Monday, November 03, 2008

RP selected as target country for global initiative on migration and development

GMANews.TV - Wednesday, October 29

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines was selected to be a target country for the 15-million-euro (P950-million) global joint initiative of the European Commission and the United Nations that intends to produce a new way of making migration work for development.

Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, head of the delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines, on Tuesday said that the country was selected to be one of the 16 target countries of the joint initiative which is fully funded by the European Commission and implemented by the UN Development Program. "The Philippines was selected as one of the (target) countries because of the sheer size of the Philippine diaspora," he said during a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center.

He said that there are currently 10 million Filipinos who are working overseas, which was the total population of the Philippines 19 years ago. In other words, he said that the Philippines has a lot of ideas and best practices to share with other countries of origin in terms of migration. "There are a lot of good ideas in the Philippines (that) we can share globally, the Philippines can benefit and the Philippines can contribute," said MacDonald.

The 15 other countries selected were Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Georgia, Moldova, Ecuador, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Cape Verde, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, the initiative aims to create forums where practitioners can meet and exchange knowledge with the aim of facilitating migration and development interventions.

A fair in Brussels, Belgium will be held during the first week of December where practitioners will be asked to showcase the best migration practices of their countries, while a Web site will be created to serve as a platform to share news and information regarding existing migration and development initiatives.

During the same month, a call for proposals will be launched, showcasing an allotted fund of €11 million or P690 million for concrete project proposals for the facilitation of migrant communities, migrant rights, and their remittances. The grants will provide €50,000 to €200,000 (P3.3 million to P13.4 million) to support concrete interventions and partnerships of the selected proposals.

On the other hand, Peter Sutherland, special representative of the UN secretary-general on migration, said during the same press conference that such an initiative is "an opportunity but is also a challenge to produce results." "I think we owe it to the each other or more particularly we owe it to the migrant community to make effective use of the resources at our disposal, whether it is in government, the UN, or non-governmental organizations," he said.

Meanwhile, UN Population Fund Representative Suneeta Mukherjee on Tuesday supported this by saying that countries reap economic benefits from the labor of its people in foreign lands so people should strive to protect their interests at home and overseas in return. "We must remember that the tree that gives us fruit and the crop that gives us harvest needs protection. They need to be looked after, they have rights," she said.

She said that this first joint program between the European Commission and the UN represents a major innovation in strategic partnerships at a global level. "Through this program, we hope (to) address decision makers and keep them fully informed of the good practices of migration and development," she said. -


Rights: GMANews.TV

‘Filipinos paying for RP’s migration policies’

MANILA, Philippines - Despite being frequently cited as a model for migration policies, the Philippine government is making its people pay for its policy of sending more and more Filipino workers abroad in order to keep the economy afloat, a civil society group said.

“Filipino society is paying a steep price for the massive exodus of its members," said Fr. Fabio Baggio of the Scalabrini Migration Center in his paper presented during the recently concluded Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) at the Philippine International Cultural Center in Manila.

Titled “Enhancing Benefits and Reducing Costs," the paper said that brain drain or the transfer of knowledge, technology and resources may cause salutary effects on the growth of countries like the Philippines.

“The Philippines appeared to have produced little effort in this important area," he said.

Thus, he said that the Philippine government’s enthusiasm for the increased deployment of more highly skilled and professional migrants should be reviewed in the light of the political consequences of the brain drain and “professional exodus."

Moreover, he said the Philippine government’s reliance on migrants’ remittances has progressively taken the appearance of a real economic dependence.

He also said that the economic benefits driven by Filipino migrants’ remittances cannot be denied both at the macro and micro levels.

“At the macroeconomic level, for the last years the surge in remittances has been boosting the Philippine peso, easing the foreign debt burden and taming national inflation," he said.

In 2007, OFWs remitted about US$14.4 billion or more than P215 billion through legal channels, constituting 9.2 percent of the total Gross National Product (GNP).

“Nevertheless, while the substantial role remittances play in increasing the Philippines’ GNP should be recognized, little empirical evidence has been produced on how migrants’ money transfers have significantly improved the domestic economy," he said.

