“The youth is the hope of the motherland.”
This is just one of the idioms that our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, once enunciated. He highly believed that the future of our nation lies in the hands of the youths today.
While many of us want to agree, youths will only be the fair hope of the motherland if we will give them the proper education that they need and deserve.
However, if education is the solution to the problems our country faces, then how come education itself is one of those problems?
Filipino children as young as five years are already engaged in various forms of child labor. Instead of attending schools, they are forced to help out their families due to poverty and lack of decent work for their parents. One incident posted on Facebook depicting this exact scenario showed a 7-year-old girl selling pepper and other products on the streets.
The concerned netizen named Joepring Galicia Sales had a small talk with the little girl in hopes of knowing her more.
He asked her where she lives, where her parents were, and why she sells despite her very young age.
In the video, the girl appeared to be selling pepper in front of a convenience store where Joe saw her while having his coffee.
During their conversation, Joe found out that she is currently a third-grader. Asked about her parents, the girl shared that her mother was at home doing laundry while her father was at work. Joe got broken-hearted upon learning the little girl’s miserable situation.
Joe also asked the poor girl to show all of her products so that it could be included in the video for more people to see. Two other women who seemed to be Joe’s relatives also chanced upon the girl as they approached the store.
They told the girl that she should play on the streets instead of selling in them.
According to Republic Act No. 7658, children below the age of 15 should be prohibited in all public and private undertakings. Which means they are not legally allowed to enter into any public or private commitment including employment.
However, poor parents are left with no choice but to send their children to work instead of school mainly due to extreme poverty. They work because their survival and that of their families depend on it. Of course, no parent would ever want their children to work as early as 7 years old, but in most cases, they barely have a choice.