Labor migration has created jobs for millions of Filipinos; however its success shadows its real cause. Unemployment in itself alone has many diminishing factors for growth and development. The cycle of problems of the country continues to grow which include migration, unemployment, poverty, and underemployment. This paper will aim to illustrate the effects of international migration due to unemployment status.
The issue of high unemployment is a great factor in the development of the country and is generally affected by several elements such as lack of job opportunities, population growth, the annual increase in the labor force insufficiently met by the labor market, and particularly more attractive prospects in developed countries (Brooks, 2002). Although it has mostly been in a downward trend, the unemployment rate in the Philippines is still the highest compare to other nations in Southeast Asia and it has remained higher than region’s average unemployment rate (Abella & Alburo, 2002; Bauzon & Lazo, 2014). In 2012 the unemployment rate of Malaysia was 3 percent; Singapore, 2.1 percent; and Thailand, 0.7 percent, all of which are significantly lower than that of the Philippines (Padilla, 2013).
A recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey revealed a 27 percent rate of unemployment in January 2014 while the official unemployment rate from the Labor Force Survey, conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, rose to 7.5 percent or 2.9 million individuals from an average of 7 percent in 2011 and 2012 and 7.1 percent in 2013 (Desiderio, 2014; Antonio, de Villa, Esguerra, 2014). The methodology and percentage results of these two surveys vary but both reveal that there were more jobless workers in the younger age group of 15-24 – an effect of the inability to generate sufficient jobs for the annual addition in the labor force – which becomes even more problematic because of the demographic profile of the country.
Despite the country’s fast growing economy, it does not benefit much of the ordinary people as the above results show. Economic growth has been limited to very few sectors that do not contribute to poverty alleviation and job creation (Heydarian, 2013). Asis (2006) noted that “the absence of sustained economic development, political instability, a growing population, double-digit unemployment levels, and low wages” resulted to Filipinos leaving their homes and families to search for better opportunities in foreign countries.
The first recorded Filipino migrants were members of royal families in Sulu who have trade relations with Chinese emperors in 1417. Then the galleon trade paved the way for men to work in ships and travel to the United States and Spain (European Union, 2009). The export of laborers was seen by the Marcos administration in the early 1970s as a solution to economic problems when it coincided with the surge in the demand for contract workers in the Middle East (O’Neil, 2004). Most migrants in this period were men as...