Strict Enforcement of Child Labor Laws, Regulations Set
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday vowed to strictly enforce child labor laws and regulations as well as the development and promulgation of comprehensive child labor legislation and the provision of legal aid and services to working children and their families.
She also committed the country's full adherence to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 182 which calls for the elimination of all worst forms of child labor and improving their working conditions.
The President made the commitment during her meeting with ILO Director Werner Blenk, UNICEF Child Labor Program coordinator Vicky Juat, and other convenors of the Global March Against Child Labor in Malacanang.
She directed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to speed up the drafting of the National Program Against Child Labor, a working policy paper that will reflect the principles of the ILO Convention 182 and prohibit the following:
* All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, forces or compulsory labor, debt bondage, and serfdom;
* The use, engagement, or offering of a child in illegal activities, for prostitution, production or pornographic performances;
* The use, procuring and trafficking of drugs; and
* Any other type of work, or activity which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of children.
The President instructed the DOLE to explore ways to institutionalize a sustaining national program against child labor.
She also assured the agencies involved in the Global March Against Child Labor that she will support the passage of two bills, namely, Senate Bill 1530 or the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Labor Act," and House Bill 8862 or the "Magna Carta of Filipino Household Helpers."
Based on the latest statistics, there are 3.7 million child laborers in the Philippines, 2.2 million of them exposed to hazardous work environments. …