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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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