Category: Labor Export Policy

Ever remember the feeling when you are watching one of those game shows.  The one where the contestant is at the final round and about to win the grand prize and you are on the edge of your seat while watching it on television. Or when it is the finals on one of those beauty pageants or reality shows you follow every night. Where your heart beats fast as the hosts announces the winner. 

That is probably how YOGHI felt during the awards night of TAYO or Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations. Only, it wasn’t something they were watching on television. They were actually part of it.

Last Wednesday, October 28, members of YOGHI, representatives from Batis Center for Women, Batis-AWARE (Association of Women in Action for Rights and Empowerment) and Miss Bernadette Neri, the writer of the YOGHI Manga, attended the 7th TAYO awards night at the Renaissance Hotel in Makati. 

TAYO Backgrounder

The TAYO award is given to recognize youth organizations across the Philippines which, through their projects, have helped their communities. This award opts to encourage the young people to get out of their comfort zones and take part in society by making a positive difference through innovative initiatives.

Launched in 2002, TAYO was made possible through the initiative of Senator Kiko Pangilinan along with the National Youth Commission and the TAYO Foundation. This year the award was presented by the Coca-Cola Foundation. 

Organizations are judged on the basis of the following: Impact of Project Entry on Stakeholders; Harnessing the Spirit of Volunteerism and Citizenship; Creativity and Innovation; Sustainability and Effective Use of Resources. 

This year the panel of Judges included Senator Kiko Pangilinan, TV Host Boy Abunda, TAYO Awards Foundation President Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, young entrepreneur Crystal Henares Belo and National Youth Commisson Chairman and CEO Richard Nalupta among others.

All organizations, clubs, societies, groups, the Sanggunian Kabataan, or even barkadas can join the search as long as the membership and leadership are composed of at least fifteen (15) members who are 15 to 30 years old. 

This year is the seventh year of this prestigious recognition given to youth organizations. Twenty organizations made it to the finals of the TAYO 7. All of them were billeted at the SEAMEO-Innotech along the Commonwealth area for the whole 
TAYO week. 

The TAYO 7 Awardees

After a short audio-visual presentation of the TAYO week the lights dimmed and actress KC Concepcion ascended the stairs into the stage to announce the ten organizations that made it in the 
list of TAYO. 

To the surprise of its members, the Youth Organization that Gives Hope and Inspiration was the first one to be called to the stage with the project entry the YOGHI Manga. 

The YOGHI Manga is a comic book that tells of the experiences of Japanese-Filipino children through three stories. 

The stories tell of the issues of discrimination and prejudice, right to informed choice, right to choose the nationality, right to participate in issues concerning the youth, the right to recognition of the Japanese fathers and the right to cultural heritage.

This recognition according to YOGHI is not theirs alone but also to all the Japanese-Filipino children and to other children of migrants like them.

Other winners include the following:


Mu Sigma Phi Sorority from UP Manila

Muntinlupa Junior Rescue Team from Muntinlupa. 


Guesset National High School Science Club from La Union

Earnest Support for Underprivileged Children 
(E-SUCH) Charity Association, Inc. from Bulacan

Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Kabataang Baltak 
(SMM KABALTAK) from Atimonan, Quezon

Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP) from Camarines Sur


Iloilo Prima Galaw Productions from Iloilo

Sanguniang Kabataan Passi City Federation from Iloilo


El Consejo Atenista from Ateneo de Zamboanga

The winners received a golden trophy by Toym de Leon Imao, as well as a 50,000 Peso cash prize. However, the other ten finalists were also awarded with a silver trophy. 

Among the finalists of the TAYO 7 included the following: 


University of Luzon-Students in Free Enterprise from Pangasinan


Tsinelas Group of Campus Volunteers from Cebu City

Special Education Students Association from Iloilo City

Pag-Asa Youth Association from Cebu


Kulasihan Young Achievers Inc. from Bukidnon

Dire Husi Initiative Organization from Cagayan de Oro City

Students in Free Enterprise-Mindanao State University from General Santos City

Pongolel 4H Club from Saranggani Province


Student in Free Enterprise-St. Paul University from Quezon City 

University of the Philippines-
Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants from Quezon City

The Message of the TAYO  7 Finalists

At the end of the program, the TAYO 7 finalists left a message to all the youth of today. In unison the twenty youth organizations pledge to continue to participate in societal concerns and to break the rampant indifference attached to the youth of today. 

Proving that the youth are not passive bystanders but active participants in society, the finalists reiterated their belief that the youth should be one with the struggles of the marginalized and oppressed.


In unison they said “we are the youth of today, and we shall continue to be great sons and daughters of this country.”
Stories usually tell us of adventures, it starts with the introduction of characters that we get to love or hate, and always ends with a lesson to learn.

Usually, in some stories, fictional it may be, the characters springs to life in our imagination. Others still, we end up identifying with.

Some stories inspire lives, however, some stories are inspired by real life, and this is the tale behind the YOGHI Manga.

