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More And More Mindanaoans Prefer To Leave Mindanao To Work Overseas

As the country braces for more political upheavals and economic instability due to the implementation of the EVAT, high cost of oil that eventually lead to the surge of prices of the basic commodities and transportation fare, plus the grim scenario of a political struggle between the present administration and the opposition leaders, the people of Mindanao have felt strongly the impact and found themselves always at the losing end. Though it was already a fact that out of 21 poorest provinces 16 are found in Mindanao, alarmingly the middle and the business sectors in Mindanao are totally affected.

In our migration work here in Mindanao, the usual Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) in Davao only happens once a week with a minimum participants of 15 and a maximum of 50 since it has become operational three years ago beginning from OWWA, then passed on to POEA until late this year, the task to provide PDOS was given to the Mindanao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MOMCO). All these years, the ECMI Mindanao through the MRMDC was and is always one of their resource speakers. Surprisingly, this year 2005, there’s a big sudden change of PDOS schedules. MOMCO alone is giving PDOS almost three to four times a week for those recruited by the licensed private recruitment agencies with a minimum number of 17 and a maximum of 50 departing migrants while OWWA held the PDOS once or twice a week (every Thursday and sometimes Thursday and Friday) for those who are hired directly by the foreign employers through a name hire.

Now we understand what’ caused the surprise because during the Jobs Fair in almost all cities and municipalities conducted by DOLE, 54 - 60 % of the job applicants are applying for overseas while the rest prefer to work locally. Even students in Mindanao especially those coming from the elite and the middle class prefer to study nursing while a good number of doctors opted to take up nursing courses. Those who belong to the not so poor are trying their luck taking caregiver courses, practical nursing and nursing aids, while the rest of the economically poor have found their luck in taking vocational courses offered by TESDA and other institutions. From the elite to the poorest of the poor in Mindanao, many would prefer to work overseas especially in the US, UK, Middle East, Japan and Australia.

From Education Expertise to Capacity Building

The ECMI Mindanao having used to be very good in the education campaign on Migration Realities in schools and parishes for 10 years now, is taking a pivotal role in implementing the top priority program of ECMI. Having started just this year, 2005, (though Luzon and Visayas MRMDs are already ahead). With the financial help from the national office, ECMI Mindanao and from the counterpart of the participants, four dioceses namely: Tagum, Digos, Mati and Marbel with a total number of 386 participants were able to benefit in the Orientation and Training Seminars on Migration that led to the setting up of ECMI in some parishes, integration of Migration in FLM, SAM, Youth ministry and organizing of the migrants and their families in the parishes. In Davao, the Orientation Seminar which was attended by 70 lay leaders and 3 priests and 1 bishop, was a joint effort of ECMI, OWWA XI, TACDRUP and PEOPLE’S HOPE FOUNDATION.

Having felt the impact of migration in some areas in these dioceses mentioned, the ECMI Mindanao has extended its services to the volunteers at the parish level of the Dioceses of Tagum, Davao and Marbel. In the middle of this year ECMI Mindanao has served 46 parishes excluding the parishes set to be scheduled this coming December. While doing the capacity building, ECMI Mindanao still has education engagements in schools and other dioceses and para-legal services aside from PDOS.

It is prayed that next year, hopefully, ECMI Mindanao will be able to help the ECMI/AOS in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to strengthen and sustain their activities for the migrants. Set up Migrants’ desks and give orientation seminars to the volunteers in the dioceses of Butuan, Surigao and Tandag.


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