Indonesians in the Philippines
|Regions with significant populations|
|Various languages of Indonesia and of the Philippines|
According to the 2000 Philippines census, there were 43,871 Indonesians in the Philippines, making them the 5th-largest group of foreigners in the Philippines. Most reside in the Muslim-dominated region of Mindanao.
Migration and settlement
Some Indonesians came to Mindanao as early as the 1970s, settling down and married local women. However, the largest influx, consisting of fishermen and petty traders, began settling illegally in the early 1980s. They continue to maintain consciousness of their separate ethnic identity, as well as material links with Indonesia. Illegal entry and settlement is easy due to the Philippines' long coastline and insufficient personnel in the Border Crossing Office. More recently, many of the fishermen in fact have landing permits which allow them to move freely around the area where their boats are docked.
Registration, residency, and deportation
As early as 1999, the Philippine government had been attempting to get Indonesians to register with the authorities, holding out the possibility that they might be granted citizenship as an incentive. However, a survey the next year, which counted 7,200 Indonesians living illegally in the area, found that few wanted to be naturalized in the Philippines, though they hoped to obtain permanent residency in order to regularize their living situation, while 30-35% hoped to be repatriated to Indonesia. That survey found the largest community of Indonesians in Sarangani province, with others in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and North Cotabato. At that time, they planned to deport 1,738 of them. In 2002, the Philippine government, alarmed by the number of Indonesian nationals implicated in recent Jemaah Islamiyah bombings in the Philippines, drew up a plan to deport a further 12,000 Indonesians from Mindanao; however, the implementation of the plan stalled due to disagreements between the Philippine and Indonesian governments over who would pay for it. Indonesians in the Philippines are often stereotyped as terrorists as a result.
In 2003 and again in 2005, the Philippine government initiated another survey and registration drive; that one registered 2,448 Philippine-born Indonesians, including 247 in General Santos, 371 in Glan-Sarangani, 265 in Davao del Sur, 108 in Davao City, 339 in Kiamba, Tupi and Malapatan, another 253 in Sarangani Island, 341 in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and Kidapawan, and an additional 154 in Sarangani and Davao del Sur. The Indonesian government is also attempting to convince them to register with the local Indonesian consulate and with the Philippine government, and offered to pay their registration fees for identity documents.
The Philippines is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Indonesian international students, both those in short term courses, and those studying for university degrees. English as a foreign language courses are one well-known draw for students from all over Asia, but other subject areas are gaining in popularity as well. In particular, flight training courses are much cheaper in the Philippines than in Indonesia. The Asian Institute of Management also attracts many Indonesian students. There is also an Indonesian school (with dormitory for boarding students) and Indonesian Cultural Center in Davao City.
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