A public forum on the plight of child laborers in the Philippines, organized by the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research Inc. (EILER) and Quidan Kaisahan, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the Philippines, was held on January 28 in Quezon City.
The forum provided a platform for discussion and cooperation on ending the worst forms of child labor in the country. It took place in the year of the 25th anniversary of entering into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“It is important that dissuasive penalties are imposed in practice on persons who subject children to work in hazardous or exploitative conditions,” EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said during the forum.
During the forum, two EU-funded local partners, EILER and Quidan Kaisahan, presented the findings of their research. This focused on some of the worst forms of child labor including in plantations and mines in the Philippines, highlighting the risks and economic realities faced by child laborers in several regions across the country.
The EU partners also presented the best practices of Civil Society engagement with local government units in addressing child labor, for example: direct assistance, technical and skills training to child laborers in the special learning centers, but also public advocacy activities on the impact on children of working in hazardous industries.
Nearly 1,000 families of affected children benefited from these two projects in their first year of implementation, allowing the child-laborers to return from mines and plantations to schools.