MANILA-The Philippines ushers in the New Year with programs to intensify its fight against child labor.
“Makiisa para sa 1 milyong batang Malaya” (One with the children to end child labour) today featured the launch of three major initiatives against child labor.
These initiatives include a first comprehensive project on child labor with set up of helpdesks, a new project on child labor in gold mining, and a new child labor module in the conditional cash transfer programme.
The National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), chaired by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and BanToxics jointly launched the programs. The launch was held on 12 January 2017 in Quezon City.
According to the 2011 Survey on Children, there are 2.1 million Filipino children in child labor. Findings of the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) in 2015 revealed that the Philippines made significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
Despite progress, however, enforcement of child labor laws remains a challenge.
“Child labor is complex and deeply rooted in poverty. Children suffer and risk their health or even their lives to work for their family’s survival. Ending child labor requires strong commitment and collective effort,” said Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines who also managed projects to address child labor in Africa and Asia.
The Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD) is the first comprehensive project of DSWD on child labor.
It will strengthen efforts at the local level, which will include helpdesks and a local registry on child labor for referral and convergence of support services. SHIELD will focus on areas with high incidence of child labor as priority to create an impact and to make services more accessible to children and their families.
Interventions will be based on data from the Child Labor Local Registry.
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the conditional cash transfer programme of the DSWD will also launch and integrate a new module on child labor. The 4Ps has a reach of about 4 million households from the poorest of the poor, who are often forced to involve their children in work to augment the family income.
The 4Ps contributes to putting children in schools through its conditionality on education. Being in school, however, is not an assurance that children will not engage in child labor. The child labor module will be part of the Family Development Sessions to raise awareness on child labor and the role of the family to prevent or to end child labor, especially its worst forms. (PR)