RH bill to reduce child labor numbers: advocate-A A +A
Friday, June 29, 2012
THE rising number of child workers in the Philippines is an indication of the government's failure to address the population problem, a lawmaker pushing for the enactment of a reproductive health (RH) law said Friday.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, principal author of the RH bill, said both maternal deaths and child labor will be reduced and prevented once the measure becomes a law.
As of October 2011, there were 5.49 million children at work, of which 3.028 million were considered child laborers and 2.462 million were reported to be exposed to hazardous child labor.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity that is harmful to physical and mental development.
Lagman said that according to reports of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and the ILO, the number of child workers in the Philippines has breached the five million. It comes in the heels of the aggravated maternal death rate of 162 deaths per 100,000 live births.
"The unremitting pregnancies of Filipino women in the marginalized sectors due to lack of information and access to reproductive health and family planning services and supplies largely contribute to the increase in child labor as numerous children are suffered to work in their tender years to augment family incomes," Lagman said in a statement.
If the government fails to address child labor issues, Lagman said this will also imperil the country in achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.
The RH bill is still pending for second reading approval in the House of Representatives with more than 20 lawmakers still lined up for debate. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)