Sunday, May 31, 2009

Migrants, Remittance-dependence, and the Philippine Economy

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As our contribution for the Philippine process of the Peoples’ Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights to prepare for the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) which was hosted by the Philippines on October 27–30, I was tasked to present for the Freedom from Debt Coalition on the effects of migrants remittances on the Philippine economy.

What I did was to look on important macroeconomic indicators, specifically employment, fiscal indicators, and monetary indicators (many of which were made available by the Philippine government for the public on the NSCB website). This was my presentation:

There were subsequent mass actions on the Migrants issue, which was captured by and YouTube:

The 2nd GFMD was held in the Philippines for very good reasons - we were one of the top labor-exporting countries in the world. Here is a videoclip on the issue.

Surely, it is time to revisit the role of migrant labor in keeping the economy afloat. Even in a time of economic crisis, NSCB reports: "Notwithstanding the difficulties faced by the global economy, the demand for the services of our OFWs continued to heighten as their increased deployment contributed to the hefty growth of Net Factor Income from Abroad (NFIA) of 40.8 percent from 36.2 percent last year, pushing GNP to grow by 4.4 percent from 6.4 percent the previous year."

This is compared to Capital Formation and Exports, which are going down. Note that PCE is up - and this because remittances fuel consumption despite historically low wages and high domestic unemployment. As for the GCE, it is debt-driven, but that is another matter.

TYPE OF EXPENDITUREQ1 2008Q1 2009Growth Rate
5. Less : Imports
6. Statistical Discrepancy113,80654,364

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT1,660,3351,739,9244.8
Net factor income from the rest of the world168,092258,363
GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT1,828,4271,998,2879.3

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