By International Shipping News
Filipino sailors serving on international vessels have transferred a total of $2.14 billion in cash from January to April this year, 10.7 percent higher than the $1.93 billion they sent in during the same period last year.
In a Sunday statement, ACTS-OFW chairman and former Representative John Bertiz III said that cash remittances from Filipino merchant mariners remained strong given the robust demand for their skills and continuous deployment.
“Fund transfers from sea-based Filipino workers abroad are actually rising at a rate five times faster than remittances coming from those based on land,” Bertiz added.
According to the ACTS-OFW chairman, the top 10 sources of remittances from Filipino sailors from January to April 2019 were from:
- United States ($770.1 million)
- Singapore ($214.4 million)
- Germany ($186.6 million)
- Japan ($184.3 million)
- the United Kingdom ($105.9 million)
- the Netherlands ($96.69 million)
- Hong Kong ($93.7 million)
- Panama ($58.7 million)
- Cyprus ($55.9 million)
- Norway ($39.9 million)
With this development, Bertiz urged the Commission on Higher Education to promote Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation or Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering degrees among high school graduates from poor families.
“They should be favored in the grant of full scholarships in private maritime schools,” he said.
At the same time, Bertiz also urged state universities and colleges in the Philippines to offer BSMT and BSMarE degrees if they still did not have these programs.
Once they get their license and certificates, graduates of these programs may find jobs as ship officers – masters, chief mates, officers-in-charge of a navigational watch, chief engineers, second engineers, and officers-in-charge of engineering watches, according to Bertiz.
These jobs will have seamen working aboard bulk carriers; container ships; oil, gas, chemical and other product tankers; general cargo ships; pure car carriers; cruise ships; and tugboats around the world.
In 2018, Filipino sailors remitted $6.14 billion through bank channels, 4.5 percent higher than 2017’s $5.87 billion.