Sunday, April 3, 2011

Labor chief: OFW displacement to slash remittances by $1.6B

Threatening to displace over two million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the escalating unrest in Middle Eastern and North African countries could bring down annual OFW remittances by $1.6 billion, government figures show.

Citing remittance figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz disclosed that about 2.4 million OFWs work in strife-torn countries in the Middle East.

In North Africa, some 64,736 OFWs in similarly conflict-ridden states such as Egypt and Libya face threats against their personal security and employment.

The projection, however, excludes possible losses from OFWs in countries with lingering conflict such as Iran, which employs 4,420 OFWs, Iraq with 6,215, and Israel with 39,000.

Employment in Qatar

Vice President Jejomar Binay meanwhile said that job openings await OFWs in Qatar -- at $88,233 per person, it has the world’s highest per capita I ncome, surpassing Norway and Luxembourg.

In his meeting with Binay, Qatar Labor Minister Nasser bin Abdulla Al Hamaidi expressed his eagerness to see more OFWs in Qatar as the country prepares to host the World Cup in 2022.

Welcoming Binay, Crown Prince Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani also said, “Filipinos are always welcome in Doha. Our doors are open to them. They are hardworking, disciplined, highly skilled and very professional, and they have become part of our culture." 
OFW remittances have buoyed the Philippine economy, reaching nearly $19 million in the last two years. — PE/VS, GMA News Online

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