6 victims of child labor in Lanao rescued

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2011 05:41 PM | Updated as of Jul 15 2011 01:41 AM

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Six minors who were illegally employed in Lanao del Sur were rescued by elements of the 65th Infantry Battalion, authorities said.

The minors said they were recruited by a relative from Marawi City in June. However, they had no idea they would be hired as porters for a beverage retailer.

They said they were paid a monthly salary of a little more than P1,000.

In just 3 weeks in service, the minors said the employer’s relative have been abusing them.

“Kung walang kita, hindi kami pakakainin. Kapag umalis daw kami papatayin nila kami,” said one of the victims.

“Sabi ko masakit ang aking tiyan, sabi niya umaarte lang daw ako. Kaya tinutukan niya ako,” said another.

The victims’ families sought help from soldiers of the 65th Infantry Battalion who immediately took action.

“Iligal ‘yung pagpasok nila sa pagiging helper kaya nagkakaroon ng pag-abuso,” said Capt. Orlando Gil Marquez Jr., public affairs officer of the 65th Infantry Battalion.

The employer denied the accusations of abuse but agreed to release the children.

Authorities urged the victims’ families to file charges against the employer. -- Report from Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN Iligan