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NEW PSA DATA ON CHILD LABOR AND UNDERAGED WORKERS ALARMS PARTY-LIST SOLON
“The half a million jump in the number of child laborers in the country from 2020 should be raising red flags. This is unacceptable.”
This is what ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Rep. Ray Reyes had to say on the information made public by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which showed that there were 1.37 million working children aged five to 17 years old in 2021, higher than the 872,333 children of the same age working in 2020.
Based on the PSA report, children engaged in child labor increased from 596,919 in 2020 to 935,120 in 2021. Victims of child labor are being made to do undesirable activities or work in a hazardous environment, work rendered for more than 40 hours a week, and work beyond allowable hours.
“These are a smack in the face of the proper authorities and should remind them that there remains a lot of room for government to improve on in the enforcement of laws barring the employment of children,” explained the solon, who also expressed disappointment over the seeming lack of a focused official response to address the issue.
According to the PSA, agriculture had the highest proportion of working children at 45.7 percent, followed by the services sector, which accounted for 45.4 percent of the total working children. The industry sector had the lowest share of underaged workers with nine percent.
“Children should have strong foundations to prepare them for their productive years ahead. While Filipino culture encourages hard work among the young and help in house chores during their free time, children should be in school and not in the workplace,” according to Rep. Reyes.
“I call on the executive agencies to do their job and address this issue. If there are loopholes and inadequacies in existing laws, issue the necessary policy recommendations to Congress.”