A number of factors led to the ascent of the Philippines as a major labor exporter in Asia and worldwide. When large-scale labor emigration began in the s, the push factors—already quite strong—were worsened by the oil crisis. Economic gains could not keep pace with population growth, and the country was hard pressed to provide jobs and decent wages while grappling with severe balance of payment problems. At the same time, the GCC countries needed workers to realize their ambitious infrastructure projects.
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With supply and demand converging, the Philippines was ripe for large-scale labor migration, an opportunity the government of Ferdinand Marcos recognized. In , the Labor Code of the Philippines established the framework for what became the government's overseas employment program. The Philippines' foray into organized international labor migration was supposed to be temporary, lasting only until the country recovered from its economic problems.
However, the ongoing demand for workers in the GCC countries and the opening of new labor markets in other regions, especially in East and Southeast Asia, fueled further migration. On the supply side, the push factors did not abate. Lack of sustained economic development, political instability, unabated population growth, persistent unemployment, and low wages continued to compel people to head abroad.
The flow of OFWs, numbering a few thousand per year in the early s, surged past 1 million beginning in see Figure 1. In alone, more than 1,, Filipinos worked abroad. The data on deployed workers include seafarers, who account for 20 to22 percent of all OFWs every year. Filipinos dominate the global seafaring industry, accounting for 25 to 30 percent of the world's seafarers.
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Figure 1. As of December , the stock of overseas Filipinos totaled slightly more than 10 million, including some 4. Filipinos are present in the far reaches of the globe, mostly because of work. Although the destinations of OFWs have diversified, to this day, the Middle East still receives the largest share, with 64 percent heading to the region in , followed by Asia with 28 percent see Figure 2.
Figure 2. Filipino women are very visible in international migration. They not only compose the majority of permanent settlers, i.
In fact, since , females have generally outnumbered men among the newly hired land-based workers legally deployed every year. In , domestic work was the top occupation for new hires, at 38 percent. While the demand for domestic workers has long been the main driver of female migration from the Philippines and Asia in general, until , the demand for entertainers, mostly in Japan, also fueled this migration. With work in the domestic and entertainment sectors unprotected and prone to abuse, the safety and well-being of women migrants became a significant concern. Entertainer migration was particularly controversial and stigmatized because of perceptions that women ended up in the sex industry.
Likewise, the significance of domestic worker migration was a major push for the Philippines to ratify the Convention on Domestic Workers, which recognizes domestic work as labor that must be protected. The growing volume of labor migration from the Philippines has increased the incidence of problems and challenges faced by migrants and their families.
The participation of private recruitment agencies in matching workers with employers abroad has contributed to the challenges. The problems that emerged in the s remain the same today: illegal recruitment, contract substitution, illegal placement fees, long working hours, and no days off in the case of domestic workers , among others.
Over the years, institutional and policy development in the Philippines was geared toward worker protection. The focus on protection shifted during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo , when the government for the only time to date set a target for the deployment of workers. The Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan set a goal of sending 1 million workers overseas every year. This stated desire to a return to welfare and protection was accompanied by legislative and executive actions to further regulate labor migration and expand services for OFWs.
Soon after Aquino took office, he signed Republic Act RA into law, aiming to further strengthen measures to protect migrant workers, their families, and other overseas Filipinos in distress. Implementation-wise, certifying a country as safe or unsafe can be politically and diplomatically sensitive, and deployment bans even for good reasons have not proven effective in stopping migration. The law also mandates recruitment agencies or employers to provide OFWs with compulsory insurance to cover accidental death or disability, among other protections.
These measures were aimed at curbing the illegal practices of recruitment agencies, such as exorbitant placement fees and contract substitution, which negatively impact migrants. A number of nongovernmental organizations had criticized the government for not financially contributing to OWWA operations. The OWWA charter changed this, stating that the national government would allocate a regular budget for the operations and personnel expenses of the agency, which would free up more funds for programs and services.
The law also identified the reintegration program as a core function for OWWA, shifting responsibility from the Department of Labor and Employment. Those who are identified as victims of trafficking can access support and assistance. Growing marriage migration also has caused anxieties about the welfare of women who marry foreign nationals. Unlike the earlier law, the amended version applies to Filipino men as well as women though marriage migrants are overwhelmingly female , and takes into account trafficking and new developments, such as online transactions.
