COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has partnered with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to address the problem of child labor in the region.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) and the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) said the partnership aims to raise awareness of child labor and increase government and community participation to advance the advocacy to end the practice.
“It should be our collective effort to ensure that every child in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region can enjoy their rights by creating systems and passing laws that promote and protect children’s rights,” BYC Commissioner Nasserudin Dunding was quoted as saying.
Dunding said the BYC is committed to the Bangsamoro government’s call for moral governance, including the advocacy to end child labor.
A Philippine Statistics Authority report has estimated child laborers aged 5 years to 17 years in the country at 2.1 million.
As of 2020, BARMM ranks third in terms of child labor predicament with about 54,200 child laborers, compared to Northern Mindanao and Bicol region’s 78,400 and 55,100, respectively.
MOLE-BARMM Minister Muslimin Sema defined child labor as work that deprives children of their childhood and their potential to have a bright future ahead of them.
“We can be united in our campaign against child labor, and we can do a lot,” Sema said.
ILO Country Director Khalid Hassan said about 116 million boys and girls remain in child labor worldwide, with half of them engaged in hazardous work.
“(Here in the BARMM}, with a collaborative effort to end child labor, we will achieve a child labor-free Bangsamoro region,” he said in a separate statement.
The BYC and MOLE said they would urge the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the BARMM’s provisional lawmaking body, to come up with more laws and systems that would promote and protect children’s rights in the region.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim assured that the regional government would take the lead in the campaign against child labor. (PNA)