Brain Drain in the Philippines


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Brain Drain in the Philippines

  1. 1. Purgill 1Jennifer PurgillTSEA, Period 61 December 2010Brain Drain in the Philippines Draining of the Philippines Brain Drain is when the skilled workers and professionals of one country migrate toanother place in search of a better life or simply for higher wages. There are both positive andnegative effects associated with the movement. The brain drain is known to cause social andeconomic problems for the government of the country where the workers are leaving as well asfor the citizens of that country. In many cases, the country cannot continue to develop when thereare many professionals leaving the country. The brain drain in the Philippines is a big problemfor both the government as well as for the common citizens. However, there are positive effectsfor the migrant workers as well as for their families. There has been an increase of skilledFilipino workers and professionals choosing to live overseas to find work (“Brain Drain”) andalmost 10% of the population of the Philippines is now working overseas for higher paying, less-skilled jobs (Morella). An example of this is that there are up to 90,000 Filipino nurses that havemoved abroad to work in the past 10 year (“Medical Apocalypse”). Although there are someeconomic and social benefits for the migrant workers, the Filipino government should take stepsto reduce the brain drain due to the economic and social problems it brings as well as the factthat it is hindering the overall development of the country. Supporters of Filipino professionals leaving the country to work abroad argue that thereare economic benefits for both the migrant workers and the nation as a whole. One example of
  2. 2. Purgill 2how Filipino workers leaving the country brings economic benefit is the remittances that theoverseas workers send home to their families. In 2005, $8.5 billion was sent home to families byoverseas workers (Morella). Last year, workers sent home $17.3 billion dollars in remittancesand to invest, which made up more than 10% of the Philippines GDP (Macaraig). It can be seenthat there is an increase in the amount of money being sent home to the Philippines as the yearsgoes on, meaning that there is also an increase in the amount of workers leaving the country.This is a positive economic effect in the Philippines because it helps raise the amount of moneyflowing in the Philippines, which is good for the government, and it also raises the amount ofmoney a family of an overseas worker has. Another economic benefit to the professionalsleaving the country is that many workers earn higher salaries when working abroad. The doctorswho now work abroad earn about $8,000 a month, which is sixteen times the amount of moneythey would make working in a government hospital in the Philippines (Morella). This is apositive effect for the doctors because they can now earn more money to have a better life andsend more money back home as well. A third economic benefit to the professionals leaving thePhilippines is that the government now wants to try and keep the workers in the country so thatthey can have skilled workers as well. This is a positive effect because the government has beentrying to find ways to raise the salaries of the workers and to add more benefits for them(Macaraig). Because of remittances, higher salaries, and the government trying to add morebenefits for workers, the skilled workers leaving the country could be a good thing. While it is true that there are some economic benefits to skilled Filipino professionalsleaving the country to work abroad, the reality is that there are many economic problems whichdevelop in the Philippines due to the brain drain. One example of the economic problems thatdevelop from the brain drain is the closing of hospitals in the Philippines. There were over 200
  3. 3. Purgill 3hospitals that were forced to close from the years of 2002 to 2007 because of the lack of doctorswho left to find better paying jobs in other countries and because the hospitals could not fundthemselves (Hennessey). Another statistic states that 10% of the Philippines’ 2,500 hospitalshave been closed down in recent years because of the same problems (“Medical Apocalypse”).This economic issue related to the workers leaving the Philippines has a very negative impact onthe country because some citizens now cannot receive proper health care or if there is an accident,there may not be a hospital close by. A third economic problem with the professionals leavingthe country, such as doctors, is that hospitals cannot afford to buy the supplies they need to takecare of their patients properly (Morella). This is a big problem because if the hospitals cannotafford to properly take care of their patients, then the patients cannot be treated or get whateverproblem they have, fixed. Because of these reasons, the brain drain in the Philippines has a verynegative economic effect on the country. Promoters of Filipino workers migrating to other countries to find work argue that thereare some social benefits associated with this. Most of the social benefits are related to thecountry receiving the workers rather than with the country losing them, but there are somebenefits for the country providing the workers as well. One social benefit associated withprofessionals leaving the Philippines is that the Filipino workers can fill the gap of shortages ofquality doctors and registered nurses in Western nations (Hennessey). This is a positive effect forthe western nations because they gain more professionals and can fill the gap of skilled workerswhich they are currently facing. Another social benefit associated with the professionals leavingthe Philippines is that allowing the migration of the brightest workers from a developing countrycould possibly encourage more people to acquire education since overall, the world valueseducation (Hennessey). This as a positive social benefit because it creates a positive image for
