KASAMA Vol. 11 No. 2 / April–May–June 1997 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network


At least five million Filipinos below the age of 17 are believed illegally employed, despite the many laws and policies formulated by the government to protect them from abuses and exploitation, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report showed yesterday.

In the report, titled The Community Action on Child Labor Program, UNICEF said that of the 29 million Filipinos in the age group, 13 percent of them are primarily working to augment the family’s income.

The primary cause of child labor remains poverty while other contributing factors are the increasing pattern of family breakdown and weakening of the extended family system, high population growth and poor enforcement of existing labor laws. "The problem is complex and is a product of interrelated factors involving the family and society," UNICEF noted.

It added that children between the ages of 5 and 9 account for 6% of the child laborers while 44% are between the ages of 10 and 14 and 50% are between 15 and 17 years old. The report also showed 42% of the child laborers work more than 10 hours a day.

by Sheila Crisostomo