FIREWORKS FACTORIES EXPOSE MINORS TO GREAT RISKS

Malolos, 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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