Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay forecast on Monday that the deployment of Filipino workers overseas would soon recover as the political situation in the Middle East and North Africa stabilizes. Binay is also the presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers.
Because of the armed conflict in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other nations in the two regions which are popular destinations for Filipino overseas workers, deployment of migrant workers for the first quarter of 2011 dropped by 15,000 to 380,000 compared to 395,000 for the same period last year.
During the first quarter, the Philippine government also temporarily suspended deployment of OFWs to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. Manila instead redeployed the workers to other Middle Eastern nations, particularly Qatar which needs thousands of workers in preparation for its hosting of the 2022 World Cup football games.
Besides the lesser numbers of workers deployed, thousands of migrant Filipino workers who had jobs in those regions had to go home, causing the growth of remittances sent by the workers to the Philippines to slow down by 4.1 percent in March to $1.6 billion.
The slow down also affected annual remittance growth rates, which slid down from the 6.2 percent growth in February and 7.6 percent in January.
For the first quarter of this year, the total remittances sent by Filipino migrant workers reached $4.59 billion, up 5.9 percent from $4.34 billion for the same quarter last year.