The Memorandum of Understanding (1994-1996), (1997-2001)
In June 1994, the Government of the Philippines and the International Labour Organization formalized a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). The Memorandum required the Philippine Government to establish a National Steering Committee for the IPEC programme and a secretariat to assist the committee. In December 1996, the Memorandum of Understanding was extended until December 2001.
The Indicative Framework for Action
From its very inception, the IPEC programme has kept its focus on priority groups of children identified in the Philippine-ILO Indicative Framework for Action. Determined during a National Planning Conference on Child Labour held in July 1994, the priority target groups of children are the child victims of trafficking, children in mining and quarrying, children in home-based enterprises, especially under sub-contracting arrangements, children trapped in prostitution, children in domestic service, children in deep sea diving and fishing, and children in commercial plantation agriculture, including sugar and vegetable production.
The National Oversight Committee
The National Child Labour Committee (NCLC) sits as the national steering committee of the IPEC programme, overseeing its implementation and monitoring progress. This Committee, created in 1992, prior to the IPEC programme, supervises the national child labour programme. The NCLC has an organizational field structure at the national and regional levels. Members include the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Health, the Philippine Information Agency, the Employers' Confederation of the Philippines, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the Labor Advisory Consultative Council, and the National Council for Social Development.
With the entry of IPEC in the Philippines, the Department of Labour and Employment designated the National Child Labour Program Committee and its secretariat, the Child Labour Project Management Team, to meet the government's commitments under the Philippine-ILO Memorandum of Understanding. The inter-agency partners signed in February 1995 a Joint Statement for a Unified and Intensified Action Against Child Labour that clarified inter-agency roles and responsibilities under a new integrated programme. A special IPEC Programme Review Group was, at a later time, formed to screen proposals for IPEC action programmes. In May 1997, the NCLC approved new criteria for expanding NGO membership in the National Child Labour Committee.
A Seven Point Strategy for Action
For the 1996-97 biennium, IPEC outlined its priorities in a seven-point plan for action. These include:
Mainstreaming of the issue of child labour and child protection as important policy issues at the national, regional and provincial levels;
National media and advocacy campaign;
Formulation of a legislative agenda, including the ratification of relevant ILO child labour conventions;
Expansion of direct programme services: removal and elimination of child labour in hazardous and exploitative work and the immediate protection of working children. The areas of action are in prevention, removal, rehabilitation and recovery services, as well as the delivery of protective education and health services;
Broadening of the social alliance;
Professional and technical capability building;
Strengthened management and coordination of child labour programmes.
Progress on the ratification process of ILO Convention 138 concerning the minimum age of entry to employment
The Philippine government position regarding the ratification of ILO Convention 138 has changed dramatically from long-term hesitation to positive endorsement. In response to an ILO inquiry on the status of the ratification of ILO's core conventions, the Department of Labor and Employment, in July 1995, stated "that due to the difficulties in application and given that existing Philippine legislation already address the issue of child labour, the Philippine government is unable to ratify ILO Convention 138". The first indication of change in the executive position was expressed at the Dialogue with Legislators held in May 1996 when a joint resolution of legislators and government officials agreed to consider the ratification of ILO Convention 138. This was followed by the official statement of DSWD Secretary Lina Laigo to the Amsterdam Child Labour Conference in February 1997 "The Philippines believes and supports the principles of ILO Convention 138. It is now in the process of reviewing its position on the Convention". In April 15, 1997, the International Labour Affairs Service of the Department of Labor and Employment convened a tripartite consultation on ILO Convention 138. Attended by ILO's constituent partners - trade unions and employers, NGOs, and key government legislative and executive leaders, the tri-partite consultations resulted in a unanimous endorsement for the ratification. Secretary of Labor and Employment, Leonardo Quisumbing and Senator Marcelo Fernan, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment delivered keynote addresses fully supporting the ratification of the convention. The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Blas F. Ople, reaffirmed his support for ratification. In May 1, 1997, President Fidel Ramos publicly declared his endorsement for the ratification of ILO Convention 138.
The Philippine government ratified ILO Convention 138 in the latter part of 1997, setting the country's minimum age of entry to employment at 15. This represents a major step forward in laying the basis for the fuller enforcement of the long-standing Philippine jurisprudence on child labour. The ratification process itself was a demonstration of the newly found strength of the multi-sectoral alliances campaigning against child labour in the country.
Heightened legislative action
Currently pending at the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment are six bills on child labour that are in various stages of public hearings. These bills cover hazardous work, trade relations, parental responsibilities and accountabilities, and overseas employment of minors. These bills are expected to be discussed during the 7th session of Congress starting in July 25, 1997.
The Sectoral Representative for the Youth at the House of Representatives (Lower House), Ms. Anna Periquet, has sponsored three recent legislative initiatives at the Lower House of Congress. The first, House Resolution No. 950, called for a congressional oversight investigation, in aid of legislation, into the implementation of the "Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act" as amended by R.A. 7658. Her second resolution calls for the creation of a post of "Ombudsman for Children". The third initiative is a House Bill proposing revisions to the landmark child protection laws: R.A. 7610 and 7658.
Another House Resolution (1047) was filed in January 1997 by Representative Jose Lacson asking for an investigation, in aid of legislation, over the apparent "alarming increase in the incidence of child labour in the Philippines".
There are also several examples of provincial and municipal ordinances that address the issue of child labour in hazardous undertakings, including, a major city ordinance on the hiring of children and young workers in the adult entertainment centers (Quezon City, 1997), and a local municipality initiative on children in the pyrotechnics (fireworks manufacture) industry (Hinigaran, 1995).
