Tuesday, January 13, 2009

After three years, UST journalism professor and migrant advocate Jeremaiah Opiniano and the Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI) has managed to come up with the .Philippine Migration and Development Statistical Almanac by monitoring, compiling, and eventually harmonizing statistics on Filipinos’ international migration.

But more than merely a compendium of figures on migrants, my friend Jeremaiah said the Almanac is also a fitting tribute to the hardworking women and men within the government—from both statistical and non-statistical agencies—who have dutifully encoded and compiled raw and processed data surrounding overseas Filipinos.

He said the Migration and Development Statistical Almanac attempts to present data from administrative sources, as well as data from surveys and other selected quantitative studies, on Filipinos’ international migration and development. The data fleshes out the positive and negative consequences surrounding the overseas migration phenomenon to both the Philippines and to the countries where Filipinos go to.

In his introduction on http://almanac.ofwphilanthropy.org, Jeremaiah said the Almanac does not aim to immediately make sense of the various data it presents but rather presents these datasets, regardless of where the data came from and the variances of such data.

Thus, some interesting facts which can be culled from this Statistical Almanac:
• There are 239 countries identified to have Filipinos. Some 209 of these countries are members of the United Nations, while 30 others are non-members (including islands and territories unfamiliar to many of us). Filipinos go to these countries as temporary migrants (or more renowned as “overseas Filipino workers”), permanent migrants, and undocumented or irregular migrants;
• Temporary migrants from the Philippines, says various datasets, can either have males or females as the leading group by gender based on annual data releases. But the permanent migration (that includes marriage migrants who have married foreign partners) is predominantly female. Filipino seafarers are a visible group in terms of number;
• Regions located in Luzon island —the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, and the Ilocos Region— have consistently emerged as the top origin areas of temporary and permanent overseas migrants, as well as the hubs of many households receiving assistance from abroad;
• Overseas workers have the Middle East and Asia as the leading regions of destination for temporary migrants, whereas North America is the leading region of destination for permanent migrants. The Philippines-Saudi Arabia corridor is the biggest migration corridor for temporary migrants, while the Philippines-United States migration corridor is the biggest for permanent migrants;
• The Philippines, from 1975 to 2007, has received over-US$120 billion in cash remittances —all passing through the formal banking system. And in an initial attempt to estimate remittances plowing into each and every Philippine province, triennial estimates show that families receiving assistance from migrants abroad got PhP208.848 billion in 2000 (covering 1.107 million migrant households), PhP245.856 billion in 2003 (1.31 million households), and PhP348.524 billion in 2006 (1.601 million households);
• Males have more total and average remittances yearly than females; and
• Comparisons between estimated remittances during the year 2003 and the audited gross incomes of provincial governments show that remittances of migrant households are more than the total local government incomes in 55 of 79 provinces.
According to Jeremaiah, this was not solely his work but the work of a core group composed of representatives from the Institute for Migration and Development Issues, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and the University of Santo Tomas - Social Research Center (SRC).

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