The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) on Tuesday said that its diaspora to development program strengthened global Filipinos’ ties to their home country at the same time helping develop the economy.
CFO Secretary Imelda Nicolas said on Tuesday in Manila Hotel that “remittances help push growth but sharing their talents and passions within the homeland “ would be better.
Nicolas also pushing and use the term “Overseas Filipinos” instead of “OFWs” to include people who live abroad, but not for work – unlike the OFWs or Temporary Migrants who are expected to return to the Philippines after their employment contract ends. There are also the permanent residents and naturalized citizens of other countries (Permanent Migrants), and those who are abroad not because of employment but may be undocumented (Irregular Migrants).
As of December 2012, of the 10.5 million Overseas Filipinos, 47 percent or 4.9 millions are Permanent Migrants, 40 percent or 4.2 million are Temporary Migrants and 13 percent or 1.36 million are Irregular Migrants in 200 plus countries and territories.
Based on World Bank data, the estimates of migrant remittances to the Philippines as of end of 2014 is $ 28.23 billion compared to $ 26.7 billion in 2013.
The annual remittances from 2010 was $ 21.56 billion; in 2011, $23.05 billion; and in 2012, $24.61 billion.
In addition, we gleaned from the quick survey by CFO that an estimated $ 44 million in cash and in kind donations were sent to the Philippines by overseas Filipino in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda.
CFO has the Diaspora to Development (or D2D) program which lays out ten areas of engagement where the Philippine diaspora can become development partners of various stakeholders. These are: Business Advisory Circle (BAC), Alay Dunong sa Bayan (Brain Grain Program), Diaspora Philanthropy, Diaspora Investment Balik Turo (Teach-share), Arts, Culture and Educational Exchanges, Tourism Initiatives (Tl), Global Legal Assistance and Advocacy, Medical Mission Coordination, and Return and Reintegration.
Another program which CFO has developed is the BaLinkbayan, the one-stop online portal for overseas Filipinos for diaspora engagement. It aims to connect Filipino individuals and communities to the Philippines through D2D. BaLinkbayan‘s four main features are Invest and Start a Business; Donate and Volunteer; Access Government Online Services; and interactive Maps.