DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A child rights group here said it was worried with what it claimed as increasing cases of child labor as the the city is riding high on its economic growth.
Speaking in today’s press conference, Kaugmaon for Children’s Rights and Social Development, Inc., said “more children” as young as 8 years old could be seen scavenging at garbage dump sites while others were engaging in more risky type of work.
Florie May Tacang, the group’s executive director, pointed at poverty as the main factor why a lot of young people opt to work both in urban and rural areas instead of pursuing their education.
“We have been conducting consultations among our young people and a lot them stop going to school and were engage to hard work at a young age to help their family to survive” said Tacang.
Children aged 8 to 15 years old are often working in fishing, construction, scavenging, vending/selling, domestic work, and in Cemetery where high vulnerability in risk is being reported.
Tacang did not give estimate though at how many children were engaged in child labor or in risky work places.
The group said that in the region, children coming from the indigenous people communities tend to work as domestic workers with low salary but with high vulnerability in cases like rape and physical abuse.
Tacang said the children scavenging in the streets and in the landfill for recyclable wastes could about P300 a day she said these exposed them to health and safety risks. Another 30 children were found working as cleaners or painters of tombs in Tibungco Public Cemetery but do not have a regular income.
“Working children who are exposed to an early working environment or are forced to do early labor are most likely victims of abuse, prostitution, trafficking or as children in conflict with the law, acting as courier of illegal drugs” Tacang said.
Other effects on children include falling ill, contracting diseases and dropping out of school.
Another child rights advocate, Jed Jayme Langria of Children Advisory Committee now calls to the government to pay more attention in cases like child labor as many “hope of the next generation” become an out of school youth and losses their opportunity to study due to poverty.
He noted that many out of school youths are a product of widespread poverty situation in the country forcing them to take responsibility in providing the needs of their family.
“If the economy is good and it’s growing, this should reflect on every household. Meaning, at the very best, parents can send their children to school and provide their needs” said Langria.
In a study of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) conducted in 2011 and was released in December 2015, 12.4 percent or 3.3 million children aged 15 to 17 years old worked for at least one hour during the past week in October 2011.
In the study, it showed that there are 62.9 percent working boys and 37.1 percent working girls in the country. Of the total number, 53.2 percent are aged 15-15 years, 38.0 percent are 10 to 14 years old and 8.8 percent are 5 to 9 years of age. (davaotoday.com)