The community-based monitoring system (CBMS): an investigation of its usefulness in understanding the relationship between international migration and poverty in the Philippines

Date: 21 April 2017

Venue: University of Antwerp, Stadscampus - Kapel Grauwzusters, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Time: 3:00 PM

PhD candidate: Alellie Borel Sobrevinas

Principal investigator: Prof Germán Calfat

Co-principal investigator: Dr Celia Reyes

Short description: PhD defence Alellie Borel Sobreviñas - Faculty of Applied Economics


This research investigates the usefulness of the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) in understanding the relationship between international migration and poverty in the Philippines. CBMS is an organized process of collecting, processing and validating, and integrating data in local development planning. It is designed to empower the communities by promoting a participatory approach to poverty monitoring and development planning. To complement the national migration data which are gathered mainly through nationally-representative surveys or administrative records, the CBMS census data should be explored to help enrich the understanding of migration and how it affects poverty, especially at the local level.

In line with the objectives of this study, two major datasets were compiled using the existing CBMS data of selected local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines. The first dataset is a cross-section CBMS data of eight LGUs in the Philippines consisting of more than 126,000 households while the second dataset is a constructed three-period CBMS panel data for LGU-Orion in Bataan province with 4,299 households in each period. A detailed examination of the CBMS Household Profile Questionnaire (HPQ) administered in these LGUs revealed that aside from collecting information necessary for monitoring the core poverty indicators, it gathers some migration-related household and individual level data. At the household level, it collects information that can identify households with an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and can estimate the total annual remittances received by the households. Meanwhile, at the individual level, the scope of information collected for each OFW member of the household varies depending on the version of the CBMS-HPQ as the questionnaire has undergone several refinements over the years.  Given the available data from these existing CBMS datasets, this research demonstrates how they can be used to examine the profile of international migration and poverty among. At the same time, some econometric techniques were employed to estimate the impact of international migration on poverty. For instance, the instrumental variable (IV) method was applied using the cross-section dataset to address the endogeneity of migration while some relevant panel data techniques were implemented using the constructed panel dataset.

Given the complexity of migration, this study finds that the migration data collected using the standard CBMS-HPQ are rather limited. To address this limitation, this research developed a new questionnaire to collect additional information that are useful in having a more in-depth understanding of the various migration issues, especially at the local level. The new data collection instrument, which serves as a rider to the CBMS-HPQ, was administered in 476 households in two selected villages in the Philippines, including Barangay Saguing (rural) in Mabini, Batangas and Barangay Villa Angeles (urban) in Orion, Bataan. To complement the quantitative data and help find explanations for the results, qualitative information were also collected in the two villages through direct observation, informal interviews with the residents and local officials and focus group discussions (FGDs), in addition to the community validation activity which is part of the standard CBMS process.

Recognizing the richness of the CBMS data, it is strongly suggested that LGUs in the Philippines use their CBMS data to enhance their understanding of the link between international migration and poverty, as well as integrate the relevant findings in their local development planning. At the same time, to fill the gap in migration data, a set of representative LGUs in the Philippines may be encouraged to administer CBMS-HPQ together with the rider questionnaire (complemented by the collection of additional qualitative data) in order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the different migration issues and how they are linked to poverty in the Philippines. To the extent possible, collecting additional migration-related information following the CBMS approach in those areas where international migration is an important development issue could be done on a more regular basis in order to complement existing data in the Philippines. This will further enhance the potential of CBMS as a tool in understanding the relationship between international migration and poverty situation both at the local and at the national level.