Metro Manila, 7 others named child labor 'hot spots'

METRO Manila and seven provinces have been carrying out the worst forms of child labor in the Philippines, according to a tripartite group that includes the International Labor Organization.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Working Group-Education Network and ILO identified the provinces as Bulacan, Camarines Norte, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, and Davao where many Filipino children allegedly work in domestic service, prostitution, mining and quarrying, sugar plantations, deep-sea fishing, and pyrotechnics manufacturing.

In a speech during the regional workshop, the group's sub-regional office deputy director Carmela Torres said the group had been monitoring the Philippines' compliance with international commitments on eliminating the worst forms of child labor.

Torres said a child labor education task force had been formed to help affected children in these areas.

"Although substantial progress has been made in providing quality basic education, this has not impacted on the issue of addressing child labor," she said.

Quoting the National Statistics Office 2001 Survey on Working Children, Torres said four million Filipino children between ages 5-17 were working and more than half of them were engaged in the worst forms of child labor.

Of the four million, 30 percent or 1.25 million don't attend school, Torres said.

She said everyone - national and local authorities, employers, social partners, educators, children, and their families - need to work together to take these children out of their hazardous work and into schools.


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