Child labor in the Philippines has been a problem since the early twentieth century. However in 1946 the Philippines claimed its independence from American Rule and became a Republic. This allowed the Philippines to make their own child labor laws. One significant law was the power of the Secretary of Labour to grant a special work permit for the employment of a child whose employment is otherwise prohibited. This allowed any child to work. In the years 1953 and 1960, the Philippines ratified three international conventions adopted by the International Labour Organization, relating to child labour.
These conventions made laws that prohibits the employment of children in industry during night time, fixes the minimum age of employment for industry at 15 years but allowed younger children to be employed in undertakings in which only members of the employer’s family are employed, provided that such work are not dangerous to the life, health or morals of the children employed, and required the medical examination of children as a pre-requisite to employment and their subsequent re-examinations (Aldaba, 2004). Even with these laws in affect child labor continues to be a problem in the Philippines.
Poverty is the main reason due to which children under the age of 18 years are compelled to work in dangerous and life threatening conditions. The work that the children have to do range from agricultural, to production, to service trades. These dangerous conditions consist of environmental, chemical, ad physical hazards. Children in agriculture are exposed to heavy loads, chemicals used for fertilizers and pesticides. Factory child workers risk other injuries and death from accidents caused by modern machineries and from the lack of protective mechanisms (The Philippine Campaign).
These all seriously affect the lives of these children. (Aldaba, 2004) While many people believe the issues of child labor in the Philippines are due to political or economical issues, they are actually do to social issues. There are long standing work and ethical traditions that are followed within Filipino communities. One centuries old tradition is that children are impelled to work from an early age because they must work to compensate as much as possible for the economic burden that they put on the family (The Philippine Campaign).
This shows that despite laws preventing child labor, Filipino communities feel that it is ethically important to have children work. Another reason why children work is the failures in the education system(The Philippine Campaign). Instead on mandating that all children must go to school, the Filipino government allows the families to decide. Most families would rather have their children working and bringing in an income, than going to school. (Aldaba, 2004). These sorts of social factors can be seen throughout the rest of the world.
In many countries (Costa Rica, Thailand, Sri Lanka), the minimum working age is lower than the required age of compulsory education (Child Labor). So like in the Philippines, these children are encouraged to work rather than pursue an education. When impoverished children are allowed to work legally, they will often abandon school to better their family’s condition (Child Labor). This also correlates to the long standing Filipino tradition of children having to work to lessen the burden they put on their families. Just like in the Philippines, social issues of child labor are prevalent throughout the world. (Aldaba, 2004).
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