The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2008 reached 2.0 million as reported by their families. The 2008 estimate represents an increase of 14.6 percent over the 1.7 million OFWs estimated for the period April to September 2007. The Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contract abroad comprised 94.0 percent (1.9 million) of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2008. This number is 16.6 percent more than the 1.6 million OCWs for the same period in 2007 (Table 1).
There were more male (51.7%) OFWs than females (48.3%) during the period April to September 2008. More than one fourth of the OFWs (25.7%) were in age group 25 to 29 years. Female OFWs were generally younger compared to male OFWs. Of the total number of female OFWs, 28.8 percent belonged to age group 25 to 29 years and 20.3 percent were in age group 30 to 34 years. Meanwhile, male OFWs were almost evenly distributed among the age groups 25 to 29, 30 to 34 and 45 and over (Table 1).
About one third (32.4%) OFWs were laborers and unskilled workers, which include domestic helpers, cleaners and manufacturing laborers. Those who worked as trades and related workers comprised 15.7 percent; service workers and shop and market sales workers, 14.3 percent; and plant and machine operators and assemblers, 13.0 percent (Table 1).
OFWs from CALABARZON (18.4%), Central Luzon (14.5%) and National Capital Region (14.0%) made up almost half of the total number of OFWs. On the other hand, Caraga reported the smallest share of OFWs at 1.2 percent (Table 2).
One out of five (20.4%) OFWs worked in Saudi Arabia. One in every seven OFWs worked in United Arab Emirates. Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Qatar and Taiwan were also popular destinations of OFWs (Table 2). OFWs who worked in Europe comprised 9.4 percent while those who worked in North and South America accounted for 8.4 percent.
The total remittance sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2008 was estimated at 141.9 billion pesos, an increase of 32.1 billion pesos from the estimate of 110.0 billion pesos in 2007. Included in the total remittances are cash sent (73.2%), cash brought home (21.5%) and remittances in kind (5.2%). Of the total cash remittances sent, 76.1 percent through banks, 11.8 percent through door-to-door, 7.5 percent through other means, and the rest (4.6%) through the agency or local office and friends or co-workers. OFWs working in Asia, comprising 78.2 percent of all OFWs, sent the biggest cash remittance of 69.9 billion pesos. Among occupation groups, OFWs working as laborers or unskilled workers posted the highest cash remittance of 19.5 billion pesos (Table 3).
CARMELITA N. ERICTA
The data presented in this press release were taken from the 2008 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF). The SOF aims to derive national estimates on the number of Overseas Filipinos Workers, their socio-economic characteristics and the amount and mode of remittances, in cash and in kind, received by their families.
The OFWs covered in this report were those aged 15 years old and over and working abroad during the period April 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008.
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 non-immigrant visas) but were presently employed and working full time in other countries were also included.
The SOF did not ask for the total salary received by the OFWs. Hence, the remittances presented in the results may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs.
Starting July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design has been adopted. Using this master sample design, the number of samples increased from 41,000 to around 51,000 sample households. The SOF, being a rider of the LFS, has also adopted the new master sample design starting October 2003. Careful evaluation must be made in comparing the results of the 2008 SOF with other SOF results prior to the implementation of the new MS design.
Source: Income and Employment Statistics Division
Household Statistics Department
National Statistics Office