Increased media attention and public awareness
Media coverage and reporting in print, television and radio have expanded. Public opinion surveys in December 1994 show that only 57% of the population were aware of the child labour law, 8% indicated the presence of children in hazardous work in the respondents' localities. Awareness levels were higher in the metropolitan centers and among upper income classes. While there have been no subsequent tests on awareness levels on child labour, in September 1996, the question on hazardous undertakings revealed that there has been significant rise in levels of awareness of hazardous work for children. Twelve percent (12%) are now aware, and important increases are registered in Visayas and Mindanao, both of which have a high incidence of child labour. (Social Weather Stations, 1996).
Renewed commitment for better law enforcement
In February 1996, President Ramos issued Executive Order No. 275 that creates the "Special Committee for the Protection of Children". This order aimed to consolidate the assessment, monitoring and implementation of the State's policy of protecting children from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to their development. The Committee is chaired by the Secretary of Justice, with the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development as Co-Chair, representatives from other concerned departments and 3 representatives from the private sector. While the Special Committee focuses on general child abuse and exploitation, there have been very conscious efforts to give greater priority to child labour.
In 1996 the Task Force on Child Protection of the Department of Justice handled twenty eight cases related to the 1993 Republic Act 7610, "An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination". Seventeen of these cases can be categorized as child prostitution (15) and child labour (2). Four cases are currently on trial. At the Department of Labor and Employment, complaints on child labour are often resolved at the administrative level and not elevated to the courts for criminal prosecution. Still, among the various complaints raised at the DOLE, twelve are in process for filing in court. Two high profile cases (Metallica/Ms. Saigon and the Soliman Go) are currently on trial. Since there has been no successful prosecution of any child prostitution or child labour case, the Task Force has imposed a target to obtain at least one positive resolution of its cases currently on trial.
The importance of labour inspection in identifying and monitoring of children most at risk has been reaffirmed. On February 18, 1997, the Department of Labor and Employment issued Administrative Order No. 47 directing its labour inspectors to give priority to the inspection of establishments employing child labour and women workers, security agencies, construction, shipping sectors and other establishments classified as hazardous or high risk. This Administrative Order is seen as a consequence of specialized training of the labour inspectorate on child labour sponsored by ILO-IPEC in the latter half of 1996.
An important breakthrough in the development of governmental guidelines on child labour is the current revision on the definition of hazardous work for children and young workers below 18. The Department of Labor and Employment is finalizing for approval by a Tripartite Council a revised list of hazardous undertakings for young workers. This will replace the original list of hazardous occupations for children and young workers promulgated in 1973. The revision of the list of hazardous occupations is based on the 1997 research work commissioned by the IPEC programme on the subject. While the list of hazardous occupations are designed for young workers between the ages of 15-17, the new list can apply to the groups of children exempted under the current Philippine law on minimum age of employment. These are children in family undertakings and children in entertainment and artistic performances.
Deeper and wider involvement of ILO's tripartite partners
After several years of hesitation and caution, the Employers' Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is starting a new action programme on child labour. While many large scale establishments still maintain that their establishments do not hire minors, there is greater willingness, among the employers' groups, to review company production and purchasing policies that may indirectly cause the hiring of child workers. The ECOP is conducting an inquiry into sub-contracting policies, and undertaking advocacy programmes that will assist employers in understanding the legal and social implications of child labour and in taking action in collaboration with other committed groups in various communities. A Child Labour Desk has been established for the purpose of enlisting support and champions in the campaign. Employers' involvement will be in four broad areas: (a) review of current company policies regarding the hire and use of child labour, especially under sub-contracting arrangements; (b) development of company/industry codes of conduct; (c) providing community services to priority groups of working children; (d) advocacy in tripartite bodies for action on child labour. In a clear gesture of support for the campaign, the ECOP invited Assistant Director General for Asia and the Pacific Mitsuko Horiuchi to address the 18th National Conference of Employers on the subject of child labour. During this national conference held April 23-25, 1997, ECOP co-sponsored a child labour photo-exhibit that focused on the situation of child workers and highlighted the role of employers' organizations in the campaign.
The Bishops'-Businessmen's Conference for Human Development (BBC), a collaborative association of the country's most influential businessmen and the bishops of the Catholic Church of the Philippines, has made a firm commitment to start action in 1997. Setting up a special child labour committee, the BBC is seeking to influence the government's social reform agenda, the country's large poverty alleviation programme. The entry of BBC in the campaign against child labour opens opportunities for the contribution of the major corporate foundations and the Catholic Church's social action centers. The initiatives will center on educational support and scholarships, health and nutrition, and where child work is clearly intolerable, law enforcement and removal and recovery programmes.
The participation of the trade unions has also expanded. Trade union efforts can be categorized into four: development of union policy and framework for action; direct services to child workers and their families; workers education, and solidarity activities in the national and global movements against child labour. Starting with awareness raising and sensitization campaign of its membership, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and the Labor Consultative Council, in particular the Federation of Free Workers, have deepened the scope of their engagement in other ways. Working closely with other partners, government and non-governmental organizations, the trade unions have incorporated child labour in their worker education programmes; innovated on community integration activities for purposes of better detection and surveillance of child labour incidence; undertaken lobbying at both the national and local government levels for policy reform and improved services for child workers; and intensified its advocacy activities. The unions have pilot projects in several industrial sectors: the ports, sugar plantations, garments production, hazardous farming and fishing. Trade unions have also assisted in several efforts at withdrawing and removing affected children from hazardous work and providing legal services where needed.
