PHILIPPINES: On the ILO’s recent claims on child labor in PH

Monday 21 October 2013

Date: 15 October Type: Statement Source: Kilusang Mayo Uno Keywords: child labor, ILO

Statements that the Philippines has “made significant progress,” in the words of International Labor Organization country director Lawrence Jeff Johnson, in the battle against child labor is most dubious.

First of all, unemployment under the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino has continued to grow. Not even government data can hide the fact that Aquino has failed to generate sufficient employment for Filipinos. Not even the so-called economic growth being bragged about by the government has created jobs.

Secondly, since the ILO data on child labor in the Philippines were publicized years ago, the Department of Labor and Employment has only made noises against child labor. Early on in his term, Aquino even downgraded the function of the said department from “job generation” to mere “job facilitation.”

The DOLE considers child labor as a mere law enforcement problem, monitoring cases of child labor, stopping some operations that employ child labor, and threatening to penalize some employers. This approach does not address the root causes of child labor and will fail to solve the said problem.

We can only stop child labor in the country if the government creates sufficient decent jobs for Filipinos. Stopping child labor therefore entails breaking free from the domination of big foreign capitalists and local elites and carrying out genuine land reform and national industrialization.

The Aquino government, however, not only has rejected proposals that these policies be undertaken, but has implemented the exact opposite of these. It has concentrated lands in the hands of the few and followed big capitalist dictates that wage levels be pressed down and union rights be violated.

We welcome Phil and James Younghusband’s support for campaigns against child labor. We urge them to deepen their understanding of the root causes of child labor beyond what the deceptive Aquino government says. They can do this by holding dialogues and integrations with genuine labor and poor people’s groups in the country.

See online : PHILIPPINES: On the ILO’s recent claims on child labor in PH

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