Increase of child labor in Cordillera noted-A A +A
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
LABOR and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz recently reported an increasing trend of child labor engaged in tourism, small-scale mining, and farming in the Cordillera.
Baldoz visited Sagada Thursday to attend to working children, especially in the booming tourism industry in the area by providing parents with livelihood and sources of income.
“There are permissible children, they would normally get permit from us if they engage in different forms of employment such as tourism. However, what we want to stop are those children working in hazardous environments or those involved in the worst forms of child labor such as prostitution,” she said.
The Labor secretary said that based on the National Statistics Office data, some 60 percent of children engaged in the agricultural sector are exposed to hazardous chemicals such as pesticides.
She added her agency have partnered with the Department of Agriculture to monitor these children exposed to chemicals while tending farms with their parents.
“These children should be in school but we cannot deny that some of them have to help their parents tend in farms once in a while,” she said.
Meanwhile, Baldoz said the worst forms of child labor such as cybersex, commercial sex, pyrotechnics production and other criminal acts should definitely be ended through partnership with other government agencies.
She ruled out the existence of these activities in the region.
In the Cordillera, she said, children are mostly involved in the small scale mining industry.
To address the growing number of minors in this industry, Dole’s partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has improved by including low income bracket families in the Pantawid Pamilya or conditional cash transfer program.
She said they have partnered with DSWD to address problems on child labor by coming up with a framework to reduce by at least 50-70 percent the country’s number of child laborers.
She added the key to keep children out of the labor sector is to keep them in school and equipping them with at least vocational skills after undergoing the K+12 program of the Department of Education.
With this, vulnerable sectors are given the opportunity to improve their lives and their children in the future, Baldoz said. (JM Agreda)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 16, 2012.