Press Release
June 29, 2012

Legarda Alarmed over Increasing Number of Filipino Child Laborers

Senator Loren Legarda today expressed alarm over the result of the latest National Statistics Office (NSO) Survey on Children which revealed that the incidence of child labor has risen to 30% over the past 10 years.

Legarda, author of the Anti-Child Labor Law or Republic Act 9231, stressed that with child labor incidence now at its all-time high, with 5.49 million working children aged five to 17 years old, concerned government institutions should boost efforts to address the problem and ensure proper implementation of pertinent laws.

"It is lamentable that despite having the Anti-Child Labor Law in place since 2003, the number of minors engaged in various kinds of work continues to surge. This only means that more and more children are forced to work to support their families and are deprived of their childhood and their right to education," she said, noting statistics that only half the number of working children aged 15 are in school.

Legarda has long been involved in the fight against child labor, freeing many from the dangerous world they had been exposed to. Even during her years as a journalist, she personally helped children, including miners and street vendors, escape from child labor and supported their education.

In this regard, the Senator said that the enforcement of RA 9231 is crucial in addressing the problem. Likewise, since child labor is attributed to poverty and lack of decent work, the strengthening of job creation, promotion of livelihood activities, and the provision of basic services to indigent families could help put an end to child labor.

Meanwhile, Legarda expressed full support to the Department of Labor and Employment's Batang Malaya campaign which was launched earlier this week. As part of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor, the campaign will target a 75 percent reduction of child laborers by 2015.

"I enjoin everyone to do what they can in order to give back to these children the happy and normal childhood they deserve, far from the hard work in the rice fields and the dangers of the mines and the mountains. The time will come when they must work, but for as long as they our children, they must be protected, cared for, and assured their rights as children," Legarda concluded.

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