Strategic partnerships in a broad movement against child labour
An important development in the campaign against child labour is the emerging alliance and collaborative work among key players in the campaign - government, non-governmental organizations, trade unions. These alliances are both vertical (within and among NGOs, for example) and horizontal (unions working with NGOs and government organizations). There is much diversity in approaches and even philosophical commitments in engaging in work against hazardous work for children. But there are core agreements on essential principles - beliefs that are able to transcend, sometimes uneasily, organizational and territorial considerations. These basic principles consist of: the reaffirmation and promotion of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the ILO Conventions governing child labour; adherence to the principle that childhood is a time for education and socialization; and the demand that the country's development programmes should give first priority to children. The original and pioneering NGOs in the Philippines are presently working under loose collaborative arrangements (called Philippine Partners Against Child Labour) in undertaking joint advocacy and lobbying; awareness raising; training of members and volunteers; support programmes for caregivers; referral services for children in need. The trade unions and employer organizations are part of the emerging network. A clear example of the concerted action of the various ILO-IPEC partners was demonstrated in the lobbying for the ratification of ILO Convention 138, joint para-legal training, and the ongoing mobilization among the NGOs and GOs for the forthcoming Global March on Child Labour. On the local level, the trade union partners are undertaking joint consultations in planning consolidated trainors training on child labour prevention, removal and rehabilitation.
Expansion at the Regional, Provincial and Municipal levels
IPEC work at the administrative district levels intensified in the 1996-1997 biennium. Whether working with national organizations with presence in the local communities or direct associating with local community organizations, IPEC has started direct action in communities with a high incidence of children in hazardous work. These include the communities with children in the ports (Davao City and Dipolog City in Zamboanga); children in the sugar plantations (Ormoc, Leyte and Kabankalan in Negros); farming and fishing (Quezon, Samar and Lanao del Norte); children in mining and quarrying (Montalban, Rizal and Paracale, Bicol); children in home-based work, in particular, garments production (Taytay, Rizal); children vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation (La Union and Pangasinan and Cebu City); domestic service (Batangas City, Cebu and Davao cities); and children in scavenging (Payatas, Quezon City). IPEC has also expanded its capacity building in programme development and management with regional child labour programme implementors (Region 8, 11 and 5) and para-legal education in Davao and Cebu Cities.
Assessment of the IPEC Programme and Challenges for the Future
The gains made in campaign against child labour are due to several factors. The growing international attention on the issue of child labour and child prostitution, as evidenced by the conferences in Sweden, Amsterdam and the forthcoming Oslo Conference together with the worldwide media focus on exploitative work for children, have created the climate leading to progress. In the country itself, progress can be attributed to several positive influences. The availability of comprehensive national statistics has given great impetus to the campaign. By providing an overview of the magnitudes and focusing on hazards and dangers faced by working children, national statistics catalyze action. The national media campaign (print, radio and television) and the availability of information and advocacy materials reinforce the hard data by providing the human face to child labour. The demonstration and cumulative effect of field action programmes prove that, even in small meaningful ways, progress can be achieved. An often overlooked factor is the increasing competence of the key players in the national programme in taking action. Competence draws from the improved understanding and sharing of experiences on child labour, hazardous work and sustainable action. Training programmes for implementors, the inspectorate, social workers and care-givers have raised not only the level of debates and discussions on child labour but also raise the confidence level that progress can be made. Regular progress and monitoring meetings strengthen resolve, opening new possibilities for joint problem-solving and collaborative work.
The 1995-1997 IPEC programmes have laid the groundwork for the second phase of IPEC's work in the Philippines. Continuing with the present seven point strategy for action, the 1998-1999 biennium will give greater emphasis to thematic evaluation; consolidation of support services at the community level; institutionalization of capacity building; and integration into national and local governance, including poverty alleviation and education programmes.
Given the diverse and wide ranging programmes of 1995-1997, it has become important to undertake a systematic evaluation of its interventions in order to draw lessons from the experiments and use these lessons for more strategic interventions in the next biennium. These thematic evaluations will take off from a basic general evaluation of the child labour programme that will be completed in late 1997. The specialized reviews will initially revolve around education, community organizing, research and training, and direct services for priority groups of children.
The initial experience with direct services at the community level for target groups of working children have been promising. These have been started by several partner organizations, both governmental and non-governmental. In the 1998-99 biennium, IPEC will select 10-15 of these most promising communities and concentrate resources in consolidating and integrating community approaches in prevention, protection, withdrawal and rehabilitation. The interventions will most likely center on community accountability and responsibility, family protection, provision of economic and income alternatives, access to scholarships, educational and vocational training, and other social services for children. The community programmes will be jointly planned and implemented as collaborative initiative of various IPEC partners and will include a community monitoring and evaluation system. Community organizing and governance aim at preparing communities in assuming more responsibility for the protection of working children. This should lead to either the creation or the reactivation of local coordination and management mechanisms, often in the form of community councils or lead local organizations that have the responsibility for unifying services for children in hazardous work situations. These councils will be helped not only in the operational aspects of setting up and maintaining programmes for working children but also in the ways for mobilizing national and local resources to sustain these programmes in the future. Family protection consists of awareness raising and mobilization of families in protecting children. Modules on family responsibility and protection for working children will be standardized, where possible. Economic alternatives will provide opportunities for child workers and their families to find and augment family incomes through livelihood interventions. Educational support will be in the form of scholarships, transitional classes, vocational training opportunities, and where appropriate, sheltered and protected workplaces. The selected communities will also be encouraged to undertake child focused and child-centered activities that directly address the immediate needs of working children for health, safety, play and recreation. Community rehabilitation and recovery interventions, which have tested in one or two areas, will be replicated in other communities with different target groups of children. Social mobilization and awareness raising activities will emphasize new activities for teachers and students and educational organizations. Special modules for students in the elementary and high school levels will be prepared for the purpose of achieving more caring school environments for working children as well as motivate working students to remain in school.
