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10th National Convention on Statistics (NCS) EDSA Shangri-La Hotel October 1-2, 2007

Statistics on Filipinos International Migration: Issues and Steps Towards Harmonizing the Data by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano

For additional information, please contact: Authors name Designation Affiliation Address Tel. no. E-mail : : : : : : Jeremaiah M. Opiniano Executive Director Institute for Migration and Development Issues 653 Sanggumay ST., Mandaluyong City (0632) 532-2519 / (063917) 823-8260

Statistics on Filipinos International Migration: Issues and Steps Towards Harmonizing the Data by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano1 ABSTRACT
This policy paper is intended to present what is perhaps the state of international migration statistics in the Philippines, with statistics on this overseas movement by Filipinos currently patchy and scattered. The paper also presents a snapshot of an integrated set of statistics on the international migration of Filipinos, that which has not been done before. From there, some of the issues and concerns on the system of international migration statistics have been identified. This policy paper hopes to enlighten concerned stakeholders of the necessity to support efforts to improve the harmonization of international migration statistics. If this situation happens, the Philippines will be ready to juxtapose international migration statistics with usual Philippine socio-economic and demographic data so that steps can be determined to harness the development potential of international migration.


Introduction International migration is a very fluid phenomenon. In the case of the Philippines, the

fluidity of these cross-border population movements covers 193 countries and territories, as well as ocean-plying vessels. These overseas migration movements by Filipinos are also economic in nature, whether the movement is for overseas work (thus, temporary in nature), permanent settlement, or unauthorized or clandestine migration. A publication on demographic concepts2 even mentions that migration (both internal and international) is a demographic process that is difficult to measure because these movements are not normally recorded. International migration is even more difficult to measure because most countries do not have reliable data on foreigners and migration movements (Commission on Population, undated). On a global level, the United Nations Statistics Division is implementing measures to address the data gaps on international migration statistics. The Philippines, though, is lucky: for having a well-placed government structure that facilitates the international movement of people, statistics on Filipinos international migration is fairly developed (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007a, 2007b). Gaps are expected from these, but the basic socio-economic and demographic variables of these international migration statistics are spelled out.
It is to note that the author is not a demographer or a statistician by training. This paper is presented in the context that the author is versed with international migration dynamics and movements in the Philippines, has ground-level experiences with Filipinos abroad and with their families in the Philippines, and has personally initiated efforts to put together international migration statistics from various sources. He belongs to a nonprofit organization, the Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI). It is a nonprofit thinktank that is involved in analyzing the development implications of Filipinos international migration through research, advocacy, networking, and development journalism. Views of a data user prevail in this paper. 2 Even within the field of demography, international migration is the least studied demographic process compared to fertility and mortality.

As early as 1989, some international migration scholars have called for the harmonization of international migration statistics (Benjamin Carino 1989). Now that Filipinos abroad number to an estimated 8.2 million as of the year 2006, the clamor to harmonize such datasets is all the more important. The pursuit of harmonization of international migration statistics comes at a time when global development experts and international migration analysts have noted the immense economic contributions of migrants, especially to developing countries (World Bank 2003). More than ever, this time necessitates the beginning of steps to harmonize international migration statistics (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007b). In recent months, stakeholders of the countrys international migration sector (especially government agencies) have begun reflecting their data capturing mechanisms on international migration. The steps at analyzing migration data are ongoing. This policy research intends to basically outline the state of international migration data collection in the Philippines, and present the gaps and issues in this periodic effort. The general context here is that international migration is a phenomenon so difficult to track, that relies on multiple sources (both in the Philippines and in host countries), and that is also a fairly new statistical arena to be developed by people in the fields of demography and statistics in the Philippines. This policy research is also an offshoot of previous work as technical editor of a forthcoming government publication on the population and development implications of Filipinos international labor migration3.


Framework This paper will be guided by a framework on the interaction between population and

development as a means to organize the presentation of existing datasets on Filipinos international migration (see Figure 1). This population and development framework, developed by Dr. Alejandro Herrin (in NEDA-IPDP, 1993), was a useful guide in segregating these international migration statistics by type of overseas Filipino, and by identified socioeconomic and demographic variables.

