In addition, the two authors trace the history of feminine migration to each their respective country of residence. Misa-Hefti in fact conducts a small study to look at how the Filipinas, the nurses and the Swiss-married Filipina wives, perceived their own situation.
Of the , sans papiers undocumented in Switzerland, some 10, are allegedly Filipinas, a number considered a very low estimate in some quarters. Jezewski estimates that of the 50, Filipinos male and female who work as domestics in France, only 6, are registered, with the majority of them or some 80 percent being females.
The tendency is isolation and of being afraid and remaining rightless, since the rate of deportation out of France has been increasing per month. The drive for integration in France, as in other European countries, may open the door to French society because there is currently a frenzy for learning the French language. So the future augurs well for the French-based Filipina.
Surprisingly, there seems to be not one Filipina engaged in prostitution in France, the author claims. In Italy where the Filipinos are rumoured to be happiest, two sets of investigations were carried out by resident Filipinas who respectively investigated: 1 the plight of children and youth, and 2 the plight of domestics as they relate to their employers. In the same study, it was also attempted to see how these women saw their contributions both to the Italian family and Italian society at large.
Dynamics between the two parties would indicate self-values and self- esteem of the women concerned. Another goal was to look at the motivation of the women in their decision to leave home and stay with their Italian families. Finally, the study aimed to develop strategies to address the problems identified during the research.
Entitled Information Needs of Filipinos in Belgium: A Survey Research, the paper seeks to address two related issues, namely: 1 Do Filipino organisations in Belgium, acting as information providers, meet the actual needs of Filipinos in Belgium being the recipients of such information? Our nation might not have been a-borning and we might have remained under Spanish dominion.
It was in the pages of La Solidaridad that Ferdinand Blumentritt entered into polemics with a young Dr. Rizal, at that time preparing for publication his two political novels. Other Filipinos, differently inclined, will instead make a yearly pilgrimage to these metropolises to cater to their own love for books and the other finer things in life by living it literally and coming to these capitals during the winter and summer sales.
Varying from country to country, and usually depending on how the host country views their migrants, whether creating space for them or not, then the political, cultural, literary strivings of the Filipinos will follow thereafter! Maria Ophelia Butalid-Echaves in Becoming a Tilburger recounts how as a new entrant to Europe with leftist political background and working with the socially excluded in Dutch society, she would later make the political choice that culminated in her running and winning a seat in the local council in the Dutch city of Tilburg.
Benn Adriatico in Parols, Dioramas and Rural Suite describes intimately the processes involved when working crossculturally with his group of young Filipinos trying to go mainstream in Denmark, and what it means to have the support of the parents and the church infrastructure. His personal triumphs and tribulations amuse the reader, and one can almost heave his sigh of relief when the success of his young Filipino dancers and thespians is finally in view.
Adriatico, a smooth communicator, repeats the familiar story of Filipino groups not being able to cooperate because of petty jealousies. But miracles happen and they have extraordinarily been cooperative during the Centennial of the Republic of the Philippines when celebrations were observed worldwide. Her article Filipino Missionaries in Europe, Witnesses for Re-evangelisation is partly about her personal religious ministry with the migrant Filipinas that had her moving between Spain, France and Italy, three countries with the Latin stamp of Catholicism and where the Filipinas are most numerous.
She believes that helping migrants discover their identity—knowing who they are and Introduction22 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe being proud of such identity—should be an integral part of the work on pastoral care for migrants. Here, they manage to contribute the best years of their lives, optimally as citizens with full rights of participation. A good start is to the campaign for many more receiving countries to be signatories to the Convention for the Protection of Migrant Workers and their families, but which only a very few European countries have signed to date.
It would also take all of 15 years of frenzied lobbying and networking both in Europe and in the Philippines for overseas Filipinos to be given the vote in national elections, with the passage of the Overseas Voters Bill in This right of suffrage, long in coming, first came into full use during the elections, and most recently during the senatorial elections of Another recent accommodation on the part of the Philippine state is the availability of dual citizenship for its overseas population.
Before the government however extols the virtues of dual citizenship, it will be necessary to streamline the workings and mechanics of the current voting access for overseas Filipinos, since this important mechanism is not yet fully in place. Much remains to be done however, in terms of improving the mechanisms for the implementation of these laws during the May national elections, the first time the Bill was functioning, the turn-out of overseas was only in the region of ,, globally, while there was a possible voting population of at least some 5 million overseas Filipinos.
Sally Rousset in her Nature and Perspectives of Philippine Migration to France argues that the current migration of Filipinos to France cannot be viewed separate from its history which started with students studying e. Strict migration laws in France have resulted in their becoming undocumented, implying a troubled status of no social protection. The lack of access to health services can eat up decades of earnings when the now illegal Filipina gets hospitalised. Rousset also discusses issues of identity and roles: political, social, and cultural.
This role the Filipino has straddled expertly: as citizen and passport holder of any European state but intrinsically Filipino with his fiesta culture, his bagoong-based cuisine, his song and dance culture, his affability and flexibility to get along splendidly with other people and his concern for the nation when he asks for the right to choose its leaders from afar.
