LEGAZPI CITY—Labor and social welfare authorities expressed alarm over the increasing number of child laborers in Bicol after a study showed that an estimated 300,000 children in the region are engaged in hazardous work, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Thursday.
The rising figure prompted the DOLE to partner with local government units in the region and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to pursue a vigorous antichild labor drive, said DOLE regional director Nathaniel Lacambra.
Lacambra, quoting a study conducted in 2011 by the National Statistics Office and the International Labor Organization, said Central Luzon topped the list of areas that have a high number of child laborers with 316,000 followed by Bicol with 300,000, Western Visayas with 250,000, Northern Mindanao with 248,000 and Central Visayas with 225,000.
The study said the country has a total of 30 million children with ages ranging from 5 to 17 years, of whom 5.4 million, or 19 percent, are working children.
The study also said that majority of the child laborers are engaged in hazardous work like prostitution, mining, construction and street vending.
Lacambra said establishments being closely watched by DOLE are night clubs, videoke bars, and other entertainment centers where operators hire minors as guest relations officers (GRO) and dancers.