Philippines cannot prevent emigration, says Vice President

Co-chairs of Social Watch Tanya Dawkins
and Emily Sikazwe, SW Philipines lead
convenor Leonor Briones and convenor
Marivic Raquiza, SW coordinator Roberto Bissio
and vice president of the Philippines
Jejomar Binay. (Photo: Social Watch)

Sources: Manila BulletinGMA News.

Philippine government has no reason to apologize for the persistent diaspora of workers, said Vice President Jejomar Binay in the opening session of the 5th Social Watch Global Assembly on Tuesday in Manila, according to Manila Bulletin newspaper.

Binay noted that "the public and the private sector are creating good paying jobs within the country", but the government cannot prevent the emigration of people "wishing to work and live abroad, just as we cannot prevent the growing number of foreigners wanting to settle in our country" in  a "borderless, globalized world".

"The diaspora has created a huge Philippine community that now spans virtually the entire globe. We cannot, and we must not continue to apologize for it," Binay said.

"There is now a global job market where opportunity and excellence have no particular nationalities," he added.

Binay stressed that the government must ensure that Philippine emigrants "are equipped with adequate technical skills and the ability to cope with and adapt to the new culture".

"At the same time, we must continue (...) working for an international agreement that would allow family members to join our workers wherever they go. We need this to protect the families from the ruinous social cost of prolonged separation", Binay said.

He assured that the government is negotiating bilateral agreements with other countries to guarantee adequate protection and respect for Philippine workers' rights.

The emigration should not result in brain drain, Binay added.

"As a country with one of the youngest populations in an otherwise ageing and graying world, we have to give our young people the best possible education and training to transform them into our country's primary and most enduring resource," he said.

Philippine migrant welfare groups argue that the national economy depends too much  on remittances from emigrants. Eight million Philippines are living abroad. 

Commenting on the Social Watch Global Assembly’s theme, “Claiming Democracy: Accountability For Social And Economic Justice", Binay said the Benigno Aquino administration has set its course upon exchanging more information with the people, strengthening all institutions, acting with full transparency and accountability on every issue, project or contract, without any self-interest, and always according to a shared conception of justice, reported GMA News. 

“Democracy is meaningless unless and until our fellow Filipinos get their due. Economic and social justice must make all of us active contributors to the social order, and co-owners of the national economy. The change promised by the Aquino administration must not only benefit all Filipinos. At the end of the day, it must make them agents of change themselves,” Binay stressed.