Introduction24 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe Leaving home in search of greener pastures has resulted, on a global basis, in remittances in the billions of dollars, far surpassing development aid to the Philippines. This is the picture when one views the glass as half- full. But the renewed forces of 21st century globalisation changing the geography and sense of home for the millions of people on the move, and resisted by an ethnocentric Europe will put it at risk as falling behind, as being the sleeping cousin in the western family of nations.
This is the other view: that the European glass is half empty. But why Filipinos continue to come to this Olde Worlde might have been intimated in the many contributions in this volume. For the time being, and by all kinds of predictions, this movement will continue. Recruitment of Indian doctors is in full swing but where are the Filipino doctors who used to be in so much demand in past decades?
Sounds like a bad joke but last time we looked, we were told they were busy enrolling to be nurses so they could go to America! Brain drain worries aside, since our roaring birth rates will easily replace naturally the loss due to migration, it should be possible for the Filipino nation to compete and offer the same competences on the world market, without necessarily leaving our nation empty of health professionals.
There is a new policy in Europe to allow students in from the technology savvy Asian countries of India, Singapore, China, even including the Philippines. Filipino youth can be primed to be part of this picture too in the near future.
A little forward planning in our educational system will go a long way in making sure that we Filipinos can board, like so many other developing nations, the globalisation locomotive without losing so much steam like in the days of yore, in a manner of speaking. And with suitcases full of competences that Europe needs. The future for sure holds a brighter picture. There will be more markets to conquer and the migration of Filipinos to Europe will likely not stop,25 given the global picture of a Europe trying to catch up with the rest of the world.
And as the migration phenomena itself will become more transparent, as well as more indispensable to European societies more than they are prepared to admit, so will the value of monitoring and taking stock become imperative.
The first Global Forum on Migration and Development, first tabled by outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is finally being held in Brussels on July 9 to 11 this year, and the second is already set to be hosted by the Philippines in , a signal that the second largest remitting country in the world has the globally recognised competence in the migration- development nexus.
Philippine migration to Europe is here to stay. Plainly, this is just the beginning in chronicling this earthshaking journey. History is replete with evidence of such movements triggered by political, economic and social upheavals in their places of origin, and to a certain extent, by a sense of adventure and curiosity in exploring what lies beyond their hills, shores and mountains. Present day migration is no different, at least in the factors that push and pull human beings in moving from one place to another.
The differences may only lie with the numbers, the speed, and the organised ways by which these processes are facilitated, mainly because of globalisation, advances in transportation and communications, and the networks that were established and that sustained generations of new migrants. The choice of migrant destinations are also influenced by historical and colonial ties, by geography, and of late, by the emergence of countries that are newly industrialising.
The Filipino diaspora has evolved from this brief backdrop. Of the more than eight million Filipinos now overseas, more than half are in North America. Another third are working in the service sectors in Asian countries, and the Middle East. Much has been written about Filipinos living and working in these areas, but there seems to be a dearth of literature about Filipinos in Europe.
They too have a story to tell. This paper attempts to tell that story but focuses on the economic side of migration, the desire to improve oneself and their families back home—probably the most important motive for migrating. We have also decided to tell that economic story in two parts. The first part is Europe-specific while the second part invites the reader to reflect on29 issues and challenges facing migrants in a highly globalised world.
It includes some initiatives emanating from civil society, thought out to address what are perceived as some urgent structural reforms in the home country rural areas—savings and investment mechanisms that could enable Filipino migrants to contribute meaningfully to improving local economies.
In any case, this is written from the perspective of one who had lived as a Filipino in Europe, specifically in Geneva, Switzerland, and while being a househusband, traveled, met, listened to, gave legal assistance as well as gave advice to fellow Filipinos on how to maximise earnings and resources.
It did not take long for this author to meet like-minded Filipinos and then eventually decide to establish an organisation1 that will tread what then was the less-travelled path of migration for development. Rizal, Marcelo H.
Del Pilar and Graciano Lopez Jaena, to rally for reform in the Philippines through propaganda activities. At present, the same fervor for equality and human respect is kept alive through the activities of Europe-based Filipinos, who with little or no resources, initiate activities against racism and xenophobia, and advocacy for the respect for human rights and socio- economic empowerment of migrants, in Europe and the Philippines.
The similarity however seems to end there. One will find difficulty tracing causes of present-day Filipino migration, to the factors that drove many of our national heroes to Europe in the 19th century. According to the Commission on Filipino Migrant Workers CFMW , formal migration to Europe started in the s as a response to the labour needs of Europe during the post World War II reconstruction years when the health sector and tourist industry were being expanded.
The majority of overseas Filipinos in Europe are said to be in the prime of their life, aged between 21 and 45 years old. Filipinos in Europe have a high level of educational attainment and are highly skilled. The majority are professionals or have achieved at least two years of tertiary education.
Approximately 80 percent of Filipinos in Europe are women. Many of them are employed in the service sector in hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and in private households. The Philippines is now the 2nd highest migrant sending country in the world, with almost 9 percent of its Filipino seafarers comprise more than one fourth of the entire merchant marine fleet in the world which is about 1. The Philippine government itself estimates that there are now close to a million Filipinos who leave annually to take up foreign employment or about 3, departures daily.