On the other hand, he said the families of Filipino migrants appear to benefit from foreign remittances on the microeconomic level.

Economic disparity

However, he also said that while the bulk of migrant remittances appear to produce positive effects at the national and the family level, the results at the local community level are not well-established.

Baggio said he believes that overseas remittances are likely to contribute to “a widening of the economic disparities across regions."

While remittances serve to enhance family incomes, the extent to which they represent a “net increase" has not been clearly assessed.

He said that empirical data show that families of migrants tend to rely on remittances alone, reducing progressively their work effort.

“The extended separation of family members (also) affects marital and parental relationships and constitutes a threat to the stability of the family unit," he said.

The Commission for Filipinos Overseas estimated that 8,726,520 Filipino nationals were living overseas as of December 2007.

According to data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), 1,073,402 Filipinos migrated abroad as regular migrant workers in 2007, a slight increase from the 1,062,567 deployed in 2006.

With these figures, the Philippines is among the countries with the biggest number of migrants, the others being India, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Jordan and Sri Lanka.

In 2005, migrants around the world was estimated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at 191 million, of which about 40 million were “illegals.".

A continuing global reliance on worker deployment

In the 2nd GFMD, delegates from about 163 countries, including 18 foreign officials of ministerial level, discussed ways of “protecting and empowering migrants for development."

Next year’s GFMD will be held in Greece, with the integration of migration policies in development plans as the central theme.

Greek Deputy Minister of Interior Athanassios Nakos, who attended the 2nd GFMD in Manila, said: “We aim at ensuring the thematic continuity of the forum, but also at tackling new issues that constitute today’s challenges in the migration and development field," in his speech during the closing ceremonies of the GFMD government days.

“International migration needs to be an integral part of the development agenda, as well as part of national, regional, and international development strategies," said Nakos.

Moreover, he said that Greece aims to maximize the benefits from international migration and minimize its impacts.

“We should work so that migration becomes a choice instead of a necessity," he said.

He also said that there is an increasing interdependence of all countries, whether countries of origin, of transit or of destination in migration.

“Interdependence is the key issue that we need to take into account in conceiving, adopting and implementing our migration policies at all levels," he said.

Now a migrant-receiving country

Meanwhile, since Greece became a migrant-receiving country from being a migrant-sending country, Nakos said it has a lot of ideas to share with the world.

“Migration, in Greece, cannot any more be considered as a temporary phenomenon. Our policy is constantly reviewed and adopted to the evolving situation," he said.

However, he recognized the fact that even their country is having problems regarding the phenomenon.

“Our migration policy at an orderly migration, with due respect to the rights of individuals, the migrants themselves, and their integration in our society," he said.

On the other hand, he said that aside from their own ideas, they will be sure to include the inputs of the Manila GFMD.

“We will take back home a valuable trove of ideas and best practices presented by all of you," he told the delegates during his speech. - GMANews.TV



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'wag Magpadala - OFWs Join Zero Remittance Day!

Today is Zero Remittance Day!

Not only joining the millions of OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) on this campaign in support of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), an alliance composed of 112 grassroots migrants’ organizations worldwide to protest the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) for being anti-migrant workers. But also due to the value fluctuation of won. I believe most of us migrant workers here will be committing to this call.

So, Zero Remittance Day - today!

Read some more here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

OFW/OF Remittances to the Philippines

Click image to see it clearly. This image was taken from Yahoo slide photos.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saudi Based Pinoy Chemical Engineer Launches Search for the 2008 Top 10 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog

Interview with an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Series

Finally my plan to feature OFW here had materialize with this interview with Jebee Kenji Solis. He has been blogging since 2005. This is how he describe his blog: "THOUGHTSKOTO is a jargon word for "these are my thoughts". Blog of a Young Filipino LDS Couple, living in Saudi Arabia. Thoughts and Musings about Life and Love, Trials and Challenges, Faith and Hope as we continue in our journey to FOREVER."

I was invited to nominate for the Top 10 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog. I find the search interesting so I asked him if I can feature him on this blog and promote his initiative. Below is the interview of Kenji.

