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Research Report

Migration, local development and governance in small towns:: two examples from the Philippines

Charito Basa
Lorna Villamil
with Violeta de Guzman
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2009
Pages: 44
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Migration has long been a survival strategy of the Philippine poor, with both positive and negative implications for migrants and communities that send and receive them. This study explores the ways in which international and national migration influence the development of small urban centers and the role of local government in maximizing mobility’s positive impacts and mitigating its negative consequences for the benefit of the entire community.

    Previous studies on the interaction of migration, development and governance in small urban centers in the Philippines have generally focused on remittances from overseas workers and their impact on national development. Although there...

  2. (pp. 3-3)

    The study employed qualitative research techniques, using focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews. FGDs were conducted with young people (high school students), barangay leaders, internal migrants, and informal settlers. Key informants consisted of a former mayor, barangay captains and councilors, women’s group leaders, families and relatives of overseas workers, local government personnel, businessmen, former overseas workers, non-government organization representatives and internal migrants. Discussions focused on overseas work and its economic and social dimensions, internal migration, the history of the towns, respondents’ vision of the towns’ future, and the role of local governments in the towns’ development, among others....

  3. (pp. 3-13)

    The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands, the largest of which are the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao island groups. It has 17 administrative regions composed of 81 provinces. It is further divided into 136 cities, 1,500 municipalities, and 41,975 barangays. Its people come from 110 ethnic groups and speak 170 languages.

    The Philippines is classified as a low middle-income country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 7.2 percent in 2007. Per capita GDP was US$ 3,127 for the same period. The contribution of the service sector to GDP was 54.2 percent, industry 31.7 percent, and agriculture 14.1...

  4. (pp. 13-31)

    The central government, under various administrations, has crafted strategies and policies that have fundamentally shaped the political and economic development of local areas. Regionalization, labour export and decentralization policies accelerated urbanization rates. Policies to promote growth in areas outside of the National Capital Region have resulted in internal migration. The central government’s assistance to labour export stimulated the out-migration of millions of Filipinos. Decentralization as set out in the 1991 Local Government Code granted autonomy and authority to local governments and empowered people to participate in development processes. In addition to achieving its intended goals, decentralization could potentially maximize benefits...

  5. (pp. 31-32)

    Income from successful overseas workers can lift their families out of poverty and provide them with access to the basic necessities of life. By spending their remittances, families also help to create jobs, provide a market for goods and services, and open up other livelihood opportunities. These benefits extend, to a limited degree, to the larger community.

    In Mabini, this linkage between poverty and international migration is apparent because of the relatively large number of international workers and the cumulative impact of their remittances. The effect of remittances is apparent in the physical and economic transformation of the town, the...