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Saturday, June 2, 2007


(A paper presented during the 2nd Nakem International Conference held at Teatro Ilocandia, MMSU-Batac, Ilocos Norte on May 22-25, 2007)

This study was conducted to determine the patterns and consequences of migration in the upland and lowland communities of Isic-Isic, Vintar and San Lorenzo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, respectively. To realize the objectives of the study, descriptive research was used employing quantitative and qualitative data in the analysis.

The result of the study shows that there were more out-migrants than in- and return-migrants in both communities. Most of the migrants in both communities were young females who were either single or married. The migrants in Isic-Isic have lower level of educational attainment while the migrants in San Lorenzo had higher levels of educational attainments.

The migrants in both communities largely came from medium-sized families. However, the rate of migration with respect to the total population of each size was highest among large-sized households. It was likewise observed that the migrants were employed in menial work or were housekeepers before they migrated.

Majority of the migrants in both communities went abroad. In Isic-Isic, however, most out-migrants were OCWs while in San Lorenzo, the out-migrants were petitio[1]ned by relatives to emigrate in the United States or other European countries. Most of those who migrated to the cities/poblacions were students or blue-collar workers.

It was found out that the reasons for migration were economic and familial. Economically, the migrants were pushed to leave their communities to look for work or to have better paying jobs. Other reasons for migration were to study or marry. Further interviews also revealed that peace and order (insurgency) also contributed to the out-migration in Isic-Isic.

The chi-square test of independence revealed the following results: (1) age and sex are significantly associated with the choice of destination; (2) gender and educational attainment are not associated with the choice of destination; (3) primary reason for migration is not associated with gender, marital status and educational attainment; (4) age and primary reason for migration are associated with each other; (5) primary reason for migration is independent of household size and pre-migration occupation; (6) choice of destination is dependent on primary reason for migration; and (7) Choice of destination is dependent on pre-migration occupation.

Generally, migration provided better income for the out-migrants themselves, however, it resulted to physical strain and psychological turmoil. Among the emigrants in San Lorenzo, their migration was more psychologically straining. They were separated from the community that nurtured them for most parts of their lives and they had to adjust to another culture.

Indeed, migration increased the economic capability of the migrants' family. Their families became more economically well-off as shown by their new houses and other material accumulations. Many of the migrants' family members also indicated that they became more hardworking. But this created attitude of dependence on the out-migrants by some family members left behind. The relationship of migrant-parents and their children and husbands also became strained creating psychological or emotional stress to both.

The study also showed that the migrants were considered good sources of donations for community projects. But, it is unfortunate to note that most of those interviewed in the research communities did not point to the brain drain consequence of the migration phenomenon. Majority even said there were no negative consequences of out-migration in their communities.

The following conclusions were formulated based on the results of the investigation:

1. There are similarities on the characteristics of the migrants in Isic-Isic and San Lorenzo. Hence, it can be concluded that the image or demographic characteristics of migration phenomenon are similar for both upland and lowland rural communities, especially in Ilocos Norte.

2. The structural problem in the upland and lowland communities, which limits economic opportunities to community members, becomes a push factor for out-migration. This also explains the low turnout of return-migrants in both communities. On the other hand, the persisting patrilocal culture -- family resides on the place or home of the male -- in both communities is the major reason for in-migration.

3. The migration phenomenon has both negative and positive con-sequences. Migration, especially to the out-migrants, is economically and materially rewarding but psychologically and emotionally stressing to the migrants themselves and their relatives. The community tends to be only aware of the material benefits derived from the migration of their members, not of the negative effects.

4. Finally, it is concluded that out-migration is a natural reaction of people to the challenges or stress generated by lack of economic opportunities. The volume of migration, therefore, can be a parameter of the economic status of a community -- that is, the out-migration phenomenon is an indicator of an unfavorable condition of life in a community.

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