7 August 2014
The Mindanao summit convened by the Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Action Inc. (MMCEAI) will show emerging, and often disturbing trends in the movement of people from and away from their communities, as it calls on both the national and local government to include migration now in their development planning.
While it considers migration as a development issue – both on the personal plane of improving the family income status, and on the national dimension when the country benefits from their remittances – the MMCEAI said that migration issues are being influenced or affected by the undercurrents in the environment, peace and development patterns.
“Environment, peace and development issues exert pressure on the patterns of migration. Environmental episodes like typhoons and landslides, peace and conflict issues like gunbattles and tribal wars, and ill-conceived development issues like construction of megastructures for malls, sports complex and subdivisions, all these create waves of displacees that impact directly on the financial resources as well as the capacity of local authorities to handle these exodus of residents forced out of their villages,” said Inorisa Sialana Elento, executive director of MMCEAI.
“These issues of environment, peace and development keep on exerting pressure on the pattern of migration in Mindanao, with increasing reports of abuse as more Mindanawons look at overseas migration as a way out of the uncertain future in their neglected villages and cramped evacuation camps,” Elento said.
In many cases, the destitute conditions in the camps and battered villages force hapless families to accede to wily recruiters that they carry fake travel papers, and sending minors and girls to uncertain jobs abroad.
“But we don’t have to look far to see these sad events unfurl even inside the country, as illegal recruiters send victims to abusive domiciles, and traffickers transport victims along local routes to clandestine prostitution stations,” she said.
Recent and recurring events in Mindanao have also begun to point out the relationship between migration to the environment, peace and development issues “as going both ways”.
“We are looking at migration, not only as the cause or consequence of the changes in the environment, peace condition and development designs. Migration is also seen to be directly impacting on the other factors that we have mentioned,” she said.
“In many ways that we also observe a pattern where migration of people have also changed the landscape of the environment, affecting the peace condition as well as dictating the pattern of development to suit the influx of people,” she said. “These issues are thus closely intertwined, mutually reinforcing and deeply connected.”
For so long, migration has been disregarded as a crucial factor or socio-economic handle in development planning, “but the fact is, migration issues have contributed in great part or periodically shaken the coffers of government in similar manner that calamities have”.
“That’s why it is to the advantage of government to consider migration now as an issue to address squarely,” Elento said. ###
Emmanuel “Eman” Jovellanos, Advocacy Officer, MMCEAI
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