July 25, 2015
High dropout rates due to high cost of education amid the prevailing poverty in the country; unemployment; the prevalence of precarious working conditions; and poor state of public services have condemned the youth to a life of uncertainty despite the promises of tuwid na daan under the Aquino administration.
This was the assertion of the youth wing of Partido Manggagawa, PM-Kabataan (PMK), ahead of its pre-SONA “art attack” protest to be held tomorrow at the Quezon Memorial Circle as it railed against the lack of tangible legacy the youth sector has gained under the Aquino as well as the past administrations, specifically, for their failure to eliminate established roadblocks that limit opportunities for young people to secure a better future.
Youth is defined by the UN and ILO as those under 25 years of age. The Philippine law (RA8044), however, prescribed the 15-30 age group to cover the youth sector. There are 18.93 million Filipinos under the age group 15-24 and 27.84 million in age group 15-30 based on the 2012 census. Combined this sector represents millions of young people who are in school, in actual work, the idle and the unemployed.
According to PM-Kabataan, the youth’s pathway or transition to better future - from schooling to actual work – remained impeded by age-old problems such as high cost of education, unemployment, and precarious working conditions.
Dropout rate, added the group, remained at 6-7% in elementary and high school and much higher at the college level during the last five years. “Those who cannot survive this transition end up as unskilled laborers which now comprise 32% of employed persons in the country, or into the world of unemployment which is highest, 52%, in age group 18-24,” said PM-Kabataan spokesperson Ryan Bocacao.
He added that this kind of situation produces the countless Mary Jane Velosos, full time and part time laborers in sweatshop enterprises, and the phenomenal rise in the number of batang ina and young parents in the country.
To address this problem the youth group said the government should have been decisive in formulating policies that would establish free education at all levels, bring down the cost of other social services, and in stopping the plague of contractualization in the workplace.
“Unfortunately we haven’t seen progress in policy levels both in education and in the world of work. Lilipas na naman ang isang administrasyon, nadagdagan na naman ang aming edad ng anim na taon, pero narito pa rin kami sa dating sitwasyon na kinalalagyan namin noon,” lamented Bocacao.
PM-Kabataan members come from the ranks of students, out-of-school youth and those who are at work. The “art attack” protest was their form of expressing their sentiment against the prevailing system in the country and a buildup activity before joining other groups for Monday’s Sona protests.