Message at the launch of the child labour-free barangays in Bukidnon

By Mr Cesar Giovanni Soledad, International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour Programme Manager, delivered on behalf of Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the launch of the child labour-free barangays in Bukidnon, Bukidnon, Philippines, 17 August 2012

Statement | Pasig City, Philippines | 17 August 2012
  • Secretary Baldoz of the Department of Labor and Employment
  • Mayor Gue of the Municipality of Quezon
  • Regional Director Canete of DOLE Region 10
  • Our partners in the fight against child labour
  • Ladies and gentlemen, maayong hapon (good afternoon)

Thank you for the warm welcome. The ILO in partnership with DOLE is with you in the fight against child labour.

In fact, I was here two months ago for the Provincial World Day against Child Labour.

Leaders of the Manobo Tribe, the Coca-Cola, the sugar industry foundation, government agencies and the ILO supported the effort for the school to ensure access to secondary education.

A two-year course on Sugar Production and Management of the Central Mindanao University was also launched to grant scholarships to twenty former child labourers. Further, industry partners committed to the Voluntary Code of Conduct to eliminate child labour in the sugar industry.

These are among the many initiatives to keep children in school and away from child labour, to make the sugar industry child labour-free, and to help families in accessing more productive livelihood opportunities.

During the opening remarks two months ago, it was agreed that Coke and sugar are sweeter without child labour. Such partnerships and initiatives are vital in order to achieve the global goal of ending the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

Today, I am glad to be back to witness another milestone in the fight against child labour. This day marks beginning of what Secretary Baldoz has highlighted as the process of transforming barangays into child labour-free zones.

I believe that the programme on child labour-free barangays will help accelerate the fight against child labour in this province and within the country as a whole.

Communities and barangay leaders now have stronger involvement and greater commitment to protect the well-being of children, to ensure their education and to open livelihood opportunities to their families.

A stronger involvement of communities contributes to scaling up of efforts to end the worst forms of child labour in 2016.

It was in 2006 when ILO member States have committed themselves to this goal. The global movement has achieved significant progress in reducing the worst forms of child labour.

However, in 2010 the ILO has warned that efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour are slowing down as an impact of the global economic crisis.

Child labour has also been identified as a significant impediment to the attainment of Millennium Development Goals concerning poverty, education, health and gender.

Here in the Philippines, preliminary results of the 2011 Survey on Children: Child labour in the Philippines revealed that of the 29 million Filipino children, aged 5-17 years old, there were roughly about 5.5 million working children, of which almost 3 million were in hazardous child labour.

The ILO and its partners have called for a “re-energized” global campaign against child labour. Scaling-up of efforts bring fresh hopes for child labourers and their families trapped in poverty and vulnerable forms of employment.

These families are often left with little choice but to create or to accept whatever work is available in order to survive.

Decent and productive work is crucial in the fight against child labour and in helping achieve sustainable, inclusive and greener growth – for it is not about the level of growth but how to achieve that growth.

The ILO with the support of the US Department of Labor is working with partners here in Bukidnon not only to keep child in school but also to ensure decent and productive work for their parents.

These strategies are part of our overall support to the Philippine Development Plan and the The Department of Labor and Employment's Philippine labor and employment plan 2011-2016 inclusive growth through decent and productive work of achieving sustainable, inclusive and greener growth through decent and productive work.

In closing, let me thank and congratulate the Secretary and the staff DOLE for the launch of the child labour-free barangays.

I urge everyone to continue the fight against child labour in order to ensure a better future for the Filipino children and the country as a whole - a future without child labour.

Thank you and Mabuhay!