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Philippine bishop warns against stealing migrant money

Cash sent back by overseas workers should not be snaffled for meaningless projects, Ruperto Santos of Balanga says

Philippine bishop warns against stealing migrant money

Filipino migrant workers in Qatar cheer President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit in the Middle East country in April. (Photo by Rene Lumawag)


May 19, 2017

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A leading Catholic bishop has appealed to the Philippine government "to take care" of hard-earned money sent home by Filipino migrant workers.

"To value their labor is to take care of remittances and that these remittances will not be stolen or corrupted," said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga.

The prelate, who heads the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said people in government should show their appreciation to Filipino migrants by not stealing or misusing their money for "non-essential or non-existent government projects."

The Central Bank of the Philippines reported that cash remittances from Filipino migrant workers hit its highest monthly level in March due to strong demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.

Personal remittances from Filipinos abroad saw a double-digit growth of 11.8 percent to a record high of US$2.91 billion in March from US$2.61 billion in the same month last year.

This brought the three-month total to US$7.71 billion, or up 8.1 percent from US$7.13 billion in the same period last year.

Bishop Santos said the first quarter remittance of Filipino migrant workers "truly manifests that they sustain and support our country."

"Our Filipino migrant workers are not our modern day heroes, they are our blessings," said the prelate.

The increase in cash remittances was traced to a rise in money sent back by Filipinos in the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan.

Remittances from about 12 million Filipinos living and working abroad account for about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

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