Uploaded by ellasertrixiemae

brain drain

Brain Drain in the Philippines
By: Mariefel L. Macato
Trixie Mae N. Ellaser
The world is full of resources varying from natural to human resources. However, the
utilization of these resources was handled inappropriately that resulted to scarcity. Countries are
battling for various resources to meet the needs of the society. On top of these resources is the
human capital. Human capital is the capacity of a person to perform quality labour. Somehow, the
inadequacy of human capital lowers the country’s economic and social growth, which is evident
to the Philippines. This phenomenon is known as the brain drain.
According to Battistella and Liao (2013), brain drain is the “large outflows of educated and
skilled labour migrants, especially those originating from developing countries and moving
towards developed or highly industrialized countries”. This occurrence is prominent in the
Philippines. Many Filipino professionals and skilled workers move to other countries to find better
opportunities like higher salaries, skills’ improvement and international working experience.
Brain drain has contributed to the sluggish development of the Philippines. The country
had invested a huge amount of capital to educate and train its citizens to make use of its talents
and skills that will help improving the country. However, lots of talented and versatile Filipinos
prefer to work abroad to seek for greener pastures, hence, instead of contributing their abilities to
their home country, other countries are benefiting from it. With the numerous Overseas Filipino
Workers (OFW’s) around the world, the Philippines have lost a substantial number of workers that
would have been the country’s assets to upsurge the growth of the economy.
Skilled Filipino immigrants were of great loss, especially to a developing country. Last
2015, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) issued a report regarding worldwide immigrants. The
Philippines ranked ninth in terms of numbers of immigrants from the country. The worldwide
estimated numbers of immigrants issued by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) was about 247
million. 5 million or 2.025% of the total 247 million were Filipino immigrants who transferred to
a developed country. (Uy, 2016)
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority survey as of 2017, there were 2,399,000,
overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who devoted their skills, talent, time and effort working in
developed countries or for some in another developing countries for high compensation. From
April to September 2015 survey, it showed that one in every four OFW”s or about 24.7% of the
estimated 2.399 million decided to work in Saudi Arabia. 15.5% decided to work in United Arab
Emirates UAE, 5.9% worked in Hongkong, 5.8% in Kuwait, 5.7% in Singapore, and 5.5% in Qatar.
The Philippines was a big exporter of nurses. Most Filipinos choose a course of nursing in
the tertiary education with the idea of having high compensation when working abroad. As a
developing country like the Philippines, it was a big loss to let country-trained skilled workers and
professionals to devote their profession in other countries.
Theoretical Views
Change Theory
Lewin (1947) articulated the change theory that made a great contribution in the field of
social science. It suggests that people move towards a specified goal with the influence of the push
and pull factors. The theory proposes that skilled workers decided to go abroad for some
determining factors, push and pull factors are two sides of this theory. According to the theory, the
first factor that causes professional to work abroad are the social environment, a person has in
his/her home country. These factors are the push factors that impose internal pressure to a person
causing them to transfer to a more developed country. In line with this, pull factors strengthen their
decision, for these are the things that a destination country has which in effect attracts
professionals. As the theory propounds, from unfreezing a previous situation to refreezing into the
new circumstances, push and pull factors are the primary reason behind a person's performance of
the new behaviour.(Roudgar, 2014)
According to Lewin's theory, push factors are the determining factors why people result to
making decisions of performing a new behaviour. In the case of brain drain, skilled workers
migrate for reasons such as economic instability of home countries, considerable lag in the wage
gaps between the home country which is usually a developing country to the developed country,
and quality of life. These serves as internal factors that influence a professional's decision to go
Another is the second factor, the pull factors that influence a decision because of perceived
entrancing factors to go abroad. Higher salary, fast growing economy and better job opportunities
are some of the pull factors that destination countries have. These factors attracts skilled
immigrants who are in need of better opportunities to improve the quality of life to go abroad.
