By Mark T. Amoguis
Assistant Research Head

CALABARZON, Metro Manila, and Central Visayas are the top preferred destinations among Filipinos wanting to migrate to other regions in the next five years, according to the government’s inaugural national migration survey.

In a press release yesterday, preliminary results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) National Migration Survey showed that 3,692 Filipinos intended to move in the next five years. Of these, 20.1% wished to move to Calabarzon, followed by the National Capital Region (NCR, 17%), and Central Visayas (10.7%).

The rest of the respondents chose Central Luzon (9.1%), Bicol Region (6.2%), Davao Region (5.4%), Eastern Visayas (5%), Northern Mindanao (4.6%), Western Visayas (3.9%), Zamboanga Peninsula (3.2%), Mimaropa Region (3%), Soccsksargen (2.9%), Ilocos Region (2%), Caraga (1.8%), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (1.8%), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR, 1.7%), and Cagayan Valley (1.6%).

Meanwhile, NCR and Calabarzon had the most immigrants in the past five years at 388,464 and 293,484 respondents, respectively. However, these two regions also posted the largest number of respondents that transferred to other regions during the period at 509,161 and 184,116.

Eastern Visayas had the largest number of migrants on a net basis at approximately 155,500 followed by Calabarzon’s 109,368, and Bicol’s 59,152. A positive net figure indicates that more Filipinos transferred to the region compared to those that left.

On the other hand, around 120,697 Filipinos left Metro Manila during the period. Other regions with net negative number of migrants in the last five years include Central Luzon (-67,994) and Caraga (-3,210).

The survey also showed that four out of 10 Filipinos (40.1%) are lifetime migrants, defined as those who are now residing in a place different from the usual residence of their mother at the time of their birth.

Sought for comments on the results, UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said that people tend to move to where economic opportunities are perceived to abundantly exist.

“Calabarzon is the manufacturing hub of the Philippine economy and the NCR is the financial hub, both of which comprise 53% of total Philippine gross domestic product (GDP). These two particular areas are magnets for migration,” he said in an e-mail.

Mr. Asuncion also pointed out that Cebu, which is in Central Visayas, is the second-most important economic center in the country next to Metro Manila.

“Central Visayas is an attractive destination for economic migrants looking for more and better economic opportunities not normally available from their place of origin,” Mr. Asuncion said.

Mr. Asuncion also noted that CAR, Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Davao Region may be the “next preferred destinations for economic migration” in the next decade as these regions have outperformed the national GDP growth average in the last three years.

The PSA’s National Migration Survey, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Population Institute, was conducted to “provide information on the mobility of Philippine population in order to assist policy makers and program managers in evaluating and designing strategies for improving services and assistance to people going abroad or moving within the country.