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CHL 2002-29: An In-Depth Study on the Situation of Child Labour in Agriculture (Preliminary Findings)

The study reviews child workers’ involvement/work situation in various agricultural plantations. In a rubber plantation, work is a tedious process. Children cut the bark of the rubber trees for the dagta to flow into a coconut shell or bao. At a certain time of the day, the children go back to the plantation and mix the acid with the dagta or rubber sap in the bao. Sometime in the afternoon, the children go back to the plantation to collect the coconut shells filled with dagta. These are then brought to the barangay-based trader (middleman) for weighing and recording of the produce. Payments are made either weekly or monthly. Out of the proceeds, a certain percentage is deducted to cover the children’s wages. These children in this kind of work are exposed to the dangers in the forest like snake bites, accidents and others. The forest is also slippery during rainy season posing another danger to the children. Child sugar workers are involved in the land preparation process. The work involved would take them 14 man-days per hectare. Children are also involved in planting, weeding, harvesting and loading of sugarcane into hauling trucks. For all such work, they receive wages pegged at P50 to P60 per day. They do not enjoy benefits such as SSS, Medicare, sick leave, vacation leave and others that the adult workers get. Children working in sugar plantations are also exposed to heat under the sun which causes headache, fever, colds, and flu. Machete (used for cutting and weeding) is also quite heavy for a child to carry that it drains physical energy and could cause accidents like wounding part of his foot, or arm or fingers and other body parts. Banana plantations engage child workers in the re-cycling of plastic bags which process exposes children to chemical residues in fertilizer bags. In the banana chip production, they are also exposed to danger as they manipulate slicing machines. They are also exposed to excessive heat under the sun when they turn the drying chips upside down. Children of working parents in pineapple plantations are usually involved in the “growers” scheme. The family is contracted for specific production output, thus the parents tend to maximize their labour input by involving his children in the production process. In this arrangement, the children are involved in almost all the major activities in pineapple production. Thus exposing them to heat of the sun during the planting and harvest seasons. The child workers are deprived of their educational and social rights, including socializing and playing with peers hampering both their psychological and emotional development. All these children workers are driven to work by poverty. Most children workers start working in the farms and eventually move on from one economic activity to another, including prostitution and work as cargador, helper, etc. The author suggests points to be considered in implementing the Time-Bound Programme: 1) The program and its objective to respond to gaps should be comprehensive, pro-active and integrated; 2) Strategy and approaches should be time-bound, appropriate and effective; and, 3) It should be industry-based, family-oriented and in the process build sustainability/ institutional/ strategic mechanisms.

Collection of Studies from Other Institutions
Authors Keywords
Rollolazo, Mildred G.; Logan, Luisa C.; child labor;
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