Child Labor

From a biological point of view, a child is a person who is not of age to have children. The development of a child is a process more or less continuous that passes through several stages: 0 to 28 days, newborn, 28 days to 2 years, infant, 2 to 6 years, early childhood, 6 to 13 years and childhood, the term preadolescent is also commonly used. Beginning at 13 years of age, puberty marks a period of transition from childhood to adulthood.

Functioning of the hormonal system that will provoke the peak of physical growth, maturation of the reproductive system and physical changes all occur. The great cultural differences that exist among countries as well as the significant physical and emotional changes involved in passing from childhood to adulthood have brought attention to the need to find a consensual definition, a global reference that is valid and acceptable to all and that allows each child to be equally taken into account, regardless of where in the world she is.

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The United Nations thus drew up a definition of the child so that all countries having ratified the international Convention of the Rights of the Child[1] share the same reference, which is laid down in Article 1 of the Convention: A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. This definition of a child will not be acceptable if the child’s country deemed him or her to be an adult at an early age, which is rare.

According to UNICEF estimates, 130 million children are born each year. In many countries, they represent more than 50% of the population. [2] Further, a child has his or her own rights. As young and helpless, we cannot just take advantage of it. This includes anti-child labor. According to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, a child should not work before a minimum age and never when that would hinder your health, and your moral and physical development. [3] However, this does not really happen. Child labor is very rampant all over the world. [pic]

Introduction: Historical Evolution of Child Labor Laws in the Philippines[4] Laws which restrict the employment of children sprung largely from social reform movements of the late nineteenth century. Although work had traditionally been seen as essential to a child’s upbringing, the growth of industrialism gradually changed the nature of the work and attitudes toward it. Children who were sent to meet the increasing demand for workers in factories suffered in economic terms and were no longer being trained in a vocation but typically learned only how to do small tasks.

It was becoming apparent that work in factories was physically harmful to children who were being given the unhealthiest work. The increasing awareness of the abuse and exploitation accompanying child labor, thereupon, produced demands for reform. Pressure for child labor laws began to grow at the same time as pressure for compulsory education, and the two movements developed alongside in the years from 1830 to 1930. Child labor is one of the most rampant problems in the Philippines and one of the many concerns that the Philippine Government needs to focus on.

I do believe that a child has the right to receive the most basic necessities in life. As a human being these children also need education, shelter, healthy environment, loving family and most importantly a home which they can call their own and yet its poverty which hinders them to achieve any of these things and forces them to work in the busy streets, farming fields, factories, mining caves at a very young age. Child labor refers to illegal employment of children below 18 years old. Most underage children are forced to labor to support their poor families due to poverty.

Because of child labor, children suffer from malnutrition. Instead of killing their time in a classroom these children were rather roam around the streets and risking their lives just to earn enough money for their families. [5] The term child labor means illegally employing children who are less than 18 years of age in dangerous and life threatening activities. Poverty is the main reason due to which children under the age of 18 years are compelled to work in dangerous and life threatening conditions. In Philippines there are about 2. 06 million children who are forced to work in ock quarries, farms, industries, mines and on fishing boats. The consequences of Child Labor on an underage child can be numerous and crippling on his or her physical, mental and emotional state. It can seriously hamper the well being of a child who is supposed to get a sound education and nutrition to develop into a healthy adult. Due to Child labor these children end up being malnutrition, weak and can also suffer from a large number of ailments. The percentage of young people in Philippines between the age of five and seventeen is about 33 percent of its total population which comes to about 22. million. This is a large number considering that Philippines is a young nation. Between the ages of 5 to 7 years, one in every six children has to work to earn a living and help support his or her family. This astounding fact tells us that around sixteen percent of young children in Philippines are working. Child Labor is prevalent in mining, production, farming, and deep sea fishing industries and many children are also working as domestic workers. The most common industry where child labor is practiced in Philippines is Deep-sea fishing.

About forty years ago the sea around Philippines was plentiful of fish; the fishermen could make a tremendous catch just along the shore. Sadly that is not the case now as fishermen need to go miles into the sea to get a decent catch which will get them a day’s meal. Many a times they need to use cyanide, dynamites and nets to able to catch a good amount of fish. There are many fishermen who use young boys to help them catch the fish, who quite unfortunately die while fishing, due to hazardous practices.

An illegal method of fishing called Muro Ami which is used frequently in Philippines is the most common form of Child labor prevalent today. In this method the young child dives down to deep depths of the sea. He carries with him a rock or a pipe which he uses to beat the delicate corals so that the huge number of fishes living in them get startled and are driven into large nets waiting to catch them. Many a times these young children drown and lose their lives. This inhuman practice has also destroyed the beautiful coral reefs surrounding Philippines. 6] Florence Panao, regional information officer of the Department of Labor and Employment, stated the concern as the reason why there was a need for the conduct of the Regional Child Labor Meeting on February 14 this year and to hold the same session every second month of the quarter at the DOLE Training Center in Tacloban City. Eastern Visayas has a commitment to eliminate child labor by 2016 and based on the 2011 survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO), the region has 213,000 child-laborers.

