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Mar 30th
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Governor Moreno Challenges Migrants: "Peso for Peso" to Develop Province and Mindanao
Governor Moreno Challenges Migrants: "Peso for Peso" to Develop Province and Mindanao PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 13 November 2007 06:45

Dateline Nov. 12, 2007, Utrecht, The Netherlands

In sharp contrast to the intense politically-charged environment in the Philippines, Overseas Filipinos were pleasantly surprised by Gov. Oscar Moreno's dynamic response to a call for action for matching funds in Misamis Oriental's development projects spearheaded by local and Overseas-Filipino organizational partners. During his keynote speech at the Diaspora Convergence Conference in Amsterdam on Nov. 2, 2007, Governor Moreno emphasized that migrants could do better by pushing the right buttons and partnering with government and local social cause-oriented, volunteer-based organizations ( a.k.a. civil society). He also promised to champion development partnerships with Overseas-Filipino groups among his fellow governors, especially those in Northern Mindanao.


The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Governor Moreno and Habagat Foundation, Damayan Association in the Netherlands, BisDak Network
Netherlands, and the newly-formed Overseas-Filipino Caucus for Sustainable Development celebrated this groundbreaking "matching peso for peso" funding mechanism for agreed-upon development projects.

Historically, European Filipinos' initiatives have been focused on Philippine micro projects with short-term deadlines and deliverables, oftentimes plagued with mismanagement, under-implementation, and lack of local officials' support and collaboration. The matching fund program, dubbed "Uno por Uno, Moreno style," heralds the local government's cooperation and "thinking outside the box" mindset by creatively mobilizing the development potential of migration. Provinces that employ such agreements, the partnering organizations concur, tend to speed up economic growth due to the massive power and influence of migrant investments.


The migrant-focused conference was attended by 100 active advocates from the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Middle East,
the USA, and the Philippines. The proposals that emerged from this gathering emphasized a combined economic, political, and socio-cultural action agenda which allow do-able models such as the "Uno por Uno, Moreno style" matching fund program to flourish.

Twenty Filipino migrant experts and leaders, a.k.a. The Caucus, had met in Utrecht earlier that week after participating in a Filipiniana celebration honoring the Filipino seafarers in Rotterdam. The Caucus pointed out the stress on existing infrastructure and resources of social advocates and care-givers due to the sudden growth of migration brought about by the much delayed reunification policies of European countries.

Actively engaging the Filipino diaspora, Philippine Ambassador Romeo Arguelles and Geneva-based Minister Gary Domingo of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations indicated their readiness to closely collaborate with the conference's convenors, specifically in preparation for the Global Forum on Migration and Development in October, 2008.

Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry's Dr. Jan Henneman told the participants to do the bridging role that migrants play in relation to their home and host country.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jan Henneman of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry encouraged the conference participants to do the bridging role that migrants play in relation to their home and host country.

Leila Rispens-Noel, a representative from Oxfam-Novib, a foundation based in The Netherlands that sponsored the week's programs and activities, also highlighted the model role that Filipino migrants play for other diaspora groups, especially those coming from Africa. She called on Filipino leaders to resolve their internal conflicts and work together in seeking common ground that would define a fresh, collaborative approach to the ongoing migration and development dilemma.

A series of events organized by diverse groups, leading to the Global Forum in Migration and Development in 2008, are expected to revive the activism and engagement that Overseas Filipino organizations displayed during the 2001-2002 campaigns for the OAV (overseas absentee vote) and dual citizenship. The conference also symbolized the coming together of Overseas-Filipino leaders from three global regions -- Middle East & Asia, Europe, and North America -- with an agreement to support each others' development programs and projects. The conference also recognized the changing cultural in Europe, such as the need to address the second generation's problems, gender issues, and the development of emerging community leaders. The need to dialogue with faith-based organizations and to engage them in common development efforts was also scheduled on the agenda.

The diaspora convergence conference was immediately followed by Filipinas Magazine's Lorna Lardizabal Dietz's book launching of Filomenita "NitNit" Mongaya-Hoegsholm's anthology entitled "In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe." Certificates of Appreciation were also given to outstanding Euro-Filipinos in The Netherlands: Three Ph.D. graduates for their ground-breaking research - Dr. Rommel Bacabac, Dr. Jonathan Palero, and Dr. Arni Sicam; Sheryl Lyn Paderes-Baas, Miss Nederland 2006, for her humanitarian projects; Flora Abangan-Schuyt, for engaging in a socially-responsible business; Ricky Tuazon, for promoting Filipino dance and performance arts; Irma Galias, for promoting Filipino music and songs; and Ms. Leila Rispens-Noel, for promoting the role of the diaspora in development work.


The momentum of the migrant conference, fueled by the participants' enthusiasm, continued with post-conference activities such as networking and planning sessions. Governor Moreno, who met with Mindanao constituents, was joined by the Caucus to brainstorm on setting up a European-based development fund that could enable small business enterprises to thrive in the rural areas. Philippine Congressman Mujiv Hataman, of AMIN or Anak Mindanao, joined the discussions and committed to explore the possibilities of mobilizing countryside development funds of his fellow representatives in Congress for the diaspora conference's initiatives.

Governor Moreno, during a pre-departure conversation at Schiphol Airport, was asked his opinion about his Netherlands visit. He flashed that enigmatic smile and replied, "Others may have all the publicity and propaganda, but your conference convinced me that there is much that migrants like you could do. I hope other groups could do the same." # # #

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 16:46

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