By Jerry J. Alcayde
Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported yesterday that there are at least 9,521 poor working children (child laborers) aged five to 17 in the region of MIMAROPA (Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan or Region 4-B).
Based on the DSWD-MIMAROPA’s “Listahan” (household assessment), there were 2,304 working children belonging to poor households in Oriental Mindoro; 2,393 children with the same predicament in Occidental Mindoro; 642 in Marinduque; 747 in Romblon; and 3,435 in Palawan.
The Listahan also revealed that 1,519 or 15.9 percent of these children work as farmers; 1,186 or 12.5 percent are fisherfolk; and 93 or 0.98 percent are forestry workers.
In MIMAROPA, the top three municipalities with high cases of working children are San Jose in Occidental Mindoro with 456 children; Brooke’s Point in Palawan with 420; and Abra de Ilog in Occidental Mindoro with 411.
The assessment containing reports collated in 2015 further revealed that from the poor working children, 69.6 percent are male and 30.4 percent are female.
The DSWD has reiterated that it is continuously advocating a stop to the illegal employment of children as it encourages the public keep children in school.