Unlike other places of destination, mostly English speaking countries, and where the migration or recruitment process is generally organised and job expectations and conditions are predictable, Filipinos—with the exception of those recruited with work permits or joining spouses or relatives and those who travel to Europe on tourist visas to seek employment—are basically on their own, relying only on personal or family networks to get settled and find employment.
Asian migrants are only about 17 percent of the non-EU migrants population with nationals from the Balkans,Turkey, Africa and the Maghreb comprising the majority, such that job competition has generally become stiff for everyone. To have a settled status, one has to enter with either a confirmed work permit, be an international civil servant, an au pair, student, a minor son, daughter or spouse of a local citizen. CFO figures estimate irregulars to be at around ,, a figure many believe could be higher.
For instance, of the estimated 8, Filipinos in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, in Switzerland, only about 2, have a visa status, while the rest are of irregular status, and are predominantly women in domestic work. In , the Philippine Embassy in Paris estimated that 40, Filipino migrants lived in France, although in the same year, official Philippine government statistics showed the number of Filipinos at 32,, and 26, of whom were of irregular status.
They are not also allowed to open bank accounts, nor to join organisations such as cooperatives or NGOs. This has discouraged the practice of savings, and has encouraged spending on luxury articles, remitting, or keeping their earnings inside their closets or with friends who have accounts. Until fairly recently, they were not also allowed to obtain insurance so that when undocumented Filipinos met with fatal accidents, the community usually chipped in to raise funeral and repatriation expenses.
A Swiss social worker of the organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres Switzerland once commented that they had difficulties in trying to do research on the health condition of Filipino migrant workers, compared to other migrant nationalities, leading them to conclude that illnesses among the Filipino community, who are mostly women migrant workers, go undetected or are not given proper medical attention. This is an obvious downside of having irregular status where workers practice self-medication rather than risk discovery of their status by local authorities.
Seafarers Some 70 percent of Filipino seafarers are employed directly or indirectly by European shipping states. Composing some 25 percent to around a third of the world merchant marine, they are much in demand worldwide yet remain in a vulnerable situation due to the contractual nature of their profession, with economic needs similar to land based workers. Eighty percent of their wages are retained and sent to their designated beneficiaries in the Philippines.
There is a need for support services to help seafarers and their families to maximise their income. The Philippine economy is also heavily benefited as remittances stabilise foreign exchange reserves and act as a buffer to economic crises and relief to severe unemployment rates.
Studies indicate that remittances are primarily allocated for the following family expenditures: a food, utilities and other basic family needs b education c housing and property acquisition d health and other emergencies e payment of debts and f money set aside for small business ventures. Estimated informal transfers through padala door to door or cash brought home may add another 4 to 7 billion.
Philanthropic donations The giving or donation of funds, equipment, skills and technology through various means and channels, by overseas Filipino groups or individuals, for humanitarian causes or development projects in the Philippines has evolved into the all-encompassing term now known as Diaspora Philanthropy. From to , LinKaPil had been able to mobilise and facilitate from groups or individuals mostly from North America, Oceania, and Europe, the amount of Php1. Beneficiaries have been identified either by the overseas associations themselves, or in accordance with a nationwide needs profiling system developed by the CFO.
This is due to the large populations of Filipino professionals who have settled status, such as migrants or naturalised citizens in the US. However, Filipinos in Europe had contributed a total of PhP million, or 6. Figures for the year indicate that there was dispersal of these resources to 20 out of the 26 provinces mapped to be in the depressed regions Appendix 3. Overseas Filipino associations in Europe According to the Department of Labor, they have on file the names of some 12, overseas Filipino associations all over the world, while the CFO has a database of around 4, active associations.
Filipino migrant organisations in Europe, as elsewhere, are organised according to their hometowns, as sports clubs, religious associations, cultural groups, professional associations, and as self-help associations. In the year alone, the BSP recorded the amount of USD million as having been sent as gifts and contributions, apart from those recorded as remittances. As in the measuring of remittances, these figures may not reflect the levels of philanthropy, given that remittances for donations could also be sent informally, as when a visiting migrant might prefer to hand over personally a donation when he or she visits the beneficiary.
Aside from usual fundraising activities for rural infrastructure, some groups have found ways to go beyond one-off projects through the adoption of sister-city relationships, philanthropy through trading, links with Philippine NGOs to pursue poverty reduction, literacy or microfinance in marginal Philippine communities, occasionally with the help of development or funding organisations. Filipino domestic workers and nannies who do housekeeping, take care of and even tutor children, relieve parents, particularly European housewives, of such duties, giving them opportunities for self-advancement and even employment.
It has been said that if all the Europe-based Filipino nannies, caregivers, waiters, chambermaids, and seafarers took a simultaneous day off, European industry would grind to a halt. Filipino enterprises in Europe Filipino groceries and convenience stores abound in European cities.
These are multipurpose centres, selling almost any item one could find in a Philippine market, such as frozen bangus or tilapia, instant noodles, smoked galunggong, kangkong and other vegetables, the favorite Skyflake crackers, Filipino tabloids and gossip magazines and telephone cards. Obviously, Filipinos in Europe find these items and services irresistible, although entrepreneurs from Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have made inroads on the Filipino market by offering similar goods at much lower prices San Miguel Beer, which sells for SF5 in a Geneva Filipino store, can be obtained for SF3 in a Vietnamese grocery.
