02/16/2006, 00.00
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Filipino migrants send more than 10 billion dollars home

Remittances from abroad are on the increase, not least because of the higher number of qualified workers who emigrate. The trend is expected to last for years.

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Filipinos working abroad sent more money home in 2005.

According to the country's leading banks, this year, they sent between 10.3 and 10.7 billion US dollars home, an increase of between 20 and 25% compared to 8.5 billion US dollars in 2004. In December alone, remittances amounted to 962 million dollars (+10.7%). The bulk of the remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

"The sustained rise in the level of remittances for 2005 was largely due to the increase in the number of Filipinos working abroad," said Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, Armando Suratos.

In the Philippines, there is a very high unemployment rate and many workers go to work abroad for the better salaries offered. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said the number grew by 5.2% in 2005 to 981,677.

Around 247,707 are employed in the maritime sector.  But there was also the deployment of highly skilled workers such as engineers, teachers, nurses and medical workers who did not find work at home, Suratos said.

The remittance of emigrants is an important resource for the country and it is expected to last for years to come, especially given the high demand for health workers in developed states where the population reaching age of senility is on the increase.

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