This report, called the Fourth State of the Philippine Population Report, covers only one aspect of international migration labor migration that pertains to one type of overseas Filipino in temporary contract workers. These temporary contract workers are also prominently referred to as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The PopDev framework basically shows how the three demographic processes (fertility, mortality, and migration) lead to population outcomes such population size, the distribution of the population by age and sex, that all affect various development processes in many ways (NEDA-IPDP, 1993). The end result here is the enumeration of development outcomes and how these affect the population, as well as determining the extent to which the country achieves its development objectives. These outcomes are expressed in terms of measures such as income distribution, levels of employment, education, health and nutritional status, among others. In turn, these socio-economic outcomes also affect the very processes of fertility, mortality, and migration (NEDA-IPDP, 1993; see Figure 1). The framework for this paper also serves as a jump-off point to analyze the gaps in the current system of international migration statistics and data capturing.
Figure 1: Framework on population and development inter-relationships (NEDA-IPDP, 1993)


Terminologies and available statistics Types of overseas economic migration by Filipinos. This paper begins with

distinguishing the types of Filipinos going abroad. Filipinos emigrating overseas are, in the majority, land- workers and residents. But contract workers who ply ocean-going vessels otherwise called as seafarers are considered overseas workers. This classification system comes from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, a government agency that releases an annual stock estimates on overseas Filipinos.

Filipinos abroad are primarily classified into three when pertaining to their immigration status. This classification is what an inter-agency government group is using when determining annual stock estimates of the Filipino presence abroad (in Commission on Filipinos Overseas, 2006): Permanent migrants These refer to Filipino migrants and legal permanent residents abroad. Permanent migrants may be Filipinos who are Filipino citizens, who are Philippine passport holders, or who have been naturalized citizens in the host country. Popular labels to these kinds of migrants are immigrants and emigrants; Temporary migrants These refer to Filipinos whose stay overseas, while regular and properly documented, is temporary. This is owed to the employment-related nature of their status in the host country. Temporary migrants include contract workers, intra-company transferees, students, trainees, entrepreneurs, businessmen, traders, and others whose stay abroad is six months or more, as well as their accompanying. These migrants are popularly referred to as overseas contract workers (OCWs) or overseas Filipino workers (OFWs); and Irregular migrants These are migrants whose stay abroad is not properly documented. They also do not have valid residence and work permits; they can also be overstaying workers or tourists in a foreign country. These migrants falling into this category shall have been in such status for six months or more. A nondiscriminatory label for these migrants is undocumented migrants. In Filipino international migration parlance, these migrants are called TNTs (tago ng tago or always in hiding).

This classification system is relevant for international migration statistics in the Philippines since these reflect the types of overseas migration movements by Filipinos. We can say that almost all international migration movements by Filipinos are economic in nature, unlike in other countries where there are refugee movements and asylum seeking situations. One should also take note that many of the socio-economic consequences of Filipinos international migration overlap with the types of overseas migration movements. Ground-level experiences with overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines reveal such observation, even as studies and literature on international migration have documented much the consequences of temporary migration or international labor migration (which

