MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) continues to monitor profiled child laborers to facilitate their removal from child labor.
“The Marcos administration remains steadfast in prioritizing the elimination of child labor in the country. Under Chapter 3 of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, the target for the indicator “number of child laborers” is zero,” said Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma in a statement Thursday.
Aside from the anti-child labor campaigns, the department, sitting as the National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL) chair, leads the development of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) Strategic Framework covering the period 2023-2028.
The PPACL works to transform the lives of child laborers, their families, and communities toward their sense of self-worth, empowerment, and development.
Also, it has been working towards preventing and progressively eliminating child labor through protection, withdrawal, healing, and reintegration of child workers into a caring society. It supports the alleviation of extreme poverty, which has been the leading cause of child labor in the country.
He added that the DOLE also extends necessary services to profiled child laborers as a contribution to the PPACL.
“The DOLE has been implementing the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program that provides services to them and their families through direct intervention or referral to appropriate agencies and organizations,” the DOLE chief said.
According to the Special Release on Working Children Situation for 2019 to 2021 published by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) posted on March 3. 2023, there were 1.37 million working children, 935,000 of whom were engaged in child labor.
It also identified the agriculture sector as the top industry with the most child laborers and tagged Northern Mindanao as the region with the highest child labor incidence.
On the other hand, the DOLE reported that from 2018-2022, it has profiled 620,556 child laborers, referred 614,066 to appropriate agencies and organizations, provided 138,460 essential services, and withdrawn 148,248 from child labor.
For 2023, the department will prioritize monitoring 160,288 child laborers profiled in 2022.
The DOLE will continue to conduct various advocacy activities using quad-media platforms to raise awareness and gather support in the campaign against child labor, strengthen the capacity of its Regional Offices and labor inspectors, social partners, and other stakeholders at the national and local levels, issue Working Child Permit (WCP) to children below 15 years of age that falls under the exceptions to the prohibition provided under Republic Act No. 9231.
The agency will likewise enforce anti-child labor laws in workplaces through the Labor Inspection Program, profile child laborers to locate and identify children engaged in child labor, rescue child laborers through Sagip Batang Manggagawa and other similar mechanisms, and provide assistance to profiled child laborers and their families, especially livelihood assistance, to facilitate the removal of children from child labor. (PNA)