by Irene Joy B. Dayo
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-10 calls for collaborative efforts among barangay-level government, national government agencies, and stakeholders towards eradicating child labor.
During the Child Labor Forum, February 24, DOLE-10 Assistant Regional Director Estrella Uy Pahalla said the Working Children and Child Labor Situation Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-10 revealed that northern Mindanao has recorded the highest working children ages 15-17 years old of 108,092 here in Cagayan de Oro in 2020, and consequently the region has recorded the highest number of child laborers with 78,365 in the same year.
“The record-high figure is the highest among the 17 regions in the country. So, you see, it is a wake-up call for all of us; we really need to hold hands and keep our resources convergent and work hand in hand to make things happen, to eradicate child labor,” she said.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 2,000,097 child laborers in the Philippines, of which 58% work in agriculture, and we have to know this data because this is what we link for in order for us to measure how we fare as we go along with the performances. About 35% work in the manufacturing sector, and 7% work in the service sector.
Manufacturing, mining, quarrying, building, domestic work, and general services jobs, including those in retail, dining, and lodging, are all carried out by child laborers. This is a very sad fact, Pahalla said.
So far, 3,295 child workers have been sent to the right government agencies so they can get the education and training they need. A total of 865 parents were also given starter livelihood kits.
Barangay captains and their barangay workers participated actively in the Child Labor Forum. It aims to raise awareness of child rights and prevailing issues on the worst forms of child labor (WFCL), such as online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC), and violations of acceptable conditions of work.
The meeting also aimed to map out the existing programs, ordinances, and plans in each barangay, work together to raise awareness about child labor and come up with action plans, and include barangay development plans that help get rid of child labor and other forms of abuse at the barangay level.
The forum was organized by the City Council for the Protection of Children, Liga ng mga Barangay, DOLE-10, and World Vision Development Foundation, Inc.—Project Against Child Exploitation. (IJBD/PIA-10)