2002 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF)

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Overseas Filipino Workers in April to September 2002 up by 2.6 percent ...

  • The number of Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad during the period April to September 2002 reached 1.06 million, up by 2.6 percent from 1.03 million a year ago. Of this total, 93.8 percent or 990 thousand were overseas contract workers (OCWs) or those with existing work-contract abroad. Their number also went up by 2.7 percent from 964 thousand in April to September 2001.
  • Increase in the number of OFWs were registered in nine regions with Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) posting the biggest increase of more than 80.0 percent. Region XII (Soccsksargen) and Region IV (Southern Tagalog) came next with 16.7 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively.
  • Nine regions also exhibited increases in the number of OCWs: namely, National Capital Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.

More than half of OFWs came from National Capital Region (NCR) Southern Tagalog and Southern Luzon ...

  • The National Capital Region (NCR) still reported the biggest number of OFWs with 216 thousand, of which 200 thousand were OCWs. Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon followed with 203 thousand and 142 thousand OFWs, respectively. More than half of the total OFWs came from these regions (53.1 percent). Meanwhile, Caraga, reported the least number of OFWs at 11 thousand.

For every 100 female OFWs, there were 110 male OFWs ...

  • Of the 1.06 million OFWs, 554 thousand or 52.5 percent were males while 47.5 percent were females. This translated to a sex ratio of 110 males for every 100 females.
  • Both male and female OFWs increased during the six-month period. Male OFWs increased by 4.9 percent while female OFWs increased slightly by 0.2 percent.
  • A greater number of OFWs were in the 25�29 age group. Majority of these were females. Male OFWs on the other hand, were more than twice larger than female OFWs in the 45 and over age group.

Asia remained the favorite destination of OFWs ...

  • Of the 1.06 million OFWs in October 2002, 808 thousand or 76.5 percent worked in Asia. Those who were in Europe, was about 121 thousand or 11.5 percent; and those in North and South America, about 87 thousand or 8.2 percent.

  • About one third of the 808 thousand OFWs in Asia (271 thousand or 33.5 percent) were in Saudi Arabia. Those who worked in Hong Kong accounted for about 15.0 percent (122 thousand) and those in Japan, 11.0 percent or about 87 thousand.
  • Saudi Arabia remained to be the favorite destination of male OFWs (205 thousand) while Hong Kong was for female OFWs (114 thousand).

Greater number of OFWs were laborers and unskilled workers ...

  • About 342 thousand or 32.4 percent OFWs were laborers and unskilled workers. Trades and related workers came next with 15.9 percent or about 168 thousand, followed by plant and machine operators and assemblers at 14.7 percent or about 155 thousand.

  • Of the 342 thousand laborers and unskilled workers, about 89.0 percent were sales and services elementary workers; almost 10.0 percent were laborers in mining, construction, manufacturingand transport, and the rest (1.2 percent) were agricultural, forestry, fishery and related laborers.
  • More male OFWs were drivers and mobile plant operators (118 thousand) or more than one fifth of the total male OFWs. Female OFWs, on the other hand, were mostly sales and service elementary workers (286 thousand) or more than half of the total female OFWs.

Total remittances in April to September 2002 higher by P12.4 billion ...

  • From April to September 2002, the total remittances of OFWs amounted to P67.7 billion, higher by P12.4 billion from P55.3 billion at the same period last year. These remittances included cash sent (P46.4 billion), cash brought home (P17.0 billion), and remittance in kind (P4.3 billion).
  • The average remittance within the six-month period was estimated at P74,487, an increase of 17.1 percent from P63,606 last year. Male OFWs sent higher remittances on the average than female OFWs.

Most OFWs sent cash remittances through banks ...

  • Of the 853 thousand OFWs sending cash remittances, about 597 thousand or seven in every 10 OFWs used bank while about 218 thousand or more than one fourth (25.6 percent) used door-to-door delivery. Others remitted through agency or local office, friends or coworkers, and other means at about 37 thousand or 4.3 percent.
  • Cash remittances sent through banks amounted to P35.2 billion or about 76.0 percent. Cash sent through door-to-door delivery amounted to P9.0 billion or 19.3 percent, while the remaining P2.2 billion or 4.8 percent were either remitted through agency or local office, or friends or coworkers, or other means.

