MANILA, Philippines - Despite a commendable policy on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Philippine government should not depend on exporting labor abroad to cushion its economic woes.
Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands told the press in the Makati Business Club-led CEOs Luncheon Meeting: The Business of Migration on Wednesday that the government’s approach to OFWs is “to some extent, exemplary" but should not be viewed as an economic solution.
“In the end, I think it’s not sustainable to have a large extent of your labor abroad. It’s an important contribution, but it’s not an economic solution," said Prince Constantijn in an interview with GMANews.TV.
Official data shows there are 8.2 million Filipino migrant workers all over the world. Their remittances reached $14.4 billion last year. Remittances for the first quarter this year also grew 13.2% to $3.95 billion from $3.49 billion in the same period last year.
The Dutch prince, who left today, was on a two-day visit (June 3-4) in the Philippines as the Chairman of The Hague Process (THP) on Refugees and Migration.
Arriving in the Philippines for the first time, Prince Constantijn chose migration as one of his advocacies shortly after he took accelerated immigration procedure in aliens' legislation as his dissertation in law school.
Prince Constantijn urged top business executives in the meeting to make overseas employment a choice for Filipinos and not the only choice.
Prince Constantijn talks with top business executives. Beside him is entrepreneur Doris Magsaysay Ho, CEO of Magsaysay Maritime Corp
“Create an environment where people who want to stay can stay. You must explore their talents and don’t make them feel underutilized. Migration should not be seen as a solution," he said.
The THP aims to stimulate discussion among local government officials and business leaders in the Philippines to come up with a solution to address migration problems. Frans Bouwen, THP director, said the group is preparing for the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development in Manila in October.
The Philippines was unanimously chosen by participating countries to host the second GFMD from October 27 to 30 after Brussels hosted the first forum last year.
Foreign Affairs undersecretary Esteban Conejos said the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants abroad would be better underscored in the global event in October.
"We are engaging the issue of migration in the bilateral, regional and in October, global level," Conejos said. - GMANews.TV