While the 1998-99 biennium will consolidate services at the local community level, nation-wide action on certain target groups of children will remain important. This is especially relevant in cross-regional interventions for children in domestic service and child victims of trafficking. On a national level, more is needed to highlight the growing numbers of children who are leaving home for work and the presence of recruiters who specialize on the illegal recruitment of these child workers. For young domestic workers, advocacy at the national level continues to be essential in order to bring some urgency to the risks and vulnerability of young workers who are engaged in this form of work. Efforts at raising awareness at the local levels will be linked with the national media campaign for greater impact.
Institutionalization of capacity building will seek to standardize and regularize, where possible, training delivery to child labour implementors, advocates and other interested organizations. The training programmes for implementors and labor inspectors will accelerate with new emphasis on regularly scheduled training sessions outside of Manila involving local programme implementors and labor inspectors. The national trainors' pool will be further increased to reach a critical mass of at least 40 trainors on child labour.
Strengthening the present alliances is essential, especially in overcoming organizational and weaknesses and difficulties. Sustaining activities will require joint action on various interventions, as well as in participatory planning and evaluation. Government and NGO collaboration on various projects will also be further encouraged. The efforts towards institutionalization will also require better documentation of various child labour programmes and the efficient and effective sharing of experiences and lessons learned from these programmes. It is expected that the number of employer and trade union organizations participating in the child labour programme will increase. Given the expansion of interest and the limitations in resources, it will be important to set fair and transparent criteria for project selection and approval.
The expanding alliances on child labour and the diversity in approaches to child labour provides even greater responsibilities for the management and coordination of the child labour programme. In the past year, the management of the programme shifted from the Institute for Labour Studies to the Bureau of Women and Young Workers, the agency within the Department of Labour and Employment with the specific mandate to address the needs of working children. A new action programme has been approved in the second half of 1997 which seeks to strengthen the Child Labour Project Management Team of the Bureau of Women and Young Workers will continue into the 1998-1999 biennia. Since the Child Labor project management team acts as the secretariat for both UNICEF-supported and ILO-IPEC funded activities, it is expected that the coordination and programming of both programme activities will be improved.
For the 1998-99 biennium, there will be a conscious effort to mainstream child labour into the 1992 Philippine Plan of Action for Children (PPAC) and the Social Reform Agenda (SRA), the Philippines' largest poverty alleviation program. The PPAC is set for review and reassessment in the year 2000. Its reformulation is an avenue to obtain a higher priority for the needs and concerns of working children. The SRA aims to meet the minimum basic needs of the country's poorest provinces through an array of social services. IPEC's 1998-99 support will be given to identifying within the SRA's convergence areas the municipalities and localities with the highest incidence of child labour, including those areas where children are most at risk for illegal trafficking for work. Where these municipalities have set coordination mechanisms for child labour programmes, IPEC will support initiatives that help these organizations obtain a greater share of social services and resources for working children.
2. Consolidating Lessons from Action
Targeting Intolerable Forms of Child Labour First
If there is any one thing that should be learned from the national survey of working children in the Philippines is that children who work are clearly at risk. The nature of the work is important, but not the only criterion to be exposed to such risk. Other risks emanate from poor working conditions of children, and more importantly, their workload which is often heavy both in the physical sense (heavy weights, for example, or exposure to toxic materials) as well as the pyscho-social dimensions (boredom, pressure, verbal abuse are examples). This is aggravated by the reality that many children go to work unprepared: they have little or inadequate training and are quite often unsupervised. Children who work are more likely to suffer problems in school (drop-outs, tardiness, inability to cope with lessons, lower sense of self-esteem due to adult and peer hostility), suffer injury and illness. The long term impact of premature work has not been quantified - but there is some evidence that adults who have been working children are less likely to be successful.
The dilemma over child work and child labour is wrongly premised on the notion that some work is actually beneficial for children. It is true that children have huge fountains of resilience, and that, under certain conditions, are able to transcend or become invulnerable to the damage that premature work renders. The more correct assumption is that they succeed, despite of work rather than because of it. It is true that individuals learn from adversity and can be, in fact, strengthened by such adversity. It is another thing to deliberately provide adversity in order to be strengthened by it.
It is essential to put these arguments forward in any discussion of intolerable forms of work because it is easy from this point of view to argue that all forms of work for children that impair the present and future development should be considered as intolerable and unacceptable. The notion of "tolerable and non-tolerable" are more often than not shaped by cultural and economic considerations; establishing universal standards is not as easy as it would seem.
Strategically, setting priority groups for action makes sense. By setting sights on the groups of children where the hazards are immediately and concretely visible (at least, when seen and better yet, experienced), the debate and controversy over child labour becomes more immediate and urgent. It also benefits, from a resource allocation point of view, to channel resources to children who are perhaps in the greatest danger. These are more often also the groups of children whose physical and psycho-social recovery would be the most difficult.
From the start of the IPEC programme in the Philippines, action has tried to focus on intolerable forms of work. On hindsight, the Philippines' priority groups of children range from target groups of children whose work is both legally and socially unacceptable: children who are victims of trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution); work which is legally unacceptable yet socially tolerated: pyrotechnics, deep-sea fishing and diving, mining and quarrying, even child domestic service; to those whose work may in fact be considered as legally and socially acceptable such as children in home-based work especially under sub-contracting, or children in vegetable and sugar production usually done as family undertakings. Ultimately the goal from a strategic point of view is to widen the band of what should be considered as legally and socially unacceptable.
