Child Labor: Indication of Increasing Poverty in the Country - CWR study
“As the government program on private-partner ownership intensifies, the number of children working increases,” states a study of the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a research and training institute for women. This is CWR’s explanation on the latest US Department of Labor report, "Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor," where the Philippines has been mentioned as one of the countries with the worst form of child labor from unpaid agricultural work to sex tourism.
The national Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) has recorded that there are almost 2.5 million children from aged 5-17 years old working. More than a million of them can be found in agriculture. Girls comprise 55% of the 365,000 children in the wholesale retail trade, 65% of the 54,000 children in hotel and restaurants, and more than 88% of the 221,000 children in the private household. Boys consist of the 89% of 136,000 children in fishing, 88% of 17,000 children in mining, 54% of 95,000 in manufacturing, and 67% of 18,000 children in community and personal service.
“Since girls work in a more private milieu like the household or in tourist areas, they are more vulnerable to abuse. The numbers did not even count the 100,000 girls who are trafficked from the rural areas and become victims of sexual exploitation,” states Jojo Guan, CWR executive director.
“As our government allows more private giant companies invest in the country, luring them with cheap labor to gain larger profits, more children will be hired by the companies since they are paid lower and more submissive than the adult workers,” explains Jojo Guan, CWR’s executive director.
Guan adds, “With almost three million adults unemployed, more children will opt to work to help augment their meager family income. As much as possible, they will try to balance between work and study but eventually as hard labor consumes their young bodies, they will stop studying.”
The same US report has indicated that 11.3% of the working children are still studying while 15.3% of the children are working full time. In 2009, only half of the country's working children were able to finish elementary school, according to the National Statistics Office.
“As long as there are no opportunities for parents to find a decent and regular job in the country, there will be concerned children who will earn a living to help their family survive,” explains Guan.
The full report on the plight of Filipino children and women will be presented in the ULAT LILA forum on February 23 at Balay Internasyunal, UP Diliman, at 1-4 in the afternoon. - CWR (2011, February 17)