by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com
MAKATI CITY – Overseas Filipinos from around the world gathered at the First Global Filipino Nation International Conference, which opened at the University of Makati on Thursday, May 8. The three-day event was touted as the biggest gathering of overseas Filipinos.
Convenors said that one of their goals is to get migrants to join the campaign for effective governance in the Philippines. They also hope that the conference participants would be able to review, refine and adopt detailed action agenda called logical frameworks (logframes) which can be implemented and actualized.
“We have been working on this for the past six years and in my travels here and abroad, I have found out that there is a convergence of thought among Filipinos wherever they are. We are hoping that through this conference, we will be able to come up with ideas on how to empower the global Filipino,” Victor Barrios, lead convenor of the conference said, as he welcomed the participants.
Barrios also explained that the theme, “Building the Global Filipino Nation for Effective Governance,” is anchored on three aspirations: grassroots economic empowerment, resolution of issues facing migrant workers and their families, and raised consciousness of a nation ready to march as one.
Makati City 2nd District Rep. Marlen Abigail Binay led the ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the art exhibit which featured works of upcoming Filipino artists. The first day of activities also included a job and trade fair.
Different sessions and workshops that tackled issues concerning the global Filipino were held on the second and third day of the conference.
The three main modules focused on the economic, social and political aspects of migrant life, and the media as a tool to empower global Filipinos.
The social module focused on the most urgent problems encountered by migrant workers and their families and what the Global Filipino Nation as a group can do about them.
The economic module highlighted the possibility of converting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to become world-class players and encouraging entrepreneurship on a nation-wide scale, while the political module focused on the goal of empowering global Filipinos, their families and onshore Filipinos with a global mindset as a force for governance change.
Greg Macabenta, publisher of Filipinas Magazine led the discussion on “Media as a Change Agent” as he presented those who joined the group with copies of various Filipino publications from the US to Europe to Asia and the Middle East.
The group agreed that there should be a Global Filipino Media Organization, and as such, a framework was prepared to establish a Philippine-based coordinative body to pursue this objective.
On a much larger scale, Barrios said that the convenors are in the process of coordinating with the University of Makati for the creation of a Global Filipino Institute for Policy Research.
If this comes to fruition, the almost 10 million global Filipinos will be more empowered as they will have an infrastructure which can document the situation of migrants from all over the world, specially Overseas Filipino workers who are abused by their employers, and create policies that will help the migrant workers.
Another way is through the internet and the convenors believe that they can leverage Information Technology and Communications (ITC) as a tool through the creation of a dynamic web portal.
The portal dubbed “The Filipino Global Village” will help organize, educate and connect Filipinos in all parts of the world was introduced during one of the workshops.
The aim is to leverage the efficient use of technology to connect overseas Filipinos. The portal will encourage members to facilitate communication and interaction among members and increase computer literacy to those who are not too tech-savvy. It will include social networking services to interact with fellow members. It will also provide a platform to unify and present a single voice and raised awareness of various social, political and economic issues across the world.