Filipinos found in every country of the world

Published by rudy Date posted on April 12, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – There is a Filipino in every country in the world.

This fact, often treated as a joke, has actually been established by the Philippine Migration and Development Statistical Almanac of the Institute of Migration and Development Issues (IMDI).

“There are 239 countries identified to have Filipinos,” said IMDI executive director Jeremaiah Opiniano, writing in the foreword to the report.

Of this total, 209 are members of the United Nations, while 30 are non-members, including islands and territories unfamiliar to many Filipinos.

“Filipinos go to these countries as temporary migrants, permanent migrants and undocumented or irregular migrants,” the report said.

The almanac was published last year by the IMDI, a non-government organization concerned with migration issues, to document the total number of Filipinos who have gone overseas, whether they left temporarily or permanently, and with or without proper documents.

According to Opiniano, the almanac used data from administrative sources, surveys and selected quantitative studies

Global model

But, as migration researcher Benjamin Cariño said, despite the importance of international migration to national policy, there are serious limitations in the country’s international migration statistics, as well as the whole system of collecting these.

He noted, however, considerable improvement in the work of the administrative and statistical agencies over the years so that some have even remarked the Philippines as a global model in international migration statistics.

The 357-page almanac is divided into three chapters dealing with the following topics: Harmonized statistics on overseas Filipinos, the countries of destination of Filipinos and the provinces of origin of overseas Filipinos.

The section on harmonized statistics presents data on the number of migrant workers across the globe, categorized as “temporary,” “permanent residents” and “undocumented or irregular migrants.”

It also contains information on the number of migrant households (defined as a family having a member working overseas) in the country, remittance flows and the impact of overseas migration on development.

Country of destination

The section on the destination countries of Filipino migrant workers profiles each destination state, its development indicators, the pattern of international migration and remittance flows, and the number of Filipinos working there.

Overseas migration indicators, as well as statistics on a home province’s state of poverty, can be found in the last section.

The four major regions in Luzon – the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and Ilocos – are “origin areas of temporary and permanent overseas migrants, as well as the hubs of many households receiving assistance from abroad”.

The top migrant destinations were the Middle East and Asia for overseas Filipino workers, classified as temporary migrants, and North America for permanent migrants.

RP-Saudi corridor

“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,” Opiniano said.

The almanac also charted the pattern of remittance flows to the Philippines since the mid-1970s.

“The Philippines, from 1975 to 2007, has received over $120 billion in cash remittances, all passing through the formal banking system,” said Opiniano.

The report also estimated the remittances flowing into every Philippine province. Its triennial estimates since 2000 showed that families receiving assistance from migrants abroad got P208.848 billion in 2000 (covering 1.107 million migrant households), P245.856 billion in 2003 (1.31 million households), and P348.524 billion in 2006 (1.601 million households).

Increased remittances

The flow of remittances has increased so much over the years that the estimated figure was bigger than the income of almost 70 percent of the country’s provinces.

“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,” the almanac said.

According to Opiniano, the statistical data used in the almanac came from the following government agencies: Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Statistics Office, National Statistical Coordination Board, and the Bureau of Immigration.

Top destinations abroad
Temporary contract workers

Country 2007*
Saudi Arabia 1,046,051 United Arab Emirates 493,411 Qatar 189,943 Kuwait 129,708 Italy 82,594 Singapore 70,616 Taiwan 67,153 South Korea 62,528 Bahrain 40,818 Japan 38,329 Hong Kong 16,606

Emigrants and Permanent Residents

Country 2007+ United States 2,517,833 Canada 410,626 Australia 221,892 United Kingdom 90,654 Germany 44,130 Spain 27,537 Malaysia 26,002 New Zealand 21,188 Norway 16,561 Austria 2,425

Undocumented / Irregular Migrants

Region 2007+ Americas / Trust Territories 354,843 Asia, East and South 258,640 Asia, West 121,850 Europe 112,990 Oceania 33,160 Africa 18,540

* Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
+ Commission on Filipinos Overseas

–Miko L. Morelos, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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