Theory of Reasoned Action
Brain drain is a phenomenon brought by the actions and decisions of the workers for
dedicating their abilities to the foreign country. This occurring phenomenon in the Philippines is
supplemented by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen in the late 1960s through the Theory of Reasoned
Action (TRA). TRA is a “theory that focuses on a person's intention to behave in a certain way”.
It implies that the behaviour of a person can be predicted by knowing its intentions of doing
something. Furthermore, the person’s attitude and subjective norms are induced by its intentions.
(Lezin, 2019)
According to the theory, attitudes refers to the manner of how a person view something. It
also denotes the feelings, values and beliefs of a person. Lezin (2019) stated that attitude is
influenced by the beliefs and evaluation of behaviour. Beliefs refer to the idea to whether or not a
behaviour is possible to occur. Conversely, the evaluation is concerned with the uprightness and
immorality of certain behaviour. This two factors initiates the attitude of a person, whether it is a
positive or a negative.
Another determinant of a person’s intention is the subjective norm. This signifies the
people around that contributes to the person’s perception of things. Those people are family,
friends, teachers, colleagues, and etc. They play a significant role in influencing a person’s views
and opinions. Thus, these views could be favourable to the people around or not. Generally, the
social norms affects the intention of certain behaviour.
Theory of reasoned action is simply a hypothesis for distinguishing someone’s behaviour.
A deeper understanding of the person’s attitude and subjective norms that motivates its intentions
could make the predictions more accurate and desirable. Knowing the factors that trigger the
intentions of the Filipino immigrants could help develop ways to curb the brain drain.
Philippines lack human capital because of the brain drain. Statistics in recent years showed
an increasing number of immigrants from our country. This includes skilled workers and
professionals who were to be an asset in the country, but eventually turned out to be other country's
economic contributor. Even though there was an undeniable contribution of the OFW’s in the
economic growth of the Philippines, an unarguable loss was also incurred due to the brain drain.
However, all the blame cannot be put to the immigrants because for a very transparent reason,
other factors also contributed Filipino immigrants to have a decision of working abroad.
As an implication to the brain drain, Filipino immigrants' behaviour of working abroad were
influenced by the factors, namely, attitude and subjective norms. The person's attitude was
influenced by his/her beliefs of the consequences of doing a certain thing, multiplied by the
person's evaluation of the consequences. In this case, Filipino immigrants had a positive attitude
towards brain drain because as a consequence, they were to be highly compensated. Because of
this belief and evaluation of the consequence, a behaviour of working abroad was performed.
Another factor was subjective norms of the person towards the behaviour which was
defined by Fishbein and Ajzen as the person's perspective of what most people who matters to him
would suggest he should or should not do in a given situation (Sheppard et al., 1988). Most people
think that working abroad would be heroic and can improve the way of living. These subjective
norms contributed to the decision of Filipino immigrants to spend their time and skills in the
international field.
Brain drain had turned rich countries to become more developed and poor countries to
remain at its deprived state. Docquier and Rapoport (2011) stated that brain drain is a major aspect
of globalization. It is causing redundant actions by making countries with sufficient resources of
human labour become more abundant and the countries with insufficient resources of human
labour become scarcer. Therefore creating inequalities between countries.
The dearth of human capital or the deficiency of professionals have great impact to the
economy of developing countries. It will slow down the progress of a country for there will be a
fall on the supply of human resources. Thus, the deterioration of the economy will lead to a lesser
and poor quality of life. Furthermore, insufficient provision of human capital will also degrade the
country’s potency to competitively participate globally. (Srivastava, n.d.)
