Last August 10, the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP-CIDS) through the Migration Studies and Policy Program held the first of its series of roundtable discussions (RTD)with UP experts on migration at the Seminar Room of the UP Asian Center, UP Diliman. The series of RTD is in line with the UP’s advocacy for the establishment of a research center within the University that would relate academic discourse to the development of government policiesconcerning timely and pressing issues about migration and development.
Dr. Edna Co, executive director of the UP-CIDS, opened the program by introducing the migration project, which came about when UP was approached by government agencies to help in expanding the area of studies on migration.She added that the Philippines is a source of human resources and is a migrant sending country, which strengthens the call for the establishment of a think tank to address the need to produce relevant studies pertaining to migration issues. She stressed that the country needs informed decisions because migration is a highly complex issue that needs an interdisciplinary approach to tackle the matter, and that the academe should be atthe forefront in providing evidence-based policy recommendations. These policies should be able to assist government make decisions affecting migrants from the Philippines.
Dr. Amaryllis Torres, head of the Philippine Social Science Council, facilitated the discussion. The RTD was attended by 19 experts from different disciplines in the social sciences, health sciences, and the literary arts. Among the points discussed was the supply side of knowledge. The group wanted to find out the scholars within UP who have produced work in migration, and the different themes that these publications have encountered. Published materials that the project has reviewed came from a wide array of disciplines, each catering to a specific issue on migration. Another point of discussion was the sources of funding of these publications, if any. It was observed that most sources of funding came from private institutions and civil society groups which are concerned about migration, and a very few were funded by the government.
Prof. Clarinda Berja of UP Manila and project coordinator of the Migration Studies and Policy Program, presented the preliminary network analysis of the publications about migration studies in the Philippines. The analysis has shown that although there are a lot of studies about migration in the country, many of them are not connected with nodes and some of the networks are isolated.
The next round table discussion which will be on 3rd September, will engage researchers, academics and the government.