[source: Press release House of Representatives, Philippines:]
Writer: Isagani C. Yambot Jr., MRS-PRIB
Lawmakers recently called for a congressional probe on the report of the United States Department of Labor that the Philippines “has the worst forms of child labor.”
In House Resolution 1058, Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) urged the House Committee on Labor and Employment to dig deep into the report and summon the concerned government agencies to shed light on the matter.
Rodriguez said the report of the US Department of Labor was submitted to US Vice President Joseph Biden and the US Congress.
“This phenomenon based on the report promotes a cycle of poverty and denies children the chance to attend school and learn the skills they need to become productive adults,” according to the solons.
Rodriguez urged the House body to summon the representatives of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other concerned agencies.
Rodriguez said the report, entitled “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor,” stated that the exploitation of an unspecified number of Filipino children in prostitution, pornography and the sex tourism industry including agriculture, domestic work, drug trafficking and children used as combatants is a significant problem.
Rodriguez said the report cited studies made on 125 countries including three ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia.
“Of the total 753 pages, seven pages were devoted to the child labor situation in the Philippines alone and showed the seriousness of the situation,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said Filipino children are subjected to domestic human trafficking and are forced to be employed as domestic helpers or are led to commercial sex exploitation.
“The report stated that Filipino domestic servants who work long hours and isolated in homes make them susceptible to sexual harassment, physical abuse and are sometimes subjected to forced labor,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said Filipino children are also involved in compressor mining to extract gold. The job requires them to dive into pools of mud using an oxygen tube and in deep-sea fishing where they dive from platforms to cast and retrieve nets in deep waters, which can result in falls, drowning and injuries.
Rodriguez said there are also cases where some Filipino children work in home-based manufacturing industries from fireworks to fashion accessories, which can be harmful because children work longer hours without supervision.