The Filipino Istambays and Transition Crises: Locating Spaces of Social Sufferings and Hope

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Clarence M. BATAN , Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
This paper examines the layers of transition crises experienced by a loosely-organized sector of relatively young Filipinos who are “waiting for employment”, generally known as “istambays” (on standbys) in the Philippines. It relates the impact of structural crises such as these istambays’ poverties and their failure to translate educational capital into employment, which hinder their social mobility into becoming productive adults. It argues how these istambays negotiate their work problems in two-edged realms of protection and disconnection. In times of crises, istambays appear to be protected from discouragement by the cushioning effect of the Filipino “familial-faith dynamic” providing a sense of dependence and resilience among them. On the other hand, istambays disconnection from the state reflects their lack of trust in the government due to its failed attempts to provide them sustainable employment. In the end, this chapter articulates how these transition crises unravel both the istambays’ social sufferings and spaces for hope in reversing their “waiting status” into having sustainable futures that address cycles of intergenerational poverties and inequalities.