Mail-order bride industry in the Philippines thrives using social media

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DAVAO CITY — Social media has kept the number of mail-order brides or marriage migrants afloat, an official of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas said.

Marriage sponsors under such scheme are making money to as much as P500,000 to P1 million.

In Davao Region, cases of marriage migration have reached 9,990 with the province of Davao del Sur, which includes Davao City, registering the highest with 7,490, according to a data collected from 2005 to present.

Emigrant Services Officer Ma. Camille Lacaba of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) said 25 percent of Davao Region’s marriage migrants were made possible by online sites like Facebook, chats, and dating websites.

While there is nothing wrong in connecting with other people, Lacaba said Filipinos must ensure they linked with somebody who has a verified identity and through safe and legal websites.

“Most of the time foreigners (dating online) have fraudulent identities,” she said in an interview Monday on the sidelines of the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Annex here.

Lacaba said marriage migrants are highest in the United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Canada. She pointed to South Korea as having the most mail-order bride schemes.

But she said CFO is able to conduct workshops with South Korea-bound Filipinos especially on family culture.

Lacaba said Filipinos must know the family dynamics of the Koreans.

For example, she said the eldest son of a Korean family has the responsibility to take care of the parents when they grow old. The decision of the parents for the family of the eldest son comes first, next the siblings before the wife’s decision is taken.

“We must get Filipinos ready for this,” Lacaba said.

She added that marriage brokers particularly in South Korea and Japan are legal, but not in the Philippines because the government protects the rights of the Filipinos.

That is why Lacaba said it is important for Filipinos migrating to any foreign country to undergo pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) conducted by CFO.

Lacaba said marriage migration is the fastest and easiest way of obtaining green cards or immigrant visas. But, she stressed it also exposes one to risks such as physical abuse.

She said the CFO has intercepted 5,091 cases of marriage with multiple sponsorships.

“We are the only country with the counter-checking system,” Lacaba bared.

CFO, which is under the Office the President, is tasked to promote and uphold the interests, rights, and welfare of overseas Filipinos, and strengthen their ties with the Philippines.

Emigrant Services Officer Allan Ducusin said other Filipinos have obtained permanent residency abroad through sponsorship of their immediate family members or under an independent category like professions in demand in host countries.

CFO has already registered 46,014 immigrant Filipinos from Davao region.

Ducusin said there are still Filipino immigrants who come home to settle permanently or retire in the country. But once they stay here permanently, their green cards are also canceled, Ducusin added.

Ducusin said CFO has no satellite office in Davao, but they conduct mobile PDOS for Davaoenos so that they do not have to travel to Manila. On September 21 and 22, CFO will hold a mobile PDOS here at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)

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