By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—Coinciding with National Children’s Month, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has pushed for a stronger campaign to curb child labor in Western Visayas.
Based on 2011 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are over 2.1 million child laborers in the country. Regional data is not available, but it has long been known that most child laborers are in Negros Occidental as many of them work on the vast sugarcane farms there.
DOLE-6 Regional Director Cyril Ticao said that DOLE inked a new memorandum of agreement with partner agencies and stakeholders for its incorporation of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Labor.
Ticao explained that the region is cascading DOLE’s program to free a million Filipino children from child labor by 2025.
The agreement stipulates that partner government agencies and other stakeholders must have a convergence program and synchronized strategies that can provide social services to profiled child laborers and their families.
Ticao pointed to DOLE’s Sagip Batang Manggagawa program that responds to cases of child laborers in extremely abject conditions.