Press Release
June 11, 2012

Cayetano calls for stiffer penalties to organizations engaged in child labor

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano called for stronger intervention in addressing the child labor problem in the country including stiffer penalties for private companies that engage minors in hazardous working conditions.

He made the call at the global commemoration of World Day Against Child Labor on June 12, 2012.

He said the Philippines is one of the signatories to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention on the Elimination of Child Labor but there are not enough measures to address the problem as there are 4 million child workers, with 2.4 million of them in worst forms of child labor based on 2001 figures from the National Statistics Office.

ILO estimates that 215 million children worldwide are involved in child labor, with half of them in worst forms of work conditions.

Worst forms of child labor include slavery, sale and trafficking of children, child for prostitutes and pornography. These also include forced labor in the form of recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, use of a child for illicit activities such as trafficking of drugs.

"Children that are forced to work under hazardous conditions suffer long term scars not only physically but more psychological and moral damages," said Cayetano.

He said the state has an obligation to send children to school and prevent them from being deprived of education and training that can help lift them out of cyclical poverty.

The ILO Minimum Age Convention requires states to specify a minimum age for admission to employment not less than the age of finishing compulsory education that should not be less than 15 years.

The senator pointed out that local government units particularly barangay leaders play critical roles in addressing child labor problem in their communities.

"Local leaders should increase awareness on the presence of manufacturing, mining and other private companies in their communities that engage in illegal child labor practices and immediately ban their operations," he said.

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