Youths play Pinoy games to protest rising cost of education, unemployment
Various youth formations lead by Kabataan Partylist launch a Pinoy games tournament in Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City at around 11 a.m. today to protest against the rising cost of basic commodities, including oil and education.
Youth members of Kabataan Partylist are to play various traditional Filipino games, including “tumbang presyo,” “agawang base,” “pabitin” and other games to concretely portray the state of the youth sector amidst the worsening economic crisis.
“With the sweltering summer heat, we want to portray these issues in a manner most common among the youth – Pinoy games,” said Kabataan Partylist Secretary General Vencer Crisostomo.
“Tumbang presyo” tackles the rising cost of basic commodities, including frequent oil price hikes. Meanwhile, “agawang base” portrays the continuing U.S. intervention in the country through the Balikatan Exercises. Other games include “pabitin,” “agawang buko” and “palo sebo” to portray tuition hikes, unemployment and the low wages in the country, respectively.
“There are various societal issues that deeply affect the youth sector. All of these issues – rising cost of commodities, education, unemployment and even increasing foreign intervention are all interrelated and aggravate the lives of not only the youth but also the Filipino people,” said Crisostomo.
Crisostomo explained that the spiraling cost of oil, basic commodities and tuition are in stark contrast with the continuing joblessness, fixed low wages and contractualization in the country. “While the cost of higher education continues to soar to levels already unreachable to the greater part of the youth sector, graduates of this overpriced system are still not assured of finding jobs right after getting their diplomas,” said Crisostomo.
Recently, the Commission on Higher Education has announced a new spate of tuition increases in almost 300 colleges and universities in the country, further aggravating the education crisis in the country and would translate to an even higher drop-out rate in the coming years, Crisostomo said.
With the rising cost of education, government figures reveal that for every 100 students who enter Grade 1, only 66 finish Grade 6, while only 43 will be able to finish high school. Of this number, only 23 will be able to continue studying at the tertiary level and only 14 will graduate. Out of the 14 students who are lucky enough to finish college, only half will eventually be absorbed by the labor force, leaving half of the new graduates to become part of the growing unemployment figures.
As of April 2011, Independent think tank Ibon Foundation has recorded that a total of 10.9 percent or 4.5 million Filipinos are unemployed. Meanwhile, underemployed Filipinos or those earning below the minimum wage has reached 19.4 percent. This brings the total figure for unemployed and underemployed Filipinos up to 11.6 million or around 28 percent of the country’s labor force.
“What is alarming is that most of the unemployed Filipinos are members of the youth sector,” Crisostomo said. Youths from age 15 to 24 comprise more than 50 percent of the unemployed labor force, with four out of every 10 unemployed youth possessing college degrees.
On top of the education and jobs crises, multinational companies backed by the U.S. continue to exploit the labor sector by creating minimum wage jobs and promoting contractualization. “Without national industries, workers are forced to apply in low-earning jobs just to survive. Is this what the Aquino administration calls progress?” Crisostomo asks.
“On May 1, the youth sector will march together with workers and other sectors to call on the government to stop dawdling on important issues of the day, particularly the rising cost of education and the growing unemployment in the country,” Crisostomo ends.#