Fewer Filipinos want to migrate under Aquino gov't: survey

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 04 2010 11:12 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2010 07:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines - With renewed hope and optimism under the new Aquino government, fewer Filipinos now want to migrate to another country and live there, according to a new survey by Pulse Asia conducted early July.

The survey,  which was conducted last July 1 to 11 or during the first few days of the Aquino administration, showed that 9% of Filipinos--roughly 1 in 10 Filipinos-- agreed with the statement: "If it were only possible, I would migrate to another country and live there."

This was down 11 percentage points from March 2010, when 20%--1 in 5 Filipinos--said they wanted to migrate if it were only possible.

On the other hand, 75% of Filipinos--3 in 4 Filipinos--disagreed with the statement ("If it were only possible, I would migrate to another country and live there") in July 2010, up 19-percentage points from 56% in March 2010. 

Pulse Asia Chief Research Fellow Ana Maria Tabunda said the desire of more Filipinos to stay in the country is an indicator of trust in the Aquino government.

"They are willing to stay and work hard because they know that the new government will work hard. The question now is what the administration will do to keep that trust," she told abs-cbnNEWS.com.

Previous Pulse Asia surveys showed that the desire to migrate among Filipinos went as high as 29% in 2006 during the Arroyo administration. It stayed at 20% for 3 straight quarters since August 2009 before dropping to a record low 9% in July 2010.

Among income households, rich and middle class households (ABC) had the biggest drop (-15) in wanting to migrate: from 27% in March 2010, it fell to 12% in July 2010.

Among the masa (D) households, the desire to migrate fell from 20% in March to 9% in July. Among the poorest households (E), it fell from 18% in March to 10% in July.

One Filipino who agrees with the results of the survey is IT expert Gary Castillo.

In an interview, Castillo said he is setting aside plans to migrate to the United States because of renewed hope for the economy under the new President. "We should help each other to bring about change in the country," he told TV Patrol World.

The Pulse Asia survey also showed that optimism among Filipinos is now at its highest level since the 1997 Asian financial crisis due to the ascendancy of President Aquino.

The survey showed that 53% of Filipinos believe that their personal quality of life will change for the better by next year, compared to 32% optimism last March. On the other hand, pessimism dropped from 26% in March to 11% in July. (Read: Optimism at record high under Aquino: Pulse Asia)

Sought for comment, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz welcomed the survey results, which she said is in line with President Aquino's vision to lessen deployment of overseas Filipino workers to other countries.

"There is a social cost to migration especially on the children when families are separated for long periods of time. The challenge to the new administration is to sustain the changes in government and ensure that there are good jobs here so that workers don't have to leave the country to find work," she said in a separate interview.

She said the foreign chambers of commerce earlier identified business process outsourcing, agriculture, tourism, health, mining and manufacturing sectors as among the key employment generators in the Philippines in the next 10 years.

Records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration earlier showed that total deployment rate of overseas Filipino workers increased by 11.7% in 2009. With a report from TV Patrol World