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Thursday, March 31, 2011

ILO press conference to spotlight child labour in the Philippines - 5 April 2011, Quezon City

Manila (ILO News): As the school year ends and millions of children in
the Philippines look forward to their summer vacation, there are
hundreds of thousands who will get no holiday - child labourers. These
children - who are mostly from rural areas - have no choice but to keep
working and earning to help their families, even if their workplaces are

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is organizing a press
conference to draw attention to the plight of children who are forced to
drop out of school and to keep working because of poverty, on Tuesday, 5
April 2011 11:00-12:00 at the 3F Occupational Safety and Health Centre,
North Avenue corner Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City.

In the Philippines, the dropout rate for elementary students is still
increasing; rising from an average of 5.99 per cent in 2007-2008 to 6.28
per cent in 2009-2010. The most cited reasons for children dropping out
of school are a loss of interest in education and not enough money in
the household to support their education.

The ILO press conference will highlight conditions of child labourers
through a personal testimony of a former child labourer and an overview
of the child labour situation in Quezon Province, Masbate, Northern
Samar and Bukidnon. It will give details of current initiatives to help
child labourers and their families that are part of the Towards a Child
Labour Free Philippines project funded by the United States Department
of Labor. These include initiatives designed to help seasonal pupils,
child labourers in sugar farms and agriculture and children from
indigenous and tribal groups - who often have to walk 10 kilometres or
more every day to go to school.

The ILO*s 2010 Global Report on Child Labour found that while child
labour continues to decline, it is doing so at a much slower pace than
before. The report also warned that the global economic crisis could
*further brake* progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst
forms of child labour by 2016. In 2010, the Philippine Government also
issued a Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
which found that poverty and education are two of the key areas where
not enough progress is being made. The Progress Report warned that the
country was unlikely to achieve universal access to elementary education
(MDG2) if factors such as child labour were not tackled.

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