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Home Columns JGL Eye Filipinos in Indonesia Are Top Earners, as Overseas-Filipino Facts Cited in NaFFAA Regional Conference
Filipinos in Indonesia Are Top Earners, as Overseas-Filipino Facts Cited in NaFFAA Regional Conference PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 10 September 2009 07:03

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – Filipinos living in their neighboring Indonesia had earned bragging rights as they “enjoy what is probably the highest household income among Filipinos overseas.”

 

Jose Z. Molano, Jr., adviser on Overseas Resource Development, and member, Advisory Council Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, cited this upbeat news over the weekend as he read a paper Saturday (Sept. 5) at the 4th three-day 4th Regional Conference of the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA) for the Midwest Region (R3) at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel in suburban Rosemont, Illinois.

 

“The Filipinos in Indonesia,” Mr. Molano said, “in my own experience of five years in that country, are perhaps one of the most-cohesive and truly-influential communities of Overseas Filipinos."

 

He said “they are made up of scientists, professionals and executives of financial institutions and multinational companies. They have been a closely knit group of expatriate Filipinos who have gained a great deal of respect and goodwill from the government and people of their host country of 220-million, and also enjoy what is probably the highest average household income among Filipinos overseas.”

 

On the other hand, Mr. Molano said, in the adjoining Sabah being claimed by Sultan of Sulu from Malaysia, “one will find more than 120-thousand undocumented Filipinos, many of whom were displaced from Mindanao and Sulu in the 1970s, and are still living a precarious and uncertain existence.”

 

Meanwhile, Mr. Molano said, the Philippine Department of Education is ensuring the propagation of Philippine culture and the shaping of Filipino youth in the Middle East, China and Greece.

 

He said there are more than 40 Philippine schools that have been accredited by the Philippine Department of Education in seven countries in the Middle East, in China and in Greece.

 

These schools are located in Bahrain, Kuwait, Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya, Oman, Qatar, Riyadh, Jeddah and Damam in Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Similar schools have also been established by Filipinos in China and in Greece.

 

The Beginning of the Filipino Diaspora

 

Mr. Molano traces the Filipino Diaspora to a “little known historical fact” of the “first recorded Filipino migration (that) was the result of an unexpected turn of events that happened to a mission to China in 1417.”

 

The mission, Mr. Molano said, consisted of royalties from Sulu who wanted to improve their terms of trade with the Chinese. “We might also say that this was one of the Philippines’ earliest recorded efforts at global networking.”

 

While in China, one of the leaders, Paduka Batara died in Shandong province. Batara’s concubine and retainers were sent back to Sulu after completing the three-year mourning rites. However, his two sons with more than ten followers stayed behind, tended Batara’s tomb and intermarried with local Muslims.

 

Being a respected man, Batara was accorded by the Chinese imperial ministers with a memorial arch and gateway with an epitaph, attesting to an immigrant from the Philippines in the early 15th century that is located a kilometer north of Dezhou in Shandong, China.

 

People from our country have long been traveling to foreign shores – to this continent as early as four centuries ago although the more significant migration in terms of numbers started in the early part of the 1900s, and is continuing to this day.

 

Three years ago in 2006, the one-hundred years of Filipino migration to Hawaii was observed. It also led to major waves of migration to the rest of the United States.

 

He said there are three categories of Filipinos who originated from the Philippines who live or work in another country or territory. These are: (1) permanent immigrants or legal permanent residents whose continued stay does not depend on employment contracts; (2) temporary migrants whose continued stay overseas is employment related, and who are expected to return home at the end of their work contract -- a category which includes those referred to as overseas Filipino workers (OFW) regardless of their occupation, intra-company transferees and students and trainees; and (3) irregular migrants or those not properly documented, or without residence or work permits or who are overstaying in a foreign country.

 

Thus, he said, contrary to widespread understanding, Overseas Filipino” and “Overseas-Filipino worker” do not mean the same, and that not all Overseas Filipinos are Overseas-Filipino workers.

 

The most-thorough estimates show that as of December 2008, a total of 8.5-million Filipinos live or work outside the Philippines. Of this number, some 3.8-million or 45% are permanent residents abroad, about 4-million or 47% are regular overseas workers and around 0.7-million or 7% would be of irregular status. Based on these estimates, the true number of Overseas-Filipino workers or OFWs is not 8.5-million as often carelessly stated, but 4.5 million, a much-smaller figure, which already includes those working abroad with irregular status.

 

Aside from Mr. Molano, the other speakers at the NaFFAA regional conference were United States Rep. Steve Austria (Ohio-7-R), who cited the strides taken by Filipino Americans, including Hawaii Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, the first Filipino-American governor of the U.S.; Consul General Blesila Cabrera, Greg B. Macabenta, national NaFFAA chair; Ed Navarra, NaFFAA Region 3 chair; Ms. Rozita Lee, national NaFFAA vice chair; host, Dr. Evelyn D. Natividad, NaFFAA Illinois chair; and Atty. J.T.S. Mallonga, NaFFAA Region 1 chair.

 

The other speakers at the conference were Glenn Penaranda, Philippine Trade Representative; Gracee Tolentino of the Philippine Department of Tourism; Lorna Dietz, NaFFAA Region 8 vice chair; Chung V. Nguyen, Census Partnership Specialist for Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia; Jerry B. Clarito, NaFFAA National Legislative Director; P. Emraida Kiram, NaFFAA R3 Youth Adviser; Elizabeth Horner, NaFFAA Ohio, Youth Chair; Phillip McRoberts, NaFFAA Michigan, Youth Chair; Angela “Ging” Mascarenas, CIRCA/Pintig; Fred DeAsis, internationally renowned Fil Am artist; Dr. Sofia “Pinky” Garcia-Buder; Dale Asis, Executive Director; June Aberilla, Executive Assistant, of Global Coalition; Merit Salud, FilVote Advocacy Region 1 Director; Angeles “Jelly” Carandang, NaFFAA Illinois vice chair; Willie DeChavez, NaFFAA Michigan chair; Remedios A. Solarte, R.N.; Adrian Atizado, NaFFAA Illinois, Du Page County coordinator; Paul Bloom, Meg Layese and Addi Batica of Philippine Study Group of Minnesota; Bart & Yoly Tubalinal on Filipino media and Filipino American Agenda; Ely Natividad, president PhilAm Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago; Cindy Flores, chair, Membership & Networking Committee; Robert Carino, VP, Comerica Bank; Roland Sinio, CEO, ACS, Home Health Services; Vilma Helms, NaFFAA Ohio vice chair; Ernesto Gange, NaFFAA Region 1; and Chuck Castro, NaFFAA Region 3. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2009 07:12
 

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