The Manga weaved together the different experiences of Japanese-Filipino children who grew up in the Philippines.

Three lives that tell of the journey on searching for identity, gaining of recognition, standing up against discrimination and promoting the rights of Japanese-Filipino children (JFC).

Three stories on growing up that serves as the voice on how it is to be as a JFC.

The story started with Yuki, a school-age child who has to deal with discrimination and questions on his identity. A slice of his life is shown through his adventures on his first day in a new school. This story is a witness on how Yuki, eventually come to terms with his unique identity, of course with help from a mysterious friend.

The story then moves to Naomi, a college student, and her contemplations on the issue of acquiring Japanese nationality as she returns to her home province. With series of flashbacks to her past and daydreams of what her future may be, Naomi seems to be caught in between. Will she be able to move on and decide in the end?

The final story revolves around the experiences of Yoshi as a factory worker in Japan. Here, Yoshi relates through a letter his hilarious encounters and the stark realities he experienced as a Japanese-Filipino in the land of his father.

The YOGHI Manga was formulated with a series of group sharing among the members of Batis Youth Organization that Gives Hope and Inspiration (YOGHI), a lead organization of Japanese-Filipino children based in the Philippines. With its first year as an autonomous organization of and by JFCs, YOGHI hopes that this Manga could effectively voice out the issues faced by them and inspire action from those who will read it.

The Manga was written by Philippine Palanca awardee, Bernadette Neri. Artists include UP College of Fine Arts Graduate John Paul Clemente, Technological University of the Philippines Engineering student Wilvic Cañas and Manga enthusiast Joseph Bautista.

If you wish to get copies of the YOGHI Manga, you can get in touch with Batis-YOGHI through email at, your donations for the support of the organization’s advocacies will be of great help.

Also, you can get in touch through our website at and visit our YouTube site at or add us on Friendster at

Last October 29-30, the second Global Forum on Migration and Development was held in the Philippines. This yearly informal gathering was attended by UN member-states to discuss migration as an instigator of development. However, the event was also attended by giant financing institutions such as the World Bank and Citibank, big corporations that benefit from remittances such as Western Union, private organizations as well as labor-export recruitment agencies.

A girl looks into the camera as she listens at the program during
the civic society action held by progressive groups in Manila

(Photo taken by Mikas Matsuzawa)

Labor Export Policy in the Course of Philippine History

The Philippines, according to Hau (2004) has become an “apparatus for labor capture.” The term which she partly borrowed from French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze means that the country has become an apparatus to insert, create, channel and manage labor flows from within its territory to other nation-states.

The Philippines has indeed become a major exporter of labor, manifesting even in the term Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs signifying the phenomenon as a national trend.

Before the World War II, migrants were predominantly male and working class. Now however, feminization of labor-export has been apparent with Filipinas leaving to do work abroad for 3D jobs, dirty, dangerous and demeaning. Feminized labor increased.

The Marcos regime promoted and regulated the export of labor. The oil price hike during that period created a huge demand for blue-collar labor in the Middle East. It was also during this period that Filipinas were heading to Japan to work as “entertainers.”

The IMF-WB pressured a deeply indebted Philippines to undergo an economic “structural adjustment” which aimed to

consolidate light-manufacturing exports, keeping
down wages, eliminating “economic nationalist”
resistance among technocrats, weeding out
“inefficient firms,” and expanding foreign invest
in the domestic economy (Hau, 2004, p. 229).

When the economy failed to take-off, IMF-WB washed their hands and blamed the political instability, corruption and cronyism in the country. Though, these factors added to the failure the IMF-WB failed to note that their suggested adjustment didn’t work precisely because light-manufacturing was losing popularity in the world market.The dictatorship was toppled though the Philippines continue to promote migration policies. The Aquino administration was the first to capitalize and recognize the remittances of OFWs by calling them the Bagong Bayani or the Modern Day Heroes.

Announcing the migrant workers as heroes helped the Aquino administration to cover up the reeking situation faced by our fellows abroad. Migrants are forced to work abroad and get separated from their families only to face physical and sexual abuse.

Ramos, in his term passed the RA 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. The law was passed as a reaction to the hanging of Flor Contemplacion in Singapore in 1995.  The policy was then given another name from exporting labor into “managing” labor.

The law however, gave contradicting views on labor-export. On one side it states that it doesn’t promote labor-export to sustain economic growth as well as national development. On the other side, it has provisions that institutionalizes overseas employment policies. What it did in the end is to follow the dictate of global capitalism and deregulate the flow of labor and lessen the intervention of the state. Migration then has become a matter between the worker and the employers, exempting the state from accountability.

The Estrada and Arroyo administrations made the export of labor as a cornerstone policy. Estrada called out to the OFWs to help in reviving the heavily battered economy and to pray for his political critics.

GMA however went as far as naming OFWs as Overseas Filipino Investors, adding that the economy will be greatly dependent on the remittances. Currently, the Philippines rank second to Mexico in terms of migrant workers. There are about 10 Million Filipinos working in 197 countries.

