Senator Grace Poe has called on banks, money transfer companies and regulators to increase their efforts in protecting the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“The remittances are crucial to the survival of families of OFWs and play an important role in the economy as a whole,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, in a statement on Tuesday, July 20.
Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Poe said OFW remittances totalled $30.1 billion in 2019.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the global economy, remittances in 2020 only dipped slightly to $29.9 billion, she noted.
The BSP’s latest Consumer Expectations Survey also showed that 96 percent of households that receive remittances spend it on food and other needs.
Poe stressed that more people have to rely on remittances and money transfers from family members and other relatives to cope with the pandemic’s recessionary impacts.
She also said that OFW remittances into the country “softens the destabilizing impact of hemorrhaging foreign investments and outflows from the payment of foreign debt.”
The Senate banks committee, along with the committee on labor, will conduct a hearing on Thursday, July 22, on measures seeking to protect the remittances and money transfers of OFWs.
“It’s imperative that we protect our people’s money. It is not just the remittances of OFWs coming from abroad that we must protect but local money transfers as well,” Poe said.