remains the popular mode of overseas migration movement, especially given the demand for unskilled and skilled Filipino workers by developed and developing countries). An example of an overlapping consequence that covers all these types of overseas migration movements by Filipinos is remittances. Bank data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have no way of determining that this money (which is sent as a deposit to a recipients account) comes from which type of overseas Filipino4. It is thus relevant that data capturing agencies and analysts of international migration analysts should always look at this broader picture of international migration movements by Filipinos. It is difficult to focus on just one type of migration movement and isolate the rest. For example, migration stock estimates by CFO will reveal the rising number of Filipinos permanently settling in overseas countries, with some of them first becoming temporary contract workers then they availed of immigration and citizenship opportunities of the host countries. Unfortunately, seeing existing studies on Filipinos international migration, the emphasis has been more on temporary migration and there is some tendency to generalize that international labor migration is international migration per se. A look at international migration statistics should not disregard other types of migration flows especially if these other types of migration bring forth positive and negative socio-economic consequences to the Philippines. Pertaining to remittances, a rural banker himself said Filipinos abroad may have become American, German, or Australian but the money they send comes from the Filipino pocket. Statistics available. International migration statistics in the Philippines, generally speaking, come from the home country and fro host countries. It has been challenging to make sense of these statistics coming from various sources: Home country 1. One data source is the actual registers of people migrating overseas (including those migrating once again), especially if these people pass through the relevant government agencies that process their overseas migration. This is the major source
Revisions to the reporting of migrants remittances data in the countrys Balance of Payments (which summarizes a countrys financial transactions with the rest of the world) were made in 2005. Nevertheless, even if the flows of money are juxtaposed to the countries where overseas Filipinos are, there is no way that Balance of Payments data can determine that these monies come from temporary migrants and permanent residents. If by undocumented migrants, these monies pass through nonbanking channels. For example, Bangko Sentral data show that the United States is the top source of remittances and it is the country with the most number of permanent residents, though with some tens of thousands of temporary migrants and undocumented migrants. However, BSPs monthly public updating of remittance figures reveals that these monies are labeled as OFW remittances, with reference to temporary contract workers or temporary migrants. This example reveals the overlaps in international migration statistics, which are difficult to untangle.

of statistics for overseas Filipinos, although one should take note of Filipinos who have migrated either legally or illegally, and who did not pass through these government agencies in the home country; 2. Another source is surveys done by the countrys official statisticians. The Philippines has also developed a means in which its five- or ten-year census of the population covers households with dependents or relatives overseas, as well as the Filipinos abroad who have not given up their Filipino citizenship; and 3. A special dataset in the countrys international migration statistics system covers bank receipts, reflecting the flows of remittances to the country. These data on money flows cannot be segregated by socio-demographic variables (especially by gender) that usual data capturing instruments do. At the same time, the countrys Bank Secrecy Law prohibits the revelation of the details of these remittance flows even as banks follow strict know-your-customer (KYC) policies when dealing with customers such as remitters. Host countries In general, international migration statistics in host countries come from population registers, immigration and/or border statistics, and residence permits (United Nations Statistics Division 2006). For undocumented migration, some host countries have surveys or reports designed to determine the number of these undocumented (or what host countries call illegal) migrants. The Philippiness 86 embassies and consulates have been tasked by the homeland government to annually get data from these sources so that they will be able to provide an annual estimate of how many documented and undocumented Filipinos are in the said host country or countries.

Tables 1 to 3 outline existing international migration statistics, and the sources of these data. The data have been segregated by type of migration movement or type of overseas Filipino since the dynamics of each type of movement differ, and are presented in accordance with the PopDev framework of Alejandro Herrin (NEDA-IPDP 1993). Noticeably, most of the data available cover temporary migrants, with the data reinforced by surveys by the National Statistics Office (of which the respondents are predominantly temporary migrants or what it calls overseas Filipino workers). Remittances data are part of the international migration statistical compendium in the Philippines. However, Table 4 here reflects the purposive segregating of these datasets, and

not linking these to any type of overseas Filipino. This is owing to the difficulty of ascertaining which type of overseas Filipino is responsible for such flows of money. Nevertheless, tables 1 to 4 (updated as of September 2007) represent what is perhaps an attempt at a harmonized set of international migration statistics coming from various data capturing sources. This attempt at harmonization can give us ideas of what variables are missing from the existing data capturing mechanisms. This harmonized set of statistics is packaged into a Migration and Development Databank5 which the Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI), a nonprofit thinktank, put together.

This Migration and Development Databank is available at the Philippine Diaspora Philanthropy Portal (, an online resource center about philanthropy and development aid by overseas Filipinos.

Table 1: Available statisticstemporary contract workers or temporary migrants

PopDev framework element Population Outcomes Population size Age structure Deployed overseas contract workers (1984 to 2005) Median age of overseas workers, (2000 Census) Annual Survey on Overseas Filipinos OFWs by age group (1988 to 2004), Labor Force Survey Sex structure / gender 2000 Census Survey on Overseas Filipinos Deployment of newly-hired temporary contract workers, 1992-2005 Share of OFWs, by sex (1988-2004), Labor Force Survey Marital status Spatial distribution Share of OFWs, by marital status (1988-2004), Labor Force Survey Overseas workers regional origins, 2000 Census Regional origins of deployed temporary contract workers, 1998-2002 Survey on Overseas Filipinos Number of OFWs, 2000 Census (regional and per municipality [the latter if purposively processed]) Spatial overseas distribution Countries with most number of temporary migrants, Stock Estimates on Overseas Filipinos Total deployed contract workers, 1988-2005 Seafarers deployed, 1984-2005 Survey on Overseas Filipinos Spatial migrant distribution Households with overseas workers, 2000 Census households Households with overseas dependents, 2000 Family Income and NSO NSO NSO (cited by an ILO study) Development processes Occupations abroad Remittances Deployment of newly-hired contract workers per skill category, 1992-2005 No. of OFWs by occupation, Annual Survey on Overseas Filipinos Annual Survey on Overseas Filipinos Survey of Filipino Remitters and Households Receiving Remittances Household amenities and ownership of durables, 2000 Census POEA NSO NSO Asian Development Bank study, 2005 NSO POEA POEA NSO NSO CFO POEA NSO NSO NSO (cited by an ILO study) NSO NSO POEA NSO (cited by an ILO study) NSO (cited by an ILO study) NSO POEA NSO NSO Philippines Data available Data source

based in the Philippines Expenditures Survey Number of OFW households, 2000 Census (regional and per municipality [the latter if purposively processed]) OFWs by relationship to household head (1988-2004), Labor Force Survey

Development outcomes Domestic employment Employment, unemployment, underemployment, and overseas migration data (temporary contract workers and immigrants) NSOs Labor Force Survey, POEA and overseas migration

deployment data, CFO emigrants data Educational attainment Educational attainment of temporary contract workers and emigrants (though these are 1995 data) Processed by an ILO study, with data coming from NSO, POEA and CFO Share of OFWs by educational attainment (1988-2004), Labor Force Survey Household per capita income Labor force participation Share of OFWs by household per capita income (19989, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004), citing the Labor Force Survey and the Family Income and Expenditures Survey Labor Force Participation Rate of OFWs in domestic employment NSO (cited by an ILO study) NSO (cited by an ILO study)

NSO (cited by an ILO study) NSO (cited by an ILO study) NSO (cited by an ILO study)


Unemployment rate, to include OFWs among employed (1988-2004), labor Force Survey Unemployed by reason of unemployment of the households with OFWs (1988-2004), Labor Force Survey

Table 2: Available statisticspermanent residents or permanent migrants

PopDev framework element Population Outcomes Population size Age structure Sex structure / gender Civil status Registered Filipino emigrants (1981 to 2005) Filipino emigrants by age, 1988-2005 Registered Filipino emigrants, 1981-2005 Registered Filipino emigrants Registered Filipino/a spouses of foreigners (also segregated by age, sex, education, employment at the time of their departure, and countries of destination) Spatial distribution Philippines Spatial distribution overseas Spatial distribution migrant households Development processes Occupations prior to migration Survey of Filipino Remitters and Households Receiving Remittances Development outcomes Asian Development Bank study, 2005 Registered emigrants (the employed and unemployed prior to migration) CFO based overseas Destination countries of permanent residents, Stock Estimates on Overseas Filipinos Census data of host countries Host countries (e.g. United States Census) CFO Regional origins of emigrants and permanent residents CFO CFO CFO CFO CFO CFO Data available Data source

Domestic employment and migration Educational attainment of overseas Filipinos overseas






NSOs Labor Force Survey, POEA deployment data, CFO emigrants data

migration data (temporary contract workers and immigrants)

Educational attainment of temporary contract workers and emigrants (though these are 1995 data)

Processed by an ILO study, with data coming from NSO, POEA and CFO

Table 3: Available statisticsundocumented migrants

PopDev framework element Population Outcomes Spatial distribution overseas Countries with most undocumented migrants, Stock estimates on overseas Filipinos CFO Data available Data source

Table 4: Statistics on remittances

PopDev framework element Development processes Remittances Remittances through formal banking channels (1975-2005) and informal banking channels (2001-2005) Annual Survey on Overseas Filipinos Survey of Filipino Remitters and Households Receiving Remittances Household amenities and ownership of durables, 2000 Census NSO Asian Development Bank study, 2005 NSO BSP Data available Data source

It will be interesting to find out how statisticians and demographers treat the migration data that are available. In the context of demography for example, the type of migration movement is linked to migrating Filipinos continued count in the Philippiness population system. In this case, temporary migrants (even those who stay for over 10 years as if their stay seems permanent already) remain part of the Philippine population system 6 while permanent residents have thus been part of the counts of host countries population
Maruja Asis (in United Nations Population Fund, 2005) explains that since many host countries have policies that do not welcome family reunification, the foreign worker is thus a temporary migrant. The foreign worker, thus, will be forced to return to the Philippines and remit earnings to the family left behind and these circumstances substantiate their being temporary migrants. Asis even thinks policies make this kind of migration movement temporary.

registers. But given the transnational nature of international migration movements, and even circular migration movements by both temporary and permanent migrants to their home and host countries, these developments will challenge how international migration is looked at by demographers and by statisticians. Permanent residents, for example, remit money periodically (though less in number than temporary migrants). Yet the Philippine System of National Accounts only includes remittances from sea- and land-based Filipino migrant workers (thus temporary migrants). The recording system for the PSNA is still being improved, although a proposed framework for overseas Filipinos (see Figure 2) shows that the stress is more on temporary migrants. The annual stock estimates on overseas Filipinos shows that permanent residents are increasing in number (see Table 5).
Figure 2: Proposed framework for overseas Filipinos (Raymundo Talento 2004)

Table 5: Stock estimates of overseas Filipinos (multiple years)

Year 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999

Permanent 3,556,035 3,391,338 3,187,586 2,865,412 2,807,356 2,736,528 2,551,549 2,482,470

Temporary 3,802,345 3,651,727 3,599,257 3,385,001 3,167,978 3,049,622 2,991,125 2,981,529

Irregular 874,792 881,123 1,297,005 1,512,765 1,607,170 1,625,936 1,840,448 1,828,990

Total 8,233,172 7,924,188 8,083,848 7,763,178 7,582,504 7,412,086 7,383,122 7,292,989

Gap between permanent and temporary migrants 246,310 260,389 411,671 519,589 360,622 313,094 438,576 499,059

1998 1997

2,333,843 2,153,967

2,961,254 2,940,082

1,913,941 1,880,016

7,209,038 6,974,065

627,411 786,115

Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas, 2006

Data capturing agencies (in Jeremaiah Opiniano, 2007a). There are agencies responsible for facilitating Filipinos overseas migration, and these are also the countrys major data capturing agencies on international migration. The government bodies involved are part of the countrys bureaucracy in the management of overseas migration flows. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is one of these agencies, and under its aegis is the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Temporary contract workers (both newly-hired and re-hired, in the case of overseas workers who returned to the motherland) are the jurisdiction of the two agencies. A related agency, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA, the welfare-focused agency for temporary contract workers), has some databases of temporary contract workers who paid their per-contract membership fee of US$25. Meanwhile, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (an attached agency under the Office of the President) handles and registers permanent residents and immigrants leaving the country (including Filipino spouses of foreigners). CFO is also responsible for the release of the annual stock estimates of overseas Filipinos, covering all the types of overseas Filipinos mentioned earlier. Both POEA and CFO have detailed statistics on the profiles of the temporary contract workers and permanent residents who registered with their respective agencies prior to overseas departure. The Department of Foreign Affairs plays a crucial role in the gathering of international migration statistics. This function is done through the 86 embassies and consulates overseas since these diplomatic offices gather data on the number of Filipinos in the said host countries7. These pieces of information are then sent to DFA headquarters and to the CFO. Another agency, the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID), handles records of Filipinos and foreigners who pass through Philippine air and sea ports. Some government officials involved in harmonizing international migration data have mentioned that BID cannot use embarkation and disembarkation cards to record the number of exiting and returning Filipinos (especially in airports). But raw data on departing and returning foreigners and
Some of these host countries, especially developed countries, have sophisticated Census datasets and data ferreting software. The websites of the United States Census and Statistics Denmark website are good examples. Among the variables such websites have is the number of foreigners (e.g. foreign workers, foreign-born population, the population born to families of mixed races). (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007).

overseas Filipinos are available at the BID (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007a), even as the agency has yet to systematize its data on departing and returning overseas Filipinos. The National Statistics Office is the main agency under the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) that gathers relevant data on overseas Filipinos. NSO uses three sets of household and income surveys related to Filipinos abroad: the quarterly Labor Force Survey or LFS, the annual Survey on Overseas Filipinos or the SOF (which is a rider to the October round of the LFS), and the triennial Family Income and Expenditures Survey or FIES. The SOF is the most important survey instrument for NSO in regard to getting data on overseas Filipinos, data particularly on their demographic information and remittance behavior. The SOF is perhaps the only survey directly covering overseas migration by Filipinos, even if it stresses on international labor migration largely. The strength of the SOF is that it is done annually, even as the period of coverage is from April to September. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the main regulator for the countrys financial sector, records the flows of remittances from overseas Filipinos. It releases monthly remittance figures for public consumption. These remittance data, in addition, are being monitored in accordance with certain reporting regulations in the Balance of Payments (BoP), which summarizes the countrys financial transactions with the rest of the world. These data also represent actual cash flows from overseas Filipinos, particularly those that pass through the countrys formal banking system. At the same time, these remittances are also being monitored vis--vis the gross international reserves (GIR) of the country. The GIR is an indicator of the countrys ability to make credit payments based on its reserve of foreign currencies and gold (the former largely buoyed by migrants remittances). Other related agencies are also part of the system of international migration statistics. One is the Philippine Retirement Authority, which records the number of returning Filipinos who have availed of what are called the special retirement retirees visa. Another relevant agency is the Department of Tourism, which records foreigner and overseas Filipino tourists arriving in the country and in the countrys different regions. The National Statistical Coordination Board or NSCB convenes the migration data capturing agencies as an inter-agency network. NSCB is even lead convenor of a Task Force on Overseas Filipinos Statistics that which provides a framework and a set of indicators to determine those belonging to the statistical measurement8 of overseas Filipinos
The following types of overseas Filipinos are part of the proposed NSCB framework on international migration statistics: a) migrant workers; b) Permanent residents or immigrants; c) Former Filipino citizens; d) Holders of non-immigrant visas like tourists, visitors, students, medical patients, those on official missions, and others; e) Descendants of Filipino nationals overseas; and f) Undocumented Filipinos (Lina Castro 2006).

(Lina Castro 2006). In regard to overseas Filipino statistics, the NSCB also includes migrant workers (thus, referring to temporary contract workers) in the Philippine System of National Accounts (Raymund Talento 2004). While this measurement system of migrant workers in the PSNA is currently being improved, this endeavor is important especially in terms of determining the contribution of overseas Filipino workers to the net factor income from abroad, which is one part of the gross national product. Remittances are among those that are part of NFIA, which is being added up to the gross domestic product figure to come up with the GNP. Compared to other countries, the Philippines has the machinery of these government agencies involved in international migration statistics and is a global model of such (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007b). At the same time, government agencies involved in the systematic capturing of international migration statistics ought to be lauded for their efforts, even if some observe the Philippines has proxy international migration data (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2006). IV. Issues and recommendations This paper, while not statistical and mathematical in nature, is an attempt to survey the system of international migration statistics in the Philippines. Given the exercise done, we outline the following issues: There are technical issues involved in the statistics themselves. Perhaps the most important of these covers definitions: who is the overseas Filipino? There has been much loose usage of the phrase overseas Filipino workers (and the acronym OFWs) in the public realm, and this influences the way stakeholders view who these overseas Filipinos are. To be fair with the government data capturing agencies, they are addressing such concerns with regard to terminologies. In this regard, they should consider the international migration situation of the Philippines, as well as how statistics and migration management agencies worldwide are formulating a framework to set standards on international migration statistics. This pursuit of socalled standards on international migration statistics attempt to cover all types of international migration movements.

