DoLE launches anti-child labor forum

September 21, 2022

The Department of Labor and Employment and World Vision’s Project Against Child Exploitation or Project ACE mounted the second National Stakeholder’s Summit of Councils and Interagency Bodies to address the worst forms of child labor, including online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

International Labour Organization’s Senior program officer Ma. Concepcion Sardana presented the ILO-UNICEF Global Report on Child Labor, where it showed that regional differences with Asia and the Pacific recording a decrease of 13.4 million since 2016.

She also said the Philippines had reported a drop in child labor from 2019 to 2020.

According to last year’s data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are more than 596,900 child laborers in the country in the country, or 68.4 percent of the 872,300 working children ages 5 to 17 years old in the country.

Most of child laborers are male and 64 percent of the total number of child laborers are working in the agricultural sector, saying that most of the child laborers in the country are in Northern Mindanao with 13.1 percent, followed by Bicol Region with 9.2 percent, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 9.1 percent, and CALABARZON with 7.6 percent.

The Cordillera Administrative Region, on the other hand, had the lowest percentage of child laborers with 1.6 percent, followed by National Capital Region with 1.9 percent, and Davao Region with 1.6 percent.

Representatives from various government agencies were also present during the summit, as well as representatives from the local government of Quezon City and Cagayan de Oro where the project are being implemented.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma emphasized the importance of convergence among the government, nongovernment organizations, and civil society in addressing child labor issues in the country.

“Our collective efforts have resulted in significant advancements towards the shared goal of eliminating all forms of child labor in the country. While we have already removed more than 100,000 children from doing harmful work, several children remain engaged in hazardous labor. Hence, we call for sustained efforts and continuous commitment to a child-labor-free Philippines,” Laguesma said.

Project ACE started in October 2019 and launched in September 2020. It is World Vision’s advocacy to support the efforts of the Philippine government to address the worst forms of child labor, including online sexual exploitation of children and violations of acceptable conditions of work for children.

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