By: BINGO P. DEJARESCO
Bohol bank deposits posted at P36-B in 2016, almost double that of P20-B in 2012 in a short span of four years.
This is about the level of Negros Oriental, according to Deo Butawan , former Bohol Chapter- Bankers Association of the Philippines president.Â
However, comparing the two provinces, Butawan believes that the economic activities in Bohol exceed that of Negros Oriental despite the presence in the latterÂ of their BPO firms and two towering universities of Silliman and St Paul’s.
As in most provinces, the presence of large universities and colleges, areÂ one of theÂ key factors to economic activity. Citing Tacloban as an example, the closure years ago of the divine World University (SVD) dampened money flow there, per the exÂ BAP-Bohol president.Â
For instance, the university had 5,000 students getting an allowance of P 5,000 per month for all their needs. That translates to P 25-Milion a month or about P 300-Million a year. This gave sustenance to tricycles, boarding lodges, eateries, school suppliers and entertainment.
It hurt the Tacloban economy with workers and students fleeing to nearby provinces and Manila.
Cebu, on the other hand, lords it over the regionÂ with a record of P 426-B as it hosts 237 of the 519 bank branches in Region 7 as of 2015.
Negros Oriental, on the other hand,Â is tricycle “king” with 5,000 to Bohol’s 3,000.
OFWS & SIGNSÂ
Butawan opines that OFW money is the main driver of Bohol deposits-mainly from seamen or sea farers.Â
Its potency is better than BPOs whose average income per worker averages onlyÂ between P17,000- P25,000. Note that the rank and file sea farer averages P75,000 /month (US300- US3,000) while the officer mates ranges between P 400,000 to P600,000 monthly take.Â
Significantly, 80% of sea farer income is remitted back as there is little chance for them to spend the dollars while on board ship.Â
There are 1.2 million seamen in the world and 30% of them or 360,000 of them are from the Philippines. Â Significantly, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), there are 86,316 Filipino marine officers in the global industry.Â
It is noteworthy that Bohol has spun off many seamen graduates from many nautical schools here.
ThisÂ OFW prosperity has translated into more cars sold to the streets and many Panglao lots purchased by OFW money. In BPI alone, the figure is 500 new cars soldÂ in one year- for one bank alone.
Consider,likewise, OFWs are awash with cash that car purchases via cash payment is commonplace.Â
One lowly broker of Panglao lots, now sports a P2-M vehicle, raising collective envy. His commissions came from lot sales to OFWs.Â
The OFWs are a main cog of the Bohol economy. According to author (Santiago 2003) in the 1800 s Boholanos were already earning abroad with the first set ofÂ Boholano skilled pearl divers hired with handsome fees in Australia.Â
Thus, theÂ Peace Equity Access for Community Experiment – in their research- concluded that 75% of those towns were there were only 3-5% of their citizens working abroad were in poverty while 60% of those with 22% of their populace as OFWs earners were generally prosperous.Â
There is, therefore, a very strong correlation between poverty incidence and having OFWs abroad. A great source of bank deposits, indeed.