MANILA (ILO News): As the school year ends and millions of children in the Philippines look forward to their summer vacation, there are hundreds of thousands who will get no holiday – child labourers. These children – who are mostly from rural areas - have no choice but to keep working and earning to help their families, even if their workplaces are hazardous.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is organizing a press conference to draw attention to the plight of children who are forced to drop out of school and to keep working because of poverty, on Tuesday, 5 April 2011 11:00-12:00 at the 3F Occupational Safety and Health Centre, North Avenue corner Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City.
In the Philippines, the dropout rate for elementary students is still increasing; rising from an average of 5.99 per cent in 2007-2008 to 6.28 per cent in 2009-2010. The most cited reasons for children dropping out of school are a loss of interest in education and not enough money in the household to support their education.
The ILO press conference will highlight conditions of child labourers through a personal testimony of a former child labourer and an overview of the child labour situation in Quezon Province, Masbate, Northern Samar and Bukidnon. It will give details of current initiatives to help child labourers and their families that are part of the Towards a Child Labour Free Philippines project funded by the United States Department of Labor. These include initiatives designed to help seasonal pupils, child labourers in sugar farms and agriculture and children from indigenous and tribal groups – who often have to walk 10 kilometres or more every day to go to school.
The ILO’s 2010 Accelerating action against child labour. Report of the Director-General, International Labour Conference, 99th session, 2010 found that while child labour continues to decline, it is doing so at a much slower pace than before. The report also warned that the global economic crisis could “further brake” progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016. In 2010, the Philippine Government also issued a Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which found that poverty and education are two of the key areas where not enough progress is being made. The Progress Report warned that the country was unlikely to achieve universal access to elementary education (MDG2) if factors such as child labour were not tackled.
For further information and to confirm your participation, please contact:
Ms Minette Rimando
ILO Country Office for the Philippines
+63 2 580 9905 or 580 9900
Mr Cesar Giovanni Soledad
ILO-International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour
+63 2 580 9946 or 580 9900