WASHINGTON, D.C. – Remittances from Filipinos in the United States and other parts of the world helped the Philippines regain its position as Southeast Asia’s best performing economy during the first semester of the year.
“The Philippine economy grew by 6.4 percent during the second quarter of 2014 also because of the millions of dollars that our kababayans, especially those in the US, have been sending home,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said after the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced the good news.
“Our diaspora plays a very important role in the economic transformation now taking place in the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he paid tribute to the 3.5 million members of the Filipino-American Community who consistently account for more than half of the total remittances the Philippines receive annually from abroad.
Citing NEDA figures, Ambassador Cuisia said remittances by overseas-based Filipinos reached a new high for the year in June when inflows went up by 5.9 percent to $2.050 billion that month, raising the total for the first half by 5.8 percent to $11.422 billion.
“Our economy is performing well as result of a stronger industry and services sector and robust remittances from overseas Filipinos,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “This should make the Philippines more competitive and more attractive to investors, particularly those in the US.”
Ambassador Cuisia cited the improved performance of the Philippine economy in urging a group of businessmen in New York to consider doing business in the Philippines.
“It is important to point out that the emergence of the Philippines as “Asia’s New Emerging Tiger” is a strong demonstration of a tipping point phenomenon – the results of transformational leadership changes and policy reforms introduced in almost 30 years,” Ambassador Cuisia told businessmen at the Harvard Club during a luncheon co-hosted by Samish Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Transfast, a leading international money transfer company and Peter Tichansky, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council for International Understanding.
“With all this dynamism and optimism, I hope your interest in the Philippines will continue,” Ambassador Cuisia told the group that included senior-level executives involved in financial services; consumer goods; pharmaceuticals; equipment manufacturing; communications; and law and government.
In response, Kumar said his company, which operates a proprietary network of over 200,000 payment points across more than 100 countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa, will continue to be a major player in the remittance sector in the Philippines.
“The 3.5 million Filipinos in the US and the 850,000 in Canada send nearly $13 billion – or more than half of the approximately $25 billion – of global, cross-border remittances sent annually to the Philippines,” Kumar said.
“Transfast delivers a large percentage of these remittances making the company a significant player in the Philippines economy,” he added. “Transfast has a 25-year commitment to the well-being of Filipinos, wherever they may be across the globe. We are proud to be a contributor to the health and growth of the Filipino economy.”
In July, Transfast expanded to over 20 banks the instant bank deposit service for money transfers to the Philippines that it first launched in 2009. Kumar said this makes Transfast the only remittance company that offers instant deposits to most Philippines banks.