Traditionally, source countries of highly skilled workers experience the unfavourable effect
of the brain drain. These losses are national investments and human capital which are highly
qualified and characterized by capacity and intelligence. Brain drain induces negative effects on
sending human capital that results in a decrease in welfare. People who leave their countries
usually lose the opportunity of participating in home economic activities. Loss of creative thinkers
and innovators and the rising of regional inequalities are some of the social effects of the brain
drain. (Pedraza, 2013)
Another effect of the brain drain is undeniably seen in the political perspective of host
countries who experience the reduction of human capital. Countries utilize their skilled and
unskilled citizens by levying taxes on them that supports institutional activities as well as a
measure of government quality. As a result of brain drain, taxes decline that leads to the
deterioration of institutional quality. Governments spent resources to train workers in the
assumption that these workers will be substantial to the growing economy. It is in this belief that
human capital is an ingredient for institutional improvement, however, the reduction of which
leads to higher income inequality with respect to other countries. (Pedraza, 2013)
However, due to the advancement of technology, dissemination of the vast amount of
information is now relatively easy, scrutinizing other countries' political regimes through skilled
immigrants that in effect can contribute to political changes of a country. This development of
technology increases institutional quality.
In order to combat the adverse effects of brain drain in the Philippines, the government had
come up with programs that lured back skilled workers to return and dedicate their skills in the
country. One of these programs is the Senate Bill 1324 also known as Balik Scientist Program
filed by Senator Grace Poe in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology
(DOST). The objective of this program is to attract Filipino experts to share their knowledge and
expertise in order to help in the economic prosperity of the country. According to the Department
of Science and Technology's data, it stated that a country's potential growth may be evident in its
research and development personnel in which the Philippines stands below the recommendation
of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of 380 personnel per million
citizens. In order to combat this fact, the government institutionalized the Balik Scientist Program
as a counter-measure. Benefits included in the Balik Scientist Program were imposed as an equal
catch for Filipino experts who went to foreign countries in search of greener pastures to attract
them to return. (Antiporda, 2017)
The program is known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act
11035 or the Balik Scientist Act. In line with this program is to provide incentives or benefits to
attract Filipino scientist or skilled workers abroad to come home and help the country’s
development with regards to its “scientific and technological advancements.” One of the many
benefits provided is the “assistance in the admission to the preferred schools for the minor
dependents, relocation allowance, monthly housing or accommodation of the Balik Scientist and
his/her family to be determined or in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management
(DBM).” This specific benefit may encourage and ease the feeling of the returning scientist
provided that his/her dependents are also covered with the benefits. The benefits serve as the plea
to immigrant skilled workers to return and devote their skills to the country which is in accordance
to “Balik Puso, Balik Pilipinas” program. (Tadili, 2019)
Brain drain has been one of the most serious issues faced by many countries around the
globe. It had brought various positive and negative impacts in social, economic and political
perspectives to both developing and developed countries. With this phenomenon as being
prominent in the Philippines, the country has to formulate more strategies and programs to degrade
or curb brain drain to fleet the country’s development or develop ways that would not detriment
the country’s progress.
Those individuals who participate with this occurrence have motives and demands which
are only sustained by developed countries. It has been affirmed that on top of these motives is the
unemployment. Filipinos tend to seek opportunities abroad obviously because their home country
is incapable of providing their prerequisites. The Philippine government must scrutinize every
possible ways that would help in making the necessities available in the country. This will restrain
Filipinos to become migrants of their own country. Hence, the state must heighten the employment
opportunities with better working conditions to control and decrease Filipino migrants.
The eradication of brain drain is clearly not a simple action. It has been an on-going
phenomenon for several years and the elimination of it would require numerous sacrifices in the
place of the government and its constituents or the developing country as a whole. It would also
result into conflicts because of adjustments. Policies that would deal the restriction towards brain
drain should be implemented in a way that it will aid the country’s improvement with regards to
its economic, social and political perspectives and it will further improve not just the country’s
economy itself but also the conditions of the people residing in the developing country.
