June 28, 2012
Jinggoy urges DOLE, PNP to shut down companies engaged in child labor
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to maintain close coordination and step up drive against child labor amidst the high incidence of children involved in hazardous labor. "The police authorities and labor officials must immediately shut down companies and factories and arrest businessmen engaging in child labor and not complying with the existing labor regulations," Sen. Estrada urged, as he described child labor as "modern day slavery practice."
Sen. Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, is reacting to the 2011 Survey on Children conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showing that 5.59 million children aged 5 to 17, were already working. The figure, as news reports have it, represents 18.9% of the 29.019 million Filipino children under the same age bracket. Also from this number, 2.993 million were reported to be exposed to hazardous labor.
The lawmaker cited Republic Act 9231 (An Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor) which prohibits employment of children below 15 years old, except under some cases. The same measure also states that a child 15 years old but below 18 years old shall not be allowed to work for more than 8 hours per day and in no case beyond 40 hours per week.
Moreover, DOLE Department Order 04-1999 prohibits employment of workers below 18 years old under particularly difficult conditions such as work for long hours or during the night.
Sen. Estrada noted that child labor is also harmful to the children's health especially if exposed to hazardous chemicals in the factories. Sen. Estrada maintained that the younger population must cultivate learning in educational institutions and not in unsafe worksites. "Our children must be encouraged to go to school to learn and become globally competitive individuals as they are the future leaders of our country," Jinggoy states.
"High incidence of child labor illustrates the hard economic circumstances of the Filipino families, that even children at an early age are forced to finance their personal needs, source their own school allowance and assist their parents in providing the family's needs," Sen. Estrada laments, while adding:
"Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals take advantage of this situation - the innocence of the child on human and labor rights, and cheap labor costs - by employing kids as laborers. We must take serious, hard-line stance against child labor and apprehend offenders at once."
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