2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Philippines
|Publisher||United States Department of Labor|
|Author||Bureau of International Labor Affairs|
|Publication Date||29 April 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Philippines, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca2d8.html [accessed 27 May 2016]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor
The Government of the Philippines created the Council for the Welfare of Children in 1974 as the focal point for child welfare issues, and it continues to focus on welfare issues, including exploited children and child laborers. The Government of the Philippines became a member of ILO-IPEC in 1994. The government passed a counter-trafficking law in May 2003 with specific provisions for children and created the Interagency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). The government has also created strategic action plans on child labor, children's issues (including efforts to protect children with special needs such as working children), and for children engaged in armed conflict.
The Government of the Philippines combats child labor in conjunction with national and international organizations. The National Program Against Child Labor serves as the structure to coordinate these activities and identify needs, and is led by the Department of Labor and Employment). In 2003, the government launched a two-year project to combat child labor in tobacco production in Region I (Ilocos Region). In cooperation with ILO-IPEC, community and direct action initiatives are being implemented in the Philippines to target specific occupations utilizing the worst forms of child labor. The Philippine government is a part of the ILO-IPEC inter-regional childsoldiers project funded by USDOL in 2003 to remove and prevent children from becoming involved in armed conflict in the Mindanao region.
In June 2002, USDOL, the Philippine DOLE, and the Department of Education signed a letter of intent committing all three agencies to collaborate on Timebound initiatives aimed at reducing the number of children participating in the worst forms of child labor, and strengthening the Philippines' educational systems. The USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC program to support the Philippine Timebound Program was launched, with strong government support, in 2002 with the long-term objective of eliminating specified worst forms of child labor. Under this USD 5.2 million program, sectors to be targeted include commercial sexual exploitation, mining and quarrying, pyrotechnics, deep-sea fishing, domestic service, engagement in armed conflict, and work on commercial sugar cane farms. With funding from USDOL and technical assistance from ILO-IPEC, the Philippine National Statistics Office conducted the second round of a national child labor survey in 2001 to identify the extent and nature of child labor in the Philippines.
Since 1994, DOLE has implemented the "Sagip Batang Manggagawa" (SBM – "Rescue the Child Workers") Program to monitor suspected cases of child labor and intervene on behalf of children in affirmed cases. In addition, DOLE has a number of social welfare programs targeting working children, including the Working Youth Center and the Bureau of Women and Young Workers' Family Welfare Program. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the lead government agency that provides social welfare support for victims of trafficking, and also operates programs that provide social services to vulnerable children who have been exploited or abused, or rescued from living on the streets. Numerous government agencies work on prevention of trafficking and other counter-trafficking efforts. Both independently and with UNICEF assistance, the government launched national information and awareness-raising campaigns against child labor.
The Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for 2001-2004 includes promotion of universal primary education. The government has implemented a number of education programs that benefit vulnerable children, including establishing new elementary schools, school feeding and quality improvement projects. DEPED is implementing functional education and literacy programs that provide working children with basic education and skills training. In addition, the government is working in consultation with community groups to implement the National Project on Street Children that provides street children with the financial support to continue their education. DEPED's Bureau of Non-formal Education collaborates with donors and local government bodies to provide non-formal education under the NFE Accreditation and Equivalency System.
ADB and the government signed an agreement to work in partnership to fight poverty, including improving the quality of basic education. ADB is currently funding projects through DEPED, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Development Bank of the Philippines to improve secondary and vocational education. AusAID is also assisting the delivery of quality technical education services through the development authority, as well as improving access to basic education in Mindanao. UNICEF works actively with the government to promote children's rights, assist children in need of special protection, including working children, and support educational improvements.
