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Kick start your day, March 17: PH is 82nd happiest country in the world

Plus, OFW remittances reach $2.2 billion in January; Senate probe on the $81-M Bangladesh Bank drag to 5 hours and nothing.
By Entrepreneur Staff |

Filipinos happier in 2015

Filipinos are happier in 2015 than in the previous year, limbing 10 notches up to 82nd place out of 156 countries surveyed, the third United Nations World Happiness Report released March 16 showed.

The Philippines ranks next to China (83rd) and is at fifth place among its ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbors. The country has also been found to be happier between 2013 and 2015, compared to between 2005 and 2007, just before the onset of the world economic crisis.


Nordic countries remain the happiest nations in the world, with Denmark maintaining its top spot. It is followed by Norway, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Completing the top 10 happiest nations are Canada, Finland, Austria, Iceland, and Australia.

The countries are ranked based on their GDP (gross domestic product) per capita; social support; healthy life expectancy; freedom to make life choices; generosity; and perceptions of corruption.

For the first time, the report also measured the role of inequality to the distribution of well-being among countries. This showed that many countries have achieved growth despite unequal distribution of wealth.

The study also promotes well-being and happiness levels as the basis for better policy-making in governments all over the world.



OFW remittances up by 3.2% in Jan

In spite of the global economic slowdown, OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances rose by 3.2% year-on-year in January 2016 at $2.2 billion (P1.02 trillion), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on March 15.

Land-based OFWs with work contracts of one year or more contributed the most to the surge with their $1.7 billion (P79.43 billion) worth of remittances.  Meanwhile, sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts added $0.5 billion (P23.3 billion).  

Both paychecks from land-based and sea-based workers grew by 3% and 4.6% year-on-year, respectively.

Three-fourths of the cash flows abroad came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Qatar, and Japan.

Remittances remain resilient with strong demand for Filipino manpower overseas, the BSP reported.



So what happened?

After a 5-hour Senate probe on March 15 the location of the $81 million from Bangladesh Bank remains unknown.

Under the strict provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s (RCBC) Lorenzo Tan and RCBC-Jupiter Street, Makati City bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito failed to properly disclose how the alleged stolen money got through the bank.

The money was allegedly deposited under the name of Filipino businessman William Go. However, Go reiterated that Santos-Deguito only used his name to create that account.

The investigation showed that RCBC allowed the withdrawal of the funds despite the stop payment order from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on February 8, a Chinese New Year holiday in the Philippines. But on February 9, the bank still allowed the withdrawal process and only recognized the stop order at the end of the banking day.

The legislators only concluded that AMLA has to be reviewed to avoid such crimes in the future.


Meanwhile, Bangladesh's central bank governor Atiur Rahman resigned amid the investigations on March 15, Tuesday, Reuters reported. – Elyssa Christine Lopez



Elyssa is’s editorial assistant / staff writer. Follow her on Twitter, @elyssalopz.

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