Region IV-A comprised of the CALABARZON provinces (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) is the top migrant sending region in the Philippines (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2017). Four out of the five provinces of the region, namely Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal are among the top 10 migrant sending provinces in the country.
The size of the overseas Filipino population from CALABARZON provinces translates into large volume of remittances that they received. Mobilizing migrant remittances for local economic development has received considerable attention from the private and public sector in the region since 2010. Resource mobilization initiatives have been pilot-tested in 2010-2012 through the project, “Mobilizing Migrant Resources towards Agriculture Development” which involved the migrant sending provinces of Laguna and Batangas and destination countries of Italy and United Arab Emirates. The project was supported by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).
Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives Inc. (Atikha), a non- government organization based in in San Pablo City, Laguna is one of the earliest advocates of bringing migration and development (M&D) in public and private convergence initiatives. Among Atikha’s initiatives are the following:
- Building the capacity of the local government and civil society organizations in the Philippines and migrant destination countries in addressing the social costs of migration and maximizing its development impact
- Doing advocacy work among LGUs
- Engaging the schools and private sector in developing economic and social interventions for the OFWs and their families
The provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite were engaged in a project in 2009-2011 supported by the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) entitled “Maximizing the Gains and Minimizing the Social Cost of Overseas Migration in the Philippines”. These initial projects developed migration and development champions among regional government agencies, LGUs, private sector and overseas Filipino and migrant family organizations. These champions made it possible for the creation of the Committee on Migration and Development under the Regional Development Council. The mandate of the CMD is to coordinate initiatives on interventions that address the social costs of migration particularly those affecting women and children and to mainstream M&D in existing policy structures and development plans in pursuing inclusive growth in the region. The CMD is composed of representatives of regional government agencies, local government units, private sector, NGOs and migrant and family organizations that implement migration and development programs in the region. The CMD is chaired by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and co-chaired by Atikha which represents the private sector.