The law mainly prohibits commercial or for-profit matching or offering of Filipinos to foreign nationals through the mail, in person, or over the Internet, for the purpose of marriage or common law partnership.
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Beyond the now-traditional facilitate-and-protect policy framework, migration governance in recent years has also started to make inroads on migration and development. The global discussion on the migration and development nexus may have influenced reflections in the Philippine context. A conference and a comprehensive study on migration and development in the Philippines brought to the fore five key observations:. In other words, the migration and development nexus was more of a disconnect: Except in the case of remittances, policies in these areas were not linked, and the national framework was out of sync with local frameworks.
The Central Bank of the Philippines had taken the lead on improving the remittance environment, likely driven in part by the enormous importance of these money transfers as well as the relative ease of monitoring formal remittances, compared to other impacts such as social costs. However, other migration and development initiatives were not as persistently pursued, implemented, or monitored.
Despite this implementation gap at home, the Philippines has become a global leader in discussions on migration and development. It has actively participated in the Global Forum on Migration and Development, and hosted the second such forum in These development-related discussions have also expanded the domestic migration conversation to encompass the broader population of overseas Filipinos, not just OFWs. CFO also lobbied and cooperated with the National Economic Development Authority NEDA , the key government agency responsible for development planning and policy, to integrate international migration issues into the Philippine Development Plan Sixty provisions on migration and development appeared in seven out of nine chapters of the plan.
Further, in , NEDA created an interagency structure to promote attention to migration and development and improve coordination among migration-related agencies and other government agencies. There has also been movement toward involving local governments in developing institutions, policies, and programs on migration and development, including under Phase II of the Joint Migration and Development Initiative JMDI. Autonomy is an important aspect of the RESAS project; that is, giving local governments the tools needed to conceive and implement revitalization efforts of their own.
One RESAS visualisation project assisting decision making is a hospital and welfare analysis site that can provide a quick understanding of the average patient load of area hospitals throughout the country. Big data should work for the many, not the few — but first we need access. What I learned from two years at the heart of government data science. Invite a connection Know smart, curious people working to improve government? Invite them to apply to Apolitical. We prioritise any invitations from existing members.
Thank you for signing up! For example, the Department of Defense's experience in procurement reform indicates that relying on commercial standards instead of government-unique standards can substantially reduce acquisition costs. Recent legislation P. In addition, conformity assessment is performed most efficiently and effectively by the private sector. To simplify the system and lower costs, the federal government should immediately begin to phase out its conformity-assessment activities and to rely instead on private testing, certification, and accreditation services that are recognized as competent by the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST.
NIST also should work with state and local governments to eliminate duplication at those levels. To address the saving shortfall, the administration and Congress should set benchmarks for private investment, net saving, and productivity growth. These benchmarks do not need to be achieved immediately, but public officials need to set goals and develop a public consensus behind them, so that the actions needed to move toward the goals are not crowded out by short-term pressures.
Structural changes in US tax policy would be the most direct and effective way to increase investment and saving.
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While retaining the progressivity of the tax structure, the United States should move toward a system in which saving and investment are taxed less and consumption is taxed more. A-2 Efforts to reduce the cost of capital in the United States and to emphasize long-term investments also could boost saving and investment rates. In some cases, government has a compelling rationale for directly enhancing the development and adoption of technologies.
For example, federal and state agencies pursue a number of public missions that depend heavily on technological advances, such as safeguarding public health, ensuring national security, and protecting the environment. In the past, technologies developed with public funds to meet those government missions often have had important commercial applications. In select cases, the government also has a rationale for supporting the development of commercial technologies beyond those explicitly linked to federal agency missions. Examples of past and present path-breaking technologies are nuclear medicine, biotechnology, semiconductors, aircraft engines, and communication satellites.
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Examples of these technologies are the development of engineering methods, compilation and validation of technical data, measurement tools, and the refinement of manufacturing processes. Identifying technologies that meet those criteria is difficult and requires a combined public-private effort. The federal government should work with the private sector to ensure that the United States has world-class capabilities in technologies that promise to have a major and continuing impact on broad areas of industrial and economic performance. B-1 But the government need not invest in fields in which the private sector already has programs of development in place.