Dole denies presence of child labor in Baguio

Published by rudy Date posted on June 4, 2019

by JONATHAN LLANES, Sun Star, 4 Jun 2019

THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Cordillera assured zero cases of child labor in the country’s Summer Capital amid reports about children selling sando bags at the Baguio City market.

Lawyer Exequiel Ronie Guzman, Dole Cordillera director, said the presence of children selling plastic bags at the city market could not be considered child labor, because these are not rescued cases and that they were under the direct supervision of their parents.

“There was a report that there were many cases of child labor in Baguio City and it seems the Department of Education (DepEd) did not know about the information that came out. As far as Dole is concerned, we have conducted a profiling and those that we profiled were children at risk of child labor. There is a need for us to distinguish what child work and child labor is because they might be misinformed that once a child works, it is automatically considered as child labor,” Guzman said.

DepEd Cordillera received reports of alleged child labor activities at the city’s public market, prompting Dole to confirm the allegations, aside from continuously validating information pertaining to child labor through extensive profiling.

“When we talk about child labor, regardless of the ordinance of the city on the illegal selling of plastics, we cannot call these cases as child labor and in fairness to the city, there are no cases of child labor in Baguio City. And if the city totally bans the selling of plastics, then probably the children will find another job that is not risky for them,” Guzman said.

DepEd’s contention to Dole was based on the volume of drop-outs seen by the department where it considers its future to be at stake.

“To associate drop-outs with the incidents of child labor maybe different because the child may have lost interest in going to school because their focus is more into information technology or just simply, the child does not want to study. DepEd should do something to bring them back to school,” Guzman added.

Based on Dole’s definition, child work refers to a situation when a child is asked to help in chores for them to know the value of work under the direct supervision of his or her parents, not placed under the heat of the sun, and not placed in danger. Child labor, on the other hand, is prohibited.

“Please report to us any case of child labor so that we can document it and provide the necessary assistance to the children and parents, aside from us who will coordinate with the DSWD,” Guzman said.

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