The houses that migrant workers build but do not live in | ABS-CBN News Online Beta: "Houses without people
Overseas labor migration, which started in the 1980s, has transformed Sumilang.
The village used to be an agrarian, artisanal, and petty-trading village, located some five kilometers inland from the coastal town center. Today, a large segment of its population of nearly 2,000 persons work overseas, mostly in Spain and Italy. A sizeable number of them also work in the Persian Gulf states, Canada, and Taiwan.
Why these absent workers send money to build houses they do not live in continues to baffle many observers of the Philippine labor migration phenomenon.
A few who consider migrants as poor deem the construction of a costly house in the “middle of nowhere” as a case of misplaced values, if not a waste of scarce resources.
If not houses, some buy electrical appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, even when the village has no electricity. Anecdotes abound of migrant workers who introduce such modernity to their remote villages.
Some economists explain such spending as stimulating demand for consumer goods and services, which ultimately increases production."