Incidence and Nature of Child Labor
In 2001, the Philippine National Statistics Office estimated that 16.2 percent (4 million) of children ages 5 to 17 years in the Philippines were working. The survey found that of the country's 24.9 million children ages 5 to 17 years, 2.4 million work under hazardous conditions. Almost half of working children, or 1.9 million, are ages 10 through 14. Child labor is more prevalent in rural areas. Almost half of all child workers are engaged in agricultural activities, while other children work in informal footwear production, drug trafficking, pyrotechnics production, deep-sea fishing, mining, and quarrying. Children living on the streets engage in informal labor activities such as scavenging or begging. Children are also engaged in domestic service and are involved in the commercial sex industry, including the use of children in the production of pornography and the exploitation of children by sex tourists. Children are reportedly trafficked internally for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and labor. There are no reports of child soldiers in the government armed forces, but children under the age of 18 are used as soldiers in paramilitary and armed opposition groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf Group and the New People's Army.
The Philippine Constitution mandates six years of compulsory primary education for children, and Republic Act No. 6655 provides for a free secondary education. The Governance of Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 9155) of 2001 formalized the structure of the Department of Education and outlined the roles and responsibilities of the national, regional and local levels of the administration. The Act also aims to improve the local relevance of education by expanding input into the system. Primary and secondary schooling is free, although families must cover related costs such as transportation and supplies. In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 112.6 percent. The 2000 net primary enrollment rate was 92.7 percent, with 93.4 percent of girls enrolled versus 92.1 percent for boys. The primary attendance rate in 1999 was approximately 86 percent. Many children who enroll in school fail to complete the year, with a 67.1 percent of children who enrolled in school completing the year in 2000.
Child Labor Laws and Enforcement
Republic Act No. 7658 of 1993 and the Labor Code of 1993 prohibit the employment of children under the age of 15, except when working directly with a parent and when the work does not interfere with schooling. Additionally, it is permissible for a child to work as an apprentice at age 14. In December 2003, Republic Act 9231 was signed into law, creating measures to prevent the worst forms of child labor. Specifically, the new law prohibits the employment of children below 15 years of age, unless the Department of Labor grants a special permit. Other landmark features of the bill include limiting the number of working hours for children, formal administration of working children's income, initiating trust funds to preserve a portion of working children's income, and guaranteeing access to education and training for working children. Also known as the Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Strong Protection for the Working Child, the act effectively codifies in domestic law the provisions of ILO Convention 182.
In addition to setting the minimum age for work, the Labor Code gives the Secretary of Labor and Employment the authority to limit working hours for children ages 15 to 18 years, and prohibits hazardous work for children less than 18 years of age. The Department of Labor and Employment's Order No. 4 of 1999 includes in the definition of "hazardous work" the handling of dangerous substances, work hazardous to morals, work that entails exposure to extreme elements of cold, heat, noise, or pressure, and work that is hazardous by its nature. Policy Instruction No. 23 of 1977 prohibits night work for children under the age of 16 years from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and forbids children ages 16 to 18 years from working after 10 p.m.
A new counter-trafficking law, Republic Act No. 9208, was also enacted in May 2003. The law criminalizes trafficking for the purposes of exploitation, including trafficking under the guise of arranged marriage, sex tourism, prostitution, pornography, or the recruitment of children into armed conflict. The Act considers the trafficking of children as "qualified," and sets out higher penalties of life imprisonment and a fine of two million to five million pesos. Those who use the services of trafficked persons are also liable under the law to penalties of 15 years imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 to 1 million pesos. The law also sets out additional penalties for government employees breaking the law, and mandates immediate deportation of foreign offenders following the completion of the sentence. Slavery and forced labor are prohibited under Articles 272 and 274 of the Revised Penal Code, and the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act protects children under 18 years from all forms of abuse, cruelty and exploitation and prohibits child prostitution and child trafficking. The Revised Penal code also prohibits engaging in, profiting from or soliciting prostitution.
The DOLE is responsible for enforcing child labor laws through the labor standards enforcement offices. The government has also begun institutionalizing a computer database on children identified as child laborers that includes their needs and identifies appropriate assistance. However, child labor enforcement is reportedly weak due to a lack of resources, inadequate judicial infrastructure, low rates of convictions, and legislative shortcomings such as absence of coverage in the informal sector. The National Bureau of Intelligence, the Bureau of Immigration and Detention, and the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are tasked with counter-trafficking.
