Press Release on the 1996 Overseas Filipino Workers

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Wednesday, October 29, 1997

OFWs increase in 1996

The total number of Filipinos (OFW) who worked abroad during the period from April to September 1996 was estimated at 900 thousand persons. The figure was higher by 13.2 percent or 105 thousand from 795 thousand workers during the same period last year.

Of the total OFWs, about 92.0 percent or 831 thousands reportedly worked abroad under contract.

These workers came from the National Capital Region (17.0%), Southern Tagalog (17.0%), Central Luzon (16.7%) and Ilocos (12.0%). On the other hand, a considerable number of OFWs reportedly without contract came from Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Southern Tagalog and Western Mindanao.

More male OFWs than female OFWs

Out of the 900 thousand OFWs, 504 thousand or 56.0 percent are males and 396 thousand or 44.0 percent are females.

The number of male and female OFWs from April to September 1996 increased over that of 1995 reversing the decline from 1994 to 1995. The male OFWs increased by 88 thousand or 21 percent from that of the previous year. The same trend was observed in the number of female OFWs.

About 22.8 percent of OFWs belonged to age group 25 - 29 during the reference period. When disaggregated by sex, the biggest portion of the female OFWs were in age bracket 25 - 29 years old while the biggest portion of male OFWs were in the 30 - 34 age grouping.

Majority of OFWs worked in Asia including Middle East

During the six-month period in 1996, 709 thousand or 78.8 percent of the total OFWs worked in Asia including the Middle East, and this was higher by 10.6 percent or 68 thousand workers from last year. OFWs were also found in Europe (8.6%) and North and South America (7.9 %). These three areas were observed to be the most frequented places of work by OFWs during the same period in 1995.

Of the total OFWs working in Asia during April to September 1996, 348 thousand or 38.7 percent worked in the Middle East and 257 thousand or 28.6 percent workers in East Asia. Workers in the Middle East were led by those in Saudi Arabia numbering 260 thousand or 28.9 percent of total and in East Asia by those in Hongkong (120 thousand or 13.3 percent).

As in previous years, more male OFWs landed jobs in Saudi Arabia and female OFWs, in Hongkong.

Service, production and transport workers 80 percent of total

From April to September 1996, 372 thousand or 41.3 percent of the OFWs were engaged in services which has been the sector with the most demand as early as 1990. There were also notable numbers of OFWs working as production workers, transport equipment operators, laborers and related workers (360 thousand or 40 percent). Other OFWs were professional, technical and related workers (106 thousand or 12.0 percent); agricultural, animal husbandry and forestry workers (12 thousand or 1.3 percent); sales workers (11 thousand or 1.2 percent); and administrative, executive and managerial workers (4 thousand or 0.4 percent).

The biggest portion of the female OFWs (82.8 percent) worked as service workers (82.8%) while more male OFWs (91.7 percent) worked as production and related workers, transport equipment operators and laborers during the reference period in 1996.

Of the total service workers, 102 thousand or 27.4 percent worked in Hongkong, 66 thousand or 17.7 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 37 thousand or 9.9 percent in Singapore. On the other hand, production workers, transport equipment operators, laborers and related workers were concentrated in Saudi Arabia (136 thousand or 37.8 percent), Taiwan (35 thousand or 9.7 percent), and Japan (29 thousand or 8.1 percent).

Total cash remittances higher by 3.5 billion pesos

Out of the 900 thousand OFWs, 79.0 percent of them sent cash remittances during April to September 1996, 49.5 percent of which were below P20,000 and 50.5 percent, P20,000 and more.

The total cash remittances during the six-month period in 1996 were estimated at P26.6 billion, higher by P3.5 billion or 14.9 percent from P23.2 billion in 1995. These remittances included total cash sent amounting to P19.5 billion or 73.2 percent; cash brought home of P4.2 billion or 15.9 percent; and remittances in kind of P2.9 billion or 10.9 percent.

Within the six-month period, the average cash remittance sent per OFW was P27,432. Male OFWs sent a higher average cash remittance of P33,508 which was equivalent to P5,585 per month, while female OFWs sent P19,389 which was equivalent to P3,232 per month. The cash remittances sent by male OFWs increased by almost 5 percent from their remittances last year while those of the female OFWs decreased by 1.2 percent.

Cash remittances were sent either through banks (49.2 percent), agency/local offices (3.0 percent), friends/co-workers (5.4 percent), "door to door" system (19.7 percent) and other means (1.7 percent).

Cash remittances through banks in 1996 increased by 23.4 percent from last year. In the same manner, cash sent through agency/local office went up by 93.2 percent and through friends/co-workers, 29.8 percent. However, those that were sent through "door to door" system and other means declined by 2% and 63.2%, respectively.

Source: National Statistics Office
             Manila, Philippines