A Cause for Alarm: RP Worlds Most Dependent on Overseas Remittances Ibon

Jan. 23, 2007

MANILA — Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have become the country’s biggest source of dollars, and this has made the country among the most dependent on such inflows in the world. This was revealed during independent think-tank IBON Foundation’s Birdtalk, the organization’s year-end economic and political briefing.

Speaking at the Birdtalk, IBON research head Sonny Africa said that from January to November 2006 remittances from migrant workers hit $11.4 billion, equivalent to an alarming 10% of the gross domestic product. The double digit mark makes the Philippines the most overseas remittance-dependent economy of any significant size in the world. This means that the economy continues to be kept afloat by the external and volatile OFW remittances, and not by a strong local economic capacity, he said.

The declines in domestic investment imply a diminishing capacity to expand production and warn of a slowdown in the very near future, said Africa.

The dependence on OFW remittances also reflects the lack of decent productive work at home. The sheer scarcity of jobs is already a sign that all is not well and that the economy lacks an internal dynamism that is able to productively harness and employ the Filipino workforce, Africa said.

Joblessness has resulted in an influx of Filipinos seeking employment overseas, which as of November 2006 has already breached the one million mark. This means that over 3,000 Filipinos left the country everyday to find jobs abroad.

The IBON Birdtalk, a semi-annual briefing of the economic and political situation was held this week at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.

IBON Foundation Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues. (Ibon/davaotoday.com)

[tags]davao today, philippine economy, migrant labor, overseas workers, overseas filipino workers, ibon, remittances [/tags]

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