Balikbayan for good? Some OFWs now going beyond remittances
MANILA, Philippines – Balikbayan is a term often used to desrcibe anyone who "comes home" to the Philippines, whether temporarily or permanently. The government is, however, looking at something that might just become a trend: "Are balikbayans now returning to the motherland for good?"
"This is a trend that continues to increase, and that's good news. We have always encouraged overseas Filipinos to come to the Philippines whether for a visit or to stay for good," said Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Chairperson Imelda Nicolas.
The CFO is hosting the ongoing 3rd annual Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora in Manila.
As of 2012, said the CFO, 10.5 million Filipinos reside overseas. Of that population, 47% are permanent migrants, 40% are temporary migrants, while 13% are "irregular" or undocumented migrants.
Jo Anne Coruña, 31, returned from the United States 7 years of study. She left her family in the Bay Area to return home and start a new family. Now she and her husband, Dr Chinkin Coruña, a top orthopedic surgeon, are enjoying the "simpler life" in Bacolod City.
The CFO said in a statement, "Whether it's for professional growth, familial ties, or personal relations, more and more Filipinos are now buying a one-way-ticket back to the Philippines. And we're not just talking about Manila."
The commission cited recent economic developments in the country to be behind this trend, and encouraged Filipinos overseas to go beyond sending money back home and instead consider returning to the Philippines for good.
"While we appreciate the remittances of our kababyans abroad, that contribute to the country's GDP growth while helping support their families, their will to share their talents and passions within the homeland is their greatest gift," Nicolas said.
The CFO said it has been actively encouraging Diaspora to Development (D2D) programs like Alay Dunong (sharing knowledge and skills) and Balik Turo (coming home to teach or mentor).
The CFO's 3rd global summit's theme this year is "Vision and Action for the Diaspora, 2015 and Beyond." The event's workshops will be held from February 25 to 27 at the Manila Hotel in Manila. – Rappler.com
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