A youth group today called for massive government intervention in response to the 3 million students who are not enrolled for the school year. The Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan (PM-Kabataan), youth wing of the militant labor group Partido Manggagawa, asked for additional funds for basic education and emergency employment in the proposed 2021 budget.
“Three million students are bound to be left behind if the government does not act decisively. Even though education already has the biggest allocation in the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act, there are still yawning gaps if one looks at the details. Just to cite one example, the allocation for the DepEd computerization program is a mere P9 billion which is just half of the fund for the National Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict. It is obvious that the biggest threat to social development are 3 million unenrolled students and not 3,000 armed rebels,” observed Jonel Labrador, PM-Kabataan spokesperson.
Labrador sourced the figures from the information released by the Department of Budget and Management last August 25 (https://www.dbm.gov.ph/index.php/budget-documents/2021/2021-people-s-budget/2021-budget-at-a-glance-proposed).
The group also said that the main reason that students will not be enrolling is that income insecurity accruing from joblessness amidst the pandemic. The latest unemployment figures reveal 4.6 million Filipinos jobless last July.
“Government must provide emergency employment to jobless Filipinos even as it must call on employers for a timeout on layoffs. In the Mactan Ecozone for example, companies are shedding jobs left and right with the Sports City group of companies implementing the mother of all layoffs which victimized more than 4,000 workers. But the Labor Department has been curiously silent and inactive on these mass layoffs,” Labrador added.
He pointed out that “The tulong panghanapbuhay for displaced and disadvantaged workers is a paltry P9.9 billion. This will hardly make a dent in the dire unemployment and underemployment situation of the country.”
September 13, 2020