Message at the Consultation for the development of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor Strategic Framework (2023-28)

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Consultation for the development of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor Strategic Framework (2023-28), 1 December 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 01 December 2022
  • Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma and officials of DOLE;
  • Members of the National Council Against Child Labor;
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga (good morning)!
The World Cup reminded me of a child in Pakistan who, instead of playing, was hand-stitching footballs. A young boy I met in the tobacco fields of Malawi wanted to be President someday. Here in the Philippines, during my field visit in Maguindanao, an outstanding student working in agriculture was in tears because of child labour.

The National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL) is tasked to develop a five-year strategy for the Philippine Program Against Child Labor. It is more than a framework because the issue of child labour has a human face.

Child labour is complex and has deep roots in poverty. Let me commend each of you, NCACL partners, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for your leadership. Your action is crucial for a clear roadmap to protect children, fight social injustice, and build a better future of work.

The Asia-Pacific region has reduced child labour, but globally it has risen to 160 million – the first increase in two decades. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF estimate that without mitigation, millions more children will be at risk due to the impact of COVID-19.

Strengthening social protection can help end child labour. In the Durban Call to Action, delegates including the Philippines outlined strong commitments to make decent work a reality; end child labour in agriculture; strengthen child labour prevention and elimination through data-driven and survivor-informed policy and programme responses; realize children’s right to education and ensure universal access; achieve universal social protection; and increase financing and international cooperation to eliminate child labour and forced labour.

The ILO also supports the Philippine government’s initiative to establish a social protection floor. We hope it builds on a strong commitment for a universal social protection programme that is inclusive and child-labour sensitive.

All these initiatives are vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending child labour, and a human-centred recovery from COVID-19 based on the ILO’s Global Call to Action.

Let us keep the momentum and accelerate action for a better future of work – a future without child labour that leaves no one behind.

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!