By ZENIT Staff

An official of the Philippine bishops’ conference has called for intensified actions in eliminating child labor in the country, reported CBCP News.

Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, chairman of the bishops’ Commission on Youth, pushed for a concerted approach to address the high number of children who are forced to work.

“We need to intensify efforts to protect the most vulnerable, especially children,” Alarcon said.

A recent government study revealed that almost 50,000 or four percent of about 1.4 million Filipino domestic workers are minors.

The survey also showed that of the 49,000 child domestic workers, 4,900 are below 15 years.

It is unlawful to employ domestic workers aged 14 and below under the country’s law.

Bishop Alarcon said the situation is “a very sad and unfortunate reality for our children”, and called on authorities and stakeholders “to continue to work for their safety and well-being”.

“While it may be a complex situation, indeed the government and all sectors of society must strive to end this unfortunate situation as it opens children to further exploitation,” he added.

The country’s child labor problem remains alarming and far from over as there are still 2.1 million child laborers in the Philippine workforce.

Based on the 2011 government data, about 95 percent of these child laborers are in hazardous work like in mines and factories, farms, and plantations.

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