04 May 2011

Time to Deal with Child Labor in Mining

Child Labor
It took years of turning a blind eye on the plight of child labor in the country, but the wait has started to bear fruit. Late this week, President Benigno Aquino III ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to address child labor in the mining industry after the disaster that claimed at least 13 minors in landslide-stricken Barangay Kingking in Pantukan, Compostela Valley province. the worse part is that there are 10 more missing.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said already Aquino convened an inter-agency group to study and come up with a more defined and rational policy on mining in efforts to protect not only the richly bio-diversified areas in the country but also the interest of the minors in this sector.

"There was a decision to make sure that certain mining policies be defined, be fine tuned and issues between local laws and national laws on mining be further clarified," said Lacierda.

Also part of the discussions, Lacierda said, was to identify who should regulate the operation of small scale mining in the country.

He pointed out that concerned agencies were tasked to carry out their functions that will ensure the strict regulation of mining activities.

"The DSWD was also told to make sure that all these areas where there is child labor being used in mining be monitored and prohibited," Lacierda added.

Everyone is hopeful that all this will not just end in talks and meetings to get media mileage, but result to concrete and doable steps to protect children from awful conditions.