TACLOBAN CITY-The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is strengthening on the implementation of laws on child labor, particularly in Eastern Samar, alarm on the increasing number of children forced to work at their young age.

According to Exequiel Ronie Guzman, assistant regional director of the DOLE-8, Eastern Samar appeared to have the highest number of child labor cases. Based on their data covering the period of February to April, 2013, there were 1,389 children who are working under circumstances that made their department classified them as child workers. Guzman also said that as of this year, they have monitored four cases of child labor in the province. The labor official said that poverty remains to be the main reason why cases of child labor exists in Eastern Samar, considered to be one of the most depressed provinces in the country.
“Parents require their children to work instead of attending school to gain income for the family and this is considered as child labor,” said Guzman.

As stated in Article VIII of R. A. No. 7610 otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act” on Section 12, children below 15 years of age shall not be employed except when a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his parents or legal guardian and where only members of the employer’s family are employed. DOLE strongly calls for the barangay and the local government units officials on the rampant cases of child labor in the region. “We also work together with the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) to reduce cases of child labor by providing livelihood assistance to prioritized parents who have minor children and is vulnerable to child labor,” Guzman added. Apart from the livelihood programs, DSWD also conducted parents counselling for them to be informed about the child rights and protection to lessen the rampant cases of child labor. (JEANE MARIE M.FAMINOGAN, LNU Intern)