Philippine Standard time

Implementation of Child Labour Laws and Programmes in Cebu

This study aims to define child labour in the legal perspective and to differentiate it from child work. It shall also discuss the existing laws and programs of child labour as they are being implemented in Cebu Province. The study also aims to assess and evaluate the existing laws and programs based on the child labour situation in Cebu. Lastly, to come up with concrete recommendations for NGOs and GOs in the fight against child labour. The following are the findings and conclusions of the present study: 1. The law does not clearly define child labour. R.A. 7610 as amended by R.A. 7658 prohibits the employment of persons below (15) years of age with certain exceptions but does not come up with clear definition of child labour. Even the implementing rules and regulations of R.A. 7658 does not define child labour and its elements. Neither does the law differentiate it with child work. 2. The law is inadequate and limited. There is no clear definition of what types of employment would be considered as endangering the life, safety, health and morals of the child. This can therefore be subject to different interpretations. 3. Laws do not comprehensively answer the problem of child labour. Aside from the ambiguity, the existing laws do not comprehensively answer problem of child labour. It does not provide for programs to prevent child labour and does not address its root causes. Neither does it provide for programs to answer the problem of child labour already existing. The only program provided under R.A 7610 is the non-formal education of child workers which is to be implemented by the DECS. Other than this, the law does not provide for any other program. The Sagip Batang Manggagawa Program is not provided by law but only by agreement of some government agencies. 4. Government’s Sagip Batang Manggagawa Program is a reactive program. Studies on child labour have been conducted, the most extensive of which is the 1995 Child Labour Study conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and funded by ILO-IPEC. However, these studies remain untapped as shown by the inadequacies of interventions and programs on the matter. The government program is basically Sagip Batang Manggagawa (SBM) which is a reactive program aimed at rescuing children in hazardous working condition. 5. Entry in prioritized areas classified as hazardous work may not be effective. There is no question that with limited resources and manpower, there is a need to prioritize activities so as to have an impact on the problem being addressed. This study shows that putting priorities on identifying and focusing government effort in hazardous work in the formal sector may not be effective because many of the child labourers are in the informal sector. Based on the findings of this study, the following are the recommendations of Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) to address the problem of child labour: 1. A comprehensive law on child labour should be enacted. 2. Even without the law, concerned government agencies particularly the DOLE should implement comprehensive programs on child labor. It should not only focus on the worst form of child labour for rescue operations as what the Sagip Batang Manggagawa (SBM) Program is doing. 3. Advocacy program on child labour should be maximized. It is important that advocacy agenda be articulated. Government should provide incentives for companies particularly those engaged in manufacturing not to engage in child labor through a system of certifications stating that no child labour was used in the process of coming up with this product (including the raw materials), so that their products will be more competitive.


This publication has been cited time(s).