Yet the Filipino store is still packed to the brim during the weekends by Filipinos coming from all walks of life, mainly because it has also become a centre where a migrant worker, especially one in a precarious situation could feel safe, where one could make friends, network , get the local and Philippine gossip, simply hang out, or get a cheap haircut or foot massage.
Filipinos in Europe: An Economic Profile38 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe Filipinos in Europe have also specialised in the money transfer business, with a few that I personally know, who through partnerships with locals, have become quite successful and are now actually servicing not only Philippine but other destinations as well.
While competition has also become quite stiff, it has resulted in lower rates and better services. To a large extent, the laws of a particular country and the current anti-money laundering rules being enforced have affected the ease of entering the money transfer business. In Geneva, for instance, it takes an applicant about two years to be given a license, and only after passing through a barrage of tests, background investigation, staff training and compliance with office infrastructure.
In Geneva, there is only one licensed Filipino money remitter. Filipinos have also ventured into the restaurant and entertainment business. In Geneva alone, there are three Filipino restaurants and a karaoke joint, patronised by both Filipino and foreign clientele. Small scale entrepreneurship is also very much evident, pursued mainly by women migrant workers to augment their regular income.
The row of Filipinas selling home-cooked dinuguan, bopis, pancit, sinigang, and other Filipino delights are a sight to see during Sundays near the entrance of the Termini Station in Rome. So with their counterparts in other countries especially during Sunday Mass or local national holidays. An enterprising housewife imported Guimaras and Cebu mangoes for distribution in Geneva. On a personal note, our group of househusbands in Geneva which we call Home Defense, eventually overcame boredom by actually enjoying housekeeping, being nannies to our children, and cooking — a reversal of roles that some of our feminist friends wanted to document as our his-tories.
One member of our group, formerly a top official of the Metro Manila Development Authority, became such a good cook, later enrolled in a French culinary school and eventually went into full-time catering. Migrants also convert unused flats as pension houses for transient or newly-arrived migrants. The paluwagan system, the Filipino approach to a self-help savings initiative, is also very much alive among migrant groups in Europe.
Upscaling of these activities into a formal systematic cooperative is however discouraged probably due to lack of knowledge and skills, time limitations, and the difficult legal constraints in forming such an organisations in European countries, particularly for those in an irregular situation. Support groups Migrant networks Migrant networks are probably the main source of socio-economic support for Filipino migrants, in large and especially in small cities. Amongst these networks are clans or family-based networks that have through the years, facilitated succeeding generations of family members to migrate.
Philippine diplomatic posts At the helm of migrant protection are the Philippine diplomatic posts in Europe, consisting of about 15 embassies performing consular functions, two standalone consulates, and four missions to the UN international organisations, some of which also perform consular functions. They also bear the brunt of having to liaise with local authorities when problems involving Filipinos arise. The consul, in Filipinos in Europe: An Economic Profile40 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe order to become effective, not only has to develop excellent networks and rapport with local authorities, but also has to reach out to the local Filipino community at every opportunity, by conceptualising, organising and coordinating Filipino activities during Filipino national holidays and special events, meeting with Filipino groups in church, have dinners in the privacy of homes, and occasionally rush in the middle of the night to visit a compatriot in jail.
This may seem ordinary unless one has also to consider the voluminous reports to be written, official and social diplomatic functions, and attending to the needs of their own families. No complaints are heard unless one wishes to put his position or budget in peril. The attainment of excellent embassy-migrant relations is important, especially at this time that the government is seeking to mobilise greater participation from local Filipino communities in Overseas Voting, Dual Nationality law, savings and investments in the Philippines, and contributions from Filipino associations to support the building of schools and other infrastructure.
Greater interest in embassy-led initiatives also enables diplomats to gather more strategic local information, whilst larger patronage of embassy facilities also adds up to revenues. The front desk of the embassy or the consulate, is another critical area, though at times taken for granted. The numbers and visa situations of Filipinos at the post affect to a large extent, the ability of diplomatic officers to effectively respond to problems.
Heavy consular work, for instance would be expected in the embassy in Rome, where there are more than , Filipinos, compared to say Geneva, where there are only about 8, to deal with. Having stayed a good nine years in Geneva and seen at least two successive changes in diplomatic officers, positive results in terms of Filipino support for embassy-led initiatives, were attained simply through an effective reach-out policy, sincerity of consular officers, and smiles on the faces of the staff who greet visitors at the front desk.
Church groups Church groups are another important source of migrant support, and for some the only source of support. In our parish in Geneva, more than 50 percent of Sunday mass participants are Filipinos, with the 7 p. At one time, the parish priest in Geneva had expressed amusing alarm over the Geneva Couples for Christ Chapter, and was wondering how a religious group could muster large numbers among adults and youth alike. According to their website, ECMI has four centres in Libya, centres in four American countries, centres in 19 European countries, centres in 12 Asian nations, 31 centres in six Middle East Nations and 34 centres in three nations of Oceania.