Filipino Migrants the world over have sent remittance that reached a total of $17 Billion just in 2007. Migration has not spurred development for the Philippines, what it did is to slow down the ticking of a looming political and social crisis.

Instead of concentrating on the real needs of the people such as social services, genuine agrarian reform and jobs for the people, the Arroyo administration opted to promote labor-export.

Governments exporting labor, financing institutions, foreign countries in need of cheap labor, as well as corporations earning from OFW remittances are the only ones who benefit in such labor-export policies. The Philippine government continue to promote the sale of its citizens abroad, ranging from contractual work to undocumented labor abroad, at the expense of exploitation and abusive work practices.

The Emergence of Inter-racial Children such as JFCs

"Amidst the chronic and
worsening economic and 
political crisis in our homeland, it is

inevitable that the
number of Filipinos forced
to work overseas
will increase.
At the same time,

Japan and other
countries are implementing

increasingly repressive
and anti-migrant laws

that heighten our
oppression and exploitation.”

– Migrante International

Slogans voice out the concerns of migrants.
(Photo by Mikas Matsuzawa)

Labor feminization has been increasing since the 1970s. Just in the year 2001, 72 percent of migrant workers are women. Their work destinations are as domestic helpers in Hong Kong, nurses in Dubai, Mail Order Brides in Europe or Entertainers in Japan. Due to this phenomenon there have been as a result inter-racial marriages.

In the Philippines the largest number of inter-racial children are the Japanese-Filipinos. Their numbers are said to reach up to 200, 000 in estimates. Their mothers were migrant workers and it seems they too will be migrants. This is the stark reality that these youth face.

As Japan opened its economy to inter-racial children with Japanese ancestry, a lot of Japanese-Filipino youth have been lured by recruitment agencies.  The primary reasons of these youth is the lack of opportunities in the country as well as their want to search for their fathers. Poverty and skewed policies of the state forced them to take the dark route taken by their mothers before.

At present there are reports of factories in Japan with their workers composed mainly of Japanese-Filipinos.

Sentiments of a JFC

It is sad that fellow Japanese-Filipinos I have known since childhood have to go abroad away from their mothers, who raised them and served as their fathers also. It is sad that they have to take a familiar path their mothers walked before.

I am part of an organization that caters to the needs of Japanese-Filipino children or JFCs. A few months ago, a legal battle for the right to acquire Japanese nationality has been won. Now, JFCs can secure the right to choose their nationality regardless if their parents were not married as enshrined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A door was opened for us, however what lies on the other side is still proves to be a difficult terrain.

Slowly each one of my friends are being recruited by agencies to go to Japan. One by one they disappear each leaving letters behind. Recently a close friend *Tako left college to work in one of those factories in Japan. He is nearly finished with college and yet he chose to leave. It may be out of desperation, it may be for reconciliation with something he deems missing in him, it may be a search for his cultural heritage. The possible reasons are countless.

He left a letter behind, he said he wants to help his mother and find where his father is. He said it is a hard choice for him however, he knows how hard it is for her mom to pay for his education and he knows that there will be  no oppotunities for him here. He named the reasons like the other letters I read and the many stories I heard.

Some of my friends happen to have Japanese nationality but grew up in the Philippines like *Riyo.  He was raised by his grandmother in one of the urban poor communities in Manila. He couldn’t afford the costs of a college degree so he decided to venture in Japan.

He works now in a factory, recruited by one of the many agencies with a lot of promises. He said he have to lift kilos and kilos of chickens to a machine. That same machine has caused him a chunk of his finger. He paid for the medical expense from his own savings. He says his pay is not the same with his Japanese co-workers. He doesn’t enjoy similar rights that a Japanese citizen enjoy.

I want to imagine that such stories exists only on television drama series. I want to, but I know it doesn’t in real life. *Tako and *Riyo provided a face to all the stories I’ve heard and the many letters I’ve read.

The truth is that none of us want to be departed from our families. We want to be home with them however, the reality of globalization and the economic crisis prevents us. We are a sector amidst a sector. We are the inter-racial youth part of the comprehensive sector of the youth.

If you identify the root cause of our migration it is the same with our fellows. Yes, we have special issues such as the recognition of our fathers, our cultural heritage and discerning our identities and place in the society. However, we have also general concerns. Concerns that are similar to the youth the world over.

We are said to be the future. However, our future is being taken from us. Our rights to education, to participation and to security among others are slowly stripped from us. Like many Filipinos we must survive each day.

The youth sector participating at the GFMD
along with other sectors of society.(Photo by Mikas Matsu

However, we are no longer going to be quiet. We want our voices to be heard. For we are not just the youth. WE ARE THE YOUTH. And we shall be in solidarity with the struggles of the people for the future, for our future.

*Not their real names

*Photos were taken from Yahoo! News

Hau, Caroline. (2004). On the subject of the nation: Filipino writings from the margins 1981 t0 2004. QC: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

MIGRANTE GFMD Primer (2008)