For the families of nearly 12 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), their hardworking family members are nothing short of being their personal heroes. These men and women, who have left their family and loved ones behind to travel to distant countries in search of better economic and employment opportunities, tackle myriad hardships to make their dreams come true.The money that they send back home in the form of OFW remittances, not only helps shore up the lives of their loved ones, but also goes a long way in shoring up the Philippines economy.
As per data released by the Bangko Sentral Philippines, money transfers from these OFWs to their families back home touched $26.92 billion for the year 2014. These figures are the highest ever that the island nation has received; the 2014 figures grew by 6.2 per cent compared to 5.8 percent in 2013, as per the BSP. While these remittances may be personal in nature, their larger impact is felt across the economy; according to the BSP, these remittances, which are largely cash transfers have been stable over the last few years, and have gone a long way towards fortifying the consumer-led economy of the Philippines.
As the inbound remittances from these millions of OFWs trickle in, gradually a new middle class has come into play in the Philippines, whose purchasing power is significantly higher than before. In the first quarter of 2015, household consumption grew by 5.4 percent year-on-year, picking up from a 5.1 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2014.The real estate market in the Philippines, for example, has benefitted from these OFW remittances, with an increase in demand for residential properties, especially for middle and lower income groups.
Today, the Philippines is the 3rd highest receiver of international money transfers , after giants like India and China. Its economy is one to look out for in Asia, as more and more international investors train their eyes on the country, taking cognizance of the increasing purchasing power of the new age Filipino. And no matter who you talk to, in the Philippines, the one group of people who are hailed for this improvement in living standards, are the OFWs who send their hard earned money back home in the form of remittances, every month, without fail.