There is little space to name all these groups who in their own way, have provided concrete legal, social, economic, and emotional support and solidarity on issues. They have proven that rights-based advocacy has to co-exist alongside economic empowerment. One school of thought views migration as a blessing to migrant families and the country of origin. Despite a highly consumerist and consumptive society, researchers point out that consumptive behavior does have its multiplier effects in terms of increasing the demand for goods and services and indirect investment, especially when used for health, education and shelter, which impact on human development.
More than a million Filipino households benefit from remittances. Recipient family members may tend to be lazy and unproductive since anyway, remittances are expected to come at regular intervals; the sending country may also tend to conveniently postpone needed structural reforms to put the macroeconomic house in order, relying on the billions of remittances coming in to prop up foreign exchange reserves.
As a migrant-sending country, the Philippines benefits from remittances as it eases the burden of government in dealing with high unemployment rates, as well as acts as a buffer to balance of payments deficits. The subject of migration, especially remittances for development, has aroused worldwide interest due to the sheer volumes that have been recorded as having been sent by migrants to their countries of origin to support their families and communities.
Worldwide estimates, recently recorded at about USD billion, with specific country estimates that dwarf official development assistance and foreign direct investments, have given rise to the notion of a new development paradigm. The push and pull for more migration is predicted to be inexorable. With the ageing of populations in Europe, Japan and North America, there has been a need to recruit nurses, caregivers and other health-related professionals from developing countries.
The US alone is said to be in need of some one million health professionals in the next 10 years. The effect of this siphoning of skills is already being felt and is the subject of grave concern amongst Philippine health authorities. The demand for migrant workers has also resulted in the proliferation of schools offering courses designed to fill migrant needs in other countries, with even top-class universities restructuring their curriculum to adapt to foreign needs, not of those of the Philippines which has educated them.
There have been efforts to promote medical tourism in the Philippines through its supposedly world-class hospitals and retirement havens or to assuage brain drain through subsidies from foreign employer hospitals. Another hope for stemming brain drain is the Philippine business outsourcing industry, more familiarly known as the call centres, which have spread out and have given employment in the provinces, with some of them already foraying into what are traditionally Indian markets.
What is the Philippine government response to these realities? Its policy focus is on temporary labor migration. The policies of the Philippine government appear to treat the financial contributions of diaspora and temporary workers alike primarily as income flows rather than potential investment stock. As income flows, they relieve poverty directly. While the Philippines does have an overseas Filipinos in Europe: An Economic Profile44 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe labor export system that has become the model for other potential migrant sending countries, the government does not seem to have a strategy to maximise the developmental potential of established communities of Filipinos overseas, which might have a more lasting impact on poverty reduction.
Until the opening of quotas for nurses, caregivers, and health related professionals from the UK and Ireland, Europe has not been the traditional destination for work. Small fortunes in the level of about PhP, are paid to recruiters that include the cost of airfare, visa facilitation, passport and other departure expenses. Land or farm animals are sold or mortgaged, while loans are arranged for those without or lacking capital, and are made to sign contracts for the repayment of such loans through monthly salary deductions.
One is always tempted to ask why Filipinos with the capacity to mobilise PhP, would rather leave family and try to find work in a strange land, than invest said amount in a business in the Philippines. I have received no satisfactory answer to that. The overriding aspiration, particularly for those with irregular status, is actually to have a settled status, through marriage with a local national, or finding that prized job as a domestic worker, driver or security guard at a diplomatic office or with a diplomat.
Some have regularised their status by applying for amnesty programs in certain countries. Ironically, this is not the case for some. Four years ago, we shared with some Filipinas in Geneva the idea of the possible regularisation program for Switzerland that we were advocating together with a Swiss parliamentarian.
Expecting enthusiasm from this group of irregulars, we were quite surprised when they said that they would rather remain in their current status. Although we found the reasoning absurd, we realised the workers were just being realistic. They said that as regularised workers, they will be constrained to remain with one employer, with taxes and social security contributions taking a big slice of their income.
By remaining irregular, they will be able to do part-time work with at least three employers, and send more money home. Many are able to build their dream house or educate their children. Unfortunately, coming home for good is always postponed as extended families and social circles pester them for support or loans.
There have also been horror stories about small businesses going bankrupt, mainly because of the lack of skills of relatives entrusted by migrants to run the business. Being an absentee investor or entrepreneur rarely works. Despite its gains, migration may also have perpetuated inequitable growth and spawned a culture of dependence on remittances, which as Prof. That is until the opposite forces of economic growth at home reach sufficient strength to oppose it.
International Labor Organization ILO studies indicate that the migration transition only occurs once a country crosses a threshold of about USD5, per capita. Therefore unless the Philippines slows down the growth of its population, its economy will have to grow at a rate of 10 percent a year over the next 23 years if it is to reach that threshold. Unfortunately, Philippine population is growing at twice the rate of growth of that of the Asian region, while the rate of savings remains half of that of its more successful neighbours.
It should also entail a conscious identification of priority areas traditionally neglected due to inefficiency or lack of capital. From a Philippine migration perspective, it makes good sense that the focus should be on the countryside. First, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, two-thirds of all overseas Filipino workers originate from the countryside. The adverse effects on agricultural productivity by reason of soil erosion, pest incidence, chemical pollution and the conversion of arable land into subdivisions, industrial zones and recreation centres, have forced agricultural planters to move to urban areas or overseas in search of alternative livelihood or join the informal sector.
