03/02/2019, 08.52
PHILIPPINES
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Migrants and stateless children, 'a challenge' for the Philippines Church

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are at least 10 million people in the world without nationalities. About 40% of the world's stateless persons live in Southeast Asia, of which 7,138 in the Philippines.

 

Manila (AsiaNews) - A few days before the 33rd National Sunday of Migrants, March 10, the Catholic Church of the Philippines launches a request for help for stateless people, a "disturbing" global phenomenon that affects thousands of Filipino children . The Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People, responsible for organizing the event, dedicates this year's edition to "Filipino stateless children: a challenge for the Church" (photo 2).

The exact number of stateless persons is unknown. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are at least 10 million in the world. Without nationalities, stateless persons often have difficulty accessing fundamental rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom of movement. 

CbcpNews reports that in the State of Sabah, in Malaysia, there are believed to be 10 thousand Filipino children who are not citizens of any State (photo 1). The Kuala Lumpur Immigration Law does not guarantee the legal status of immigrant children.

According to studies conducted since 2015, about 40% of the world's stateless persons - over 1.4 million - live in Southeast Asia, of which 7,138 in the Philippines. Local bishops began to celebrate the National Sunday of Migrants in 1987, to raise awareness among Catholics and society about the issues and concerns related to Filipino migration abroad. The annual event not only pays tribute to the millions of Filipino workers in a foreign land and their families, but also underlines the Church's effort to help them.

According to the International Labor Organization (IOM), today Filipinos contribute to the workforce of about 100 countries, with 10 million OFW (workers abroad) and at least another million who emigrate each year. 

Through remittances sent home, they contribute to the economic growth of the country. In previous years, their salaries have saved the Philippines from the financial crisis and are still a major source of revenue for the national economy. 

On February 15th, the Central Bank of Manila said that the cash remittances grew by 3.9% on an annual basis in December, reaching a record figure of 2.8 billion US dollars. For the whole of 2018, they instead recorded a growth of 3.1%, reaching a total of 28.9 billion.

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