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December 1999 Volume 6 Number 12
The Philippines sends more migrants out of the country by air then any other country, and the government has developed an extensive bureaucracy—funded by migrant-paid fees—in an attempt to ensure that only migrants with valid contracts depart for overseas jobs. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) recently introduced several changes in dealing with departing Filipinos at the Manila international airport: it abolished escort services—accompanying the migrant to her plane— and no longer requires migrants to present an employment contract for verification. Direct air links between Taiwan and the Philippines were suspended in Fall 1999 to protect Philippine Air Lines; migrants must go to Taiwan via Hong Kong.<< back
Filipinos comprise 30 per cent of the world's 1.2 million seamen, the largest nationality in the maritime industry. Between 1997-1999, about 10,000 Filipino seaman have lost their jobs due to downsizing of crews in the maritime industry.
There are 650,000 to 700,000 Filipino migrants in Saudi Arabia, and a Philippine government study in October 1999 projected that Filipino migrant employment could drop to 100,000 by 2005 if the "Saudization" of the work force continued.
The Department of Labor and Employment reported that there are 2,000 migrants in prison, most in the Middle East, Asia and North America. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects to receive $7 to $8 billion in remittances from overseas Filipino workers in 1999, up from $5 billion in 1998.
The Philippine government is considering a proposal to grant dual citizenship to Filipinos who emigrated and became naturalized citizens in another country. Under the proposal, these Filipinos could re-acquire Filipino citizenship, which would provide them with advantages if they invested in the Philippines. The Philippine government requires 150,000 foreigners living in the country to register in person with the Bureau of Immigration once a year and pay a fee of P300.
The Philippines launched the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants in 1997 to commemorate the approval of the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families by the United Nations General Assembly—the convention was adopted December 18, 1990, and the Philippines hopes to make each December 18 a day to honor migrants.
Jowel F. Canuday, "10,000 Filipino seamen jobless," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 21 September 1999. Pierre Goad, "At your service," Far Eastern Economic Review, September 2, 1999.