IN OUR past columns, we shared some historical experiences on Filipinos who have succeeded in their applications for migration to the USA and Canada. Thus, we particularly noted the relationship of the Philippines with the USA and Canada in terms of their shared history and similarities in socio-economic culture with the lives of Americans or Canadians. For the USA, the deeply rooted influence of America on the Philippines is largely attributable to the USA colonial rule of the Philippines from 1899 to 1946 and its continued strong influence until the present days. As a historical writer humorously once described it, Philippine history is like living in a convent for 3.5 centuries under Spanish colonial rule, but the USA colonial administration of Filipinos is described as living in “Hollywood” after only less than 100 years. Today in fact, the dream of many Filipinos to migrate to the USA remains like a Hollywood movie.
As for Canada, we have noted in our previous columns that the Philippines relationship became close to Canada thanks to the American influence as a close neighbor in North America, with early Filipino migrants to Canada starting in the 1960s. Today, the rate of Filipino migrations to Canada has approximated that of the USA in terms of migration population increase. Another interesting aspect of Filipinos migrating to Canada and the USA is that they are able to go from one country to the other easily as citizens. For this column, we have also focused on the cultural and socio-economic aspects of migration which have strengthened the relationships among the Philippines, USA and Canada. As we noted, since the 1900s until today several millions of Filipinos have migrated to the USA. Similarly, the number of Filipinos migrating to Canada has also increased and to date, the estimated Fil-Canadian population is nearing a million out of the total Canadian population of about 40 million.
One of the most notable aspects of Filipino migrations in general to various countries today is the substantial contributions to the Philippines of dollar remittances by Filipinos working or living abroad. While these remittances come from various countries, the biggest amount of dollar remittances to the Philippines are coming mainly from Filipino migrants or workers in the USA and Canada. We will share more related issues on migrations of various Filipinos to the USA and Canada in our coming columns. With these historical experiences, the interconnections of Filipino political and socio-economic issues become more closely related to those of the USA and Canada.