Identifying and reaching children most at risk
Statistics for advocacy
The first step in taking action on child labour, whether on a national, sectoral, or community level, is to identify the children at risk. National surveys on child labour provide a broad overview of the situation of working children and highlight the various hazards and risks they are exposed to. With careful use of the survey results, it becomes possible to identify the areas with a high incidence of child labour as well as pinpoint the sectors and occupations which may pose the greatest danger. The 1995 National Survey of Working Children of the Philippines, implemented by the National Statistics Office, stands out as an example of how a national statistical programme can serve as an important tool for advocacy. The NSO statistical results have been presented in various national and district level fora primarily to inform on the extent and peculiarities of child labour in the various regions, but more importantly, to prod action where it is lacking and sustain energies where activities have been started. As a result of these efforts in various regions, the National Statistics Office has become a member of several Regional Committees on Child Labour, serving as the statistical consultation on area-based research projects. The work on child labour has also influenced its own statistical agenda. In various surveys done after the survey on working children, the NSO has added questions on economic activities for children and young persons, ensuring the continuity of the datasets well beyond 1995. A second round of the NSO Survey is planned for late 1999.
Surveillance, outreach and investigation
National surveys may fail to capture information on certain groups of children. These are those who may be living in isolation (e.g. child victims of prostitution) or who may be away from home (e.g. child domestic workers, or child victims of trafficking) or may be found in far-flung villages (indigenous working children). In these cases, and where there is a need to name specific beneficiaries of follow-up action, sectoral and community-based efforts are needed.
Identifying working children in communities may be self-evident - for example, children working in city garbage dumps are highly visible. For other groups, this may not be as clear. Whether self-evident or not, obtaining information from and on the working children is, by itself, a worthy area of action. One may require special surveillance and detection techniques, often in the form of undercover investigations. For children who have been victims of trafficking and kept in almost slave-like conditions, the Kamalayan Development Foundation fielded extension workers (and volunteers) to apply at target establishments in order to obtain information. Labour inspectors of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) in La Union implemented late night surveillance missions in order to confirm the presence of young girls in the tourist entertainment centers. Often originating from other communities, these children work at night and in isolation.
Another approach calls for providing direct services in places where known child workers congregate. For child domestic workers who are more often living away from home and under the custody of employers, Visayan Forum organized regular counseling and legal services for domestic workers on their days off in a national park in Manila. In Batangas and Davao cities, the Visayan Forum is currently concentrating its outreach services to young domestic helpers attending Sunday vocational schools. These services resulted in strong informal information networks. The Religious Sisters of the Good Shepherd (RGS) worked in the Carbon Market in Cebu City, where many migrant children have become streetchildren. Here, the Sisters tried to identify those children who were at most risk for prostitution, usually girls from dysfunctional and broken families. The Kaugmaon Center for Children' Concerns established a nearby drop-in-center for the children working in the ports. By establishing trust and bonding, children more readily provide the needed information on how and when they are recruited, and the different aspects of their work.
The third approach is to have orientation and sensitization sessions for community leaders and government officials. At the start, it is not always possible to obtain information on child labour from community leaders and government field extension workers. Given their long term period of stay in these communities, they have accepted the presence of working children. They see no hazards in premature child work, and therefore are almost "blinded" to the situation of children. Others deny the existence of child labour, since admission may mean that action has been lacking. Awareness raising sessions help community officials and leaders understand what child labour means and the importance for action. Only then can they even "see" the child workers in their midst.
A "third" eye, often that of outsiders, or investigative journalists, or academics may be required to identify areas of child labour. Or, as has happened, academics and research institutes partnering with community organizations can provide a better sense of where children are working in unacceptable conditions. The Occupational Health and Safety Center initially faced a blank wall in their research on children in the pyrotechnics industry. When OSHC officers asked the health officers and the town's elected officials about the children in fireworks production, these officials would reply that were no longer any children working in the pyrotechnics workplaces. Only by working with the local chapter of the homeworkers association (PATAMABA) did the OSHC officers discover the workplaces of where children were involved - in the middle of rice fields in outlying areas. Immersion in the local communities is, thus, important in many efforts. Trade unionists, undertaking social investigation in selected communities, as another example, needed to integrate with community groups in order to "find" their target beneficiaries.
Social mobilization is often simply equated with awareness raising sessions. Awareness raising and advocacy is an important part of social mobilization; but it also includes social investigation and capability-building in the communities. This leads to the organization of local mechanisms that can undertake action and provide resources and services on action against child labour. These councils, or committees, form watch-dog functions: monitoring progress, lobbying for greater resources and/or services for working children. Examples of such committees in the Philippines are Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPC) and other similar privately initiated committees.
Often, social mobilization campaigns require highly visible champions and advocates. In some cases this can be an elected public official, such as a town mayor, or an influential businessmen or civic or church leader. Teachers perform a highly influential role and can be helpful in pinpointing children who both work and study. Where youth organizations have a role in policy making, young community volunteers can also be trained to be spokespersons for child workers. Trade unions, employers' groups and other civic organizations can also play their own roles in social mobilization.
Various trade union and non-governmental organizations have adopted community organizing as a pre-condition for direct action with children. These include, among others, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) for children in gold mining, Community Organization Training and Research Advocacy Institute (CO-TRAIN) for children in quarrying. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has mobilized community and trade union volunteers in their pilot communities. This has resulted in formation of a hundred volunteers known as the Trade Union Anti-Child Labour Advocates (TUCLAS). These volunteers are encouraged to be vigilant partners in monitoring and reporting incidence of child worker abuse in their respective workplaces and communities. The Federation of Free Workers formed a child labour action network in three farming and fishing communities. Membership in the network includes local government offices, area-based NGOs, community organizations and local labour unions. The Council of Working Children (CWC) tapped the services of youth leaders in the campaign against child labour. Stop Trafficking of Pilipinos (STOP) has concentrated its awareness raising and advocacy against child prostitution with orientation seminars to police officers, fiscals, prosecutors, and members of the judiciary.
