A long history of migration is ingrained in the social, economic and cultural climate of the Philippines. Over the past decades, outward migration has shaped Philippine society in many ways. Initially intended as a temporary measure to catalyzed economic development, migration is now contributing economic force. Labor migration has had positive and negative effects in the country.
Migration helps in improving the quality of life of the people and improve social life as they learn about new culture, customs and languages which helps to improve brotherhood among people. Migration of skilled workers leads to a greater economic growth of the country. Children get better opportunities for higher education.
On the other hand migration also changes family structures and can even destroy it. Migration of Filipinos abroad leaves families broken. Family structure are changing with more single-parent families and households being headed by the older children of OFW’s. Migration is also one of the main causes of increasing nuclear family where children grow up without a wider family circle.
In the Philippines today, a deteriorating economic situation for rural households and a widening disparity in income distribution leads many to seek work in the urban areas, A deeply rooted and pervasive culture of migration has made moving to the city is an option or strategy for a better life. In economic situation where families do not have sufficient income for their maintenance, movement of some family members to urban areas is one way to obtain additional resources. It is a widespread poverty, violence, lack of work, conflicts and environmental destruction that is pushing Filipino families to seek greener pasture in the city. Most of the time migrants people are not skilled or educated therefore they usually employed as daily wages. Daily wages do not get enough money for the survival of their families and suffering from many problems such as they do not have enough food to eat, sanitation, hygiene, a proper place to live, etc.
The burgeoning urban poor problem and all its other attendant social problems like squatter-housing congestion, joblessness, criminality, drugs, prostitution, traffic, street children and juvenile delinquency are blamed partly on the massive “rural-to urban migration”. How to prevent? is to provide targeted assistance to the extremely poor through social protection program. Ending extreme poverty require strategies and program aimed at sustaining inclusive, resilient growth.
All of us have the right to migrate, to live where we want to live but some Filipinos are forced to migrate because of the different situations they are facing in their own homeland. Yes! These people are on a journey who need our understanding, welcoming and concrete actions of solidarity. As a church our basic contribution is to accompany and help share their journey to hope, security and freedom.
That is to what the sisters of Loyola´s community together with ACI family members are trying to do in a very marginalized place called Banana Island, Kaingin 2 Quezon City.
Some 30 families are living there coming from the provinces searching for a greener pasture in Manila. But due to limited work and lack of skills, they converge in this remote area with lack basic needs and poor hygiene and sanitation. We do catechesis and give formation to the families. During holidays, we stablish a network with some private benefactors who generously provide them some basic needs. Also the ACI Family sponsor scholarship for 3 children.
Another small contribution is related to a broken family. Fanny (fictitious name), mother is separated from her husband who is in prison due to illegal drug related cases. All the five children are left to her. To meet their basic needs she tried to work abroad while leaving the five children to the grandmother. Unfortunately, the eldest got involved in delinquent behavior. Fanny had to come back from abroad. Sr. Angie together with lay associate, continues to follow up the family through counselling and spiritual accompaniment. The two children become the scholar of PROACIS and thus continuing their studies.