Check out his blog here:

Saudi Based Pinoy Chemical Engineer Launches Search for the 2008 Top 10 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog

1) Tell us about yourself?

I am Jebee Kenji Solis, I was born in General Santos City, studied Chemical Engineering in Mindanao State University, and has been a water specialist for more than 10 years now. I am currently the head of the Quality Assurance Department of Al Jazeerah Water Bottling, of AHQ & Sons Group of Companies here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I was married a year and a half ago to a new accountant from Quezon City named Shiela Mae Almine who loves to stay at home taking care of our 3 month old baby girl Heavenne Sofia.

2) What made you decide to work in Saudi Arabia?

I didn't really choose Saudi Arabia, I was applying for a job in Dubai but was late in submitting my requirements. Another agent saw my resume and read my qualifications that fit in their requirements so she 'bought' my resume from another agency. It turns out that the remuneration is good, so I consented.

3) What are your unique experiences and observations of the culture and tradition of the country? Did you experience culture shock and how did you deal with it?

Saudi Arabia is a secluded country; the tradition is as old as the Bible, with custom and religion that is so intriguing and mystifying to the world. Culture shock? Yea, 3-6 months was a terrible adjustment period especially I was alone here and that my workmates are all former expats and almost like fathers to me. I immersed myself in computer, playing games, blogging, and learning new concepts. Since the work is also demanding as I am building my laboratory and establishing quality and standards, time passed by without my notice.

4) What are the advantages of living and working there?

There are so many great advantages, especially the absence of taxes. Your salary, the food you eat, the goods you purchase are all free of taxes. Saudi government recognizes the presence of Saudi Aramco's Latter-Day Saints; some of them are experts and professional Americans. They allow us to practice our religion as long as we don't do missionary work, proselytizing or gospel preaching to their people.

5) What are the challenges? How do you deal with homesickness?

After two years of my contract, I requested for family status and additional benefits that allowed me to bring my wife here. She now lives with me here and she recently gave birth to our first baby girl Heavenne. So homesickness is not a problem, except that I miss eating "buko" (young coconut) which is so scarce here.

6) What advice would you give to those who would want to live and work there?

Saudi has strict customs and laws. But we feel safe here. Because of the strictness of the law, we feel secured. You'll only feel bad if you are doing things against the law. Just obey the laws and you'll be fine, and you can save a lot. Opportunity here is everywhere.

7) Tell us about the the search you launched on the Top 10 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog?

The top 10 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog is a search contest. We would like to recognize and honor those Pinoy expats/OFW, more than 10 million of them working around the world who toils and work for their loved ones in the Philippines. We would like to highlight their stories and learn from their lessons through their blog. Considered as "Bagong Bayani" (new heroes) we ought to hear their voices and amplify them. So we can show that we care for them for they deserve to be heard and acknowledged. Since this is the first search the rule is very simple. Definitely we have some small prizes in stored for the top 10. We also have an icon or widget for nominees to display this contest to promote it. So for those who are interested to nominate Filipino expat/OFW bloggers please visit this site for more information:

We have already few sponsors and we are looking for more.

8) How is your blogging experience so far?

I blog to unleash my thoughts and emotions so whenever I feel like writing something or posting anything it gets published in my blog. I am happy doing this, and I hope to reach out and inspire people through my blog. We have several readers from our faiths, from the Philippines and the rest is scattered around the globe with USA, SAUDI ARABIA, CANADA, and UK topping the list of countries.

9) Any final and concluding words?

THANK YOU SO MUCH PETE for this wonderful interview!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Overseas Class by Richard C. Paddock

Tatay Pepes Restobar in General Santos City, Philippines » Blog Archive » The Overseas Class by Richard C. Paddock

I saw this article online and I am posting the link here. The article was first published in LA Times on April 20, 2006.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kids of OFWs prone to emotional problems

mula sa isang balita (MALAYA)

Kids of OFWs prone to emotional problems


CHILDREN of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) could be prone to emotional, behavioral and mental problems, psychiatric doctors said yesterday as they aired concerns over the continuous exodus of Filipino workers.

In a forum in Quezon City, officials of the Philippine Psychiatric Association said the continued deployment of workers overseas could affect the development of their children.

