DURING the 2016 presidential campaign, then presidential candidate former Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte vowed that if elected, he would do everything within his power to minimize if not totally stop the deployment overseas of our homegrown workforce.

As a city mayor, he was cognizant of the hardships the migrant workers have to endure just to earn a living and provide for the needs of their families.

That is aside from the social costs as well as the deterioration of traditional and core family values and relationships in exchange for financial freedom.

More than a year after Duterte assumed his post, a study recently released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) showed that there is growing trend among university graduates from developing countries like the Philippines to leave and work in richer nations.

The same report said the number of immigrants with university degrees who left to work in richer nations surged 66 percent in the decade through 2010-2011 to 2.8 million. 

One of the highlights of the report indicated that of the said percentage, more than half of them came from the Philippines, with hundreds of thousands more working even in regions like the Middle East.

The primary motivation for their leaving the country is the huge differences in salaries that the richer countries can offer to them compared to what they would earn here.

Between the years 2011 to 2015, the trend continued to persist, with the number of university–educated Filipinos leaving for work overseas even rising to 27 percent.

Indeed, this is an alarming trend and something must be done to arrest this practice.

While President Duterte might be thinking about the welfare of OFWs and their families during the 2016 campaign, it is of equal importance that we also think of the country’s welfare and future relative to this matter.

It is because the continued exodus of our skilled and educated country mates would surely result in the so-called brain drain.

In the long run, brain drain would actually affect our country’s future because it would result in the valuable loss of badly-needed human capital. 

While the huge remittances by our OFWs actually keep our economy afloat reaching as high as US$30-B last year, the future losses as far as our country is concerned could not be quantified.

This paper believes that the migration of our highly-educated citizens especially those in specialized fields could have serious repercussions in our economic and social development.

It’s about time that the government acts and arrests this exodus of professionals. This can be done by increasing the wages and providing better working conditions and opportunities for professional advancement for them.

Unless the exodus is stopped, we could expect a bleak future for our coming generations. 

Certainly, time is of the essence here.



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Sunday, 23 September 2018
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