3 November 2023—On October 25, 2023, an enlightening and impactful forum titled “Migration, Ageing, and the Future of Care” took place, addressing critical issues surrounding the intersection of migration, ageing, and the provision of care. The event, organized by University of the Philippines (UP)-CIFAL Philippines in collaboration with the UP Population Institute, the UP Asian Center, Quezon City Public Employment Service Office (QC PESO), and the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC), drew participants and experts to engage in thought-provoking discussions.
International Obligations Monitoring Division (IOMD) Chief Marizen Santos of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) opened the forum topic in the context of the UN Convention for the Rights of the Older Persons.
The first panel session delved into the case of retired, returning, and reintegrating older Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). In many high-income countries, the increasing older population depends on migrant workers to meet the demand for care work. Simultaneously, low- to middle-income countries, struggling with limited employment opportunities, low wages, and rising inflation, rely on migrant workers, particularly in the health and care sectors, as a stopgap solution. This dual dependence has far-reaching implications for the future of care.
Dr. Michelle G. Ong of the Department of Psychology at the University of the Philippines Diliman stressed on the importance of reintegrating ageing OFWs. One striking example highlighted during the forum is the significant role played by Filipino migrant workers who supply care work in many high-income countries. However, upon returning to their home country, these workers often face challenges, including inadequate social protection in the form of health insurance, pension, and other welfare assistance. Ms. Dyanne de Ocampo of the QC PESO Migrant Resource Center showcased their initiatives that provide support for repatriated migrant workers, including pre-migration orientation, job fairs, skills training, financial planning, and assistance in different phases of migration. Additionally, Assistant Secretary for Reintegration Venecio Legaspi of the Department of Migrant Workers discussed the government’s efforts to create a full-cycle reintegration program that covers pre-deployment, on-site, and post-return phases.
Moreover, there is a growing number of older parents caring for the children of OFWs, adding another layer of complexity to the issue. During the second session, Dr. Grace T. Cruz of the UP Population Institute explored the implications of an ageing Philippine population, the role of older Filipinos as caregivers, and challenges include health issues and potential “care drain.” Ms. Divina Oco of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and Ms. Ma. Lorelei M. Salvador of the Social Services Development Department (SSDD) of the Quezon City Local Government stressed on the factors that lead grandparents to take on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren, and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of grandparents as caregivers and emphasizes the opportunities they bring in building strong family bonds.”
To synthesize the event, Acting Executive Director of the NCSC Mr. Emmanuel E. Daez provided his reflection and recommendations to address the challenges of migration, ageing, and care on both local and global scales.
The forum featured a lineup of distinguished speakers, including experts in migration, ageing, and social services. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in dynamic panel discussions and networking sessions, fostering collaboration and innovation in addressing the challenges of the future of care.
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Andreana Gabrielle David (Ms.)
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