I might add to these the inability of local farmers to compete with cheap imports and the inefficiency of the market chain. Why the informal sector? First because it absorbs all the victims of globalisation-the displaced workers, forced retirees, educated unemployed, etc.
Second, because it is the womb of small entrepreneurs. Self employment and small scale entrepreneurship are the coping mechanisms of poor countries in the era of accelerated globalisation. Third, because the active promotion of rural industrialization could complement informal sector entrepreneurship.
The forum was hosted by the Philippine ambassador at that time, and held at the Embassy, with the full complement of the embassy present. Participants identified key areas that needed review which were savings, remittances, investments, policies and partnerships. Needs that required strengthening were awareness on savings, fair remittance rates and access to credit, the lack of information on the range of investments, skills training, and the need to invest in rural development.
Participants identified the need to enhance the abilities of self-help groups, such as coops and small savings groups paluwagan , awareness raising on the development potential of migration, and the consolidation of investors, NGOs and banks, and government services available.
In summary, the group was of the consensus, among other things, that while the Filipino NGO community was highly committed and motivated, with a strong network of sympathetic development agencies and linkages in the Philippines, they had to deal with the lack of resources. And due to different priorities, they were unable to come up with clear plans or the drive to realise these plans that could be linked to poverty reduction, aside from being bogged down with internal dynamics, and the lack of interest on the part of Europe-based Filipino migrants for investments.
Billions had likewise been donated for scholarships, schools, calamity assistance, medical missions and other humanitarian causes. Savings or money left over are then deposited into banks through savings accounts, time deposits, government securities, and other deposit instruments offered by both Filipino and foreign financial institutions.
Savings are also deposited in other non-bank forms such as savings and loan associations paluwagan , lending investor institutions and other schemes that may also pay interest. Banks, aside from offering remittance and banking services, also include related services such as insurance, housing, appliance or car loans, credit cards in an effort to cross- sell their products.
Insurance companies today offer life insurance and pre- need packages which have cash guarantees. Given all these, one is still uncertain whether banks or financial institutions use their funds for the benefit of communities by way of generating livelihood opportunities for family members.
One does not know whether deposits or investments benefit the community directly or the manner in which they benefit. This is where it begins with financial literacy and then the designing of steps in order to lure remittances for development. Financial literacy The importance of this subject bears no further emphasis. By financial literacy we mean the awareness and possession of skills in the management of resources and earnings, the capacity to make informed decisions regarding the use of money, including savings, investments, Filipinos in Europe: An Economic Profile48 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe entrepreneurship, budgeting and simply running a tight ship at home.
The ability to make responsible decisions is of course dependent on many factors such as the level of education and experience, training at home, and the presence and accessibility of sufficient support and information services from government and non-government organisations in the Philippines and even in foreign workplaces.
Integral to this is also the availability of legal assistance services to enable migrants and their families to be spared from needless expenses resulting from making faulty legal decisions on purchase and sale of property and financial scams. Financial literacy is needed by migrants and families alike, in order that hard-earned earnings are spent wisely and funds are set aside for emergency or retirement.
What do migrants care about these issues? Yet, they express their frustrations and concerns on when the giving and the sending will stop, and dream of the day when their families will be self-sufficient, in order that they could finally go home for good. More details on the financial literacy presentation and the roadshow may be found at www. It is therefore difficult to detect or introduce a flavor distinct to their places of work or residence, except from the character of the improvements evident in the houses they have built in the Philippines or the distinct nationality of the bags, shoes, and currency their families exchange at the local money changer.
As a sector, migrants have contributed to the welfare and interests of millions of Filipino families than would have been possible without migrant earnings. Source: Ercof Philippines boon to the Philippines in terms of bailing itself out of financial and economic crises. Whether this is good for the Philippines in the long term, it still is not clear.
What is also evident is that Filipinos have to deal with gut issues like dysfunctional families, brain drain, and abuse in foreign workplaces. More importantly, if surveys reflect that five out of 10 Filipinos would like to leave the Philippines to work abroad, then, we might be losing our ability to believe in ourselves, a necessary ingredient in nation building. Migrants can make a choice of simply being oblivious of these issues and go on working abroad until their contract runs out or the authorities get to them earlier, or making the decision of adopting new mindsets on financial literacy and tough love as a guide in dealing with earnings.
As a member of an OFW family myself, I have decided to take the second option, and despite still being a househusband who takes care of two children in the Philippines while my wife works in Bangkok, I continue to be involved in evangelising the need for Filipinos to be aware of the present in preparation for the future. However, I do have a wish list that I hope I could see fulfilled in my lifetime: 1. A meaningful and serious government program for the orientation and reintegration of overseas Filipino workers.
This would include a reliable and accessible information system on services and assistance available for intending returnees and their families; 2. Improvement of the savings rate, and the assimilation of financial literacy and a culture of resource management on the part of migrant workers and their families; Filipinos in Europe: An Economic Profile50 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe 3. An organised and enhanced system for maximizing the work of overseas Filipino associations, in accordance with urgent priorities; 4.
Support by overseas Filipinos for the Philippine countryside, through donations for rural infrastructure and participation in financial instruments that will contribute to real countryside development; and 5. Stronger support for the work of Filipino NGOs on migrant economic empowerment coming from development agencies, the EU and respective member-governments. Beginning as a study group, Ercof now has focal persons or organizations in eight European countries, as well as in Japan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.