Local councils for children are effective where there are committed advocates. Often such committees are stymied by lack of funds. Here, mobilization means lobbying for greater resources to support the children - whether from government resources or corporate philanthropy. This may be in the form of money donations but can also include educational support and scholarships, health services, livelihood programs, etc. Where there are already social philantrophic activities by various organizations, the advocacy is directed in ensuring that working children become direct beneficiaries.
Working with parents
Parents and families of child workers are an important resource in the effort to address the needs of working children. Research in the Philippine shows that, especially for low-income families, parents are often divided in their attitudes towards child labour. Usually former child laborers themselves, parents believe that children must help in earning for the family. In several communities, participating government and non-government organizations have tried to reach parents as target group for their advocacy. Parents are made aware of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the national and international standards on child labour and the results of various research studies showing the negative impact of premature work on children. But the most effective approaches seem to be those that directly have parents and adults recall the periods of struggle as child workers.
Directly working with working children and their organizations
Awareness of the rights of children is an important catalyst in starting action on child labour. In some action programmes, child workers and or their peers lead in forming associations of child workers as a venue for sharing experiences and seeking assistance to their problems. This has happened in the case of Visayan Forum's Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawang Pantahanan ng Pilipinas (SUMAPI), organized in 1995. This organization of household workers provides a venue for the participation, advocacy, socialization and training of its younger members at the Rizal Park in Manila every Sunday. SUMAPI branches have been established in Batangas, Bacolod and Davao cities. Another example is the Youth Organization Against Child Labour (YO! CHILD) which is an area-based organization of child labour victims, youth volunteers and students that promotes children's rights and facilitate the access of child workers to formal education. Stop Trafficking of Pilipinos (STOP) organized a theater group of young child labour advocates called National Capital Region Child Advocates for Social Transformation (NCR-CAST). The theater performances of NCR-CAST project the children's views on child labour, their needs and problems; at the same time, the methodology allows the young performers an opportunity to develop their skills in the arts, music, drama and dance.
The Working Children's Summer Festival: Federation of Free Workers
Since September 1996, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) has been implementing trade union activities against child labour in three target farming and fishing villages in the three main island groups of the Philippines. Their efforts have centered in documenting child labour situations in the three villages, engaging in dialogues with community leaders, parents and working children, and starting community level networks to serve as focal points for all action. Aside from directly serving the children in the communities, FFW saw these efforts as part of deepening the trade unions' commitment to a campaign against child labour. The activities have not only made the trade unionists and education officers more deeply involved in the community workplaces; they have, on their own, taken the child labour programme as their own personal crusade.
In May 1997, the trade unionists of the three farming and fishing villages decided to go beyond the scope of their action programme and organized for the working children of the communities a summer festival that would showcase the children's skills, talent and potential. The Children's Summer Festival was designed as a one day gathering of working children, focusing on child friendly work and activities that would bring out the best in the physical and mental capabilities of the children in various competitions: sportsfests, essay and art contests and cultural presentations. Emphasis was placed on indigenous music, dance and arts, games and recreation. The trade union volunteers solicited school supplies, company products, union resources, and private donations to provide prizes and incentives to all the working children participating in the one-day event. The major winners in the writing and arts competitions won tuition scholarships and book allowances from the organizers.
Nearly a thousand children participated in the summer festival creating goodwill and enthusiasm for the work of the child labour networks in the three communities. A few days after the festival, there was heavy participation on the trade unions' seminars on child labour for parents, children, and government officials. More importantly, the festival showed the trade unionists that on their own personal levels, they too could make a difference in the lives of the working children.
National media campaigns and public relations
In the Philippines, media organizations have played an important role in raising awareness and mobilizing action on child labour. The earliest campaigns in 1986 against the use of children in muro-ami fishing and the in 1987 on children in scavenging at Smokey Mountain raised national and international attention on issues of child labour. In 1993, media also played a big role in documenting the conditions of children who were trapped in bondage-like situations in sardines factories in Novaliches. This has been followed by many more news exposes on children illegally recruited for work and other forms of child labour. These investigative reports are among the most effective in galvanizing action on child labour.
At the start of the IPEC programme in the Philippines in 1995, one of the first action programmes was for the production of a documentary on child labour. The result, "No Time for Play" done by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism brought special attention to the problems of children mining in Diwalwal, Davao del Norte, pyrotechnics in Hinigaran, Negros Oriental, children in the sugar plantations of Negros and those young workers illegally recruited from depressed communities in the rural areas only to disappear in Metro Manila. This documentary and a succeeding one, "Minsan Lang Sila Bata" done by the same production team have been effective communication tools in advocacy and training seminars.
Media relations include the development of a national tri-media campaigns for radio, television and print. These initiatives, taken by both government and private advertising companies and privately-owned radio and television stations, raise concern over child labour in the consciousness of policy-makers, program planners, local government executives and the general public. Prior to the formulation of the campaign, the advertising and media executives assessed the current levels of people's understanding of the child labour problem, then formulated effective communication strategies and messages to initiate action. In the Philippines, the tri-media campaign was done by McCann Erickson Inc., the largest advertising agency, in the country, together with the government's Philippine Information Agency. Advertising commercials were prepared and distributed on radio, television and print. The call to action was to "hear the cries of the working children" and "report cases of child labour" to designated government and non-government organizations and telephone hotlines.
Media Awards for the television and radio commercials on child labour; Cultural Awards for the Child Labour Documentaries
With greater national interest on child labour issues, the country's advertising companies have donated pro-bono creative services in the production of television and radio commercials on child labour. McCann Erickson, the country's largest advertising company, provided creative services for three television commercials and two radio commercials. Dentsu Young and Rubicam Alcantara prepared a three ad campaign on child abuse and prostitution.
