Poverty forces migration that tears families apart: Cardinal Tagle
Desperate conditions have driven many Filipinos to leave the country, sometimes by any means possible, which makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said forced migration and human trafficking will not go away unless the economics of it are addressed. Speaking on National Migrant’s Sunday during his homily at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia in Manila’s Ermita, the cardinal said poverty was the cause of migration and labour exploitation.
The archbishop said that lack of opportunities forced many Filipinos to work abroad. Desperate conditions have driven many Filipinos to leave the country, sometimes by any means possible, which makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.
“I hope this serves as a call to the government and the private sector… if only there are opportunities here, many Filipinos would prefer staying here with their families,” Cardinal Tagle said.
Freedom of movement and residence is the right of every human person, he said, but there are also situations that forced them to do so and tear families apart.
According to him, it is not all dysfunctional issues that split families—it is also triggered by “love”, as they make sacrifices to provide for the needs of their families.
“In the Church, that is one part with reservations—forced migration because of poverty and the consequence is couples separate physically,” Cardinal Tagle said.
“Other couples separate because of misunderstanding but many Filipinos too are separated from their family physically out of love – a sacrifice of being away to provide for their needs,” he added.
The cardinal also lamented that some Filipino women are forced into mail-order marriage as an escape from poverty.
“Human trafficking and slavery are also there,” he added.
He then called on Filipinos abroad to strive to be known as good people. “Wherever we go, let’s show the best of Filipino and the best of a Christian.”
Cardinal Tagle is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.