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UK reaffirms support for brain-gain in the Philippines

Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - March 30, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines- The British government is reaffirming its support to the Philippines in promoting brain-gain considering that it is vital in sustaining economic agility.

British Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau Asif Anwar Ahmad said this is the very reason why the British Embassy in the Philippines is intensifying its UK Educational Forum and the Chevening Scholarship to help produce outstanding professionals to work in the Philippines instead of opting to work overseas.

Ahmad said although the growing remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers have contributed enough to the country’s economy, it is also important to keep the families intact and the “social cost” protected.

"Our Chevening Programme is looking for leaders that will make a difference in their home country. Cebu has a rich history of great leaders that contributed to nation-building, and we want ambitious, driven Cebuanos to take advantage of the unique experience that Chevening offers--studying in world-class universities and sharing different perspectives with other potential leaders from across the globe," said Ahmad.

In Cebu, the Ambassador led the promotion of the scholarship, and made a presentation of the program at the University of San Carlos (USC), during the UK Education Forum conducted by the university.

Chevening Scholars, according to Ahmad are amongst the very brightest and the best. "But it is not only about education, it is about helping future leaders develop the skills and networks needed to make positive change in their home country."

At present, the Ambassador said is not even widely opening its doors to nurses, caregivers. Only minimal number of individual hospitals are hiring nurses, but the demand is not significant.

Meanwhile, a UK-based think tank recently urged the Philippines to capitalize on its improved finances to develop infrastructure that will help prevent further -- as well as reverse -- flight of highly skilled Filipinos to work overseas.

In its latest Economic Insight for South East Asia that was released yesterday, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said the Philippines has lost an estimated 10 percent of its population to economies abroad, including many highly qualified professionals

“In terms of labor force, the Philippines is faced with a brain drain issue, which is depriving the labor pool of much of its greatest talent,” ICAEW said in the report.

Latest estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas showed that 10.489 million Filipinos worked or resided abroad in 2012, equivalent to around 11.36 percent of the country’s 92.34 million population as of 2010.

The United States was the top destination for these overseas Filipinos in 2012, hosting a total of 3.494 million of the total, while Saudi Arabia hosted 1.267 million others.

The think tank said that while the Philippine economy is “partly compensated” through remittances, “most of the productivity gains accrue to the developed economies in which these emigrants live.”

Hence, ICAEW said, the government should make use of its “strong public finances” to develop the country’s infrastructure to attract these overseas Filipinos back home as they see their sectors developing.

“As we have seen, in China and India for example, emigrants are willing to return to their home countries despite even wage cuts, so long as they are confident their sector of expertise exists,” the report read.

“One key strategy will be to make sure that the Philippines’ high-tech industrial centers are integrated into relevant international networks. This means that people can return to their home nation without fearing that their career progression will suffer,” it explained.  (FREEMAN)

 

 

ACIRC AHMAD BRITISH AMBASSADOR BRITISH EMBASSY CHEVENING SCHOLARS CHINA AND INDIA ECONOMIC INSIGHT EDUCATION FORUM EDUCATIONAL FORUM AND THE CHEVENING SCHOLARSHIP ENGLAND AND WALES PHILIPPINES
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