Out-of-school youths (OSYs) are stereotyped as unwise, pathetic, and are only capable of doing blue-collared jobs.
Sadly, they are treated as social outcasts that often bring-out a nasty result that inadvertently equates to social shame. This dreadful collective stigma runs in the very veins of about 315,870 Cebuano OSYs or about 73% of the total number of youths in Cebu as per 2016 data.
In juxtaposition, 20-year-old Provincial Commissioner for OSY Federation Mcguyver Deen Pilago, believes that they have the competence to give something that contributes to the development of Cebu province.
As an OSY himself, Deen, as he is fondly called by peers, thought that allowing OSY to exhaust its full potential is an urgent social imperative.
From July 1, 2016 to February 2, 2017, the Police Regional Office 7 said that half of the 2,203 minors rounded up under Oplan Tokhang were out-of-school youth.
OSYs are those eligible youths who are school dropouts; or those eligible minors who have received a secondary diploma but its basic skills are deficient, unemployed, or underemployed.
The Cebu Provincial Government, through the Provincial Youth Commission (PYC) recently held its 1st Provincial Youth Congress in a move to holistically fold sundry issues that concerns the young.
As one of the participants, Deen placed forward the pressing matters that need to be addressed in his hometown Alcoy. Among the issues include funding, unity and an active existence of a youth development office (LDYO).
In the next summit in November, Deen said these will be presented before the concerned government agencies and officials.
Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III places a prime on the next generation, prompting him to extend a full warm support to PYC’s agenda by creating a town-based LYDO.
“This congress is an excellent opportunity to empower youth to be more involved in the overall development process. You should have a voice. We highly value your participation― your ideas and your opinions especially in addressing the most pressing concerns that your sector is facing today,” Davide said.
Presently, there are 12 established LYDOs in Cebu. These are located in the towns of Sta. Fe, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Sogod, Argao, San Fernando, Tudela, and in the cities of Mandaue, Bogo, Danao, Carcar, and Talisay.
Davide explained that the creation of LYDO can effectively develop and carry out programs and projects that promote the welfare of the youth and the society in general.
Despite the absence of LYDO in Alcoy town, Deen is hopeful that the Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP) can identify community problems through “grass-rooting”.
‘Grass-rooting’, Deen explained, is an organizing effort that includes door-to-door education and survey campaign. It may include political, educational, artistic, or any collegiate movements that involves the common people in a given district or town as the basis for a political or economic movement.
The group, he said, has “grass-rooted” four sitios in Barangay Daanlungsod. He explained that by helping sitio folks succeed in handling its own difficulties, he realized that he can be the change his town wants to be.
“Unity is important, and that must start with me,” Deen revealed.
Deen, who currently sits as the adviser of the PYAP Alcoy, said that there are about 450 active PYAP members who are mostly coming from organized sitios.
These active fledglings, he said, show concern in advancing its mission by demanding from its officers for a monthly meeting.
“In our case, the members are the ones asking the PYAP officers for a meeting. There I came to realize that they are already empowered and ready as catalysts for change,” he said.
Following such meek realization, Deen said he is oozing with confidence that these abled youths can now stand on their own especially in proposing solutions to its challenges.
“As Cebuano youths, our challenge now is how to implement the right programs for the right problems,” Deen said.
In the recent homegrown sports activity, the PYAP Alcoy manages to collect goods as entrance fees instead of money.
“The entrance can be in a form of rice, canned goods, or even old clothes. The collated goods will be for their regular outreach and feeding program to kids,” He said.
“We will be having our outreach several programs every month. Aside from feeding the kids, we want to equip them with skills too. We want to share our learning from our trainings here in PYC, just like our training on disaster preparedness,” Deen said.
The incessant involvement of OSYs in local fraternities prompts Deen to pursue involvement of local fraternity chapters in their town.
The Alpha Kappa Rho (AKRHO) fraternity, he said, pledges commitment in their outreach program.
“One of the problems I see with AKRHO members is that they want a sense of involvement. The youth would just join the fraternity at their own will without even knowing its goals and activities,” Deen said.
Through their commitment, Deen is hopeful that this is the start of their harmonious relationship with the fraternities in their town.
“As a youth servant, I am fulfilled now that the Alcoy youths are empowered,” Deen said.