Filipino sailors wired home $2B from Jan-Apr, up 10.7%

FILIPINO sailors on international ocean-going vessels wired home a total of $2.14 billion in cash via the banking system from January to April this year, up $210 million, or 10.7 percent, from $1.93 billion in the same four-month period in 2018, the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said on Sunday.

Cash remittances from Filipino sailors remain buoyant amid strong demand for their skills and sustained deployment, according to ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto Bertiz III.

“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, a former congressman, said.

Bertiz identified the top 10 sources of remittances from Filipino sailors in the period under review as:

  • the 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); and
  • Norway ($39.9 million).

Bertiz urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to encourage high school graduates from disadvantaged families to enroll either in Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) or Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE) programs.

“They should be favored in the grant of full scholarships in private maritime schools,” Bertiz said.

Bertiz also urged the country’s tuition-free state universities and colleges (SUCs) that currently do not offer the BSMT and BSMarE programs to start supplying them.

Graduates of the two programs, once licensed and certified, may qualify as ship officers – masters, chief mates, officers-in-charge of a navigational watch, chief engineers, second engineers and officers-in-charge of engineering watch.

Filipino sailors serve on bulk carriers, container ships, oil, gas, chemical and other product tankers, general cargo ships, pure car carriers, cruise ships and tugboats around the world.

They wired home a total of $6.14 billion through bank channels in the whole of 2018, up 4.5 percent from $5.87 billion in 2017. (Photo Courtesy: