Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo yesterday called on all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, punong barangays and local Sanggunians to enact local laws that will address child labor concerns in their localities.
Aside from the enactment of local ordinances, Robredo also asked local officials to integrate anti-child labor initiatives in their local development agenda particularly programs and projects that will eliminate worst forms of child labor.
According to Article 3 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182, the worst forms of child labor are the following:
1. All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom, as well as forced or compulsory labor, including forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
2. The use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
3. The use, procurement or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in relevant international treaties; and
4. Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
In a memorandum circular, the DILG Secretary urged local chief executives to tap their respective Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs) to lead in the implementation of all programs and projects addressing problems and issues on child labor.
Based on the 2005 National Statistics Office (NSO) Labor Survey, there are 2.1-million working children aged 5-17 years old in the Philippines. Of the figures, 39.7% are elementary drop-outs.
Robredo said the government is seeking to reduce the incidence of child labor as a commitment to the ILO Convention 182 and reiterated the implementation of the Philippine Program against Child Labor at the LGU levels.
He also asked the local executives to implement in their localities RA 9231 or the “Act Providing for the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child” which stipulates the allowed numbers of hours a child could work based on his/her age and sets penalties and sanctions against any persons engaging any child in the worst forms of child labor.
Robredo reminded local officials that unlawful refusal to implement the provisions of the law may constitute dereliction of duty under Sec. 60 of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and may give rise to administrative liability. DILG