Students join in Labor Day protests; decry being made into ‘cheap labor force’

Reference: Isabelle Therese Baguisi, NUSP Secretary-General

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) joins in the ranks of workers as they commemorate May 1 as a day of protest.

“The Aquino administration has seemingly taken on the promise to destroy any bright future for the youth with this government’s insistence of molding the youth as a ‘cheap, disposable workforce’ for the international market to consume,” says NUSP Secretary-General Isabelle Baguisi.

“The new Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) strategic plan highlights the BPO and services sector as key areas that students must explore. This, along with K+12 program and the push for TESDA application, is clearly geared in making us ‘people for export’ to serve industries and economies other than our local one”.

“Where is the push for nationalized industries where we can enter? Where do we offer services to the country? The push towards BPOs is also alarming since this reveals the government’s own lack of plans in developing local industries where young Filipinos can offer their abilities and know-how. Fresh graduates want to work for the country, if only the government would recognize this and help us in developing the country’s economy.”

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“The government boasts of reduced unemployment, but that is only because they themselves have redefined ‘employment’. And their own data shows that underemployment is at a troubling 18.8%, meaning most graduates are forced to take on jobs even if there is a skills-mismatch. Couple this with the ‘wage hikes’ that are merely alms and, clearly, the youth and students have something to protest about.”

Baguisi says that the students join in the workers’ call for a substantial wage increase, an end to contractualization and for the development of national industrialization.

Baguisi also adds that students have been continuously disregarded by the Aquino administrations, as evidenced by its refusal to get involved in tuition regulation and student concerns. Baguisi also cites the continued cuts in tertiary education budget as an Aquino attack on youth.

NUSP joined other youth groups and other sectors (workers, farmers, womens groups, urban poor) as they marched from UST to Plaza Miranda, 10 am today.

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