Almost half of Filipinos have migrated away from their place of birth at least once in their lives, according to a new study of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
During the presentation of some of the results of its first-ever National Migration Survey (NMS) on Wednesday, the state statistical agency classified 50 percent of Filipinos as “ever moved,” or those who transferred or resided in another city/municipality, province, region or country for three months.
Of these individuals, PSA said 55 percent migrated within the country.
Another 2 percent moved abroad, while 4 percent were able to travel both here and abroad.
The remaining 45 percent were nonmigrants.
The results of the study, which was conducted last year by PSA, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), covered 49,000 households.
UPPI Prof. Nimfa B. Ogena, one of the writers of the NMS said the top destination of those who migrated within the country are the National Capital Region, Calabarzon and Central Visayas.
Meanwhile, most of those, who migrated abroad went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
Impact on government policies
National Economic and Development Authority Director Reynaldo R. Cancio lauded PSA and UPPI for the comprehensive NMS, which he said reflected the sheer number of Filipino migrants in the country.
He said it highlighted the need for the integration of migration agenda in the government’s policies in the next three years.
“It is very useful for us, who are making policy especially now we are in the midst of reviewing the PDP [Philippine Development Plan]…. Hopefully it will inform the discussion we are having for this PDP review,” Cancio said.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office of Migrant Workers Affairs Executive Director Enrico T. Fos agreed with Cancio on the importance of the NMS especially now that Congress in pushing for the creation of a new department to specifically serve the needs of Filipinos abroad.
“The purpose [of the new department] is just to focus our services [for Filipinos overseas]. So if you do a focusing work, you really need this evidence, otherwise, our focusing will be just wasted. So the timing for this survey to come out is really great,” Fos said.
Local government applications
Likewise, Commission on Population and Development Project Evaluation Officer Rolagenia G. Reyes said the NMS will play a crucial role in their intervention for providing local government units manage their migration flows.
She noted that currently, several local government units (LGUs) are already facing difficulty in addressing migration-related issues like producing sufficient jobs and housing for new arrivals in their jurisdictions.
Reyes said the NMS would complement their tracking system with the Registry of Barangay Inhabitants and Migrants (RBIM) to allow LGUs to monitor the in-flow and out-flow of the population within their jurisdiction.
She said this would help LGUs to estimate service requirements and development planning for their population.
PSA said the full report of the 2018 NMS would become available before the end of the year.