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Prioritize OFWs in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia
« on: November 16, 2017, 08:28:51 AM »
THE HONORABLE HENRY C. ONG
2nd District of Leyte
Vice Chair, Committee on Banks & Financial Intermediaries
Member, Committees on Transportation, Visayas Development, Economic Affairs, and 8 other committees

SOLON URGES PHL BANKS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR OVERSEAS FILIPINOS TO REMIT THEIR EARNINGS

Landbank, other banks asked to prioritize OFWs in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said today in a news release the 8.3 percent drop to $2.2 billion in cash remittances from land-based overseas Filipinos last September may have been affected by the decision of some banks to shut down “their service facilities on money service business, reflective of the increasing global trend to reduce correspondent banking relationships and focus more on home market.”

Statistically, I do note that the August 2017 total personal remittances level was a high $2.8 billion, so the $2.44 billion figure of September was a drop of about $360 million and explains some of the 8.3 percent drop, but $2.44 billion still sustains the above-$2 billion trend line that began in March 2014.

“The countries that registered the biggest declines in cash remittances in September were Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait, Qatar, and Australia,” the BSP said.

However, the BSP observed that for Saudi Arabia, “the decline in remittances could partly be the result of the continued repatriation of overseas Filipino workers under the Saudi Arabian Amnesty Program which started last March 2017.”

“On 26 September 2017, the Saudi government extended the amnesty program anew and a total of 8,467 undocumented Filipinos already availed of the initial offer, according to the DFA,” the BSP also said.

I am concerned about the BSP observation on some bank service facilities shutting down their money service business abroad and making it difficult for overseas Filipinos to send their earnings to Filipinos here at home.

As Vice Chair of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries and Member of the House Committee on Economic Affairs, I am therefore urging the Philippine banking and remittances sectors to step up and step forward to address this gap. Open more service facilities, extend banking hours, improve your online remittance services, and forge new remittance relationships with money transfer agencies overseas.

I also call upon the Land Bank of the Philippines, the government’s official depositary bank and proponent of the Overseas Filipino Bank, to lead the way in serving Filipinos abroad. Prioritize Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Australia.

The $360 million drop in remittances last September translates to at least P18 billion when converted into pesos. That is a whole lot of cash Filipino families did not receive and could have addressed pressing household needs.

Land Bank and the other banks must act fast. More remittances are coming this November, December, and until January next year which are peak months for remittances.  (END)

REFERENCES:
http://www.bsp.gov.ph/publications/media.asp?id=4534 
http://business.inquirer.net/235569/landbank-remittance-postbank-acquisition-2022-share-overseas-filipino-bank  https://www.landbank.com/iEasy-Padala

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