Migration has negative effect on family structures
Published August 30, 2008 1:07am
MANILA, Philippines – Migration changes family structures and can even destroy it, said Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCP) in a forum on migration. The mass migration of Filipinos abroad leaves families broken. Family structures are changing with more single-parent families and households being headed by the older children of OFWs. “The negative impacts (of migration) are not being considered because they are thinking only of economic benefits of the country,” Mr. Lagdameo said. According to him, the government is wrong in its focus, encouraging the break-up of families for economic gain. Other bishops in the region agree that poverty is a big reason for migration. In his opening statement, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences secretary general Orlando B. Quevedo said, “Migration is not a luxury but a sign of poverty.” Mr. Lagdameo hopes that the government realizes and acknowledges the social impact migration has. He also urged the government to work for better workers’ rights for Filipinos working abroad. Mr. Lagdameo said that the two-day Consultation on Migration, organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference and the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, would be able make suggestions to government regarding workers’ rights and family migration. — Emilia Narni J. David, BusinessWorldFamily structure, household resources, numbers of siblings competing for those resources, and parents’ own educational attainment are often important predictors of children’s education outcomes. Overseas migration of parents from the Philippines has resulted in increasing numbers of long-term separations of parents from each other and from their children. Western-based analyses might predict negative education outcomes for children as a result of parental absence. We find that separations caused by overseas migration often are either neutral or can have positive effects on schooling outcomes, at least among older children. Girls fare better in terms of educational attainment than do boys overall. Boys are often more affected by background variables, including parents’ international migration. The Impact of Parents’ Overseas Employment on Educational Outcomes of Filipino Children | Request PDF. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230075315_The_Impact_of_Parents’_Overseas_Employment_on_Educational_Outcomes_of_Filipino_Children accessed Jul 04 2018.
Six million Filipino children left behind by OFW parents
by ARIES RUFO, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak
The government should rethink its policy of promoting labor migration as a way of generating employment opportunity, as it strikes adversely into the very foundation of society, which is the family.
In her presentation at the ongoing International Conference on Gender, Migration and Development being held in Manila, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef)-New York’s deputy director for programs Vanessa Tobin said various studies have shown that the social costs of labor migration outweigh the economic benefits, with family relationships and dynamics as the first casualty.
“Migration should be, first and foremost, be just one of the options. Therefore, government should be able to create more jobs with decent wages,” Tobin said.
Tobin said the increasing “feminization” of migration has complicated the situation as it “implies a redefinition of the economic role of women in society and within the family as well.”
Children most affected
Most affected in such dynamic are the children, who may deal with the absence of one parent or both parents, either positively or negatively.
Data from the Unicef showed that there are about three to six million Filipino children left behind as parents pursue work abroad.
The figure of affected Filipino children casts a huge shadow when compared with Indonesia’s one million and Thailand’s half a million.
The absence of parents, Tobin noted, creates “displacement, disruptions and changes in care-giving arrangement.” Such effects are more felt when it is the mother who works abroad, as families go through more adjustments, than when it is the father who goes to work abroad.
This is because men do not easily take up care-giving when they assume the role of the mother, Tobin said, citing studies.
Generally, children have a different level of acceptance in a situation where a parent works abroad. Young children view migration as a form of “abandonment,” while for adolescents, the acceptance could either be “receptive or resentful.”
While working overseas promises more income and better educational opportunities for children left behind, such is mostly a mirage for most migrant workers.
Tobin cited studies where it was found that “there is not much improvement in the lives of the families, the money being sent is just enough or sometimes hardly meet the demands and needs of the families left behind.”
Tobin added: “They are also vulnerable to economic shocks, especially related to the country’s economic and political situation.”
On the other hand, the social costs of labor migration cannot be denied, impacting severely on children, psychologically and physically.
While children feel the economic benefits of parents working abroad, various studies however show that children “do not recognize this as a form of care.” Thus, children of migrants are less socially adjusted.
Those with absent mother “tend to be more angry, confused, pathetic and more afraid than other children, Tobin pointed out, citing the study conducted by Migrante-Anak Pamilya Foundation. The same study said that “the absence of the mother could be the most disruptive in the life of the children.”
The feeling of neglect and abandonment is most felt by the eldest daughter who assumes the mother’s role in the family as the father struggles to take the mother’s role.
“This immense responsibility in turn affects their performance in schools,” Tobin said, quoting a study. “It becomes a burden to the girls in the family.”
Labor migration of parents also skews the values of children as they view it only in terms of “money equivalent.” With no proper guidance from the parents, the regular remittances lead to materialistic attitude of children.
Children of migrants are also vulnerable to abuse and violence with the parent’s absence.
Apart from rethinking the labor migration policy, Tobin recommended that government review its programs for migrant workers, noting that most are geared toward economic assistance. Only few programs target the children and these are also only on short term basis.
One area where government can actively intervene in promoting the interests of overseas workers and their family is to tap remittances to finance programs and projects geared towards the children, Tobin said, adopting the recommendation of one study commissioned by the Unicef. As of December 2007, remittances have reached $14 billion.
“The prevailing separation of one or both parents from their children definitely goes against the interest of the children. It is therefore imperative to determine how these remittances are utilized to find ways to increase the positive effect of remittances on these rights and promote their best use,” Tobin said.