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SUMA: Summing-Up of the State of Migrants Under Aquino (2010-June 2012)

SUMA: Summing-Up of the State of Migrants Under Aquino (2010-June 2012)

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Published by: Migrante Int'l on Jun 07, 2012
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SUMA:
Summing-up of the State of Migrants Under Aquino (2010- June 2012)
Despite his promises and posturing, President Benigno Aquino III, after two years in office, had done nothing to stem thetide of forced migration and instead pursued a more intensified, aggressive and sophisticated labor export policy thanhis predecessors.
Underdevelopment and forced migration
By October 2011, an additional 1.35 million Filipinos have been forced to go abroad by sheer lack of opportunities,decent jobs and wages, livelihood and social services in the country. This figure is higher by 5.3 percent than the 1.281million OFWs from January to October 2010.According to independent think-tank IBON Foundation, the number of jobless Filipinos has risen to unprecedentedheights from 2001-2010 and continues to reach record-high levels under Aquino. Hundreds of thousands areunderemployed. At least one-
fourth of the country’s labor force
has gone abroad to find work. At the end of 2010, 11.2million Filipinos or 28 percent of the labor force was either unemployed or in search for additional jobs.On July 2011, the National Statistics Office (NSO) declared that the rate of unemployment increased from 7.0 percent in2010 to 7.2 percent; 19.1 percent was underemployed, an inc
rease from 2010’
s 17.9 percent. One in every four Filipinoworkers was either jobless or underemployed.In his 2011 State of the Nation Address (SONA), Aquino attempted to downplay the jobs crisis by claiming a lowerunemployment rate (1.4 million jobs created). However, he failed to mention that the jobs created were disproportionalto the ever-growing labor force (an additional 1.2 million by July 2011) and underemployed (an additional 829,000). Thisis not to mention those already unemployed and underemployed before this. According to the January 2012 Labor ForceSurvey (LFS), 64.3 percent is unemployed and actively looking for jobs. Most of the unemployed are fresh graduates,young and educated
 –
some half are aged 15 to 24 years while 30 percent is 25 to 34 years old. The number of joblessand underemployed Filipinos increased by over 600,000 during
Aquino’s
first year in office.Those who land domestic jobs suffer very low wages. Since 2001, the gap between the mandated minimum wage andthe family living wage (FLW) in the National Capital Region (NCR) had considerably widened. In 2001, minimum wagewas 52 percent of the FLW; by end of 2011, the P426 NCR minimum wage was only 43 percent of the P993 FLW.Worsening joblessness feeds on already chronically low wages, with the current minimum wage grossly inadequate tosustain even the most humble of families. Family incomes are not keeping up with the inflation. The average family inNCR now lives on P22 to P37 a day. This indicates the poor quality of life that minimum wage earners in Metro Manilacan afford.Office Address: 45 Cambridge St, Cubao, Quezon City Telefax: (02)911-4910
“We dream of a society
that will never be tornapart just for the need
to survive!”
 
 
2To conceal this striking reality, the government tried to obscure the number of impoverished Filipinos by lowering theofficial poverty line. However, the rising hunger and malnourishment rates belie any attempts to face-lift the figures.The gap between the rich and the poor has further widened, with the income of the top 1 percent of families equivalentto that of the bottom 30 percent of households, IBON said.Social service spending, moreover, has not improved under Aquino. The government has failed to allot enoughresources to address shortages and insufficiencies in education, health, housing and welfare services. Social
services’
share in the gross domestic product (GDP) has continued to drop in light of annual budget cuts and privatization of public utilities.Aquino claims
that his administration’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT)
program reduced poverty, an exaggerated andunscientific boast, if anything. Being a beneficiary of the CCT is not tantamount to a family emerging from below thepoverty line. It is not sustaining and offers merely band-aid solutions to the problems of joblessness and low wages.Aquino also fails to mention that the cash dole-out supposedly for 100,000 families would only hold for five years, duringand after which no prospective jobs, wages or livelihood are available to beneficiaries.The present administration is also second place in terms of poor land distribution among post-Marcos regimes.Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Gil delos Reyes admits that they would not be able to finish land distribution intime for the 24
th
anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on June 10
 –
leaving some 500,000hectares or
almost half of DAR’s tar
get for land distribution undistributed by 2014, affecting at least 1.1 million farmers.Perhaps the most controversial lands up for land distribution are the Aquino-Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita thatremain undistributed to this day despite favorable ruling by the Supreme Court for farmers and farm workers. Thiscomes as no surprise from a president who hails from a landed clan and family of 
hacienderos
.In search of jobs, higher wages and livelihoods, the number of Filipinos overseas and leaving everyday
 –
and the amountof remittances they send back
 –
 
