For Filipinos overseas, it's time to give back to the motherland

by Maria Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 26 2013 06:47 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2013 07:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Around 500 people including Filipinos overseas, government and non-government organizations attended the 2nd Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora to share best practices and track progress of the past gatherings.

"Definitely the turnout is much, much bigger than the first Global Summit," said Secretary Imelda Nicolas, chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Nicolas said the first summit didn't have a good turnout due to a typhoon, which prompted them to change the date from September to February.

"We are happy that there are many people who came to the summit. Two thirds of the people here are overseas Filipinos. It's a world wide representation," she said.

The summit's theme "BalikBayanihan Para sa Inang Bayan," highlights the overseas Filipinos' desire to give back to the motherland.

"They have the talent, the resources, the time, the skills. It's now time for brain gain. It doesn't have to be that they return physically. There's so many ways of giving back," Nicolas said.

Based on figures from CFO, there are about 10.46 million Filipinos are residing in over 200 countries.

Filipino-American businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis said this second Global Summit is very significant.

"Because it's the first time in history we have an association of Filipino Global Diaspora Council made up of Filipinos abroad who have come together, kapit bisig. We are now speaking with one voice so that we can better the lives of Filipinos here in the Philippines and also better the lives of the distressed kababayans abroad," Lewis said.

For Atty. Rodel Rodis, president of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, the CFO's goal of getting more Filipinos overseas involved in the development of the Philippines is good.

"But that's only half point. The other issue is development to diaspora. What are we doing to help Filipinos in the diaspora?" Rodis said.