Scouts say yes to quality education, no to child labour
Over a hundred Scouts joined thousands of others in a free concert saying no to child labour and yes to quality education. The International Labour Organization (ILO) Philippines organized the concert at the Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines on 12 June 2015. Scouts represented the World Organization of the Scout Movement to support its ongoing partnership with ILO.
Music became the educational and creative expression of local artists and rock bands to convey the theme "Batang Malaya (Children Living in Freedom): A Gathering to Fight Child Labour". The concert commemorated the World Day Against Child Labour and marked the 117th Philippine Independence Day.
Scout John Anthony Ruiz, under the Ticket to Life troop in Manila, celebrated his 20th birthday at the park.
“I chose to celebrate my birthday here because I want to understand what child labour is. I believe that children must be allowed to play and enjoy their childhood. They should be attending school and not found working”, Ruiz said.
At the concert, singer Ebe Dancel asked the Scouts to sing with him before the crowd.
“Let’s guide the children and not let them suffer. Let’s take care of them and protect their rights to be children. Let us allow them to freely know themselves and their world. They won’t be able to do that if at a young age they are given responsibilities they are not prepared for”, said Dancel.
In the Philippines, there are 2.1 million child labourers aged 5-17 years old, mostly in hazardous work (95 per cent) according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. Children work on farms and plantations, in dangerous mines, in streets, in factories, and in private homes as child domestic workers. Agriculture remains to be the sector where most child labourers can be found at 58 per cent.
“Child labour is a complex issue rooted in poverty and the lack of access to decent work and social protection for adults. A few pesos these children may earn while putting their health at risk or their lives in danger cannot change their future the way access to education can change their lives. Education opens doors to greater opportunities,” said Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of ILO Philippines.
Also on 12 June in Geneva, ILO launched its World Report on Child Labour presenting empirical evidence of how child labour combined with limited education can lead to increased youth vulnerability and greater difficulties in transitioning to good jobs.