Nimfa Ogena and Josefa Zafra (1998), in their paper 9 during the 1998 National Convention on Statistics, have made an observation regarding migration statistics (to include internal migration10) that remains relevant today: A general holistic scheme for the optimal collection of population and migration data is critically needed; this observation includes internal migration, which is a demographic process that has patchy data available. The outdated data is also an issue to contend with, especially for internal migration, since it will be difficult then to determine the net migration rate11 of a certain area (province, city, town) this covering both internal and international migration movements by Filipinos. Determining the net migration rate of areas in the country is a prospect for the future, especially if our data are updated (which is why there is anticipation over the results of the ongoing Census of the Population). Nevertheless, the general holistic scheme for population and migration data collection remains wanting; meanwhile, international migration statistics also need to understand that holistic look at the various datasets, and also consider how Filipinos migrate overseas. Then the careful examination of data collection and methods, as well as the management of data quality concerns, of international migration statistics will follow. It also makes sense that a resources-supported NSO finally conduct a National Migration Survey (also in Nimfa Ogena and Josefa Zafra 1998), that survey representing an effort to systematically and regularly monitor the internal and international migration movements of Filipinos. The regular conduct of this survey will hopefully address the scanty migration data of the Philippines (Ogena and Zafra 1998). This survey may also finally determine more socio-economic and demographic characteristics of these people on the move, including overseas Filipinos. Unfortunately, governments policy-makers and budget managers have yet to realize the importance of this kind of a survey given that Filipinos have a strong migration culture. The technical issues surrounding international migration data will, hopefully, understand the fluidity of international migration movements. These movements are one-way (from the Philippines to overseas countries) and two-way (to include return
The paper of Ogena and Zafra looked at both internal and international migration, as they sensed there seems to be underestimation from the data. The two demographers also looked at how the National Statistics Office defines household members in its five-year or ten-year censuses. As for international migration, data from the POEA were analyzed. 10 Internal migration remains a demographic process that is difficult to track down and record. There have been some attempts, such as by the Population Commission when it released a report titled Filipinos on the Move: Who are They? The data source for such is the 2000 Censuss 10 percent sample data. 11 Net migration rate shows the net effect of in-migration and out-migration on an areas population, expressed in an increase or decrease per 1,000 population of the area in a given year (Population Commission, undated). The formula to compute NMR is as follows: NMR = Number of in-migrants number of out-migrants for two periods Population at end of period (in-migrants out-migrants) 0.5 x 1,000

migration or circular migration that covers overseas Filipinos who go home to the Philippines for a vacation). The growing permanent residency of Filipinos vis--vis international migration statistics is an issue that represents such fluidity of international migration movements. Permanent settlement overseas will, all the more, blur international migration data capturing mechanisms, making it difficult to track down the international migration path of the overseas Filipino. Permanent settlement might even be the next wave of increased overseas migration by Filipinos in the next decade. There are some countries that need workers and are willing to offer immigration opportunities so as to address the labor shortfalls and aging populations of their countries. At the same time, marriage migration is steadily rising (Commission on Filipinos Overseas 2006). The changing citizenship of the Filipino overseas will also become an issue for demographers and statisticians. As an international migration scholar, Dr. Filomeno Aguilar, observes, demography has no established theory on international migration. Demography has yet to determine how it can handle, in the population count, Filipinos who have become nationals 12 of other countries, and yet they still contribute 13 to the economy of the Philippines through their remittances. The remittances that permanent migrants send also include payments to investments in the Philippines, since companies such as real estate firms and insurance companies are luring temporary contract workers and permanent residents for investments. What also prevails is transnationalism, and foreigners abroad can easily go back to the home country and to the host country (some overseas Filipinos may even think of Germany or Canada as their home country). Given these trends in international migration, demography cannot just set aside these realities. Even existing data gathering instruments should also find out how the households of permanent residents, while lesser in number than the temporary migrants or the overseas Filipino workers, be covered and included in surveys such as the Labor Force Survey, the Survey on Overseas Filipinos, and the Family Income and Expenditures Survey.


