THE share of children doing work rose to 4.7% of the child population in 2022, up from 4.3% a year earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimated.
The 2022 percentage is equivalent to 1.48 million, or five of every 100 children. The year-earlier percentage was equivalent to 1.37 million.
The PSA defines children as those who are between five and 17 years old. They are considered to be working if they are engaged in a family business, or any job, regardless of pay, for at least one hour per week.
The services sector accounted for 49.5% of working children, up from 45.4% in 2021. The 43.2% share of agriculture declined from 45.7% in 2021. Industry accounted for 7.3%, down from 9% previously.
In 2022, 75.6% of working children logged 20 hours or less each week, up from 55.9% a year earlier.
Child work was most prevalent in the Soccsksargen region, where the working population was 12.3% of all children in 2022. This was followed by Northern Mindanao at 8.6% and the Bangsamoro autonomous region at 7.3%.
A separate category is child labor, which the PSA defines as those engaged in hazardous work or work exceeding 40 hours that subjects the child to “any form of exploitation” and harm to their safety and health.
The PSA estimated that child laborers numbered 828,000 in 2022, or 56% of all working children, down from 935,000 in 2021.
Of the estimated 828,000 working children engaged in child labor in 2022, 548,000 or 66.2% were boys while 280,000 or 33.8% were girls.
The industry most likely to employ child labor was agriculture, which accounted for 68.8% of all child laborers, up from 61.9% in 2021. Services had a child labor share of 25.9% and industry 5.3%.
Soccsksargen had the highest share of child labor of all the regions with 12.5%. This was followed by the Central Visayas (10.5%) and the Bangsamoro (10.4%). — Lourdes O. Pilar