CASH remittances from Filipinos overseas will probably fall by $3 billion from a year earlier to $27 billion this year as the world grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said in a statement on Sunday.

The estimate assumes the “best possible outcome,” ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto D. Bertiz III said.

The group said the pandemic would probably trigger joblessness among Filipino workers overseas, he said.

“The foreign labor markets for Filipino workers — except for medical professionals and technicians — will shrink considerably this year as the global economy declines,” he added.

Filipino workers in the shipping, aviation, travel, hotel and restaurant, gaming, oil, gas and energy sectors would likely be the most hit by the global health crisis, Mr. Bertiz said.

The collapse of crude oil prices to $20 to $25 per barrel is expected to ease the demand for Filipino workers — from engineers to construction workers — in the Middle East, he said.

The kingdoms in the region heavily dependent on oil and gas income would probably spend less aggressively on new public infrastructure, according to Mr. Bertiz.

“The global economic recession will also reduce the demand for Filipinos sailor as shipping traffic sinks,” he added.

The Philippines is the world’s second-largest supplier of licensed ship officers and the top provider of unlicensed ship ratings or non-officer crew.

About 450,000 Filipino sailors serve on ocean-going bulk carriers, container ships, oil, gas, chemical and other product tankers, general cargo ships, pure car carriers and tugboats around the world.

Mr. Bertiz said ACTS-OFW is counting on the government to provide financial aid to Filipino workers overseas who have lost income under the “no work, no pay policy” of their employers.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration last week started accepting online applications for the $200 (P10,000) cash aid for Filipino workers abroad. — G.M. Cortez