By virtue that foreigners have become nationals of host countries, thus the host countrys population office includes them in its population count. When the United States had reached 300 million people in September 2006, immigration was a major factor for such. 13 The contribution of permanent residents to the Philippine economy does not only cover remittances, but also donations. Migrant philanthropy is a multi-million dollar philanthropic resource US$218 million in cash, according to 2003 data of the old Balance of Payments which comes from both temporary contract workers and permanent residents (Association of Foundations 2005). These permanent residents may have become American or German citizens, but their philanthropic donations are for the Philippines owing to their ties to the country of birth.

The situation thus goes back to the definition of which type of overseas Filipino is covered. But as there is the drive to improve the system of capturing international migration data, resource limitations of these migration data capturing agencies come up as a crucial issue. NSO, for example, cannot conduct a full-blown National Migration Survey even as the lobbying to conduct such a survey is over three-decades old already. Meanwhile, Republic Act 8042 (or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act) mandates the government to set up a Shared Government Information System on Migration (SGISM). No thanks to lack of funds, this shared system never flew off at a time that this is most needed. Individual migration data capturing agencies also have their own resource challenges. A study (Donna Leceta 2002) directed at the POEA found that there is an overwhelming mismatch between the number of Filipinos applying for overseas work and the number of personnel recording their applications14. Supporting the work of records collection departments is crucial to improving the system of international migration data capturing and recoding. Policymakers should be made aware that since the countrys economy is largely supported by overseas Filipinos, and the Philippines is in a position to harness these supplementary resources from international migration for domestic economic development (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2004), supporting the system of capturing, processing, and harmonizing international migration statistics is necessary. With these at hand, the following next steps can be pursued: It makes sense that a body of migration data actors (whether formal or informal, and coming from various disciplines) will regularly discuss and act upon how this holistic look at international migration data can be improved, and the improvements operationalized. Such a loose coalition of migration data gatherers, analysts, and users will seek resources to painstakingly improve international migration data capturing, harmonization, and public access. This effort is also aimed at regularly updating these international migration statistics.

Donna Leceta (2002) made a simple ratio of the number of personnel in POEAs central records division and the number of temporary contract workers who passed through POEA. Her 2001 data showed that the ratio is 1 is to 562,814 records. The data they record also cover previous years applicants for overseas work, as well as returning overseas working re-applying for overseas employment.


With resources being a problem, this loose coalition of migration data gatherers, analysts, and users can find resources to perhaps bankroll the countrys international migration statistical system. The World Bank, for example, has grants for statistical capacity building which can be a possible resource that will help to improve our international migration statistics. The late demographer Aurora Perez (1997) recommended that a better understanding of migration as a process necessarily entails an interdisciplinary approach among scholars of different disciplines(since there is) a yawning gap in interdisciplinary studies on migration in the Philippines. The same perspective can be applied to international migration statistics. Collaboration between government, non-government groups, and academics from various disciplines (economics, psychology, sociology and anthropology, business, among others) will be helpful so that harmonized statistical datasets on international migration understand the technical ramifications of data capturing vis--vis disciplinary theories and the ground-level experiences and realities surrounding the international migration phenomenon. In the next few years, when the country will have a new president, the Philippines should be prepared to use international migration statistics in national development plans, and juxtapose international migration statistics with socio-economic datasets. Doing this is an initial step to purposively integrate international migration and its development potential in the countrys next six-year Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP). With the data that are available, and since there is much discussion and studies on how international migration has improved Filipinos socio-economic conditions, it is interesting to find out how overseas migration has improved or not the Philippiness human development standing. Thus, an example of an interesting endeavor will be to produce an edition of the Philippine Human Development Report whose theme is international migration and Filipino human development.


Conclusion A June 2007 conference by the Philippine Statistical Association and the Bangko

Sentral ng Pilipinas carried the theme OFWs: Ilan ba Talaga Kayo? (How many you really are?). The major data capturing government agencies explained the means they gather

international migration data. It also opened the doors to begin next steps toward collaboration (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007b). Statistics can only compile so much, especially with a fluid phenomenon such as international migration. At the very least, the Philippines existing international migration statistics can help us see trends on immigration flows and conditions, remittances, and other demographic characteristics of these overseas Filipinos (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007a). There is much room to improve the system surrounding international migration statistics, and doing so will be a big help to strategize how international migration can be a supplementary, not a primary, input to Philippine economic development (Jeremaiah Opiniano 2007c).

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