Governor Challenges Migrants: “Peso for Peso” to Develop Province
(Press Release) November 12, 2007, Utrecht, The Netherlands – In sharp contrast to the intense politically-charged environment in the Philippines, overseas Filipinos were pleasantly surprised by Governor Oscar Moreno’s dynamic response to a call for action for matching funds in Misamis Oriental’s development projects spearheaded by local and overseas Filipino organizational partners.
During his keynote speech at the Diaspora Convergence Conference in Amsterdam on November 2, 2007, Governor Moreno emphasized that migrants could do better by pushing the right buttons and partnering with government and local social cause-oriented, volunteer-based organizations (a.k.a. civil society). He also promised to champion development partnerships with overseas Filipino groups among his fellow governors, especially those in Northern Mindanao.
A series of events organized by diverse groups, leading to the Global Forum in Migration and Development in 2008, are expected to revive the activism and engagement that Overseas Filipino organizations displayed during the 2001-2002 campaigns for the OAV (overseas absentee vote) and dual citizenship. The conference also symbolized the coming together of Overseas Filipino leaders from three global regions – Middle East & Asia, Europe, and North America – with an agreement to support each others’ development programs and projects. The conference also recognized the changing cultural landscape in Europe, such as the need to address the second generation’s problems, gender issues, and the development of emerging community leaders. The need to dialogue with faith-based organizations and to engage them in common development efforts was also scheduled on the agenda.
The diaspora convergence conference was immediately followed by Filipinas Magazine-s Lorna Lardizabal Dietz’s book launching of Filomenita “NitNit” Mongaya-Hoegsholm’s anthology entitled “In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe.” Certificates of Appreciation were also given to outstanding Euro-Filipinos in The Netherlands: three Ph.D. graduates for their ground-breaking research – Dr. Rommel Bacabac, Dr. Jonathan Palero, and Dr. Arni Sicam; Sheryl Lyn Paderes-Baas, Miss Nederland 2006, for her humanitarian projects; Flora Abangan-Schuyt, for engaging in a socially-responsible business; Ricky Tuazon, for promoting Filipino dance and performance arts; Irma Galias, for promoting Filipino music and songs; and Ms. Leila Rispens-Noel, for promoting the role of the diaspora in development work.
The momentum of the migrant conference, fueled by the participants’ enthusiasm, continued with post-conference activities such as networking and planning sessions. Governor Moreno, who met with Mindanao constituents, was joined by the Caucus to brainstorm on setting up a European-based development fund that could enable small business enterprises to thrive in the rural areas.
Philippine Congressman Mujiv Hataman, of AMIN or Anak Mindanao, joined the discussions and committed to explore the possibilities of mobilizing countryside development funds of his fellow representatives in Congress for the diaspora conference’s initiatives.
Governor Moreno, during a pre-departure conversation at Schiphol Airport, was asked his opinion about his Netherlands visit. He flashed that enigmatic Moreno smile and replied, “Others may have all the publicity and propaganda, but your conference convinced me that there is much that migrants like you could do. I hope other groups could do the same.”