Some 250 million children are victims of child labor worldwide, the International Labor Organization said on Tuesday, prompting it to support the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) in establishing the “Batang Malaya: Child Labor-Free Philippines” campaign that highlighted the plights of child laborers in the country.
Since its conception in 2012, government agencies, employers’ and workers’ organizations, civil society, NCLC members and former child labourers have joined hands in the fight against child labor.
As a response, the Philippine government also launched a four-year P9-billion convergence program against child labor in 2012, which was officially called “H.E.L.P. M.E.” It stands for “Health, Education, Livelihood, Prevention, Protection and Prosecution, and Monitoring and Evaluation.”
According to the 2011 Survey on Children, there are over three million child laborers, aged five to 17 years old in the Philippines.
This year, the ILO International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) and the NCLC decided to conduct a “kick-out child labor” campaign by partnering with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Younghusband Football Academy/Chelsea Football Club Soccer School Philippines.
Football stars Phil and James Younghusband will personally train the children “for them to experience playing rather than working, often in dangerous conditions.”
A statement from the ILO said a football clinic on Monday (August 19) will launch the start of the campaign. A parade and a march against child labor will also be conducted.
Over 250 child laborers are expected to be trained and formed into teams “to compete in the Batang Malaya tournament” scheduled in October. School supplies, football and school shoes with socks, jerseys, snacks and other items will be given to the children.
Ambassadors and heads of the United Nations and international agencies based in Manila will also attend the event.