has been on the rise over the last three decades. The Philippine economy’s dependence
on labor outmigration and remittances has become unparalleled under the Aquino administration.
Remittances and intensification of labor export
According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there are now 15 million Filipinos abroad. This figure issubstantively higher than the 8.6 million recorded by the Center for Overseas Filipinos (CFO) in 2010, not including the330,424 recorded number of seafarers in the same year.
Table 1: Number of Filipinos overseas
 
Source: Center for Overseas Filipinos (2010)
Migrante International (MI) pegs the number of overseas Filipinos between 12 to 15 million. For MI, DOLE may bebloating the figures to make it appear that employment rate abroad has increased. The CFO, on the other hand, may
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Permanent 2,736,528 2,807,356 2,865,412 3,187,586 3,391,338 3,556,035 3,692,527 3,907,842 4,056,940Temporary 3,049,622 3,167,978 3,385,001 3,599,257 3,651,727 3,802,345 4,133,970 3,636,259 3,864.068Irregular 1,625,936 1,607,170 1,512,765 1,297,005 881,123 874,792 900,023 653,609 658,370
TOTAL 7,412,086 7,582,504 7,763,178 8,083,848 7,924,188 8,233,172 8,726,520 8,187,710 8,579,378GrowthRate
-
2.3% 2.4% 4.2% -2% 3.9% 6% -6.1% 4.8%
 
3be brandishing lower numbers in an effort to obscure the annually increasing number of undocumented Filipinomigrants all over the world.Of present, overseas Filipinos are scattered in at least 239 countries situated in six continents, namely, Asia,Australia, North America, South America, Africa and Europe. The biggest population is located in the United States(3.5 million based on the 2010 US Census); next is Saudi Arabia (1.5 million based on POEA 2010 data); and Canada(639,686 based on 2009 CFO data). There is also a big concentration of Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates,Australia, Qatar, Malaysia, Japan, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the Philippines, about 30 to 40percent of the 99 million population is remittance-dependent.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) places the Philippines as the fourth leading migrant-sendingcountry in the whole world, next only to China, Mexico and India. According to data from the Philippine OverseasEmployment Administration (POEA), 1.5 million Filipinos were deployed abroad in 2010. This figure is 50,000 or 3.4percent higher than the deployment rate in 2009.Majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are deployed in Saudi Arabia (293,049), the UAE (201,214) and HongKong (101,340). Most are in the service sector (154,535) working as domestic workers, hotel and restaurant staff and caregivers; 129,647 are in manufacturing as factory workers; and 41,835 are professionals (doctors, nurses,teachers, etc).
Table 2: Number of Deployed Landbased Overseas Filipino Workers by Major Occupational CategoryNew Hires (2004
 –
2010)
 
Source: POEA (2010)
 
A closer look into overseas deployment data would show that of the total number deployed in 2010, 781,966 were re-hires while only 341,966 were new hires. The number of new hires decreased by 2.2 percent compared to 2009(349,715) and 2008 (376,973) data. In the past three years, there was a slight decrease in the number of new hiresdeployed. In the first quarter of 2011, according to the POEA, only 380,188 new hires were deployed or 3.9 percentlower than the 395,189 number deployed during the same period in 2010.
Table 3: Number of Deployed Overseas Filipino Workers by Type of Hiring (2008-2010)
Source: POEA(2010)

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