Monday, 24 May 2010

Filipino sailors sent home $888M in 1Q, up 11%

But Greek debt crisis worries labor center

MANILA, Philippines—Filipino sailors on foreign ocean-going vessels wired home a total of $888.949 million in the first quarter, up 11.04 percent or $88.414 million from the $800.535 million they remitted over the same three-month period in 2009, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said over the weekend.

In a news release, TUCP secretary general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera said the 11.04 percent growth in the money sent home by sailors was nearly double the 5.96-percent increase in the cash remitted by land-based migrant Filipino workers in the first quarter.

"We remain bullish overall about the potential growth in remittances from Filipino sailors in the months ahead," said Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

"However, we are also deeply worried about Greece's lingering debt crisis, which could depress economic conditions as well as shipping activity in Europe," added Herrera, whose labor center includes the Philippine Seafarers' Union.

Of the 10 biggest sources of remittances from Filipino sailors, six are European countries, Herrera pointed out.

The top 10 sources of Filipino sailors' remittances are the United States, Japan, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Greece, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Cyprus, according to Herrera.

Remittances from Filipino sailors based in Greece were still up 18 percent in the first quarter to $34.7 million versus $29.3 million a year ago.

However, Herrera also noted that remittances from Filipino sailors based in Norway, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden were actually down an average of 20.81 percent.

Last week, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that total remittances from all migrant Filipino workers, whether based on land or at sea, reached $4.339 billion in the first quarter, up 6.96 percent from $4.057 billion over the same period in 2009.

In 2009, Filipino sailors sent home a record $3.4 billion, up $366 million or 12.06 percent from $3.034 billion in 2008.

Remittances from Filipino sailors have more than doubled since 2005, when they sent home only $1.669 billion.

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