We ask ourselves why do we migrate to other countries? Why is it that according to the Pulse Asia survey of 2005 one out of five Filipinos expressed their desire to migrate? According to an article titled “Globalization and Migration”: “In the last 30 years, a “culture of migration” has emerged, with millions of Filipinos eager to work abroad, despite the risks and vulnerabilities they are likely to face.”
Moreover, more recent Pulse Asia in 2005 found an increasing percentage of adult respondents — 26 percent in July and 33 percent in October — agreeing with the statement, “If it were only possible, I would migrate to another country and live there.” Interest in leaving the country is not limited to adults. In a nationwide survey in 2003 of children ages 10 to 12, 47 percent reported that they wished to work abroad someday. Sixty percent of children of overseas foreign workers said they had plans to work abroad. Let me take the country’s history in terms of its migration, “Since the 1970s, the Philippines…has supplied all kinds of skilled and low-skilled workers to the world’s more developed regions. As of December 2004, an estimated 8.1 million Filipinos — nearly 10 percent of the country’s 85 million people — were working and/or residing in close to 200 countries and territories. “
This rate of migration is actually increasing every year so that in 2004 alone, 933,588 OFWs left the country. What would be its implications?
Simple. The citizens of our country, especially the migrants and those who expressed their interests to migrate, have lost their trust to the state being an institution that would provide basic and other essential needs to its people. The push and pull theory of migration will explain this: People moved either because social and economic forces in the place of destination impelled them to do so, or because they were attracted to places of destination by one or more social and economic factors there. In the case of the Philippines, the first premise of the theory is true: Filipinos migrate because economic forces in here in our country impelled our citizens to do so. Why do this happen? Again, the issue will run in a cyclic manner. Why can’t our own country provide us with all our needs? Simple. The reason we Filipinos developed a “culture of migration” is the very “culture of corruption” that is creeping from one generation to the next. Kaya nga tayo di umuunlad, eh. This is, I believe, the very reason why we Filipinos go the same flow to what is “fashioned”, to what is “dominant.” The reason why we now are attached to globalization so deeply that even our concept of migration has gotten to the nerves of our people – even compromising family and societal relationships with one another – is that we think that because the United States head this, and because we think that US is strong and dominant and has a stable economy in a sense, we deduced that globalization is thus essential and inevitable and is therefore good; so why not adopt it and go where the orientation is so we’ll eventually be a super-power like the US? The sad fact is that it brings no good to us, no good to me and definitely no good to my family. Yes, I concede that it brings money to the family of the migrant and to the nation as a whole in the form of remittances, but it actually don’t do us any good more than the money it can offer. As a Filipino critic said it, “All over the world, dehumanization serves the interests of the multinational capitalists who regard people as human resources…to secure a condition of perpetual servitude, poverty, and exploitation for the next generations of Filipinos.”
So what are we going to do about this? To be honest? I don’t know. It would be hard if only dots of the whole imagery are only the ones working to whatever desirable change we can think of for our country. Our main problem here as I have pointed out earlier is the incompetence of our country’s leaders in running the government. So how can we address this? Change the set of leaders we currently have? Change the system of government? Then this will be another story all together. Then let’s go more specific. The very basic problem we have right now is the incapacity of the state to literally feed all its citizen (the very reason why Filipinos migrate – for survival, for greener pasture). Therefore, if we see it this way, then I think the best way to address this problem is for the government to adopt reforms in their programs that would address the basic needs of the citizens. Moreover, since migration has been a trend, the government therefore should establish programs that would promote and protect the rights of the migrants. I say not just establish programs that are beautifully written in paper but I mean programs that will be properly implemented for the protection of these unsung heroes. After all, they bring pride and extra help to our nation’s economy.