The Government of the Philippines ratified ILO Convention 138 on June 4, 1998, and ILO Convention 182 on November 28, 2000.
 The council is now part of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It operates hotlines on child welfare, formulates policy on children, ensures consistency with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and performs advocacy. See Council for the Welfare of Children, Council for the Welfare of Children, [online fact sheet] [cited June 11, 2003], "About Us"; available from http://www.cwc.gov.ph.html.
 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, August 13, 2001 [cited June 26, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm. The government began an anti-child labor program in 1988 in order to coordinate the activities of government agencies. In 1992, the government established the National Child Labor Program Committee, composed of governmental, nongovernmental, employer, and worker representatives, to provide policy and technical assistance on child labor. See ILO-IPEC, Program to Combat Child Labor in the Fishing Sector in Indonesia and the Philippines, technical progress report, RAS/99/05P/050, August 30, 2002, 3.
 In addition to setting out penalties for trafficking offenses, the law also mandates the establishment of various services by specified government agencies, and establishes that certain social services be made available to all trafficking victims. See Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, Republic Act 9208; available from Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) at http://www.catw-ap.org/. See also ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Republic of the Philippines, technical progress report, PHI/02/P50/USA, September 12, 2003. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Philippines, Washington, D.C., June 11, 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2003/21276.htm#philippines.
 The National Program Against Child Labor (2001-2004) establishes a framework for the implementation of comprehensive action against child labor. See ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Republic of the Philippines, project document, Geneva, September 25, 2002, iii.
 The plan was adopted through Executive Order No. 310, 3 November 2000. The Framework is also referred to as "Child 21." See Council for the Welfare of Children, Philippine National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children, 2000-2005, Makati City, Philippines, 2000, vii-viii, 37. President Arroyo established a Department of Labor and Employment-led Poverty-Free Zone Program in September 2001 that includes anti-child labor activities. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 5729, October 18, 2002.
 The Comprehensive Program Framework for Children in Armed Conflict was adopted in November 2001. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Philippines, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18261.htm.
 Council for the Welfare of Children, Council for the Welfare of Children.
 ECLT Foundation, ECLT Foundation Program in the Philippines with the Department of Labor and Employment 2003-2005, [online] 2003 [cited June 19, 2003]; available from www.eclt.org/activities/philippines.html.
 The Philippine-ILO Indicative Framework of 1994 established the priority target groups for anti-child labor activity. Through 2001, IPEC had implemented more than 60 anti-child labor programs totaling about USD 3 million, and has built partner capacity to combat child labor. See ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program, project document, 15-16.
 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflict: an Inter-Regional Program, project document, Geneva, September 2003.
 USDOL committed USD 10 million in support of the initiative, which included an education project and the ILO-IPEC Timebound Program. See Letter of Intent between the U.S. Department of Labor, the Department of Labor and Employment of the Republic of the Philippines, and the Department of Education of the Republic of the Philippines,, June 28, 2002, para. 1, 3.
 The Timebound Program implementation has been integrated into the National Programme Against Child Labour for 2001-2004. USDOL funded the ILO-IPEC Timebound Program in September 2002. See ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program, project document, i-iii, 4-5.
 ILO-IPEC, Reporting on the State of the Nation's Working Children: A Statistical Program for Advocacy on the Elimination of Child Labor and the Protection of Working Children in the Philippines, project document, 2001. The Philippine National Statistics Office conducted the first round in 1995, with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC and funding from USDOL. See ILO-IPEC, Reporting on the State of the Nation's Working Children: A Statistical Program for Advocacy on the Elimination of Child Labor and the Protection of Working Children in the Philippines, project document, 1995.
 U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4103, June 23, 2000. In 2002, the interagency program conducted 106 operations that rescued 363 minors; in the first quarter of 2003, an additional 16 operations were conducted that released 47 minors. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653, August 29, 2003.
 The BWYW has conducted training for government officials who enforce child labor laws as well as for companies nationwide. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 5990, October 10, 2001.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Philippines, Section 6f.
 Department of Social Welfare and Development, DSWD Programs/Projects: Children, DSWD, 2002 [cited June 11, 2003]; available from http://www.dswd.gov.ph/children.htm.
