Child labor

I was one of the guests at the i-Speak media Forum at City Hall yesterday and I issued the following statement:

The picture featured at the homepage of the G8 summit website in Hokkaido, Japan on July 7-9, 2008 is truly disturbing. It shows the globe being carried by four children. The children were smiling all right and appear that they have no burden.

But, millions like them are not. They carry on their shoulders the brunt of child labor that involves over 2 million in the Philippines and 200 million worldwide.

Unfortunately, this global problem is not in the agenda of the world economic superpowers. The children used in the website were mere decorations to lull us into believing that the world’s rich nations look after their care.

It is sad to note that efforts by the Dutch Government to include child labor in the international agenda of the world’s most powerful nations have fallen on deaf ears.

So, in this summit, nothing will be discussed on the issue on child labor. This comes at a time when we are marking the World Day Against Child Labor here in Davao City on June 28, 2008.

Here are the grim statistics on the issue:

Global child labor – over 200 million boys and girls aged 5-14

70 percent or 132 million are in agriculture

Other worst forms of child labor – construction, mining, domestic service, commercial sex and illicit activities

Child trafficking – 1.2 million a year

Children in armed conflicts as child soldiers – 300,000

In the Philippines:

11 percent of children ages 5-14 are involved in economic activities (2.2 million in 2001)

65.4 % are in agriculture and commercial plantations

29.4 % in services; and

5.3 % in industrial services

Worst forms of child labor (in addition to agriculture, construction, mining, domestic service and commercial sex) also include pyrotechnic production and muroami fishing

Also increasing trend of children in armed conflict

Children should be in school and enjoy their childhood. They should not be exploited and forced into dangerous and hazardous work.

We condemn the use of child labor and child soldiers here and throughout the world.

We call on the Arroyo government and world leaders to address child labor not just as a social or economic issue. This is an issue of fundamental human and children’s rights!

6:22 a.m.

Loan it is

At the City Council public hearing yesterday on the unreleased IRA, the city government has opted to take out a loan from the government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines.

This is the most advantageous option available.

The Provincial Board of Pangasinan is going the same way in collecting its P79 Million IRA differential.

What to do with P142 Million? Another reader has posted a comment. Please check the sidebar. He wants roads to be paved in his village.

6:03 a.m.

Update on Activities

Yesterday, I represented Mayor Rody Duterte at the opening of the new showroom of Canon Marketing (Philippines) at Bajada. The expanded sales and service center is proof of the imaging company’s growth in this part of the country. An executive from the company flew in from Singapore to grace the occasion. In my brief remarks, I said the city government adheres too in Canon’s philosophy – living and working together for the common good! Canon’s Philippine CEO Ramon Arteficio was somewhat surprised to hear these words from me. I told him I read it in their website. Canon’s Regional Head here is Nelson Perez. Visit them infront of the Davao City Water District.

Today, my office will host an orientation seminar on the Botika ng Barangay Project of the Department of Health. Last year, I partnered with DOH in helping 21 barangays set up their village pharmacies. The project does not only make affordable medicines available in communities but also help train BNB operators become entrepreneurs. DOH provides seed capital of P25,000 worth of medicines which the BNB must replenish with their sales. I am hoping another batch of beneficiary-barangays would be granted their BNB.

On Saturday, the National Coalition Against Child Labor in Commercial Agriculture will spearhead once again the marking of the World Day Against Child Labor in the city. I have been a permanent fixture in the activities of this coalition and so I was invited again to speak at its rally at the Almendras Gym. A march will precede the program from Rizal Park to the Gym.

7:26 a.m.