Child labor has become an integral part of the society.
By MAR S ARGUELLES
LEGAZPI CITY: Labor and social welfare authorities express alarm over the increasing incidence of child labor after a study indicated that some 300,000 children in Bicol have been engaged in hazardous work, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said yesterday.
The rising incidence prompted the DOLE, in partnership with various provincial, city and town chief executives and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, according to Nathaniel Lacambra, DOLE regional director, disclosed.
Lacambra, quoting a study by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) last year, indicated that Central Luzon tops the list of areas that have the highest incidence of child labor with 316,000 followed by Bicol region with 300,000, Western Visayas – 250,000, Northern Mindanao – 248,000, and Central Visayas with 225,000 child laborers.
The study indicates that the country has a total of 30 million children with ages ranging from 5 to 17 years. Of this figure, 5.4 million or 19% are considered as working children.
Majority of these child laborers are engaged in hazardous working conditions as they indulge in prostitution, agriculture, fishing, mining, construction, factory work, street vending, and as househelps.
Lacambra said one work establishment being closely watched by the agency are the night clubs, videoke bars, and other entertainment centers where operators hire children as Guest Relations Officers (GRO), and dancers.
He said to curb the incidence of children engaged in prostitution, the agency, in partnership with night club owners, local government units, DSWD, PNP, and people’s organizations agreed to totally ban the hiring and the entry of youngsters below 18 years old in said establishments.
Children at work at a gold mining district in the Philippines.
He cited the agreement entered into between the owners of entertainment establishments and the town executives of Paracale, CamNorte Norte where they joined efforts to fight child labor through the ‘Dikit-Paalala Campaign.’
“With the program, we are definitely assured that a participating entertainment establishment is child labor free.” Lacambra and Paracale Mayor Romeo Moreno said.
The ‘Dikit Paalala Campaign’ is an initiative of the Provincial Anti-Child Labor Council (PPACL) of Camarines Norte headed by the DOLE Provincial Office in Camarnes Norte.
It is an advocacy program designed to glue stickers ‘permanently’ in night clubs in the province backed by Provincial Ordinance No. 71-2010 which took effect on Feb 1, last year.
The DOLE, in cooperation with the Provincial Government of CamNorte, has pasted some 15 night establishments in Daet, CamNorte with the ‘Dikit-Paalala’ stickers. – Bicol Mail
Poverty has forced this child to eke out a living to help support his family