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Teenagers bear social cost of OFW parents

February 21, 2008 11:04pm
Story from BusinessWorld

A study has highlighted the critical age of adolescence (13-16) as the most vulnerable to social costs brought about by expatriate parents.

This has been the finding of a study, entitled "Effects of parents’ migration on the rights of the children left behind," led by Rosemarie G. Edillon, Asia-Pacific Policy Center vice-president and executive director.

The study was done in Ilocos Norte and had a sample size of 130.

It showed that adolescent children of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) began to demand more time from parents as their preference shifts to parental attention from material satisfaction.

"This has been the reason why teenage pregnancy and drug abuses become rampant," said Ms. Edillon during her presentation at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies office in NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) sa Makati.

Meanwhile, children below 13 years old are said to be "easier to please" as they are more satisfied with monetary and material benefits.

"It is also the opposite for younger children as they think that technological advances such as cellular phones are quick solutions in connecting with their parents," said Ma. Teresa Soriano, assistant secretary for internal affairs of the Labor department, during the same hearing.

She noted the need for children of OFW parents to have a support group of similarly situated children.

Meanwhile, Dr. Maruja Asis, research director of the Scalabrini Migration center, a nonprofit research institute, said the shift in concern among adolescents may well be due to their responsibilities as "second parents" to younger siblings.

"This may give us the conclusion that migration has an independent impact on ages 13 to 16," she added.

The study noted that six out of 10 families have an OFW parent, which translates to eight million children left behind. — Ava Kashima K. Austria, BusinessWorld
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