SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/22 March) – A few days from now Ritchel Del Monte will her get her degree in Business Administration major in Financial Administration at the Surigao Education Center.
Ritchel, 21, who hails from the town of Bacuag in Surigao del Norte, said she’s so excited that she is one of some 300 students who will march to the stage during this year’s Commencement Exercises come March 23.
“I’m super excited and couldn’t wait for that day,” Ritchel shyly said.
For her, marching towards the stage will be her most remarkable moment because it shows that she has succeeded in her studies and she will be trudging a new phase in her life.
“From kindergarten, elementary, high school and college, finally I can rest and sleep until late hours in the morning,” the young lass said.
“I could finally hang my uniform and keep it in the closet. I would probably miss my shoes which I used to wear almost every day in school,” she said, adding [her] graduation will be “the end” of what she has been doing for the past several years – studying.
“Those numbers of sleepless nights due to cramming especially when exams are getting nearer,” she said, smiling.
Ritchel said she knew her single-parent mom has nothing to offer her on graduation day because they are still buried in debt.
“We are poor and I could even hardly meet my needs in school because my father already passed away. My mom is not working and we rely on my dad’s pension,” she said.
Ritchel’s dad was a soldier who died in action somewhere in Davao Region a few years back.
She is dedicating her “initial success” to her father.
Asked what she will do after graduation, she paused, took a deep breath, smiled and said: “Mag istambay kay summer man pod. Tabang-tabang sa balay.” (I’ll stay in the house for a while because it’s summer time. Help in some household chores).
Richel admitted she is clueless as to where to find a job. After summer, her initial plan is to go to Cebu or Manila and find her luck.
“Wala pay siguro kon makatrabaho ba dayon ko,” (I’m not sure If I can get a job right away) she said.
Merdolyn Canda, who graduated on Wednesday, March 21, at Surigao State College and Technology, also she said she is uncertain of her future particularly if she could find work soon.
“I wish I knew of someone like a fortune-teller who could tell particularly my career path,” Merdolyn said in jest.
Merdolyn, 20, had been the editor-in-chief of The Hub, the student publication of her school. She was expected to finish her Bachelor in Secondary Education course with flying colors.
She lives a simple and underprivileged life with her dad working as a laborer and her mom as a simple homemaker. She said living a life of poverty has driven her to excel in class.
“I am not certain on what future lies ahead of me but whatever it is, I’ll take that as a challenge and eventually I could surpass it all,” the optimistic young lass said.
Her initial plan is to seek a job beginning this summer and do self-study in preparation for the Licensure Examination for Teacher’s (LET) this coming September.
For both Merdolyn and Ritchel, the scarcity of work opportunity in the country is part of society’s many problems.
They both agreed that majority of the thousands of graduates this year will find it difficult to get work in a small city like Surigao where opportunities are slim.
Both said they worry of the “uncertain future” as available jobs are now rare to find.
Surigao City has at least five tertiary schools which produce over a thousand graduates annually.
But majority of these graduates will end up unemployed, according to Public Employment Services Office (PESO) development officer Rolando H. Uyan.
“What job hunters here usually do is they go to big cities like Cebu or Manila for them to find a job,” he said.
Looking at the current job trend, Uyan said, jobs in business out-sourcing companies in big cities like the call centers are the most common jobs for new graduates in Surigao.
“But others also opt go abroad to earn a bigger income,” he said.
He noted that Surigao has limited opportunities because of the absence of industrial companies and factories which can offer a big number of jobs.
Provincial Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) administrative officer Gloria A. Varquez said they recently conducted a pre-employment orientation seminar to all graduating students.
She said the activity aims to give graduating students knowledge on the field of work they are getting into or are interested to go into.
She said Surigao has many mining companies but they mostly need heavy equipment operators, geologists, chemists, chemical engineers and mining engineers.
She said this need doesn’t match the kind of graduates produced nowadays by the tertiary schools in the city. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)