Faith group decries migrant woes

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In 2012, an estimated 10.5 million Filipinos are either working or living outside the country, according to the Commission on Overseas Filipinos (COF). (Photo: CBCP News)

QUEZON City, Dec. 19, 2015 – A faith-based organization has expressed solidarity with migrants and migrant helpers worldwide by upholding anew its stance on migration, denouncing migration-related problems.

“Today we are witnesses to exploitative economic conditions, unregulated and expanding access of multi-national corporations to natural resources, extreme poverty, natural and human-made calamities that force peoples to migrate,” said the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), on Friday, Dec. 18, in celebration of the United Nations (UN)-declared “International Migrants’ Day,” echoing its 24th General Convention statement.

Forced migration

The group lamented that at least 6,000 Filipinos have to leave the country daily in hope of a better future for themselves and their families abroad.

“Under forced migration, there are little or no viable nor sustainable options. Forced migration displaces people and obliterates human dignity,” it added.

Meanwhile, NCCP General Secretary Fr. Rex Reyes bemoaned the fact that Filipinos who work aboard often do so “under exploitative conditions” and “in demeaning jobs,” rather than use their skills and energy to develop their own country.

According to him, this shows the “distorted development priorities” of the Philippine government.

Ending displacements

The group pointed out that forced migration and massive displacements will stop only when there is a serious effort to end “structural inequalities, development aggression, and neocolonial plunder, including extractive practices and policies.”

“It will be then that our people will truly experience sustainable development and just peace,” it explained.

In line with this, NCCP founded the Churches Witnessing With Migrants (CWWM) along with Migrante International, an international platform for advocacy and forthright action focused on global migration, particularly forced migration in all its forms.

As a tripartite body of equals consisting of migrants, representatives of migrant-serving organizations, and faith-based organizations, CWWM pushes for development that prioritizes people’s rights, protects the environment, and provides democratic space for participation in decision-making and governance at all levels. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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