Press Release
February 23, 2010

Jinggoy lauds migrant workers for saving RP economy anew;
pushes for pro-OFW programs

Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) reelectionist senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada lauded overseas Filipino workers for saving again the country's economy through their billions of dollars in remittance especially during the 2009 global financial crisis.

Estrada noted the latest report by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that OFW remittance rose a "stronger-than-expected" 5.6 percent from 16.4 billion dollars in 2008 to $17.3 billion in 2009, already accounting for up to 10.8 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The BSP further said remittance in the month of December alone hit a record high of 1.57 billion dollars.

For his part, World Bank country director Bert Hofman said 'the Philippines was able to avoid the worst of the global crisis in 2009 due to the higher than expected growth in OFW remittances.'

"Once again, the Philippines' economy has been saved and kept afloat through the remittance coming from the more than nine million OFWs deployed in almost all countries around the globe," Estrada said.

"Our OFWs successfully did it again despite being the ones themselves directly affected by the crisis that saw a major slowing down of economies in almost all countries of the world, massive layoff of workers by companies and heightened competition for jobs," the senator added.

According to the BSP, the United States remained the biggest source of Filipino remittances in 2009, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Japan and Singapore. Estrada said the government should show appreciation to OFWs through programs which would benefit them and their families.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and the joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, Estrada consistently pushed for legislations benefiting OFWs as well as local-based workers.

Among his pro-OFW legislations were: the creation of an "OFW Bank"; establishing an "OFW Hospital"; and strengthening of the functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in promoting and ensuring welfare and benefits for the Filipino migrant workers.

Jinggoy is seeking another term in the Senate this coming May 10 election under the PMP headed by his father, party presidential candidate Joseph "Erap" Estrada.

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