Child labor remains as one of the most pressing issues in the Philippines and the problem is even more accelerated because of the pandemic. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, millions more of children are at risk of being pushed into child labor as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.1

By definition, child labor pertains to the employment of children of less than a legally specified age2, and using them in work or economic activity that deprives them of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and harms them physically and mentally.3 Based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are 5.492 million children aged five to 17 years old engaged in child labor in 2011 in the Philippines, 54.5 percent of which are in a hazardous line of work. Moreover, the PSA said that two in every five Filipino children were exposed to physical hazards, while one was exposed to both chemical and physical hazards.4

As one of the concerned agencies at the forefront of ending child labor in the Philippines, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to implement aggressive and strategic programs for the betterment of young Filipinos. Recently, it partnered with the World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. to launch the Protection Against Child Exploitation (ACE) campaign. 

The ACE campaign banks on the DSWD’s Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD) against child labor, an initiative it mounted in collaboration with ILO.

Under SHIELD, the DSWD and ILO established the Child Labor Local Registry (CLLR) System — one of the project’s  components — a digital tool that captures and records relevant information that helps in the prevention, detection, removal, and rehabilitation of child laborers in the Philippines at the barangay and municipal level. 

The CLLR system, developed by Ideyatech, Inc. (now Monstarlab Manila), the company behind Attaché Docs, is currently being utilized by the pilot areas of the SHIELD project and is set to be also utilized nationwide for a centralized and digitized record of victims of child labor in the country. It was integrated in the central office of DSWD, and managed by the DSWD Information and Communications Technology Management Service.

Apart from being an added channel to realize the elimination of child labor in the country, the CLLR also aims to encourage partnerships among government and private entities to help the victims of child labor and their families.

Similar to the easy-to-use Attaché Docs platform, the CLLR system is also designed with a user-friendly interface so project focals may input the needed information seamlessly and accurately. Compared to the traditional way of keeping records through stacks of sheets of papers that are prone to data loss, the CLLR system assures that information about child labourers are protected, especially since the data are crucial to the monitoring of the child labor situation in the country.

“The CLLR system addressed the need for a database system which identifies who and where the child laborers are, as a basis for planning, monitoring, and prioritizing cases for appropriate interventions,” said Maelen Joy Naz-Orozco, DSWD Social Welfare Officer.

Naz-Orozco said that with the solution Monstarlab Manila provided, monitoring of child laborers as well as reports generation at all levels “have been made easier.”

“This has enabled other service providers with information on  what interventions are needed and appropriate for child laborers and their families. The CLLR System is also proposed to be used by DOLE in profiling child laborers all over the Philippines to serve as a national database,” she furthered.

The CLLR system includes the following: Child Labor Profiling System that details the needs, problem, and nature of work of child laborers; Case Management and Referral System that contains data about case progress, actual services provided to help child laborers, and child status; Monitoring System with the list and profile of victims of child labor; and the GIS of Child Labourers in which the locations where children work are listed. In addition, the CLLR also handles the generation of electronic reports with essential data about child labourers.

The DSWD is included in the long list of Monstarlab Manila’s partners in the government that utilize its solutions, including case management and document management systems, to embrace digitization for better governance and improved services.

Filipino children are vulnerable to the risks and dangers of child labor. If you happen to know instances concerning this matter, don’t hesitate to report to the DSWD, the Department of Labor and Employment, and other involved government agencies.

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1COVID-19 may push millions more children into child labour – ILO and UNICEF

2Child labour

3What is child labour 

4The number of working children 5 to 17 years old is estimated at 5.5 million (Preliminary Results of the 2011 Survey on Children)