Philippine Remittances Boost after Disasters

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Published on: December 7, 2013 Last updated: July 3, 2020

Highlighting the importance of remittances to the Philippine economy, overseas Filipino workers are set to send more money back home this year to their relatives who were affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Bloomberg cited research from Nomura Holdings Inc. that noted a remittance growth increase of 3.7 percentage points within three months after a major disaster.
Foreign currency for remittance in the Philippines
Remittances from the 10.5 million Filipinos that work overseas make up about 10% of the country’s gross domestic product. Filipinos are all over the world. Data from the Commission on Filipino Overseas show that there are close to 3.5 million overseas Filipinos in the U.S. alone. In Saudi Arabia, this figure is close to 1.3 million and there are another 931,562 overseas Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates. Canada and Malaysia. Hong Kong is also popular destinations for overseas Filipino workers.

Remittances to the Philippines Compared to the Rest of the World

The Philippines is in the top three in terms of the amount of remittances according to the World Bank. Data on officially recorded remittances from the World Bank for 2013 shows that $26 billion will be sent back to the country by overseas Filipino workers. India is at the top of the list with $71 billion, followed by China at $60 billion. The others in the top five include Mexico ($22 billion) and Nigeria ($21 billion). All-in-all, migrants from developing countries will send home $414 billion for this year.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Expects 5% Growth in Remittances for 2013

The Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) has a different data from that of the World Bank. Business World writes that BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. told reporters that the BSP is not changing their forecast of a 5% growth rate for remittances to the country for 2013 despite reports of an increase in remittances after Typhoon Yolanda as well as an increase in remittances due to seasonal flows.

The Central Bank was able to record $21.391 billion in remittances in 2012. Adding support to Nomura’s findings that remittances increase after major disasters, the same article points out that previous disasters have helped push up the share of remittances to the GDP from 10% to up to 15%.

Disasters in the Philippines

The Philippines has had several disasters this year alone—including Typhoon Yolanda where up to 5,600 people have died. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake also rocked central Visayas a few weeks before the Typhoon, where over 200 people died in Bohol. Looking further back into the past, we find other disasters that have caused the death of many people.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer made an infographic where it listed the 1976 tsunami and earthquake in Mindanao as the deadliest natural disaster in the Philippines. In that disaster, 5,000 to 8,000 people were killed. Tropical Storm Uring, which affected mostly Ormoc, Leyte, killed 5,100 people in 1991. Just last year, another deadly typhoon ripped through southern Mindanao. The list said there were 1,900 people dead or missing from that disaster.

To help in the relief efforts after Typhoon Yolanda, the SSS has provided their members with a program where they can avail of salary and housing repair loans with easier-to-pay terms. The agency is also allowing affected members to take out advanced pensions.


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