MANILA, March 5, 2017— The Catholic Church has dedicated this year’s National Migrants’ Sunday to women and children, saying this vulnerable groups were not being given sufficient protection.
The bishops’ Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People said there is real need to protect women and children who are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
As its marks the 31st NMS coinciding with the observance of the First Sunday of Lent, the Church is inviting the dioceses and parishes to be “more vibrant” in attending to the problem.
The ECMI said special attention must also be given not just for the overseas Filipino workers, but also with other nationalities who are victims of persecution, war and discrimination.
“Concretely, it is likewise an invitation for us in the parishes as one community to do our part of accompanying them…. especially women and children who are vulnerable and voiceless,” the ECMI said.
Overall, recent government statics showed how migration is becoming increasingly feminized as more women are migrating on their volition, seeking economic opportunities.
The 2015 survey on OFWs by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that there were slightly more women than men among OFWs.
In terms of age, women OFWs also tend to be younger than men. They leave the country at a much younger age.
The PSA said about seven percent of female OFWs were in the age group 15 to 24 years and 29.5 percent were in the age group 25 to 29 years.
As previously reported, the ECMI said there are more than a million trafficked OFWs mostly women who are eventually forced into an exploitative conditions, drug trade and white slavery.
“The supposed positive experiences and productive impacts of migration are overshadowed with hardships and difficulties putting in jeopardy the migrants human rights and dignity as persons,” it also said.
The first NMS celebration was held on March 8, 1987 and has been marked since then through the effort of the ECMI, the service arm for migrants of the CBCP.
The ECMI is mandated by the CBCP to provide and coordinate pastoral and social services to the migrants and their families especially those who are in distress and facing complex problems because of migration.
ECMI assists parishes and dioceses in organizing the ministry to migrants and their families. It also coordinates with hundreds of chaplains and pastoral countries in more than 50 countries. (CBCPNews)