Social Watch calls government to prioritize program in addressing child labor in 2022 Budget
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·JUNE 23, 2021
Local budget watchdog Social Watch Philippines (SWP) urges the government to provide higher budget for the reduction, if not elimination, of child labor in the country for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 national budget, the group said in a statement.
The civil society group has been closely coordinating with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in improving budget allocation to stump out child labor. The four years of coordination of SWP with DOLE has resulted in the agency’s improved budget for the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) amounting to PhP100 million in 2019, and additional PhP15 million and PhP30 million in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and Ph68.7 million budget for Livelihood of Parents of Child Laborers to 2,289 beneficiaries this year. Each beneficiary receives PhP30,000 worth of subsidy from the DOLE.
The government’s revised target of zero child labor in the Philippines or an estimated 2.1 million child laborers by 2022 under the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) is a welcome improvement from the previous 630,000 target. To recall, the country’s commitment under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 and the Third National Action Plan of Children underlines the Philippines’ obligation to eventually eradicate child labor by 2025. “In support of the child-labor free Philippines, we have been advocating for the sufficient funding for the implementation of the child labor profiling and monitoring under the DOLE’s Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) and the Livelihood Assistance to Parents or Guardians of Child Laborers”, SWP explained.
SWP noted the need to resume the profiling of child laborers which was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the realignment of PhP224.4 million for COVID-19 response programs of the DOLE. “The profiling and monitoring of child laborers is a crucial administrative initiative to fostering updated database and assessment platform in the provision of interventions to remove them from child labor in a responsive manner. Profiling and monitoring of child laborers should instead continue amid COVID-19,” SWP stressed.
There is still an uphill climb to attain the zero-child labor goal by 2022. Of the 266,873 profiled child laborers between 2018-2020, only 21 percent or 56,276 of the profiled children have been removed from child labor. “Responsive and effective program on the prevention and elimination of child labor hinges on a firm policy commitment for adequate and sustained funding allocation. We trust that the President will take an affirmative action in the DOLE’s PhP135-million proposal for the salaries, operations and other expenses for the implementation of child labor profiling and monitoring in the 2022 national budget”, SWP concluded. ###
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Social Watch Philippines (SWP), is a network of a hundred civil society organizations advocating for transparent, efficient, accountable and pro-poor use of public funds.
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