Dole vows to boost efforts to curb number of child laborers
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) made a commitment on Saturday to strengthen its efforts to curb the number of child laborers in the country, which is estimated to be at around 2.1 million.
Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said during the observance of the World Day Against Child Labor that the Dole would put in place several programs to ensure that children would be kept in school and out of the workplace.
One of these programs, he said, is “Project Angel Tree,” which would gather from various private sponsors school supplies that would be donated to the children.
Maglunsod said Dole would also conduct a nationwide profiling of child laborers and their families in order to better assess their needs so that appropriate interventions could be given.
Earlier, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said that government programs and services to support poor families should be further enhanced so that children would not be forced to go to work to help augment their family’s income.
The group’s spokesperson, Renato Magtubo, added that the government should also “effectively enforce” the compliance of companies to laws and regulations against child labor.
He noted that child labor remained prevalent in such industries as construction, fisheries, plantations and mining, especially in the provinces.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2011 survey, around 2.1 million children, aged 5 to 17, are estimated to have been forced to work.
Apart from poverty and the poor enforcement of labor laws, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) said that among the reasons why the practice of child labor continues in rural and remote areas was the lack of education and poor or even no access to government services.
ALU spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said that, while solutions had been drawn up to address child labor, such as mobilizing social workers to encourage parents to send their kids to school, “enough funds” would have to be allocated for the initiatives to bear fruit.
Maglunsod, chair of the National Child Labor Committee, admitted that more work would be needed to be done “to achieve a child-labor free Philippines” as well as for poor households to have a “clear understanding of child labor issues.”
Under its 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan, the Duterte administration aims to reduce the cases of child labor by 30 percent or 630,000 child laborers. –With a report from Kristel Limpot /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.