Monday, January 11, 2016

Remittances unlikely to be affected by Saudi-Iran rift, but OFWs advised to save

Remittances from Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia and Iran will be unaffected by the growing tensions between the two countries, a pro-migrant advocate said Friday.
Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino (KAMPI) president Luther Calderon said economists have predicted a downturn of only two to three months at most as Saudi Arabia and Iran adjust to the economic repercussions of their rift.
"Magkakaroon lang po siguro ng blip for two or three months, but patuloy pa rin pong magkakaroon ng remittances," Calderon said.
He added that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas weathered similar conditions before and only observed a small dent in the remittances sent by OFWs.
"Based din po siya sa datos ng central bank, based on experience nung nagkaroon ng mass repatriation dito sa 'tin, bumababa lang talaga ng dalawa o tatlong buwan ang remittances pero nagre-recover din," Calderon said.
He said what worries OFWs in the Gulf countries is the rising price of oil, especially in Saudi Arabia, where the prized commodity forms the backbone of the economic giant's massive subsidies.
Lito Soriano, president of LBS Recruitment Solutions, said based on a CNN report, gasoline prices rose 50 percent, an increase to 24 cents per liter from 16 cents, after cutting off diplomatic ties with Iran.
Experts said that the oil-reliant country must increase oil prices above $50 per barrel and may even start collecting taxes to sustain its cash reserve.
Though remittances will be unaffected by tensions between the two Gulf countries and rising oil prices, John Bertiz, president of the Philippine Recruitment Agencies Accredited to Saudi Arabia (PRAASA), still advised families of OFWs to cut down on spending.
"Ang pinaka-importante sa ngayon siguro at this time is maghigpit ng sinturon, medyo bawas ang gastos kasi hindi natin alam kung anong pwedeng mangyari in the future at nang sa ganon, makauwi man ang ating OFWs... at least meron silang madudukot for the next six months just in case na mawalan sila ng trabaho," Bertiz said. —KBK, GMA News

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