Issue of June 9, 2019
Mt. Province

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Agencies to look into case of child labor in Cordillera
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The departments of Education, Social Welfare and Development, and Labor and Employment will look into the reported child labor cases in the Cordillera to assure that no rights of a child are violated and keep school-aged children in school.

Regional DepEd and DSWD officials made the assurance after more than a hundred learners from two schools in Baguio City have been initially identified to be engaged in child labor after a background check by their teachers and based on the monitoring of the DOLE-CAR.

Based on the DOLE data, DepEd Baguio Senior Education Program Specialist Ellen Cabuag said it has come to their attention that 125 school children from Baguio Central School and Josefa Cariño Elementary School are working in the market selling plastic shopping bags or as komboy.

After they were identified, Cabuag said the situation of the children will be assessed through home visits to determine why they have to work, along with their parents, for the case managers to understand their situation for them to be able to give proper interventions.

She said DepEd’s thrust is to keep the children in school and stay focused on their studies.

“It is definitely alarming na marami pala talagang learners na hindi natin napapansin na nagtatrabaho. As much as possible, we want to bring all the school-aged learners in school, those from six to 17 years old, na hindi sila nagtatrabaho,” Cabuag said.

She said the concerned BCS and JCES children are set to receive school supplies on June 18 as part of the government’s assistance and intervention, “if this is the reason why they work.”

Bigyan natin sila ng school supplies para maka-focus sila sa pag-aaral. We are also stepping up efforts to have more partners in order to support these children,” Cabuag said.

Fatima Florendo, DSWD-CAR 4Ps program coordinator, said they will be looking into whether the reported cases are classified as child labor or child work, as these are two different situations.

“If it is child work, we will be talking to the child and involve the parents to determine and understand why they have to work. Baka naman this is some sort of summer activity or cases like that, so we need to validate through home visit and thorough case management,” Florendo said.

If it is child labor, she said the case will be referred to DOLE, which is in charge in cases involving possible violations of child rights.

DepEd-CAR Information Officer Georaloy Palao-ay said the agency will investigate and assess such cases, including children of Pantawid beneficiaries who reportedly dropped out of school, especially since not all teachers are trained to classify whether their learners are into child work or child labor.

“As much as possible, we would like for these kids to go to school and complete their schooling. We agree that as part of our culture, we are familiar with children working with their parents which does not necessarily mean they are forced into it, as this may be a form of character building. But if this is child labor, we will definitely address it,” Palao-ay said.

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