The annual celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos started with President Corazon Aquino issuing Proclamation No. 276 in 1988 which institutionalized the month-long celebration every December. This is in recognition of the significant contributions of overseas Filipinos to Philippine development and the restoration of Philippine democracy.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 18 each year as International Migrants Day on 4 December 2000. On the important date, all member-states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, will commence the occasion and disseminate information regarding the fundamental rights and freedom of migrants.

An Inter-Agency Committee for the Celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos and International Migrants Day was created through Administrative Order No. 202 issued in October 2007 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The IAC, chaired by the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch and co-chaired by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas with members from the government and civil society, is tasked to come up with activities for the MOF celebration.