Powering the Philippine Economy With Elvis and Zeppelin

From The New York Times:

In 2002 alone, more than 40,000 entertainers left the Philippines to work overseas, primarily in Japan. After allegations of prostitution among some entertainers, however, the Japanese government found that many of the female musicians could not actually play a musical instrument, and that many of the vocalists did not have much of a voice.

After the crackdown, the number of performers who left the Philippines to work overseas dropped to 4,050 in 2006, from 43,818 in 2004. The figure now hovers around 1,500 to 2,000 a year, government statistics show, with Japan remaining the top destination, followed by Malaysia, South Korea and China.

“We only allow musicians and entertainers to work in legitimate establishments such as cruise ships and major hotels,” said Yolanda E. Paragua, a senior official with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. “Not in honky-tonk type places.”

The musicians are among the millions of people from the Philippines who work overseas and help power the country’s economy with remittances. And the Philippine economy is indeed thriving: in 2012, gross domestic product grew 6.6 percent, surpassing the government’s forecast for growth of 5 percent to 6 percent, data released Thursday showed. The country had the second-highest growth rate in the world in 2012, after China, according to Reuters.

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