BSP says zero-remittance day hardly affected local economy

THE zero-remittance day—or the day chosen by Filipino migrant workers to not send a single cent of remittance to the country as a protest to existing government regulations—will not likely post a significant bump to the general economy, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) official said.

Central bank Deputy Governor for the Monetary Stability Sector Diwa C. Guinigundo, however, said that this does not mean that the government should not pay attention to what overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are trying to say in the protest.

In a response to the BusinessMirror on Saturday, Guinigundo said that “one day of no remittance will hardly be felt by the general economy,” but added that the “meaning of what our OFWs are doing should not be lost on both the government and the OFWs themselves.”

Earlier, several OFW groups declared on August 28 as “No Remittance Day” to dramatize  their protest to the recent regulation from the Bureau of Customs (BOC), giving the government the power to inspect balikbayan boxes from other countries before letting them through on Philippine shores. Smuggling and taxation are among the issues cited by the bureau.

However, Filipino migrant workers fear that the new regulation will only cause officials to be more corrupt and use the recent mandate not for its intended purpose, but to take hold of possessions sent by Filipinos abroad.

“One day of [no] remittance will leave the families of OFWs with a little less to fund their needs, but if the government addresses their concerns, there could be a workable solution to the issue,” Guinigundo told the BusinessMirror.

For this year, Filipino migrant workers have already sent about $12.08 billion in the first six months of 2015, data from the central bank showed.

“We get normally around $2 billion monthly. So that translates into $70 million daily,” Guinigundo said.

“The impact will, therefore, depend on both the duration and the volume of remittance that the OFWs decided to withhold,” Guinigundo added.

The Palace has already said earlier that it is not worried about the recent protest staged by Filipino migrant workers, and said that similar events in the past did not prove to derail general economic movement.

The August remittance data will be released by the central bank by mid-October this year.

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