With support from the Dutch organisation Oxfam Novib, it opened its Philippine office in June , to oversee its Philippine programs for migrant savings and investments. Bagasao, 7 Stella Go, 8 I. Bagasao, 9 I. Province 87, Due to its inherent internationalism, seaborne trade has always known mixed-nationality crews. But since the reduction of national labour markets for seafarers and the massive deregulation of the industry since the s, the emergence of a global labour market for seafarers meant that crews can now be recruited more easily from all over the world.
As per Philippine Overseas Employment Administration POEA online statistics, there were , Filipino seafarers listed as working aboard ships operating in international waters in , and an estimated 25, of these worked on board ships plying the European routes.
Since the mids, the Philippines has served as a major crew supply country, providing for no less than The reasons are often less theoretical and more practical in nature. As indicated by the Federation of Filipino Organisations in The Netherlands FFON pre-forum consultations of , their extreme mobility spending only six to 12 hours in inaccessible ports severely limits their interaction with the different sections of mainstream society.
As such, they are treated in the social imagination as transitional entities with minimal social cogency or lasting relevance. Moreover, in these same consultations, land-based Filipino community57 members predominantly female admitted their hesitation in communicating directly with seafarers who are able to come ashore. Their invisibility could be seen in the paucity of migrant research dealing with the seafaring portion of the diaspora. Seminal community research in The Netherlands indicate their significant role in pioneering the European social space up to the mids when informal seafarer labour circuits existed in many European port cities.
Former seafarers interviewed in our Stress and Work research relate how it was possible back then to stop over in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, engage in some odd jobs ashore, or to sign out and wait till ships with better working conditions could be found. Many of these seafarers stayed on, sought work, and eventually got married to Filipina nurses, midwives, or textile workers who were also working since the s in these core cities.
These Filipino couples would act as the initial core that later became full blown communities in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. A similar process has been reported in port cities like Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Copenhagen where one could refer to certain specific Filipino seafarer networks operating as hubs within the diaspora communities.
It is also interesting to hear active community leaders explain how seafarers actually help sustain Filipino communities, at least economically, particularly those that are located in port cities. On the other hand, it is also in harbour cities like Rotterdam where a constituency actively supporting seafarers could be found.
Migrants abroad and afloat actually share the same struggles and issues in terms of their work situation. Both land-based and sea-based migrants work far away from home in order to improve the situation of the families they left behind. Like land-based migrants, seafarers strive to maintain relationships with their communities at home while finding themselves operating in a new community.
For all migrants, issues concerning home and feelings of belonging are prominent. Yet there are considerable differences between the lives of seafarers and land-based migrants. Due to their extreme mobility, seafarers have to deal with a more drastic separation from home and family.
Limited and unstable means of communication complicate the sustenance of relationships with their significant others ashore. The monotony of the surroundings and the routine of work on board inevitably lead to feelings of inescapable boredom. While all labour migrants face similar work issues, these features of sea-based work actually aggravate problems faced by seafarers.
In this research article we aim to describe the unique work-related aspects that distinguish seafarers from other migrant Filipinos. Third, we attempt to link these with other issues facing seafarers which may not necessarily be grounded on their onboard existence. Finally, we seek to encourage others to conduct onboard researches and give more definition to the image of seafarers in our diaspora. Developing onboard methodologies Due to the increasing hypermobility of these social subjects, research on seafarers has been confounded as to how it could be accessed beyond the momentary encounter.
Onboard methodologies are part of recent strategies that have been developed to overcome this difficulty by reaching out to seafarers while they are in their own place of work—the ship. Being on board provides the advantage of context which enables the researcher to put into perspective any information or data gathered. This approach is not only relevant in terms of understanding the technological layout of the ships, but more so in terms of the unique social organisation that takes shape on board.
This onboard approach also allows a combination of methods and techniques like interviews, focused group discussions, content- analysis and participant observation. The ensuing interaction also provides a rich source of qualitative information and the insights generated are helpful especially in the analysis phase of the research.
Needless to say, the approach needs further enhancement to become a more widely used methodology. This research article relies on two or more researches that have been conducted on board shipping vessels. Over semistructured interviews were analyzed in and were written into a report in Another sampling was made in , and updated in Other sources used in this write up include earlier field research done with the Occupational Health working group of the University of Utrecht, a study that examined the response of sea-based workers to the global restructuring of work.
She also incorporates in this write-up, her four-month long fieldwork in Iloilo, in the Central Philippines. This involves looking into the social profile of seafarers, specifically the motives for joining this profession, the process of getting the contract, and the requirements for sustaining this line of work. The first research Fernandez provides sufficient data to answer these aspects in detail, but due to space limitations we need to select only a few aspects in the aforementioned study.
In outlining the social profile, we begin by noting the origins of the seafarers who hail largely from the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Several areas in Central Visayas like Bantayan, and Barotac in Western Visayas are known to be traditional seafaring communities. Most of the seafarers With a mean age of 35 years old, the seafarers in the sample are relatively young. An overwhelming majority of seafarers are married Apparently, in order to maximise their incomes, seafarers expand the number of income earners by bringing in additional household members.
