US gives $15-M grant vs sugarland child labor
Manila, Philippines—The US government has awarded a $15-million grant to help an international organization combat child labor in sugarcane areas in the country.
The grant from the US Department of Labor will be used for World Vision’s project, “Pag-aaral ng Bata para sa Kinabukasan,” particularly its third phase which focuses on child labor in the sugar industry.
With the grant, World Vision hopes to assist 52,000 children and 25,000 families get education opportunities for the children, sustainable livelihood for the parents and jobs for the youth. The project will be undertaken over four years.
World Vision called attention to a US Department of Labor report which said that around four million Filipino children worked daily in “hazardous, exploitative labor,” thus making the Philippines one of over 120 countries where the worst forms of child labor still exist.
Children aged 5-17 years old are forced into prostitution, domestic work, mining, fishing industries and agricultural labor, according to the report.
“As young as 5 years old, children work in sugarcane plantations handling dangerous chemicals and carrying machetes to cut weeds between cane plants hoping to earn a little for their family,” World Vision said.
The children worked long hours under scorching heat performing physically arduous tasks not suitable for children, it added.
It said that parents were forced by poverty to send their children to work in the fields.
To formalize the partnership between the agency and the Philippine government, a commitment deal will be signed by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr., World Vision Executive Director Elnora Avarientos and representatives from the Department of Education on Feb. 29.
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