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Child labor unsafe, intractable problem

1 out of every 10 Filipino children works in hazardous conditions

  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • June 26, 2012
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Around 3 million Filipino children have been found to be involved in hazardous labor.

Preliminary results of the 2011 Survey on Children done by the National Statistics Office were presented today as the country marked World Day Against Child Labor. The survey showed that of the 29 million Filipino children, aged 5-17 years old, roughly 5.5 million work.

Boys constitute two-thirds of the children doing hazardous labor, which is defined as being likely to harm children's health, safety, or morals by its nature or circumstances.

In 2001, there were 4 million working children, of which 2.4 million were in hazardous conditions. In 1995, there were 3.6 million working children, of which 2.2 were in hazardous child labor.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) cautioned against comparing previous survey results to new data because there have been improvements in capturing the overall picture of child labor.

The ILO and the US Department of Labor have been supporting surveys on children in the country.

"What is crucial now is to tackle and to monitor progress in reducing child labor on a regular basis. One of the recommendations is to conduct the survey every five years to immediately find solutions and provide interventions," said the ILO’s Lawrence Jeff Johnson.

The results of the survey will be used as "targets for interventions" both geographically and among industries, he said.

Johnson said that while authorities strive to keep children in school and away from labor, there is also a need to ensure decent and productive work for parents and basic social protection for families.

"We have to get to the root of child labor which is linked with poverty and lack of decent and productive work," Johnson said in a statement.

Globally, there are an estimated 215 million child laborers.

The ILO observed progress in efforts to reduce child labor worldwide, but the pace of reduction is slowing down.

The impact of the global economic crisis could further slow progress in reducing child labor, it said.

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