Children are the prime movers of the country. They are very much endowed with so much potentialities in which may contribute for the betterment of the many. They are indeed really important in everybody’s life not only of their own family but also of their fellow human persons. Every person including the child must be respected and valued in virtue of his/her being a human person. Thus, children must and necessarily be treasured by valuing their own dignity as human persons capable of rationalizing for the betterment of the future. However, in the Philippines; most of the children in the past and even until now are being exploited in many different ways. Every child in this country is somehow is in the state of danger because the child may be abused at anytime, anywhere, and of anyone. Evidently, Philippines is a young country by which most of the people are composed of youth and/or children. By this, Philippines is very vulnerable to any forms of child exploitation. Similarly, one of the most evident forms of child exploitation in the Philippines is the child labor. Child labor is prevalent in the Philippine society. It should be noted that children are abused by forcing them to bare labor at their very young age. They are supposed to be in the classroom to learn and become educated but because of child labor they could be seen in many places working to earn a living. Because of child labor, it is evidently that children at their very young age are dehumanized. Their own inherent dignity has been taken away from them and thus makes children as objects of exploitation. Moreover, the researcher has decided to conduct a study on this matter to find out the reality of this phenomenon. The researcher wants to assess the morality of child labor in the Philippines and to see its moral implications to other moral agents. Through the aid of Immanuel Kant’s ethical concept, the researcher may find philosophical and moral basis of child labor. The philosophy of Kant particularly his Categorical Imperative and it second formulation- Formula of end itself- will be applied in the subject matter. Library research, internet surfing, journals, and other sources related to the study will be used to achieve the main objectives. By this, the study is reliable and substantial in nature. The substantiality of the study focuses on the child labor in the Philippines.
The Categorical Imperative
Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative clearly states that “act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant, 1964, p.88). By this very definition of categorical imperative, Kant contends that morality involves universality and necessity. That is, morality should be applicable to all, and the action must and necessarily be done. Kant distinguishes between two imperatives- categorical and hypothetical. The latter for Kant cannot be the standard of morality since it only applies to some and thus cannot be universalized. It comes to man’s selfish inclination since it is only a “necessary as a means to the attainment of something else that one wills” (Kant, 1964, p. 82) and therefore this cannot be accepted. On the one hand, categorical imperative derive from rational inclination where in reason is that which makes the categorical imperative universal. For Kant, categorical imperative is based on human reason because it must be “entirely a priori, since here we do not enjoy the advantage of having its reality given in experience and so if being obliged merely to explain, and not to establish, its possibility” (Kant, 1964, p. 87). This, however, does not mean that Kant totally rejected the consequence of any action to determine whether the action is morally right or wrong but he only...