The government is finalizing a contingency plan to protect the millions of foreign Filipino workers amid a global financial meltdown that threatens escalating unemployment, said officials. While the economy remains relatively stable and has limited exposure to fallen US and European financial institutions, the crisis could force many governments abroad to cut jobs in sectors where Filipinos are employed. About 10 percent of the 90 million Filipinos are overseas, and their remittances have become the backbone of the economy – in 2007 they sent home USD 14 billion, or about 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to official figures. (IRIN)

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