 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2003 – Philippines.
 The Philippine Information Service (PIA) campaign includes posters, comic page inserts, and radio and television announcements that are aimed at children, parents and employers. PIA also holds workshops with the assistance of UNICEF, and it works locally to collect baseline data on people's attitudes and perceptions on child labor. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4103.
 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program, project document, 13-14.
 UNDP, Philippine Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals, January 29, 2003, 25-26; available from http://www.undp.org/mdg/countryreports.html. In 2001, DEPED implemented the Zero Collection Fees system that banned collections of fees from students in public schools, leading to an increase in enrollment. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653.
 U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4103.
 Department of Education: Bureau of Nonformal Education, Innovations in Nonformal Education: The Challenge for Teacher Training Institutions, Pasig City, 2001, 4-8. DEPED is in the process of developing a system to provide alternative education to children ages 6-12 who are out of school. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653.
 Republic of the Philippines – Asian Development Bank Poverty Partnership Agreement, signed in Manila, the Philippines, October 10, 2001 [cited September 2, 02]; available from http://www.adb.org/Documents/Poverty/pa_phi.pdf.
 ADB, Secondary Education Development and Improvement (LOAN: PHI 25182-01), April 19, 2000 [cited June 25, 2003]; available from http://www.adb.org/Documents/Profiles/LOAN/25182013.ASP.
 ADB, Technical Education and Skills Development (LOAN: PHI 23229-01), September 20, 2000 [cited June 25, 2003]; available from http://www.adb.org/Documents/Profiles/LOAN/23229013.ASP.
 The funds are available for private institutions providing technical education to borrow in order to improve services. See ADB, Fund for Technical Education and Skills Development (LOAN: PHI 23229-02), November 29, 2000 [cited June 25, 2003]; available from http://www.adb.org/Documents/Profiles/LOAN/23229023.ASP.
 AusAID, Boost for Philippines Technical and Vocational Education, [press release] 2002 [cited July 2, 2003]; available from http://www.ausaid.gov.au/media/release.cfm?BC=Media&Id=8445_5335_294_2481_916.
 AusAID, "Country Information – Philippines," available from http://www.ausaid.gov.au/country/country.cfm&CountryId=31.
 Government of the Philippines and UNICEF, CPC V: Programme of Cooperation for Child Survival, Protection, Development and Participation in the Philippines: Master Plan of Operations between the Government of the Philippines and UNICEF, 1999-2000, Manila, February 1999, 99-101, 25-28.
 National Statistics Office, 2001 Survey on Children, 5-17 Years Old: Final Report, International Labour Organization, Manila, Philippines, May 2003.
 Within the specified age group, 70 percent of working children worked in rural areas. See National Statistics Office, Philippine Survey on Children 2001 (Preliminary Results), May 2002; available from http://www.census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2002/ch01prtx.html.
 Ibid. See also Alejandro W. Apit, interview with USDOL official, April 6, 2000. A 2002 rapid appraisal found child labor in tobacco production in certain areas of the Philippines. See Incorporated Partners International, Rapid Appraisal of Child Labor in the Tobacco Industry: Case Studies in Two Ilocos Provinces, Philip Morris International, Manila, February 2002; available from http://www.eclt.org/activities/philippines.html.
 Children manufacturing footwear from home are exposed to dangerous glue and kerosene fumes, and are at risk of hurting their fingers with the tools used. See Department of Labor and Employment: Occupational Safety and Health Center, Consolidated Report 1998/1999, Manila, 19-21.
 ILO-IPEC, Assessing the Situation of Children in the Production, Sales and Trafficking of Drugs in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, project document, Geneva, September 17, 2002, 6-8. See also Magdalena Lepiten, Children's Involvement in the Production, Sale and Trafficking of Drugs in Cebu City: A Rapid Assessment, no. 22, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, February 2002.
 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program, project document, 4-5.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Philippines, Sections 5, 6c and 6f. See also Department of Social Welfare and Development and UNICEF, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Philippines: A Situation Analysis (Executive Summary), 1999, 7-8.
