a life of dignity for all.

Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, KAMP lead convenor, 0918 903 8687
Wilson Fortaleza, KAMP coordinator, 0905 373 2185 and 0922 526 1138



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OFWs expected to send more money to families

October 15, 2009

October 12, 2009 05:41:00

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Remittances to the Philippines could grow 5 percent this year, higher than earlier estimates, as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) send more money home to help their families recover from the calamity wrought by recent storms and floods, a senior government official said at the weekend.

Remittances, a driver of consumer spending that fuels more than two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product, have held up well despite the global economic crisis, growing 3.8 percent in the seven months to July from last year.

“(A) 5-percent (growth) is possible,” Augusto Santos, head of the National Economic Development Authority, told reporters. “OFWs are scattered worldwide and OFWs tend to send more during calamities.”

Santos said the expected global economic recovery would also push up remittance inflows.

He said stronger-than-expected remittance growth this year would likely offset the impact of recent typhoons and allow the Philippines to meet its 0.8-1.8 percent 2009 growth target.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has officially forecast remittances this year to match the record $16.4-billion inflow in 2008.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco earlier said 2009 remittances were expected to climb more than 3 percent.

“We are maintaining growth targets because typhoon damages are being offset by OFW remittances and spending on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Santos said.

Analysts expect remittances to grow 5.5 percent this year, higher than the International Monetary Fund’s 4-percent estimate.



OFW remittances boost hometown development

May 30, 2009


By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: May 29, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Who said remittances from overseas Filipino workers would plunge drastically due to the global financial crisis?

Today, more and more OFWs, aside from regularly sending money back home to their families, tend to band together to raise funds to help develop their hometowns.

The agricultural town of Pozorrubio in Pangasinan province, for instance, was cited in a recent study commissioned by leading global money transfer company Western Union as an example of a new phenomenon called “collective remittance.”

Because of the huge development potential of such inflows, especially in the Philippines which is one of the world’s largest recipients of remittances, Western Union said it planned to pilot-test in the country a project aimed at ramping up collective remittances.

“Migrant worker remittances are mainly family to family paying for basic necessities. But if remittances are pooled and invested in creating economic opportunities for the whole community, the impact would be greater,” said Western Union vice president Angela Heng, who was in Manila Thursday to host a one-day conference on collective remittance.

Ahead of the meet, Western Union commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct a study on communal or collective remittances in different parts of the world, their impact, and what could be done to make them more effective.

Pozorrubio, which has about 10 percent of its population working overseas, was cited in the study for having a local government that was able to encourage its overseas residents to make collective remittances to support local public works projects.

Bright lights

Since 1986, town officials have been visiting Pozorrubians in California, Chicago, Hawaii, New York, Washington and Hong Kong to encourage them to form themselves into solidarity groups, elect officers, and identify projects and programs in their hometown that they could support monetarily.

“For example, Pozorrubio had no street lights, but after the mayor encouraged the migrant workers’ families to put up lampposts in front of their homes, the whole town lit up,” the EIU study said.

As the Pozzorubian migrants became better organized, the study said the local government began encouraging them to hand their donations directly to the beneficiaries, and invited them to return home to see for themselves the impact their remittances were having.

“Return migration was the theme of the 2002 town fiesta,” the study said.

It said Pozorrubian migrant communities were able to finance the construction of a park and library, and refurbish a high school’s English learning center.

The community hospital received an electrocardiograph, computer, stethoscopes, toilet, septic tank, window screens, electric fans, beddings and medicines.

On top of these, the hospital is visited annually by locally born doctors who perform medical missions.

Multiplier effect

“The multiplier effect of these remittances has been enormous. By 2001, this rural town of 56,000 had Internet cafés, car rental services for visiting migrants, video rental shops, and a rural bank with over $2 million in deposits and only a few borrowers,” the study said.

It also built 12 public and private irrigation facilities, 50 manufacturing establishments, six big private housing subdivisions and 32 day-care centers.

Different strokes

“This level of development is almost never seen in rural Philippines, even in the larger municipalities. Moreover, the town’s tax collection is one of the highest in the region, with most of the revenue coming from the busy public market,” the study said.

The EIU said other LGUs had taken different approaches to encourage their migrant populations to invest in local enterprises.

