The quarter of a million Filipinos in Kuwait sent home P40.6 billion last year, an amount which, if they were a company, would have ranked them the Philippines’ 37th biggest in terms of gross revenues, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.
If you add up their remittances over the past three years, the total would be about P112.7 billion, using current peso-US dollar exchange, Recto said.
“This financial contribution to their homeland makes them deserving of government care, whether repatriation or legal help if they are still there, and employment and livelihood assistance once they are home for good,” Recto said.
“Yung remittances ng mga OFW sa Kuwait noong 2016, mas malaki kaysa sa gross revenues ng Ayala Land, Procter and Gamble Philippines at Mitsubishi Motors Philippines in 2015. Doble ng gross revenues ng Honda Philippines, Megaworld, Robinsons Land at McDonalds during the same year,” Recto said.
“Mas malaki ang remittance nila kaysa sa binayarang income tax ng lahat ng mga pulis, o lahat ng mga guro at kawani ng lahat ng state colleges and universities,” he added.
“What they sent last year is 40 times bigger than the government’s P1 billion OFW assist fund for the whole of 2018,” Recto said, referring to the Assistance to Nationals Fund that the Department of Foreign Affairs taps in aiding expatriate Filipinos in distress.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data showed that cash remittance of Filipinos in Kuwait reached $735.23 million for the period of January to November 2017. Recto’s forecast is that the full year figure “will be about $805.8 million.”
It was $856.7 million in 2016, up from $617.6 million in 2015.
The three year total, using peso-dollar exchange average in those years, is P105 billion, Recto said.
“Hindi barya-barya ang ipinapadala nila sa atin. It helps keep our economy afloat. Pawis, luha at dugo ang puhunan nila. We are under obligation to reciprocate this sacrifice with prompt care,” Recto said.
There were 241,291 documented Filipinos in Kuwait as June 2017, but their total is 252,203 due to an estimated 10,912 undocumented Filipinos, Recto said, citing the January to June 2017 report to the Senate by the DFA on the status of Filipinos worldwide.
The report noted that 54 Filipinos – 27 male, 27 female – were in jail for various offenses, with two, a male and a female, on death row.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait also monitored 129 Filipinos awaiting deportation during said period.