Local government, farm workers, sugar millers and planters organizations agreed to establish a child labour monitoring system in Bukidnon. An estimated 50,000 hectares of sugar farms in Bukidnon provide employment to thousands of families in the province.
The child labour monitoring system will cover plantation areas and small farms in Bukidnon. It will help identify child labourers in sugar farms and refer them to agencies assisting child labourers. Monitoring will include finding and identifying child labourers and providing alternatives to save them from abuses and hazards at work. It will also help develop a sustainable mechanism to check child labour cases.
The agreement was based on the discussion of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI), Crystal Employees Union, District Tripartite Council, Bukidnon Sugar Company, Crystal, Sugarcane Growers Association, and Bukidnon Integrated Planters Association to monitor child labour in Bukidnon. It was part of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) workshop held on 21-24 February 2011 in Cagayan de Oro City.
There are 649 children working in sugar farms based on a recent IPEC survey covering 13 barangays, two municipalities, and two cities, there are 649 children working in sugar farms. The child labour monitoring system will provide an effective way to monitor sugar farms, considering that DOLE has limited number of inspectors.
Information based on direct and on-the-spot observations will be used to document child labour trends in the sugar industry. Policy makers can also use available information to identify root cause and to take appropriate action. This includes the Sugar Mill District Tripartite Council, National Sugar Tripartite Council, and the Sugar Industry Foundation.