By Melo M. Acuña

Remittances from overseas Filipinos are expected to decline by at least 10 percent to $27 billion this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday.

Diokno pointed to the large repatriation of workers and economic disruptions in host countries.

“The World Bank projects a decline in global remittances by about 20- percent in 2020, with remittance inflows to East Asia and the pacific expected to decline by 13 percent, driven mainly by declining inflows from the US, the largest source of remittances to the region,” he said at the Wednesday Roundtable @ Lido.

For the first two months of 2020, however, cash remittances still grew by 4.6 percent to reach $5 billion, he noted.

Diokno said the BSP was closely monitoring reports from government agencies including the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) deployment, displacement and repatriation status.

Of the 30,000 repatriated workers, about 20,000 came from sea-based employers. The remaining 10,000 were from land-based outfits.

Diokno said overseas Filipinos tended to send more money back home in times of crisis.

“It would appear that OFW remittances have an altruistic character. Furthermore, the adverse impact of Covid-19 on remittances may be temporary,” he said.