Education Problems Blamed for Child Labor

Jun. 17, 2006

MANILA — The militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said this week that the countrys poor education system should be blamed for the increasing number of children illegally being forced to work.

“Kakulangan sa classrooms dahil sa mababang badyet sa edukasyon at kawalan ng disenteng trabaho at pasahod sa mga magulang ang nagiging dahilan kung bakit kinailangang mapasubo sa maagang pagtrabaho ang mga kabataan,” said Joel Maglunsod, the KMUs secretary-general.

Maglunsod issued the statement after the recent fire in Rizal province that killed six minors in a firecracker factory.

He said child labor will continue to rise because the government is not serious in funding social services such as education. Debt servicing, he said, gets the biggest outlay which amounts to P301.7 billion of the current national budget while education gets a measly P102 billion appropriation. Classroom shortage in a single-shift situation is currently at 74,000.

Maglunsod cited the partial results of survey of a government-funded community-based monitoring system which found out that there are 6,000 child laborers in Bulacan, some 10 percent of them engaged in hazardous pyrotechnics making in Bocaue and Sta. Maria towns.

“Kapit sa patalim ang mga kabataang ito,” the labor leader said, adding that the children are risking health and safety. He further argued that child laborers are paid with much lower wages, “At pagtanda nila dahil hindi nakapag-aral, tiyak na mabibilang sila sa mga walang trabaho. Kahit nga security guard ngayon kailangan nakatapos ng second year college.”

He also said that because the administration is hindering the wage demands by the workers needed to cope with rising prices and cost of living, the youth are forced to work to augment the needs of the family. Unpaid family workers are also on the rise as well as those in own-account jobs, said the group. Unpaid family workers increased by 12.9 percent from 3.7 million in 2004 to 4.2 million in 2005. (

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