Dr. Felicitas Soriano, PPA president, said while there is no official study on the behavioral effects of migration on children, "clinical exposure" showed that several OFW children are having emotional problems.

"What will become of our children? We observe that many OFW children are becoming insecure and drug dependents," said Soriano.

She added that some OFW children also become materialistic and spend their parent’s money on gadgets and internet gaming because of lack of guidance.

Dr. Grace Macapagal, in-house psychiatrist for crisis intervention rehabilitation in the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said that in cases where the mother or the father leaves to work abroad, there is an indirect effect on the children left behind.

"Migration of one parent or both is a very painful time for children and can cause bad emotions to stir up," she said.

In the case of an absentee father, Macapagal said, boys belonging to OFW families develop gender identity problems which become more "obvious when they grow old."

On the other hand, there is the "feminization" of OFWs, or where more women are now working abroad, leaving the care of children to their husbands. This is causing a role where fathers are left to care for children even if they are not prepared.

Macapagal added that there are also instances where the eldest daughters become the "substitute" for the mother.

"Minsan it’s the eldest daughter who takes up the role of the OFW mother. Sometimes they also take the sexual roles of the mother to some fathers," she related.

The doctors said one way of combating these problems is the utilization of an extended family in which relatives could act as surrogate parents.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pambungad at Pagpapakilala sa Blog na ito

May panahon na mag-blog kaya magiging aktibo muli - SANA ang mga blogs ko. Nais ko na isulat karamihan ang mga entry o posting dito sa Filipino o Taglish. Dahil ang pamagat ay nasa Filipino kung kaya't susubukan ko na magsulat sa Filipino.

May unang entry na subalit wala pang maayos na pambungad kung ano ang blog na ito kung kaya't susubukan ko na bigyang linaw kung ano ang blog na ito.

Tawag ko sa sarili, akoy anak ng OFW, kapatid ng OFW, kamag-anak ng OFW, mamamayan ng bansa ng OFW. Ipinagmamalaki ko na OFW din ako.

Si tatay nagsimula maging Overseas Contract Worker (OCW, bago tawaging OFW) noong 1977. Isa siyang seaman. Bagamat maituturing ko na lumaki ako na halos walang ama, laking pasasalamat sa kaniyang pagpupunyagi dahil tulad ng sinumang magulang nais niya na mabigyan ang mga anak ng magandand kinabukasan. Kaya halos lahat
kami ngayon ay nakapag-aral na o nakatapos ng kolehiyo (ang bunso namin ay magtatapos ngayong Marso 2008). Naging OFW din ang dalawa kong kapatid mga seamen sila. Marami sa pinsan at iba pang kamag-anak ang naging OFW ang iba lalo na sa mga babaeng kamag-anak ay mga Domestic Helpers sa Hongkong, Singapore, Brunei at iba pang lugar. Ayon sa estatistika 10% ng mamayang Pilipino ay mga OFW at sila ang pangunahing pinagmumulan ng yaman ng bansa.

Ako naman ang dalawang taon kontrata sa Riyadh, KSA ay nagpatuloy ng limang buwang extension, mula 2002-2005. Naging intern sa isang foundation sa Gwangju, Republic of Korea ng 2005-2006. Bumalik muli ng 2007 at hanggang sa kasalukuyan isang OFW. Naghahangad na makatapos na sa pag-aaral ang bunsong kapatid at tulad ng karamihan nag-aaral para maging Nurse.

Ang blog na ito ay maglalaman ng kuwentong buhay ng mga OFW. Hindi lang personal na kuwento ko kundi gayon din ang mga kaibigan at iba pang mga kakilala.

Layunin din na maging resource ang blog na ito. Maraming mga samahan at organisasyon na tumutulong sa mga OFW kung kayat marapat lamang na mabanggit sila. Mailalathala din ang iba pang mga balita at mga entrepreneurship/business opportunities para sa mga OFW at iba pang mga best practices at success stories na dapat malaman.

Kung kayat sino man ang gusto na magbahagi, kayo po ay welcome.

Maari po akong ma-email sa address na -