MORE than 500 runners joined to signify their support to the campaign against child labor, the first Sagip Batang Manggagawa Run initiated by the Banana Industry Tripartite Council XI, Department of Labor and Employment XI, and the Local Government of Tagum City.

The Banana Industry Tripartite Council XI (BITC-XI) pioneered the campaign for the First Sagip Batang Manggagawa Run in support to the government’s goal to eliminate child labor. In 2014, according to the US Department of Labor Report, the Philippines has made significant advancements in the efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. Based on the report, 54.1% of children work in the agriculture sector where they are mostly employed in the production of sugarcane, bananas, coconuts, corn, hogs, palm oil, rice, rubber and tobacco.

The BITC-XI is staunch in declaring, “Our bananas are not products of child labor and human trafficking. The members of the Banana Industry Tripartite Council-XI condemn all forms of exposing children to hazardous labor and commit the industry in eliminating the worst forms of child labor.”

DOLE-XI Assistant Regional Director Jason P. Balais who ran with the BITC-XI partners and stakeholders before the 5K and 3K gun start said, “We are hopeful that the Sagip Batang Manggagawa Run 2016 will gain continued support by the other industry tripartite councils in the region. And together, we shall all denounce child labor and human trafficking in order to provide a better environment for our Filipino children.” LGU-DNFO