Thursday, June 13, 2013
MANILA-Alarmed over the high number of children working as domestic workers, Senator Loren Legarda today said that the government, in close coordination with concerned non-governmental organizations, must eliminate child labor, stressing that the nation already has the laws in place to do so.
Legarda made the statement following the release of a report from the International Labour Organization, which revealed that about 10.5 million children around the world work as domestic workers and 6.5 million of which are aged between five and 14 years.
“It is lamentable that there are children who are forced into domestic work, doing household chores in their employer’s home instead of going to school. It is a sad fact there are children who are forced to work to support their families and are deprived of their childhood and their right to education,” she said.
The Senator said that in the Philippines, child labor should be addressed with the help of several laws such as the Anti-Child Labor Law (Republic Act 9231), the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (Republic Act 10364), and the Domestic Workers Act (Republic Act 10361).
The Anti-Child Labor Law, which Legarda authored, protects children from being engaged into work outside the protection of their parents or guardian, and that which might endanger their life, safety and development.
The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which the Senator sponsored, protects children from being trafficked through its strengthened provisions which also covers attempted trafficking and accessory or accomplice liability.
Meanwhile, the Domestic Workers Act, which Legarda co-authored and co-sponsored, deems it unlawful to employ children below 15 years of age as domestic worker or kasambahay, while those who are 15 years old but below 18 years of age, are considered as working children and are protected under the Anti-Child Labor Act.
“We must strictly implement these laws and give back to these working children the happy and normal childhood they deserve. The time will come when they must work, but for as long as they our children, they must be protected, cared for, and assured their rights as children,” Legarda concluded.
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