Saturday, March 22, 2008

Filipinas Marrying Foreigners

From Gulf News:

MANILA, Philippines- The government has advised Filipino women considering marrying someone of a different nationality to seek counselling. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), a government body, has advised Filipinas planning to get married to undergo orientation so they know what to expect when they wed into another culture.

Cherry Joy Veniles, Senior Officer of the CFO, said the Commission maintains a database of Foreign Nationals who have petitioned Filipino brides to join them abroad. Veniles said Filipina spouses and fiancées are required to register with the CFO before they leave the country. She said this measure was adopted to guard against human trafficking.
She said trafficking in the guise of marriage is common among many Filipinas, adding there have been some instances when unscrupulous individuals present themselves as couples, when in reality the husband would just bring his poseur wife as part of an elaborate human trafficking scheme.

The Department of Foreign Affairs requires Filipina spouses and fiancées to attend guidance and counselling programmes as a pre-requisite to the issuance of their passports. The objective of the counselling programme is to inform the couple on the realities of cross-cultural marriages.

According to Veniles, 2006 was the peak year of cross-cultural marriages between Filipinas and foreigners. A total of 24,904 Filipinos went overseas because of marriage. In 2007, when the CFO adopted stringent measures to guard against human trafficking, the number dropped to 23,927. Records show many of the cross-cultural couples were introduced personally while a considerable number met through pen pals. With the advent of the internet, the number of foreigners and Filipinas meeting online has significantly increased since 2002. There are also websites dedicated to finding Filipina brides.

Veniles said 40 per cent of the Filipina spouses/ fiancées' destination is the United States while 30.6 per cent of the spouses are destined for Japan. The CFO Senior Officer said the profile of a typical foreigner spouse of a Filipina bride-to-be is someone aged about 30-60 years old. Americans seeking Filipina brides usually work as truck drivers, while Japanese mostly have carpentry as their profession. The profile of South Korean males ranged between 40-50 years of age with many working in farms and rural areas.

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