BSP partners with the International Labour Organization to raise awareness about occupational safety and health
The Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the International Labour Organization has launched two new merit badges on Occupational Safety and Health for the more than 2.6 million Scouts in the Philippines. The launch was conducted during the 59thAnnual National Scout Executives Conferences in Baguio City, Philippines on 11 December 2018.
The new merit badges were developed by a technical pool of consultants from the ranks of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, the International Labour Organization and the Philippine Occupational and Health Centre. The Safety and Health Merit Badge is for the Boy Scout Section aged 9 to 12 years old, while the Occupational Safety and Health Merit Badge is for the Senior Scout Section aged 12 to 17 years old. Just like regular merit badges, the Scouts may earn these merit badges by combing through set of requirements and tasks which will introduce them to the basics of Occupational Safety and Health in a way that fits the educational objective of their respective sectional programmes.
In his address, BSP Secretary General Rogelio S. Villa, Jr. stressed that one of the most important measures of a Scout’s growth and development in Scouting is the Merit Badge. He emphasised that “the merit badges signify a Scout’s commitment to excel, and it symbolises the learnings and the experiences a Scout gets from the programme.”
“These Merit Badges, the Occupational Safety and Health Merit Badge for the Senior Scouts and the Safety and Health Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts are very unique. If a Scout could accomplish all the requirements to earn this badge, he/she will be doing his or her family and the nation a great service. Imagine our young people drawing the line between safety and danger, health and wellbeing, not just of Scouts, but those who, though still young, found themselves working or joining the workforce to, perhaps, help the family make both ends meet,” he added further.
In separate statement, BSP Deputy National Programme Commissioner Efren Edgard P. Dieta said that the Boy Scouts of the Philippines does not approve of young workforce. “Our young people must be enjoying their innocence exploring the world, not working at an early age just to fill an empty stomach. They should be filling their minds with knowledge and wisdom, of fun and adventure in school, not toiling hard amid the dangers of losing their innocence in some unfriendly workplaces. They should be in Scouting, instead of the gold mines. They should be marching and singing and having fun with their fellow Scouts, instead of working for some factories for hours. They are young and are full of potentials and to spend their time in some plants and shops instead of learning lessons in school could hamper their growth,” he said.
This initiative from the Boy Scouts of the Philippines is part of the ILO SafeYouth@Work Project funded by the United States Department of Labour. The project recognises that occupational safety and health vulnerabilities among the young people can be addressed by developing in them a culture of prevention by raising their level of awareness either in schools, at home or in their respective communities.
(With reports from Katherine B Brimon (National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organization) and Carmelo B Francia (Program Research and Development Officer, Boy Scouts of the Philippines)