FILIPINOS are heartened that the government, through concerned agencies, is paying attention to the country’s child workers, especially those engaged in hazardous occupations.
And people have rather high hopes that the President Duterte administration, which ends at 12 noon on June 30, 2022, succeeds in alleviating the plight of the country’s “child workers.”
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assisted close to 340,000 minors in an intensified implementation of the child labor prevention program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” H. Bello III stressed that children and young workers are among the most vulnerable as the pandemic persists to affect the livelihood of mostly poor families.
Given the restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, the DOLE profiled around 274,924 child workers. On top of the figure, 293,318 were referred for assistance, while more than 47,000 were removed from child labor.
“Along with our campaign to protect the vulnerable workers, we also stepped up our efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor,” said the Cabinet member from the province of Isabela.
Republic Act (RA) No. 9231, or the “Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” prohibits the “worst forms of child labor” in the Philippines.
Bello noted that the pandemic, which continues to terrorize people across the globe, has drawn children of poor families into some of the worst forms of child labor in urban and rural areas.
Acknowledging that this is indeed “unfortunate,” Bello said “this is why we have to work doubly hard to arrest the situation.”
Indeed, the sight of young boys and girls engaged in hazardous occupations suggests the worsening of the poverty problem as a result of the raging health crisis.
Thus, paying attention to the plight of our child workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a move in the right direction.