The Rise of the Philippine Emigration State: Protecting Migrant Workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries
This chapter focuses on how labour export became entrenched in political, economic and social institutions of the Philippines. This period of labour export entrenchment began with the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and continued through 2006 with the building of more state institutions for facilitating the export of Filipino labour. During the Marcos era, overseas employment became one of the major solutions to alleviate the problems from an oversupply of educated degrees coming from a highly unregulated and autonomous private higher educational system. Furthermore, the Marcos regime made efforts to control the educational system and align it with the Philippine national economy. But over the years, the Philippine economy increasingly depended on overseas labour markets not only to relieve the educated unemployment problem but also to create a massive new domestic economy geared towards jobs abroad. With about 10% of the Filipino population working abroad and financial rewards from foreign earnings returning to the Philippines, the labour export industry became a flourishing business for the private sector, the state and the Filipino people. This growth and dependency increased the role of the Philippine state in this industry through the creation of emigrant institutions to regulate and protect the overseas labour industry; it also created a cycle of dependency on emigration – from the Filipino population, government and private businesses.