FIREWORKS FACTORIES EXPOSE MINORS TO GREAT RISKSMalolos, Bulacan, May 28, 2003 As the poverty situation continues to worsen, more and more children are forced to work in one of the most hazardous fireworks industry and pyrotechnics making, exposing minors to great risks on their health and safety. Celso Cruz, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI) told The STAR that the issue on child labor in the fireworks industry is becoming more of a social problem because worsening poverty prompted it. "Marami sa mga batang nagtatrabaho para sa mga kadalasan ay iligal na gumagawa ng paputok ay galing sa mahihirap na pamilya o kaya naman ay mga magulang nila mismo ang may-ari ng mga pagawaan," (Many of the children who work here are allegedly recruited since they come from poor families. Sometimes, more often than not, it is the parents who own the business), Cruz said. He said that though their group has launched campaigns in the past to discourage manufacturers from employing children as young as 10 years old, there are still some who continue to use children as laborers. "We have conducted several education programs to stop pyrotechnics manufacturers and dealers from employing children, but the problem is, most of these kids are from families who are in one way or another involved in the production and sale of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices," Cruz told The STAR. He furthered that their group, composed of licensed manufacturers does not employ children in their operations. Child labor in the pyrotechnics industry was classified by the International Labor Organization as one of the worst forms of child labor.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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