The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Thursday with a non-government organization dedicated to addressing child labor in the Philippines.
The new partnership between DOLE and World Vision Development Foundation Inc. through Project Against Child Exploitation or Project ACE aims to provide assistance to victims of child labor and to address child labor issues.
“DOLE believes that children should be in school and not on the streets and in workplaces. They should be free, not subjected to forced labor,” said Labor Undersecretary Benjo Santos Benavidez in the 4th anniversary celebration of the National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL).
The number of child laborers in 2022 was placed at 828,000, showing a decline in number since 2021 with 935,000 child laborers, the Special Release on Working Children Situation published by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported earlier in August.
The percentage of child laborers decreased from 68.4 percent in 2021 to 56 percent in 2022. This indicates a 12.4 percent decline in child labor.
In the celebration, 100 profiled child laborers and their parents in Quezon City received services from participating agencies, including the DOLE livelihood assistance.
From 2018 to 2022, 620,556 child laborers were profiled by DOLE. 614,808 were referred for necessary services, and 138,560 were provided with one.
In June this year, DOLE also partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in launching the “Makabata Helpline,” a child labor reporting system.