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Visayan Forum (VF) was organized after democracy was restored in the Philippines in the late ‘80s, by Visayan migrants in Manila composed of professionals, students, community leaders and individual volunteers to respond to the problems confronting the regions in the Visayas and to plan out for the development agenda in the Visayas. It was formally launched in April 1991 during which time some parts of the Visayas were stricken by natural calamities.
Borne out of the true spirit of volunteerism at a time of tragedy, Visayan Forum was the brainchild of a small group of individuals coming from different fields who worked together to help communities in Ormoc, Leyte then devastated by a strong typhoon and landslide. Gaining more awareness of the sad realities affecting many poor communities in the Philippines, the group decided to put their resources and expertise together to continue helping the vulnerable and marginalized people and decided to form what is now known as Visayan Forum.
In the course of its initial efforts in the Visayas, VF realized that the parade of natural disasters was not the only reason for people in the Visayas to migrate to other places in the country in search for better opportunities. Poverty, landlessness, armed conflict, inequity and cultural factors pushed these marginalized migrant’s people to venture to urban centers like Metro Manila.
In a pilot study funded by the Philippine-Canada Joint Committee (PCJC), in 20 urban poor communities in Metro Manila, it was confirmed that six out of ten migrants in the metropolis are from the Visayas. The National Statistics Office Labor Study also confirmed this trend. Migrants are getting younger and become more vulnerable to exploitation, such as child labor. While embarking in community development programs for urban communities, VF likewise started to campaign against child labor in 1992, mainly on working street children and children trafficked for domestic employment.
Since then, VF works for the welfare of marginalized migrants, especially those working in the invisible and informal sectors, like domestic workers, and trafficked women and children.
VF is a non-profit, non-stock and non-government organization in the Philippines established in 1991. VF works for the welfare of marginalized migrants, especially those working in the invisible and informal sectors, like domestic workers, and trafficked women and children.
It is licensed and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide "residential care and community-based programs and services for women and children in especially difficult circumstances."
It is most known for its pioneering and documented work on domestic workers in the Philippines, especially in pushing for the Domestic Workers Bill or the Batas Kasambahay. It is also in the forefront of providing services to trafficking victims by managing Halfway Houses constructed by the Philippine Ports Authority in major Philippine ports and the Manila International Airport Authority.
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