Can We Ever Turn A Remittance-Driven Economy Around?
OFWs sent home more than $14 billion dollars in 2007 compared to only $1 billion in 1990. The OFW remittances are one reason why the economy has been growing despite a stagnating agro-industrial base and an ever-expanding non-OFW informal sector since the l980s. Promotion of labor migration, which began in 1970’s, was intended as a stop-gap measure needed to reduce unemployment while the Sicat-Virata economic model of a labor-intensive export-oriented (LIEO) production based on foreign investments and borrowings had not taken off. However, the “temporary” solution has perpetuated until today. Turning around our remittance-driven economy will require first and foremost a serious re-thinking of the existing economic development paradigm that has been place in nearly four uninterrupted decades.