By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has profiled 85,582 child laborers in 16 regions in the country.
Of this number, the labor department said 18,651 were already referred to appropriate agencies for the provision of services and assistance needed by the children and their families.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the profiling of child laborers was their strategic way of withdrawing children from the labor sector.
“We must first assess their needs and refer these children and their families to appropriate agencies and organizations for the provision of necessary assistance to remove them from child labor,” he said in a statement.
Apart from the nationwide profiling, DOLE has also provided livelihood assistance in form of Negokart and starter kits to parents of child laborers to enable their families to start their livelihood as a preventive measure against child labor.
Also, DOLE has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Industrial Tripartite Councils for the provision of skills training to former child laborers to help them land decent employment.
Bello said intensified convergence efforts from various government agencies, non-government organizations, local government units, and the communities are needed in eliminating child labor.
“We must work together in advocating for a child-labor free Philippines by understanding the problem that puts our children at harm,” he said.
DOLE, along with its social partners, is all set to observe the World Day against Child Labor on June 29 at the GSIS Theater, Pasay City to draw public attention to the issue of child labor and encourage communities to be active partners of the government in ending child labor.
These initiatives of the labor department are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, which targets to reduce the cases of child labor by 30 percent or 630,000 from the estimated 2.1 million child laborers nationwide.