While the data does not show specific areas where the children are working, there is a need for the elimination of child labor. Under the Aquino administration, 10 percent of the P90-billion budget has been allocated for the program for elimination of child labor in the region. [7] Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the government is ready to roll out its convergence program on child labor, H. E. L. P. M. E. which will provide focused, converged, and synchronized strategies to effectively address the problem of child labor in the country. In a year-end press conference at the DOLE yesterday, Baldoz bared that the convergence program, H. E. L. P. M. E. is a community-based approach against child labor and has a proposed budget of P9 billion to be implemented in four years, or from 2013 to 2016. The convergence strategy calls for bringing down the government’s child labor programs and services in the barangay level, the lowest tier of governance.

H. E. L. P. stands for health, education, livelihood, and prevention, protection, and prosecution, while M. E. stands for monitoring and evaluation. “H. E. L. P. M. E. will contribute to the realization of the country’s ultimate Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty through decent work,” said Baldoz. “By 2016 we aim to have freed at least 75 percent of the 2. 9 million child laborers in the country. We intend to vigorously implement H. E. L. P. M. E. hrough stronger cooperation among partners to ensure that this target is achieved,” added Baldoz. H. E. L. P. M. E was conceived by the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC), with the DOLE and the Department of Social Welfare and Development as lead agencies, upon the instruction of President Benigno S. Aquino III for a deliberate, harmonized, and convergent approach in addressing the problem of child labor in the country. The goal of the convergence program is to move out at least 893,000 children from hazardous work.

Baldoz explained that the proposed budget for the convergence program will augment existing programs and services in health support for children’s growth, education support, such as transport to and from school, school uniforms and supplies, and meal allowance, livelihood for parents of child laborers, and child labor prevention and protection, as well as the prosecution of child labor offenders. The DOLE, leading other government agencies and private sector partners in nationwide consultative workshops this year, has identified a total of 15,568 barangays as targets for the implementation of the convergence program.

The 15,568 barangays are classified into three levels. The first, Level 1, or the “new frontier,” is barangays that have child laborers in hazardous situation, but where initiatives have not yet been undertaken. There are 9,435 barangays in this level and these are in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Regions 1-5, 7 to 9, 12, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. There are 5,545 barangays in all regions in the second, Level 2. These are barangays where there is presence of child laborers in hazardous situation and where interventions have been undertaken and are continuing.

The third, Level 3, or the “low-hanging fruits,” are barangays where child labor issues have been addressed, various stakeholders have been mobilized for advocacy and service delivery, local institutions have been established, and partnerships among stakeholders have been forged. “In the third level, there are 588 barangays identified in Regions 1, 3 to 5, 8-10 and the National Capital Region. In these areas, child labor initiatives need to be sustained and continuously monitored under the barangay-based convergence program,” said Baldoz.

Under the barangay-based, or community-based, child labor convergence program, the DOLE is working with partners, such as the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Health, Interior and Local Government and its local government units, Trade and Industry, Education, Justice, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, National Economic Development Authority, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, labor unions and workers’ organizations, employers’ groups, ILO and other international organizations, non-government organizations, professional medical and dental associations, faith-based organizations, and other partners. Baldoz bore that the convergence program calls for the DSWD to include in the requirements for beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, not to compel their children to engage in child labor. “As a key ally of the DOLE, the DSWD is finalizing its modified CCT program and will prioritize for enrolment families with child laborers or families with children at-risk of becoming child laborers. This means many Filipino families will have the chance to be part of the CCT program in the future,” Baldoz said.

Based on the 2011 Survey on Children conducted by the National Statistics Office, there are 5. 492 million working children 5-17 years old as of October 2011. Of this number, 2. 993 million, or 54. 5 percent, are reported to be exposed to hazardous child labor. Nearly 45 percent or 2. 46 million Filipino child workers are considered engaged in permissible work that is not classified as child labor, according to the survey. The good news is that the survey also showed that of the total number of child laborers, 69. 5 percent, or 2. 106 million, are attending school. “Retention in school of the 69. 5 percent of the child laborers and bringing back to school the 30. 5 percent requires a very focused and serious effort,” Baldoz said.

The survey, conducted with the support of the International Labor Organization (ILO), is the first to use the ILO framework for statistical identification of working children, or children in employment, child labor, and hazardous child labor. “We will continuously exert efforts in providing various programs anchored on the National Child Labor Program. Through the convergence program, the DOLE, its partners, and other stakeholders, especially the people in the community, would be able to curb child labor in the country,” Baldoz said, adding that President Benigno S. Aquino III’s administration is very determined to curb child labor using this barangay-based approach convergence program. [8]

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