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» 12/18/2009
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
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

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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