Probe “batang kalabaw” practice – Solons

LAWMAKERS have called for a congressional probe on reports that children in some provinces and towns are being forced to do hard labor as “Batang Kalabaw” to the detriment of their health.

Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) filed House Resolution 2422, citing that children, known as “Batang Kalabaw” who come from Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte are forced to drag and push lumber twice or thrice their weight and size for a fee of P50 or less each taking the place of carabaos.

They said there is a serious need to look into the report and immediately put a stop to these abuses as the children are being made to risk their lives and sacrifice their youth and their future.

Rodriguez urged the House Committee on Welfare of Children to summon the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other agencies and entities to shed light and resolve
the issue.

“These children from impoverished families expose themselves to dangers as they drag and push logs on slippery slopes just so they can be paid a measly sum with the consent of parents and under the noses of government officials,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the parents of these children should also be held accountable as they are the ones who are supposed to provide for their children and not the other way around.

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