(The first draft of this post dates back to Aug 7, 2011. Then I lost my “muse” over dwindling remittance value. Anyway, considering the peso just hit 41, i suddenly got this itch to continue this post..)

Just read the latest forex news in Inquirer.net and my eyebrows crossed on the news that the peso strenthened to 41 – 1 dollar. There goes my hard-earned dollar.

Strong peso, pasakit sa OFWThe claim for need of a strong peso is suspect to me, considering that the net positive effect it supposed to bring to the economy is not really felt by the common tao.

Contrary to what Bangko Sentral or government economists say, the rising peso at this point of world financial crisis is actually a “pasakit”, a pain to the hardworking Filipino.

As the peso rises, local exporters (which most of the time are the small and medium enterprises) suffer from the dwindling returns of the dollar earned. The same thing for the dollar-earning Overseas Filipino Workers the world over.

While prices of commodities, transport fares and school tuitions increases every year, an OFW’s salary remains the same.  As each month saw the drop in peso, the lowly paid OFW in Midlle East, who earns 200 USD a month (after agency deduction) , sees his remittance value declining. With that, his family back home suffers a variety of AIDS – Acute Income Deficiency Syndrome

Why is the Philippine Peso rising while the rest of Asian currencies are dropping?

I am not a banker. Not an economist either. Just another lowly paid OFW. But let me hazard a guess.  — it is because of the 1.5 billion dollars monthly remittance by the OFWs.

Since 2008, the combine OFW remittance has consiistently hit 1.5 Billion dollars a month.

1. 2008 remittances – http://www.ofwngayon.com/2008/08/highest-monthly-remittances-posted-in-june/

2. 2009 remittances – http://www.gmanews.tv/story/179435/ofw-remittances-hit-all-time-monthly-record-in-october

3. 2010 remittances – http://www.gmanews.tv/story/203532/business/ofw-remittances-top-12b-aug-posts-highest-monthly-growth

4. 2011 remittances – http://www.pinoy-ofw.com/news/12545-ofw-remittances-6-62-billion-4-months.html

And the BSP is referring only to OFWs in Middle East and North Africa (Arab countries, kuya.)  The BSP further stated:

Filipinos in the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Italy accounted for 80.2 percent of the total remittances in January and February.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=66&articleId=677405

What this means is that it is the OFW remittances that bouys the forex reserves of the BSP, And because OFW remittances is predictable and regular, unlike foreign investments or domestic profit, the BSP is always assured that when it “boosts” the peso, they can always expect unfailing remittance next month.

But who benefited fom the strong peso? Definitely not the OFW or his family. Not the middle class.

It is the importers, local and foreign. The foreign investors like Koreans and Chinese,

And the rest of us never even taste or feel or see any positive changes in our country’s economy. Same shit on public infrastructure, education, health and, corruption.

Uncontrolled OFW remittance is the government’s drug. That is why everybody  (and everything)  is “high”.

So, what do we OFWs with low dollar salary do?

May I propose that we reduce our bank remittances.

I am sure those in oil and gas, or those receivng 3,000 dollars and above will snub this suggestion.

But really, I think we have to do something drastic before our families go hungry, sink into 5-6, and our children;s education put into peril, caused by this dwindling value of our hard-earned dollars.

Limit your bank remittances.

Send most of your money thru friends. Or carry it when you go for vacation.

Sure, you will still end up exchanging your dollars. But most likely you will do it in the bureau-de-change. And these money-changers do not always remit to the BSP (they hoard the dollars). So i’m sure the government will fell the impact of the drastic drop in OFW remittance passing thru banks.

Strong peso or weak peso, does not really benefit us in the middle- and lower-income bracket.

As the NPA’s used to say in Bisaya: WK – WK.

Way Kalainan. Way Kausaban.

Reduce your thru-bank remittances now!