Towards a Child Labor Free Philippines: Barangays urged to participate in campaign to eliminate worst forms of child labor

An April 19, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other stakeholders and in cooperation with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) is stepping its anti-child labor drive Towards a Child Labor Free Philippines, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced yesterday.

Baldoz’s announcement came following a recent press conference held at the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) in Quezon City, where the DOLE and the ILO jointly urged the nation’s 42,008 barangays to take an active part in the implementation of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) for the protection of the country’s children from the worst forms of child labor.

“The PPACL received a boost from the US Department of Labor which is funding the program’s efforts aimed at eliminating the worst forms of child labor in the country through the Child Labor Free Philippines project,” Baldoz said, as she thanked the DOLE’s counterpart in the U.S. for its support to the PPACL, the lead agency of which is the DOLE.

The DOLE chief also encouraged other agencies of the government, its tripartite partners, anti-child labor advocacy groups, and other sectors to participate actively in the campaign to enforce anti-child labor laws and promote decent work and productivity in barangays around the country.

Baldoz cited the relevance of the ILO’s anti-child labor media campaign. She said this complements the objective of President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his 22-point labor and employment agenda, to pursue and prosecute those engaging in illegal and predatory activities, especially traffickers that target women and children.

“The Philippines is stepping up its long-term efforts against child labor by addressing its causes in both poverty and the impunity by which violators continue to engage children and minors in illegal underage employment in its worst forms,” Baldoz said.

“Our overall efforts aim to reinvigorate the country’s anti-child labor program in the light of the President’s goal to promote labor standards compliance and align more fully the country’s labor policies with international treaties and the conventions of the International Labor Organization that have been ratified by the Philippines,” she added.

Spearheading the presscon were Labor Undersecretary for Social Protection Lourdes M. Trasmonte, Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of ILO Manila, project manager Cesar Giovanni Soledad of the ILO-International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), and Director Chita DG Cilindro of the DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC). The event highlighted the conditions of child laborers by way of the testimony of a former child labor victim of a small scale gold mining in Camarines Norte, along with current initiatives to help the victims in the country under the Child Labour Free Philippines initiative.

Trasmonte underscored the immense importance of long term solutions such as community-based development to simultaneously promote rural jobs growth and micro-entrepreneurial opportunities to push back poverty, which is the culprit behind child labor and its worst forms.

She encouraged all sectors, particularly local government units (LGUs), to reinforce the overall efforts towards anti-child labor enforcement and “opportunities-friendly, anti-poverty development” benefitting the 42,008 barangays nationwide.

“To reinforce the overall anti-child labor drive, a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the child labor problem in the country must emerge in the forthcoming national survey on children to reflect fully ILO Convention 182’s emphasis versus the worst forms of child labor,” Trasmonte said.

dole.gov.ph

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