The Inbox

Filipino working children reaches 5.5 million, NSO survey shows

Children in ILO conference

By Ariel C. Sebellino, VERA Files

Seventeen-year-old B-Jay has not attended school for the last two years. Instead, B-Jay helps his father David in occasional carpentry works in some subdivisions in Cavite to augment the family's income.

He dreams though of becoming a seafarer someday.

"Wala man ako choice (I didn't have a choice after all.)," his father said.  "Bilang panganay kailangan talaga niyang tumulong para mabuhay pamilya namin (As the eldest, he has to work for our family to survive)."

For his part, B-Jay said: "Okay lang naman sa akin mag-work to help my parents basta lang makapasok pa rin ako (It is okay for me to work to help my parents for as long as I can still go to school)."

B-Jay is among today's 5.5 million Filipino working children under 18 years of age, documented in the latest survey on children of the National Statistics Office (NSO), which showed a 35 per cent increase from  four million in 2001.

The NSO 2011 survey was presented during the recent World Day Against Child Labor, "Batang Malaya: Child Labour Free Philippines" campaign launch.

Working children refers to those who are allowed to work, but not in child labor or in any hazardous economic activity.

According to the survey, almost three million of the 5.5 million working children are in hazardous child labor, a 25 per cent increase from  2.4 million in 2001. Hazardous child labor was higher among boys with 66.8 per cent as compared to girls with 33.2 per cent.

Under the law, child labor is defined as any work or economic activity performed by a child that subjects him or her to any form of exploitation, or is harmful to health and safety, physical and mental, or psycho-social development.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) further defines the term child labor as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity.

"We have to get to the root of child labor which is linked with poverty and lack of decent and productive work," Lawrence Jeff Johnson, director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines, said. "While we strive to keep children in school and away from child labor, we need to ensure decent and productive work for parent and basic social protection for families."

The NSO survey, funded by the ILO, is the first one that utilized its framework for statistical identification of working children, or children in employment, child labor, and hazardous child labor.  The last surveys were in 1995 and 2001.

"It took us a decade to come up with the latest statistics because surveys are really very expensive," NSO Administrator Carmelita Ericta said.

ILO forumThe Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) welcomed the results of the survey as it will provide the government a more accurate and more comprehensive picture of the child labor situation in the country, which the previous surveys failed to do.

It vowed to make every barangay of the country's over 1,500 municipalities child labor-free to achieve the country's goal of reducing by 75 percent all worst forms of child labor by 2015.

"We at the DOLE reiterate our pledge to do our utmost in making every barangay in the country with high child labor incidence child labor-free," Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said.  "We will meet the challenge head-on."

Central Luzon (10.6 per cent), Bicol (10.2 per cent), Western Visayas (8.5 per cent), Northern Mindanao (8.2 per cent) and Central Visayas (7.3 per cent) are the regions that posted the highest incidence of hazardous child labor.

Hazardous child labor is defined as being likely to harm children's health, safety or morals by its nature or circumstances.  Children may be directly exposed to obvious work hazards such as sharp tools or poisonous chemicals.

Other hazards for child laborers may be less apparent, such as the risk of abuse or problems resulting from long hours of work. Hazardous work is considered as one of the worst forms of child labor.

Republic Act No. 9231, an act providing for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and affording stronger protection for the working children, gives four broad categories of the worst forms of child labor, as follows:

1.All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery such as sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forces or compulsory labor, including recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;

2. Using, procuring, offering or exposing of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography, or for pornographic performances;

3. Using, procuring or offering of a child for illegal or illicit activities, including the production and trafficking of dangerous drugs and volatile substances prohibited under existing laws; and

4. Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is hazardous or likely to be harmful to the health, safety or morals of children.

The same Act provides penalties for violations such as imprisonment and fines.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam
    Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam

    Filipinos aspiring to work overseas should avoid dealing with a recruitment agency that has duped jobseekers worldwide, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. The National Bureau of Investigation has padlocked Global Visas Inc., which is based in Cebu. Baldoz said the agency’s parent company, ICS Global Visas Inc. based in the United Kingdom, has reportedly collapsed and left thousands of applicants without jobs.  “Global Visas was in the limelight this week, following its reported …

  • Lawmakers split on tax exemption for Pacquiao
    Lawmakers split on tax exemption for Pacquiao

    Colleagues of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao at the House of Representatives backed yesterday a proposal to exempt his earnings from his May 2 fight with American Floyd Mayweather from income tax. Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares has urged Pacquiao to promptly pay taxes on his May 2 earnings, which are projected to reach at least $120 million (more than P5.2 billion). …

  • Woman with slain Putin critic says she didn't see his killer
    Woman with slain Putin critic says she didn't see his killer

    MOSCOW (AP) — The 23-year-old Ukrainian model who was with slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov tearfully recounted Monday their last dinner in a chic Red Square restaurant and their walk onto a nearby bridge — but said she did not see the gunman who pulled the trigger. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options