In a typical seafarers household, there is an average of 1. Choosing seafaring as line of work Our sample shows that majority The diploma entitles them to take national license examinations for officer positions in the future, though most do not really take this option and are content to work as ratings. The rest It is interesting to note that an overwhelming majority of the sample We could interpolate that a significant number Disaggregating the data further shows that more than two-fifths This data corrects the impression of seafaring as a middle class profession, and definitely shows that more than two thirds come from the working class sections of the population.
Maritime graduates in the sample cited career development and family tradition as reasons for choosing seafaring. Seafarers who underwent shorter training courses have chosen seafaring more out of financial security. Landing a contract Seafarers in the sample were able to get their first contract at an average age of With about a million registered seafarers in the Philippines AoS , and 40, fresh graduates each year, there is cut-throat competition for each and every contract available.
With a fallout of seven out of every eight applicants, only a few persist and land their very first contract. In terms of strategies, majority Many Experienced seafarers also intervene on behalf of relatives or townmates by offering to accept a difficult contract, or accepting work a lower position in exchange for hiring the new apprentice. A significant percentage A smaller number 4. Sustaining their profession In spite of the great financial rewards provided by seafaring, the drop-out rate of seafarers demonstrates the difficult side of the profession.
More than two out of every five seafarers in the sample Seafarers in the sample are relatively experienced, accumulating an average of 8. They have therefore experienced many of the problems inherent in seafaring. The foremost reason given for dropping out is the difficulty in dealing with the constant separation from family The role of the family is very prominent in evaluating the merits of continuing work as a seafarer.
Even the early researches conducted among seafarers Fernandez have already indicated family as a fundamental parameter used by seafarers for evaluating the degree of success in their profession. This will be tackled more extensively in the following section. The next significant reason This Seafarers—Invisible Part of the Filipino Diaspora in Europe: Scenarios from Onboard Research62 In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe actually refers more to problems caused primarily by the contractual nature of the seafarer profession, a livelihood in the Philippine context that does not offer any assurance of rehiring.
Most seafarers Without any real job security, seafarers find it difficult to plan their careers, or invest in a strategic way. Their contractual status also poses a problem because it denies them entitlements that are normally provided to land-based workers like loans, socialised housing, medical insurance, and social security.
Another common reason During the onboard research, they constantly went over their career plans or other livelihood alternatives. The seafarers expressed to researchers their growing desire to shorten their period of absence from family. They also wanted to deal more concretely with the insecure job prospects after each contract. Two-fifths Seafarers in this sample explained to us that examinations should be taken within 10 years after graduation, otherwise hesitations will start to prevail.
To undertake both options would require the ability to save earnings through the first five years, enough to tide them over the whole study and waiting period which may take more than a year. Seafarers complain that their partners do not save enough, or do not have enough capability to manage the business on their own.
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India Foreign Exchange Reserves. In India, Foreign Exchange Reserves are the foreign assets held or controlled by the country central bank. The reserves are made of gold or a specific currency. They can also be special drawing rights and marketable securities denominated in foreign currencies like treasury bills, government bonds, corporate bonds and equities and foreign currency loans.
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Current job openings:. One may wonder why forex reserves are on the rise despite the slowdown in the global economy. Foreign investors have taken up considerable stakes in several Indian companies over the past 2—3 months. After withdrawing INR billion each from equity and debt markets in March, FPIs expect a turnaround in the economy later during this financial year.
This anticipation has prompted them to return to Indian markets and buy stocks worth over USD2. Forex inflows would be further boosted as the Reliance Industries subsidiary, Jio Platforms, drew a slew of foreign investments worth over INR billion. Additionally, foreign travels and overseas remittances crashed during the past few months, a situation that may continue until December , which would further stanch dollar outflows. Though the rupee depreciated initially, due to outflows at the start of the pandemic, it has made a good comeback since foreign capital inflows have resumed.
The significance of rising forex reserves is that they bring comfort to the RBI and the Indian government in managing internal and external financial issues when economic growth is estimated to contract by 1. These reserves create a positive sentiment in the markets that India can meet its foreign exchange needs and external debt obligations. It also demonstrates the backing of domestic currency by external assets while maintaining a reserve for emergencies and national disasters.
The money can also be deployed for infrastructure development. Thus, we can unanimously say that a rise in forex reserves is beneficial for India and with efficient usage, these reserves can bring in greater benefits.
Overview Solutions Industries. Overview Solutions. Overview Solutions Fund Marketing Services. Overview Solutions Framework. Trend in Foreign Exchange Reserves One may wonder why forex reserves are on the rise despite the slowdown in the global economy. Movement of INR vs. USD The significance of rising forex reserves is that they bring comfort to the RBI and the Indian government in managing internal and external financial issues when economic growth is estimated to contract by 1.
28 Annual GDP growth in developing regions, a major international reserve risk prenna in interest rates. and impro ed nestment currency. F1 f %Investment Corporation Limited (NSICL), #I h k U Wafter obtaining "in-principle" approval from Reserve Bank of India. TReDS will allow MSMEs to post. Currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves (COFER) data from the Gold has a diverse range of buyers, stretching from Indian jewellery.