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CCT conditionalities to include Child Labor prohibition

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the National Advisory Committee of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, popularly known as 4Ps, has adopted a modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Families in Need of Special Protection, or CCT for FNSP, which caters to families, including those with child laborers, who are in need of special protection.

The NAC of the 4Ps is an inter-agency body that provides policy directions and guidelines to the Project Management Office pertinent to the implementation of the CCT.

It is directly under the Department of Social Welfare and Development headed by Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman and counts as members the Secretaries of the Departments of Labor and Employment, Education, Health, Interior and Local Governments, National Anti-Poverty Commission, National Economic Development  Authority, and Budget, and the heads of the National Nutrition Council, Commission on Population, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Council for the Welfare of Children, and the Philippine Commission on Women.

"The NAC recognized the immediate need to implement a modified CCT Program to respond to various characteristics of disadvantaged group of individuals, families, and community that at present is not directly addressed or responded to by the PPPP," the NAC said in its Resolution No. 06 Series of 2012, justifying the adoption of the modified CCT.

"By including the families which have child laborers in the CCT's list of beneficiaries, the CCT will definitely help address the problem of child labor, especially those in hazardous occupations," said Baldoz.

The resolution provides that the modified CCT for FNSP will cater to families in need of special protection, such as homeless street families, families with street children, migrant families, IP families, families and children displaced by man-made and natural calamities, families with child laborers, out-of-school youth, orphaned, abandoned, abused, and other children in difficult circumstances.

The modified CCT for FNSP will provide beneficiaries with P300 per month per child for a maximum of three children for education grant, and P500 per month per household  for health grant. The grants shall be released monthly subject to compliance to conditionalities.

Baldoz said one of the conditionalities was that parents must ensure that their children do not stay or work in the streets or in hazardous occupations, a conditionality that the DOLE, as a member of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster of the Cabinet, had advocated Baldoz for inclusion in the CCT Program as a strategy under the national convergence program on child labor.

The convergence program, known as H.E.L.P. M.E., was conceived by the HDPRC, with the DOLE and the DSWD as lead agencies, upon the instruction of President Benigno S. Aquino III, for a deliberate, harmonized, and convergent approach in addressing the problem of child labor in the country.

The goal of the convergence program is to move out at least 893,000 children from hazardous work.

"I am elated with the inclusion of this conditionality in the modified CCT program. It will definitely sharpen our convergence with our partners as we implement in earnest starting this year the community-based approach against child labor," said Baldoz.

The convergence program has a proposed budget of P9 billion to be implemented in four years, or from 2013 to 2016, according to Baldoz.

Baldoz also cited another conditionality which she sees will be helpful to the anti-child labor program. She said this is the expansion of the CCT to include children 15-17 years of age in the program's education package.

"As we have often said, keeping children in school will keep them away child work," Baldoz said, adding that retention in school of the 69.5 percent and bringing back to school the 30.5 percent of child laborers require a very focused and serious effort.

Baldoz explained that among the challenges the modified CCT program will address are the growing number of families migrating to cities in search of economic opportunities, but once in the urban areas are exposed to hazards of street life.

"Aside from limited or absence of access to educational opportunities, children of migrant families often resort to working in hazardous working conditions, such as vending, scavenging, and beggary," Baldoz explained.

The 4Ps supports the Millennium Development Goals of eradicating extreme hunger and poverty; achieving universal primary education; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; and promoting gender equality and empowering the nation.

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