Antiporda, J. (2017). Senate bill seeks to stop brain drain. Retrieved from
https://www.manilatimes.net/ senate-bill-seeks-stop-brain-drain-2/320031/?fbclid=IwAR0Em80wQAULNmV1QupHU_H_JsXUTPSyiGUD0RrxX1bshwPRlAhi3cGJc8
Battistella, G. & Liao, K.A.S. (2013). Youth migration from the Philippines: brain drain and
brain waste. Retrieved from http://www.mdgfund.org/sites/default/files/YouthMigration-Philippines-Brain-Drain-Brain-Waste.pdf
Docquier, F. & Rapoport, H. (2011). Globalization, brain drain and development. Retrieved
from https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/centers/cid/files/publications/
Faridi, R. (2018). Migration theories: Lee’s push pull theory. Retrieved from
Lezin, N. (2019). Theory of reasoned action (tra). Retrieved from http://recapp.etr.org/recapp/
Pedraza, L.E. (2013). Brain drain social and political effects in latin American countries.
Retrieved from http://revistas.fuac.edu.co/index.php/grafia/article/download/492/469/
Philippine Statistics Authority. (2017). Statistical tables on overseas Filipino workers. Retrieved
from http://www.psa.gov.ph/statistics/survey/labor-force/sof index?fbclid=IwAR28FwS
Roudgar, I., (2014). The global brain drain: theory and evidence. Retrieved from
Sheppard, B.H., Hartwick, J. & Warshaw, P.R. (1988). The theory of reasoned action: a
meta-analysis of past research with recommendations for modifications and future
research. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Blair_Sheppard
Tadili, M.J.P. (2019). DOST expects more ‘balik scientists’ with expanded benefits. Retrieved
from http://newsbytes.ph/2019/03/24/dost-expects-more-balik-scientists-with-moreattractive-benefits/
Srivastava, B. (n.d.). Economic impact of brain drain in developed and developing countries.
Retrieved from https://www.aeaweb.org/conference/2018/preliminary/paper/r5STr4yk
Uy, D.M. (2016). Philippines ranks 9th in global migrants with 5 million abroad. Retrieved from
Alburo, F. & Abella, D. (n.d.). Skilled labour migration from developing countries: study on the
Philippines. Retrieved from https://www.ilo.org › wcms_201780
The authors form part of a research conducted by International Labour Office sponsored
by DFID. The report showed keen details of migration in the Philippines and the stand of
brain drain in the recent years. Top destination of emigrants and the pattern of temporary
labour migration were discussed in the report. A section in the report provides a
significant information about the number of high level man power in the Philippines
which was declining in the recent years because of brain drain. An information about the
absorption of professionals in the Philippines and also abroad were provided which can
help in determining the status of brain drain in the Philippines. The characteristics
of Filipino skilled workers were also examined in the report to determine the reason
behind their decision of migrating. In the final section, development options were
proposed in order to address the adverse effects of brain drain in the Philippines. With the
statistics shown in the report, the status of brain drain in the Philippines can be easily
drawn which was relevant for the study.
Visconti, K. (2012). Most science, tech OFWs go to Middle East - study. Retrieved from
https://www.rappler.com › previous-articles
The author used information provided by the Science Education Institute and the
Department of Science and Technology in order to show a relevant statistics regarding
the worsening status of brain drain in the Philippines. The article supported their claims
with statistics showing that a large number of researchers and engineers migrated to
Middle East which is the top destination of emigrants. A comparison from the past years
up to the recent about the number of science and technology professionals were
presented. These information are relevant in order to determine which sector in
Philippines should be strengthened and needs development to be able to combat brain
drain in the Philippines.
Appendix A – Gantt Chart
TITLE OF THE ESSAY: Brain Drain in the Philippines
Authors: Mariefel L. Macato and Trixie Mae N. Ellaser
DURATION: 18 Weeks
DATE OF START: January 14, 2019
Search of Contemporary Issue
Review of Related Literature
Initial Writing of the Essay (Background,
Theoretical Views & Body)
Submission to Turnitin.com
Presentation of the Issue to the Class
Writing of Findings and Conclusion
Editing and Consultation
Final Writing of the Essay
Final Submission to Turnitin.com
Printing of the Final Paper
Appendix B - Essay Presentation