 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2003 – Philippines. See also ECPAT International, Philippines, in ECPAT International, [database online] [cited June 6, 2003]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Philippines, Sections 6c and 6f. See also ILO, The ILO-Japan Asian Meeting on the Trafficking of Children for Labour and Sexual Exploitation: Country Report – Philippines [CD-ROM], Manila, 2001.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Philippines, Section 5. See also Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, Child Soldiers in Central and Western Mindanao: A Rapid Assessment, no. 21, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, February 2002.
 The Philippine Constitution, Article XIV, Section 2 ( para 1, 2), 1987, as cited in Feny de los Angeles-Bautista and Joanna C. Arriola, To Learn and To Earn: Education and Child Labor in the Philippines, Working Paper Series on Child Labor (Manila: ILO-IPEC, 1995), 2.
 "Republic Act No. 6655," in Laws and Issuances on Children Council for Welfare of Children and UNICEF, 2001.
 Government of the Philippines, Governance of Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 9155), (2001).
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Philippines, Section 5.
 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003. For an explanation of gross primary enrollment and/or attendance rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definitions of gross primary enrollment rate and gross primary attendance rate in the glossary of this report.
 Government of the Philippines, Preliminary Report of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) for the Philippines, 1999, UNICEF, [cited November 12, 2002]; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/philippines/philippines.htm.
 UNDP, Philippine Report on Millennium Development Goals, 25.
 Philippines Labour Code, Article 139; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/E98PHL01.htm. See also "Republic Act No. 7658 of 1993," in Laws and Issuances on Children Council for Welfare of Children and UNICEF, 2001, 59-60.
 Philippines Labour Code, Article 59.
 U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 0962, February 27, 2004.
 Ibid., Article 139.
 This work would include use of adhesives used in footwear manufacture, employment in dance halls, deep-sea diving and underground work, mining, logging, and pyrotechnics production. See Government of the Philippines: Department of Labor and Employment, Hazardous Work and Activities to Persons Below 18 Years of Age, Department Order No. 04, 1999. See also Department of Labor and Employment, Primer on the Rights of Women and Young Workers, DOLE, [online fact sheet] [cited July 14, 2003]; available from http://www.dole.gov.ph/primers/rightswyw.htm.
 Opening Doors: A Presentation of Laws Protecting Filipino Child Workers, rev. ed. (Makati City: Ateneo Human Rights Center and ILO, 1997), 71-72.
 U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653.
 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, Sections 3-4.
 The Act also provides for confiscation of any proceeds deriving from trafficking crimes. See Ibid., Section 6, 10, 14. This is the equivalent of USD 36,476 to USD 91,191. See also FXConverter, [online] [cited September 9, 2003]; available from http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm.
 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, Section 5, 10.
 Ibid., Section 6, 10. The Government has a joint agreement with Malaysia and Indonesia to combat transnational crime, including trafficking in persons. See U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2003 – Philippines.
 Revised Penal Code, as cited in The Protection Project Legal Library, [database online], Act No. 3815; available from http://220.127.116.11/protectionproject/statutesPDF/PhilippinesF.pdf.
 Government of the Philippines, Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, (Republic Act No. 7610 of 1992), Sections 2, 3, 5, 7; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/E92PHL01.htm.
 Revised Penal Code, Articles 202, 341.
 DOLE maintains inspection statistics that reflect a steady decline in violations of child labor laws from 1997-2001. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 5729. In 2002, only 34 children below the age of 18 were identified, through inspections of 39, 811 establishments, of whom 5 were working in hazardous conditions. The total is up slightly from 26 children identified in 2001. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653.
 U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653.
 U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 5853, September 11, 2000. Trafficking convictions are not common due to the judicial system's ineffectiveness. See U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2002: Philippines, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2002; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2002/10680.htm. The BWYW reported only 4 convictions on child labor violations from 1993-2003, although an additional 11 child labor cases are currently pending before the courts. See U.S. Embassy-Manila, unclassified telegram no. 4653.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Philippines, Section 6f.
 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited June 4, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.