Cash remittances sent by OFWs in Asia reached P31.7 billion ...

  • Cash remittances sent by OFWs in Asia reached P31.7 billion accounting to 68.4 percent of the total cash remittance. Cash remittances coming from the OFWs in Europe came next (P7.4 billion), followed by those from North and South America (P4.7 billion).
  • Among OFWs in the Asian countries, OFWs in Saudi Arabia sent the biggest cash remittances (P12.0 billion or about 37.9 percent). OFWs in Jordan sent the least with P0.06 billion.

Biggest share of cash remittances came from plant and machine operator and assemblers ...

  • Among the major occupation groups, OFWs working as plant and machine operators and assemblers shared the biggest cash remittances during the period April to September 2002. They accounted 19.5 percent of the total cash remittances. The next biggest remittances were sent by laborers and unskilled workers, P8.8 billion or about 19.0 percent; followed by trades and related workers, P7.8 billion or about 17.0 percent. Special occupation workers (or those with occupation which were not classifiable) contributed the least with P0.02 billion or about 0.05 percent.
  • In terms of average cash remittances, those workers with special occupation, reported the biggest at P90,000. Laborers and unskilled workers reported the least with P32,283.




The data presented in this press release were taken from the yearly Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF) from 2001 to 2002. The SOF gathers estimates on the number of Overseas Filipinos Workers, their socioeconomic characteristics and the amount and mode of remittances, in cash and in kind, received by their families. Only the data for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are reported in this release.

The SOF results have the following limitations:

  1. OFWs include overseas contract workers (OCWs) who were presently and temporarily out of the country during the reference period to fulfill an overseas contract for a specific length of time or who were presently at home on vacation during the reference period but still had an existing contract to work abroad and other Filipino workers abroad with valid working visa or work permits. Those who had no working visa or work permits (tourist, visitor, student, medical, and other types of nonimmigrant visas) but were presently employed and working full time in other countries were also included.
  2. The OFWs covered in this report were those working abroad during the period April 1, 2002 to September 30, 2002. The workers who were at home on vacation from their jobs abroad who left earlier than April 1 of the reference year were also included in this report as long as they worked during the specified reference period.
  3. The SOF did not ask for the total salary received by the OFWs. Hence, the remittances presented in the results may just be part of the total salary received by the OFWs.

In view of Executive Order No. 36 that was signed last September 19, 2001, providing for the reorganization of the administrative regions in Mindanao, the following provinces were transferred:

  • Basilan, which is now under ARMM by EO 36, shall remain as part of Region IX, until Isabela City is formed as separate domain in the upcoming revision of the master sample.
  • The province of Lanao del Norte and Iligan City, which were formerly under Region XII, are now under Region X.
  • The province of South Cotabato and the new province of Sarangani, General Santos City and Koronadal City, which were formerly under Region XI, are now under Region XII.
  • Marawi City, which was formerly under Region XII, is now under the administrative supervision of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
  • Given the new set up, the composition of the following regions are as follows:


Region IX
      Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga
      del Sur
      Dapitan City, Dipolog City, Isabela City,
      Pagadian City, and Zamboanga City
Region X
(Northern Mindanao
     Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental,
     Misamis Oriental, and Lanao del Norte
     Cagayan de Oro City, Gingoog City, Iligan City,
     Malaybalay City, Oroquieta City, Ozamis City,
     Tangub City, and Valencia City
Region XI
(Davao Region)
     Davao Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental
     Davao City, Digos City, Panabo City, Tagum City,
     and the Island Garden City of Samal
Region XII
     North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato,
     and Sultan Kudarat
     Cotabato City, General Santos City, Kidapawan
     City, Koronadal City, and Tacurong City
Autonomous Region
in Muslim Mindanao
     Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi
     Marawi City

Source:  Income and Employment Statistics Division
             Household Statistics Department
             National Statistics Office
             Manila, Philippines