  4. 4. Purgill 4the Philippines because the most highly skilled workers are being shown off in other countriesand it shows that the Philippines promotes education and people can have a future. Many people argue the fact that there are many social problems which develop as a resultof the brain drain in the Philippines. Because of the masses of doctors and other medicalprofessionals leaving the country, many Filipinos cannot receive the proper medical care thatthey need. According to recent statistics, the ratio of doctors to Filipinos in the Philippines isaround 1:28,000, which is one doctor for every 28,000 Filipinos (“Medical Apocalypse”). This isa very big social problem because there are not enough doctors to care for the large population inthe Philippines. About 2,000 doctors leave the Philippines each year (Morella). This is dangerousfor the country because eventually the gap between the number of doctors in the Philippinescompared to the population could increase to an even higher level. There are almost noanesthetists left, very few obstetricians, a dropping number of pediatricians left in the Philippines(Morella) and there are about 120 municipalities without a doctor (“Medical Apocalypse”).Because of this, there are many people who go without proper health care in the Philippines. The main reason why the brain drain in the Philippines should be stopped is because it ispreventing the overall development of the country because of the skilled professionals leavingthe country to work abroad. When the skilled professionals of a country leave, then the countrycannot develop properly because they lose the people who would help create progress and canbuild up the country for example in the medical field. 25% of all overseas nurses worldwidecome from the Philippines; it is the largest source of doctors in hospitals abroad (“MedicalApocalypse”). This shortage of doctors makes it harder for the Philippines to become moremedically advanced because it lacks the necessary staff to help conduct research. As mentionedbefore, the ratio of doctors to Filipinos in the Philippines is around 1:28,000, which shows a
  5. 5. Purgill 5significant gap between the amount of doctors per patient (“Medical Apocalypse”). In Singapore,the doctor to patient ratio is about 1:770, meaning there is one doctor for every 770 Singaporeancitizens (Yin). Since Singapore has more doctors according to these statistics, they are able to domore medical research. An example of this is the Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI).SCRI tries to improve the care of patients by conducting clinical research and it promotesindustry-sponsored and academic studies of clinical trials. This institute is devoted to improvingthe scientific leadership, infrastructure, and intellectual leadership in Singapore.The institute iscurrently researching over 30 studies at the moment(“Singapore”). All of this research beingdone by Singapore shows how the amount of doctors in a country can make a difference to thedevelopment of a country and how much research is being done. Because of these doctorsleaving the Philippines to work as nurses abroad, the country is not able to develop properly inthe medical field because there is a shortage of skilled workers left to conduct research andexperiments which could help the country progress. Because of the many social and economic problems caused by the brain drain as well asdiscouraging the development of the Philippines, the government of the Philippines should tryand prevent the growth of the brain drain in the Philippines. Economic problems develop in thePhilippines due to many professionals leaving. Social problems such as not having enoughdoctors for the amount of Filipinos in the Philippines and having a large percentage of skilledworkers leave the country. The brain drain in the Philippines prevents the Philippines fromdeveloping because all of the skilled workers are leaving, so there is nobody to do a good job orto teach the next people.
  6. 6. Purgill 6 Works Cited“Braindrain in the Philippines - Are All OFWs Real Heroes?” 28 Aug. 2008. Web. 17 Oct. 2010.Hennessey, Matthew. “Who’s to Blame for Brain Drain?” Policy Innovations.17 July 2007. Web. 12 Oct. 2010.Macaraig, Mynardo. “Philippines Suffering from Migrant Brain Drain.” 4 Aug. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2010."Medical Apocalypse." | Chinese Newspaper, Filipino Newspaper, Philippines Newspaper. 13 Aug. 2008. Web. 12 Nov. 2010.Morella, Cecil.Morella, Cecil. “Medical Brain Drain Threat to Philippines.” 23 April 2005. Web. 10 Nov. 2010.“Singapore Clinical Research Institute.”Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI). 2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.Yin, Wong. “SMA News.” Singapore Medical Association.Web.1 Dec. 2010.