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» 12/18/2009 15:59
PHILIPPINES
International Migrants Day: For Filipino Church, emigration destroys families
by Santosh Digal
Separation from wives and husbands working abroad deprives children of education and work. More than 10,000,000 Filipinos live overseas. So far this year, they have sent home US$ 14.3 billion.

Manila (AsiaNews) – “Remittances by our migrants keep the economy afloat, but more emigration destroys society,” said Fr Joaquin F. Valdes, OP of the Catholic University of Santo Tomas, Manila. For him, the lack of values and separation of husbands and wives tend to break up marriages and have devastating effects on new generations, who without a family tend to emigrate on their own without a proper education and preparation for work.

The Philippines is the Asian country with the highest proportion of citizens living abroad, 10,000,000 in all, or about 9 per cent of the total, spread in about 190 countries, 70 per cent women.

Unemployment is the main cause for this exodus, a problem that is growing. In 2009 alone, about 2.72 million Filipinos lost their job at home.

Experts note that about 2,000 Filipinos leave the country every day, mostly young people with little education or working experience. In a few years, this will mean that overseas Filipino will constitute about 11.7 per cent of the population.

The main countries of destination are the United States, home to about 3,000,000 Filipinos, but many are also reaching Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

Often migrants face human rights violations in their host country. This is especially true in Arab world where women are often segregated in the homes of their employers for the duration of their contract.

Despite such problems, little or nothing is being done to stem the flow. One reason is that foreign remittances by Filipinos are a key component of the national economy. Just in the first ten months of this year, Filipinos sent home a total of US$ 14.3 billion. In October, they sent home US$ 1.2 billion; that is 6.7 per cent more than in previous months.  

The Church has been actively involved in helping Filipino migrants since 1955 through the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), which provides assistance to those in need.

The Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Manila is an example of what the Church is doing. It offers programs to educate and train young people who emigrate and missionary priests who go abroad to minister to Filipinos. Another example is the Child and Migrant Parents in South East Asia Programme, which provides spiritual support to children and parents of migrants.


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See also
02/07/2008 PHILIPPINES
In Asia Catholic Church has migrants’ well-being at heart
by Santosh Digal
01/19/2007 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: missionary who disappeared is hiding from armed men
by Santosh Digal
02/06/2007 PHILIPPINES
Filipino bishops to back pro-life candidates in upcoming elections
by Santosh Digal
05/29/2004 PHILIPPINES
Inter-religious peace theme of Mothers' Festival
04/27/2005 PHILIPPINES
Philippine deployment of workers overseas increases in 2005

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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