Thursday, April 30, 2015

Youth from working class families speak out: #No more Mary Janes!

Press Release
April 30, 2015
Some 200 members of Partido Manggagawa’s youth wing, the Partido Manggagawa sa Kabataan (PM-K) trooped to Mendiola on the eve of Labor Day to demand an end to policies that drove many Mary Janes to suffer the harsh world of human trafficking and exploitation abroad.
 The group said that while the youth were happy that Mary Jane Veloso was spared from execution in Indonesia, the existing government policies, if not rectified, will recurrently produce more Mary Janes as long as chronic unemployment and low wages prevail in the country. 
 Ryan Bocacao, PM-K spokesperson, said the youth, especially those coming from working families, can easily identify with the story of Mary Jane because it is abject poverty that drove her to bravely face the harsh world of work here and abroad.
 “Until her supposed final moments on earth, we saw from Mary Jane the courage typical to all our OFWs.  They are all risk takers.  Some of them may have fallen victims to syndicates and cruel employers, but all these came from their decision to save their families from chronic poverty which they believed is a long failed agenda of the government,” said Bocacao.
 The youth of today, he explained, is suffering from the same predicaments, of finishing school and landing a good job, because of unsound policies of the government both on education and employment.
 “The youth cries for justice for Mary Jane. We cry the same for the 20 million youth whose dreams for a better life is crumbling along the way because of bad government policies,” added Bocacao.
 PM-K members who participated in the Mendiola action and a vigil afterwards at the Holy Trinity Parish Church in Sampaloc include young workers who have attended job fairs but remain unemployed; youth working in sweatshops in NCR; young workers in factories of Calabarzon; college students enduring high cost of education and graduating high school students who cannot afford college education.
 They are demanding free education, living wage, regular employment and an end to the contractualization policy.
 “Many poor students drop out of school during high school and college because of financial constraints on the part of their parents.  This problem imposes a devastating impact on the youth’s transition to the world work as lack of higher education relegates them to low paying unskilled jobs or worst, to chronic unemployment,” said Bocacao.

 It was reported that Mary Jane did not finish her high school because of poverty.  And in most cases, risky domestic works abroad are the only jobs available to poor women coming from the Philippines. Hundreds of PM-K members are joining the Labor Day march tomorrow.

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