The commercials prepared for these ad campaigns have won recognition in various awards giving bodies in the Philippines and the United States. "Rolly", a radio commercial featuring a child who is unable to go to school because of child labour won a Catholic Mass Media Award for "Best Radio Commercial". It also won a Kapatiran Award from the Rotary Club Makati West. The TV ad "Make-Up", produced by Dentsu Young in cooperation with ILO-IPEC partner STOP Trafficking of Pilipinos, won two WorldMedals at the New York Festivals, a prestigious international award-giving body for advertising. The awards were for creative excellence and the other for public service advertising.
"No Time for Play", a documentary on child labour in the Philippines, placed second in the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Gawad ng CCP Awards for Best Alternative Documentary. "Minsan Lang Sila Bata", another child labour documentary won a Philippine Film Academy Award for Best Documentary for 1996. "Minsan" was also shown at the Hongkong Film Festival in May 1997 as a special feature.
Broadening Access to Education
Nearly seventy percent of Filipino working children attend school. Those who are in school suffer from various work-related problems such as difficulty in catching with lessons, absenteeism, tardiness, low grades. Many are chronic drop-outs. Working children complain about the high costs of education, distance of their school, and even hostility from peers and teachers.
Education is an important strategy against child labour, although many children have triple burdens of going to school, working and helping in family chores at home. By simply being in school, working children at least have a chance to break the chains of poverty and possibly, moving themselves out of poverty.
In general, education for all is a high government priority. Major efforts are directed towards attaining truly universal elementary and high school education. Attendance at elementary school level is compulsory; attendance in high school is free but voluntary. There seems to be a heavy infrastructure build-up and there are continuing efforts to improve the quality of education. However, the educational challenges are staggering in a country with a continuing high population growth rate, an insular geography, and where the responsibility for education, in particular in the secondary and tertiary sectors, are being provided in tandem with the private sector. Non-formal learning programmes have been innovative and creative, but need to be made in scale. Examples of these are schools on the air and self-learning (homestudy) programmes.
Given the broad challenges faced by the Philippine educational system, there are really few programmes that focus on working children as a special priority group. Where these exist, the more promising programmes consist of: (a) providing scholarships that reduce the costs for children and their families; (b) where working children have long left school, remedial programmes that raise competencies to higher and age-appropriate grade levels; and (c) efforts to keep the children in school, through various support services. In all cases, family agreement and active participation have been found to be essential for success.
Broadening access to school is done through financial support to school with educational scholarships (Kaugmaon Center for Children's Concerns, ERDA Foundation, Visayan Forum, Federation of Free Workers); provision of non-formal or alternative learning programs that enable children to raise their competencies and qualify for re-entry to formal education (Children's Laboratory for Drama in Education for children in scavenging, as an example). Keeping children in school include efforts to provide remedial lessons to children who have returned to school or are combining school and earning activities. Para-teachers have been hired to visit homes of students who are chronically absent from school. These teachers also conduct supplementary classes to children who have been held back due to poor study conditions or by preoccupation with work and family duties. These support services enable the working children to cope with their school activities. The evidence seems to show that these efforts have been successful, in many cases, to reduce the workload of children and to keep them successfully in school full-time.
Another approach has been to provide earning opportunities for working children in school under supervised schemes. This has been tried and tested (and is sustained) by the ERDA Foundation in their pioneering work with child scavengers in Sabana, in Smokey Mountain. ERDA enters into contracts with participating families for working children to stop scavenging and return to school. It supports the children through school through an allowance scheme, supplemental feeding, and a remedial learning programme. ERDA also arranges days of earning opportunities through T-shirt making and paper recycling. The production of the T-shirts and the re-cycling of materials have provided additional opportunities for learning art, design, colors, and marketing. The SABANA children have minimal drop-out rates and have above average achievement levels in school. Many children have been able to satisfy their "contracts" with ERDA and have gone on to higher schooling.
Justice for the Children
Laws banning child labour and providing sanctions against its violators have been in the country's statute books since the 1920s, when the American occupied government in the Philippines issued Act No. 3071, regulating the employment of women and children in shops, factories, industrial, agricultural and mercantile establishments and other places of labour in the Philippines. In 1992 and 1993, R.A. 7610 and the amendatory R.A. 7658 were enacted to provide stronger protection and deterrence against all forms of child abuse, discrimination and exploitation. Yet for a variety of reasons, no one has yet been convicted under the laws up to this date.
Since 1992, the government has implemented as a flagship programme, "Sagip Batang Manggagawa" (Rescue the Child Worker), an inter-agency effort designed to remove and rescue children trapped in abusive and hazardous work situations. Between 1993 and 1997, the Department of Labor and Employment conducted a total of 107 rescue operations involving 227 minors employed as guest relations officers in nightclubs and bars. Twelve criminal cases are currently pending in court. Several cases were dismissed and did not even reach the courts because of either the loss of interest of the child workers to testify or an extra-judicial settlement.
IPEC has supported, since 1995, several action programmes to fill some of the gaps in law enforcement, including but not limited to: (a) raising awareness of the judicial system and NGO partners on newly passed legislation on child labour; (b) expanding community surveillance and detection, ( c) specialized training of labour inspectors on child labour, (d) providing litigation services to victims of child labour and child economic exploitation, and (e) designing an agenda for policy and legislative reform.
IPEC's involvement in these initiatives comes the realization of the many gaps which exist in the area of legislation and law enforcement. In May 1996, seven IPEC partners from the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Justice, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Stop Trafficking of Pilipinos (STOP) met in a workshop to identify the continuing problems in law enforcement and pledged then to work together in addressing these concerns. These problems and difficulties are listed below in detail.
