The Philippines joins the annual celebration of the "World Day Against Child Labor' with a renewed determination to shield children from the menace, and rescue, rehabilitate, and uplift its victims through specific initiatives under the ongoing Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL), the Department of Labor and Employment said.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that in this regard, the DOLE-led National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) will convene an important conference to push further the gains of the campaign against child labor in the Philippines.
"The meeting will highlight the thrusts against the exploitation of girls in child labor, as 2009 globally, marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark ILO Convention No. 182, or the Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms Child Labor."
The NCLC Meeting will be led, in her capacity as the NCLC Chair, by Labor Undersecretary Lourdes A. Trasmonte in Manila on June 15, 2009, as part of the global and national observances of the World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL) this year.
Conscious of the global impact and continuing urgency of the global thrusts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor endangering the world's children, the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Labor Organization (ILO) had earlier set the theme of the 2009 WDACL, "Give girls a chance: End Child Labor," in a broad, multi-lingual format notably among Hispanic peoples ("Demos una oportunidad a las niñas: Erradiquemos el trabajo infantil"); the French-speaking nations of the world ("Donnons une chance aux filles: Eliminons le travail des enfants"), and other areas.
Trasmonte indicated that definitely, the NCLC Meeting will focus on a new ILO-IPEC (International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor) Project on Child Labor in the Philippines, in consonance with the World Day Against Child Labor.
Trasmonte emphasized that the ILO had first initiated the World Day Against Child Labor on June 12, 2002, as a way to highlight the plight of the hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world engaged in work that violates their rights as children and as human beings, and deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure, and basic freedoms.
She said that in this regard, the observance of the WDACL serves as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labor, duly reflected globally in the huge number of ratifications affirming ILO Convention No. 182, as well as ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment.
Mirroring the Philippines' own strong movement applied against the menace, Trasmonte added that the NCLC Meeting will involve the active participation of the Three Plus (3+) Social Partners, who include government agencies, employers groups, workers' organizations, international development organizations, as well as the prominent non-government organizations in the thick of the fight against child labor, which are primarily the Visayan Forum Foundation; World Vision Development Foundation; End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT Philippines), and others; along with the RP-based ILO-Subregional Office for South-East Asia and the Pacific headed by Director Linda Wirth; and a child representative.
Amidst the development, DOLE Bureau of Women and Young Workers (BWYW) Director Chita DG. Cilindro indicated that the DOLE-led Sagip Batang Manggagawa (or child rescue) Program succeeded in rescuing 2,711 child laborers through a total of 806 rescue operations conducted since 1993 up to 2008. Director Cilindro further reported that determined DOLE efforts have also triumphantly enforced the closure of, and the filing of criminal charges for violation of anti-child labor laws against nine establishments exploiting child laborers in 2008 alone.
The BWYW, which Cilindro leads amidst its efforts to promote the welfare of women and young workers, will closely assist and reinforce the conduct of the NCLC Meeting on June 15, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., preceded by a Media Forum highlighting the World Day Against Child Labor at the Max's Restaurant, Maria Orosa Street, Manila, from 10:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.