June 20, 2024

The Department of Labor and Employment is calling on parents or guardians to take proactive steps to ensure that their children are not involved in any exploitative activities or child labor.

DOLE Cordillera Information Officer Daryll Ponard underscored the importance of open communication and knowing what their children are doing, especially after school hours.

To our dear parents and guardians ng atin pong mga kabataan, baka hindi din po natin alam na ang ating mga anak ay na-involve na po sa pagtratrabaho. Let’s have open access to communication. Let’s try na maging open as parents and alamin ang kanilang pangangailangan and alamin ang kanilang ginagawang activities,” Ponard said.

Republic Act 9231 defines child labor as any work or economic activity performed by a child that subjects him/her to any form of exploitation or is harmful to his/her health and safety or physical, mental, or psychosocial development.

Ponard added it can also be classified as child labor if it does not follow guidelines particularly in the number of hours allowed for a child to work.

Pwede naman pong magtrabaho ang isang 15-17-year old sa restaurant as cashier, pero ‘pag lumampas po siya, example pang-gabi, hindi na po dapat pasukan ng bata ang shift na ‘yun,” he said.

Ponard said as much as parents or guardians want to imbibe a culture of responsibility in their children, it is important to draw a fine line between inculcating discipline and exploitative activities.

 “We have to draw a fine line in inculcating the term responsibility to them, to exploitative activities that are not suitable for their age, and even for their mental and physical growth,” he said.

Based on the 2021 Philippine Statistics Authority data, of the estimated 31.64 million children aged five to 17 years, about 1.37 million or 4.3 percent were classified as working, with 1.7 percent from the Cordillera.

This year, the DOLE-Cordillera was given over 3,000 physical targets for the child labor program. The agency continues to profile these child laborers to know their situation and why they are working. After being profiled, they are referred to appropriate agencies where they can avail themselves of services.

The DOLE also continues to implement the Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program to assist the parents or guardians of child laborers in accessing sustainable livelihoods or employment.

To avail of the program, parents or guardians of child laborers may visit the DOLE regional office at Cabinet Hill, Baguio City, or they can visit the Public Employment Service Office in their area. – Debbie E. Gasingan