ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Migration becomes a social problem and divides the family

Friday, 20 April 2018 emigration   economy   family   childhood   local churches   development  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The phenomenon of emigration in the Philippines has become a social problem that has negative effects on the stability of the family institution, says a priest who works with migrants. "One of the alarming social realities that our country is facing today is the phenomenon of emigration that is causing social changes and serious consequences on the unity of families", notes to Agenzia Fides Fr. Leonardo Adaptar, Director of the diocesan Ministry of migrants of the diocese of Cubao.
It is estimated that there are about 10.3 million Overseas Filipino Workers, OFW and about 3,000 hopeful people who leave the country every day to seek a better life. OFW are defined as "heroes of our days" because, thanks to the contribution of remittances sent to their homeland, give a strong support to the Philippine economy.
"However, we receive more and more negative stories, related to their problems, to the concerns of migrants and their families", says Fr. Adaptar. "There is a greater need today to monitor and accompany these people on a human and pastoral level, providing help in particular regarding legal advice, guidance and the well-being of migrant workers and their families", he explains.
Each of the dioceses of 86 dioceses in the country has the task of offering a specific formation to migrants and of following their families, in collaboration with the Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerants, says Friar Dexter Ignacio to Fides who works in the staff of the Commission for migrants in Cubao.
What is gained in economic terms through emigration - which is a phenomenon organized and mediated by the state - proves to be a loss for the families of the OFW. For decades, the trend of women's emigration, which is more than half of Filipinos abroad, has meant that families lose their mother's presence. As the cases monitored by the diocesan Catholic Commissions reveal, children grow up without maternal guidance, a fundamental presence, while husbands are tempted to start extra-marital relations or, worse, to sexually abuse their children.
"The issue of migration does not have an easy solution to all the problems that derive from it. The action must be multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary. All subjects involved must understand the whole cycle and the consequences of the migration phenomenon; state, civil society, the Church to avoid that it generates ever greater and widespread social problems", concludes Fr. Adaptar. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 20/4/2018)