“The most visible example is the province of Bohol which set up an investment center and enacted a local investment code to assist investors in identifying, organizing and matching their resources with local partners,” it said.

The Island Garden City of Samal, near Davao City, passed a similar code geared toward developing local tourism, it noted.

Another area where migrants make collective remittances is charity.

Cited as an example was the Filipino community in South Puget Sound in Washington state which raised more than $200,000 that it remitted to a foundation in Bislig City in Surigao del Sur to finance rehabilitation and livelihood projects.

DBP opens savings facility for OFWs

January 3, 2009

Updated December 31, 2008 12:00 AM

State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has launched a savings facility which aims to provide overseas Filipino workers with an effective means of saving their earnings and preparing for their retirement by doubling their money in nine years.

DBP president and chief executive officer Reynaldo G. David said OFWs can invest in the facility called Deposito ng Bayaning Pilipino with a minimum deposit of P50,000. The facility, which offers an attractive interest rate of 8.5 percent per year, was launched during President Arroyo’s working visit to Qatar recently.

He said the fund will be invested in DBP’s various development initiatives such as the sustainable logistics development program, including the roll-on, roll-off terminal system, community development projects and other infrastructure programs.

“With the Deposito ng Bayaning Pilipino, we hope to imbibe the importance of saving and investing among our OFWs,” said David, adding that the facility is also in response to President Arroyo’s call for increased and more meaningful assistance to Filipino migrant workers.

Interested OFWs may apply for the program by filling up necessary forms at the DBP website, www.devbankphil.com.ph.


Crisis stretching OFW ability to send money

September 2, 2008

By Jeremaiah M. Opiniano

Posted date: September 01, 2008

MANILA–A US-generated financial crisis is testing overseas Filipino workers’ ability to send cash home, an economist said, using government data on remittances.

“If OFWs persist in sending more money, it will not be physically sustainable for them,” Alvin Ang told the OFW Journalism Consortium before monetary authorities reported on August 15 that OFWs sent home a record $1.5 billion in June.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas linked the 30-percent year-on-year remittance growth rate to an increase in the number of Filipinos who left for work abroad from January to June this year. Government recorded over 600,000 Filipino workers who left the country using official channels in the first six months of the year.

While acknowledging the increasing rate of remittance from these Filipinos, Ang warns that remittance flows especially from the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are entering a “plateau.” Using year-on-year totals of cash remittances formally sent over a six-month period ending May, Ang defined that plateau as a growth rate of remittances at three percent and below.

As an example, he cited remittances from OFWs in the US growing less than one percent (0.66) to $2.462 billion in the first six months ending May as against the same six-month period, $2.446 billion, in 2007.

He also noted the 1.12 percent growth rate of OFW remittances from Saudi Arabia in the five-month period ending May this year, totaling $528.013 million, compared to $522.156 million in the first five months of 2007.

These remittances from major host countries still grew, Ang said, but they were “not significant increases.”


Even the total monthly remittances are either touching plateau levels or experiencing negative growth rates, Ang said.

The country received $1.396 billion in December 2007 but the January remittance declined by 9.52 percent to $1.264 billion and $1.258 billion in February 2008.

Declining rates may be due to several factors, among them US inflation and higher oil and commodities prices, said Ang, but their effects on remittances are not immediate, “Give it one to one-and-a-half years before we really feel the full effect.”

He also noted that OFW remittances from countries other than the US and Saudi Arabia have been contributing more to growth rates and helping arrest the decline in cash flow.

OFWs in Singapore, for example, sent home $0.175 billion during the first five months, or an 81.98-percent growth from $95.985 million in the same period last year.

Filipinos in Canada sent $0.46 billion during the first six months, achieving a year-on-year 70.65-percent growth rate.

Filipinos in Europe also saw their year-on-year five-month remittance volumes grow – like Italy at 22.11 percent, Germany at 27.22 percent, and the United Kingdom at 19.01 percent.


Ang’s prognosis on the Philippines’s plateau-level remittance growth rates recalls a basic economic concept: the law of diminishing returns. There will come a time when remittances from OFWs, whether it’s the overall total or the per-continent or per-country totals, “will go down somewhere,” he said.

Given the weakening dollar, World Bank economists Dilip Ratha and Sanket Mohapatra have also observed in Remittances Dispatch that rising inflation rate and oil and commodities prices have “further (eroded) the purchasing power of remittances” to Mexico, India and the Philippines.

