World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) 2023 Celebration in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 as a way to highlight the plight of children engaged in child labour. Observed on June 12th, the day is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labour.

Every year, the Philippines joins the annual observance of WDACL to highlight the plight of child laborers and to demonstrate the country’s solidarity in the campaign against child labour. The National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL) and its partners conduct various awareness-raising activities such as seminars, talk shows, trainings, film showing, and storytelling sessions; quiz bee and multimedia arts contests for children and youth; gift-giving for child labourers and children at risk, awarding of livelihood grants to parents of child labourers, among others.

BARMM through the Ministry of Labor and Employment – Bureau of Employment, Promotion and Welfare (MOLE- BEPW) with support from ILO organized a number of activities in support to this call to further raise the awareness of the general public and tripartite constituents on child labour issues and challenges in the region.

This World Day Against Child Labour calls for reinvigorated international action to achieve social justice, universal ratification of ILO Convention 138 and ILO Convention 182 to provide all children with legal protection against all forms of child labour and effective implementation of the Durban Call to Action.

Following the global and national theme “ Social Justice for All. End of Child Labor!” and “Buong Bansa, Lahat ng Bata, Sama sama para sa Batang Malaya”, MOLE managed to engage BARMM ministries to display the streamer in their respective offices to highlight the event and as manifestation of their support and commitment in advancing child labour agenda in the region. It also played the video messages of Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and Minister Muslimin Sema in the entrance of the regional government center.

WDACL 2023 celebrated in BARMM kicked off with the Child Labour Training of Trainers (ToT) in June 18-22, 2023. Participants coming from relevant BARMM ministries such as Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG), Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) and Development Academy of Bangsamoro (DAB) will take the lead in the rolling out of Child Labour training with duty bearers, tripartite social partners, relevant stakeholders and community.

The ToT is part of ILO’s support to the region’s WDACL celebration following the message of support of BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim calling for the elimination of child labor in the region through partnership and collaboration.

First Secretary Chihiro Kanno of Embassy of Japan who joined the WDACL celebration expressed his appreciation to ILO’s efforts in the elimination of child labour in the region. He added that the long- standing partnership of Japan and the ILO has covered projects for a wide range of labour concerns, promoting social justice and decent work. He look forward to having more meaningful collaborative projects in years to come.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and Minister Muslimin Sema in a separate video message expressed their desire and commitment in the elimination of child labourers in the region by investing in social protection and establishment of the child labor protection unit to take the lead in the implementation of child labor programs and projects with support from relevant BARMM ministries. Minister Sema even wanted to create regular office dedicated to work on child labour next year.

ILO supported the development of the Philippine Programme Against Child Labor Strategic Framework (2023-2028) which was launched during the WDACL. It also supported the development of Child Labour Knowledge Sharing System (CLKSS) including the platform and website.

According to Director Khalid Hassan, BARMM is an important area for ILO and with support from Japan hopes to help address this situation and bring social justice in the region through the ARISE -Child Labor Project.