In particular, they noted that while Philippine remittances increased by nearly 50 percent between 2004 and 2007, “[a] large part of this increase has been simply to preserve the purchasing power of recipients since the Philippine peso appreciated by 33 percent against the US dollar.”

OFW remittance to the Philippines hit roughly $14.5 billion last year. It was at $8.5 billion in 2004.
But after accounting for the peso’s appreciation and domestic inflation, Philippine remittances increased by only three percent in the three years beginning 2004, write Ratha and Mohaptra.

In comparison, India’s and Mexico’s remittance growth rates after accounting for inflation were 13 and 19 percent, respectively.

While the effects of the world price adjustments are yet to sink in, Ang expects Filipinos in many countries to be sending home lower amounts of money.

OFW Journalism Consortium


News: Payroll system for OFW remittances opposed

June 18, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – Some leaders of overseas Filipino
workers’ groups frowned on the proposed return to the Marcos-era
payroll system in sending remittances which compels migrant workers
to directly remit up to 70 percent of their monthly salary through
the banking channels.

Edgar Cadano, secretary general of Riyadh-based group Kapatiran sa
Gitnang Silangan (KGS), deemed the system as very dictatorial, saying
it is tantamount to “stealing” from OFWs the right to decide on how
to spend their money.

Instead of automatically remitting up to 70 percent of their salaries
back home, Cadano proposed that a “free remittance system” be

“This should not be too difficult to develop by concerned government
and private agencies with the modern communication technology
available at present. Capitalists should no longer gain profit from
sending our money back home after everything has been sweat out of
our labor in the global market,” Cadano said in a statement on Monday.

Private recruiter Lito Soriano, president of LBS E-Recruitment
Solutions, proposed the revival of the pay-rolling system and
asserted that it will dramatically reduce the costs of remittance,
while increasing and speeding up the flow of remittances into the
local banking sector.

According to the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development,
then President Ferdinand Marcos signed into law Executive Order 857
(Forced Remittance Law) in the early `80s, which required migrant
workers to remit 70 percent (for land-based migrant workers) and 100
percent (for sea-based migrant workers) of their earnings through the
legal banking channels.

Migrant workers failing to surrender the mandated percentage of their
salaries back home faced sanctions such as losing their rights to
renew their contracts and passports and banning them from the list of
eligible workers for overseas employment.

Using non-banking channels such as “padala” system was strictly

The order was greeted with widespread protests in the Middle East,
Hong Kong, Japan and Europe. A coordinated campaign was launched
between migrant-related groups inside and outside the Philippines
which resulted in the suspension of the EO.

Cadano explained that the real issue faced by OFWs in the midst of
the continued appreciation of the peso against the dollar is the
price increases of basic commodities back home such as food, which
further depreciate the value of their remitted money.

“Gas and oil and transportation costs are all going up while our
incomes are being squeezed with the unfavorable exchange rate against
a growing inflation rate being experience in our host countries,” he

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona saw
the pay-rolling system as a sure failure especially among Arab
employers who are not keen on spending extra time to arrange for the
remittance of an OFW’s salary.

Remittance centers, which are non-banking channels, would also not
approve of the system as it would translate to a loss to their income.

“For Mr. Soriano’s information, it is not the attitude of foreign
employers, especially Arab employers, to spend time arranging for the
sending of its employed OFW’s salary. Likewise, remittance centers
and banks abroad would not surely agree to what he said as ‘one-time
charge’ to be collected from foreign employers. For them, it should
be business as usual. More OFW-remitters means more charges it can
collect,” Monterona said.

“The intent of Mr. Soriano’s proposal is highly dubious as it gives
leeway to recruitment agencies for possible misuse of OFWs’
salaries,” he added.

According to Monterona, recruitment agencies could take advantage of
the remitted money such as withdrawing and re-depositing the amount
and “take advantage of the volatile dollar-peso exchange rates.”

“Implementing the ‘pay-rolling’ system is like ‘using OFWs money’ for
profit of unscrupulous recruitment agencies; we are not surprised
that this absurd proposal is being proposed by a recruiter who is
earning a lot from OFWs,” he said.

– Mark J. Ubalde, GMANews.TV