Information Gathering and Reporting: Heavy reliance on complaints against child labour
At present, the capacity for detection and surveillance by the community and law enforcers is inadequate. Low levels of awareness of the various child labour laws are a major constraint. Less than half of the general public are aware of child labour law. Where there is an awareness of the law, the community members remain somewhat split on whether the law should be fully applied (a high rate of child labour incidence in the Philippines are found in family establishments, agricultural holdings and farm households). More surprising, many law enforcers and committed NGO community advocates themselves have a very poor understanding of the law. Neither were they fully aware of their roles in gathering relevant data, in receiving the reports on child labour, in verifying the reports and in initiating and taking action.
Given that the government's existing response mechanisms are heavily dependent on citizens' reports, it is essential to strengthen the reporting and referral process. Unfortunately, the current procedures for reporting are unclear. The diversity of individuals, organizations, agencies, committees and special task forces who respond to the cause of exploited children has resulted in an overlapping of mandates and a confusion among community groups, non-governmental agencies. Reported cases often suffer from delays or inaction. Many more remain unreported due to the perceived futility of the exercise as well as the ignorance of the citizenry on which agencies are capable and ready to respond to such reports.
Upon receipt of the report, the information needs to be verified. The task of verification belongs to the labour inspectorate and designated partner agencies. However, the DOLE has a shortage of labour inspectors. Its 250 inspectors are tasked to inspect a total of 80,000 establishments a year. Of these inspectors, few are properly trained in gathering relevant data on child labour. Verification, moreover, is difficult especially when employers block access to suspected establishments, work areas, or homes.
Since verification and surveillance is resource intensive, it is essential to have a network of reliable informants from the community and volunteer groups. Otherwise, many reports and complaints are not properly processed due to the inadequacy of resources and to the skepticism regarding the reliability of the reports.
Immediate Interventions - Limitations of Rescues and Withdrawals
Upon verifying information, there is a large gray area regarding the appropriate response, especially seen from the best interests of the child.
The critical decision revolves on whether it is necessary to immediately effect the withdrawal of the child from the workplace, with its concomitant problems of custodial responsibility and alternative work (or incomes) from government, or alternatively, negotiate with employers for better protective devices including monitoring the conditions of work for children. Government remains centered on withdrawals and rescues particularly for those groups of children where public opinion is favorably disposed for elimination - that is, child prostitution. The decision to mount a rescue is essentially a judgment call, depending on basic principles or guidelines that need to be transparent and clear to all concerned. Otherwise, such decisions may be deemed as arbitrary and disruptive, and could even lead to situation where the working children see their withdrawal from work by the authorities as a deprivation of their own right to choose work and their right to seek support for alternative work. While it seems clear that the state has the overriding authority to intervene in conditions of clear hazard and danger to the children, the consent of the children and their families is an important element determining success or failure in prosecution.
The experience with rescues and withdrawal of children seems mixed. Understandably, the rescue operation sends a clear message of government's seriousness in its campaign against abusive child work, and successful action against employers and recruiters can act as a deterrent to other forms of abuse against children by employers. On the other hand, there have been major constraints in the implementation of rescue operations. There are problems with the administrative and logistical requirements of the rescues. Given the confidential nature of rescue operations, the planning of rescue operations is short and limited to a few partners. Nevertheless, leakage of information has been repeatedly reported, as employers are tipped off when the inspections and rescues would take place. Secondly, in terms of impact from the children themselves, the experience has also been mixed. Children are alienated because of the intrusive quality of the rescues; the lack of temporary shelters; the lack of pyscho-social support and the inadequate reintegration efforts for the children.
Some non-governmental agencies have, with the cooperation of children in distress, undertaken the lead role in removing children and young workers from hazardous conditions. The Visayan Forum, which has responded to the cries for help by abused domestic workers through their telephone hotlines, have mounted selected withdrawal of children in households. Done only as an exceptional intervention of extreme necessity, this intervention is only possible because, they have licensed social workers and because the young workers themselves have sought assistance in removal. Another NGO, the Kamalayan Development Foundation, have, in certain cases, encouraged children to escape, where necessary. These efforts however can be considered only as isolated and cannot be replicated in large scale without the active support and assistance of government organizations.
Aftercare and custodial responsibilities
A major problem area in the withdrawal of children from the workplace, especially in cases where the working children are living away from home, is the inadequacy of existing facilities and resources for the proper custody and rehabilitation of child workers. As the lead agency, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) suffers from a limited number of trained personnel with skills and competencies for pyscho-social counseling and aftercare. In addition, its social workers are overloaded with a diverse range of child exploitation cases. As a result, there are numerous occasions of escape by the child workers from the welfare centers and a growing reluctance of some NGOs and child workers to cooperate with the DSWD. Since child witnesses need to stay in custody for some period of time in order to pursue cases against their employers, the lack of a nurturing environment for the children cause them to drop their cases for either lack of interest or the great desire to return home or, even, more unfortunately, to return to the former workplace.
Investigation, Hearing and Trial
Those tasked with investigation and with the filing of complaints and/or information, such as policemen, inspectors, fiscals and other investigators lack the systematic skills in evidence gathering and in preparing information. Documentation of cases is usually erroneous and incomplete. Thus, when the cases are eventually filed, cases are dismissed for lack of evidence.
While the criminal prosecution of cases has not quite prospered, the administrative sanctions against employers and the settlement of cases through amicable settlement have resulted into some monetary gains for the working children. Success in the administrative settlement cases by the Department of Labor and Employment involves the payment of back wages, settlement of past accounts and an improvement of conditions of work, wherever needed. In the three year experience from 1993-95, involving 39 children and 98 adults, monetary settlements amounted to Pesos 1.5 million (US$57,915). Quite often however, when children and their families receive such settlements, they sign affidavits of desistance, clearing their employers from further criminal or administrative action.
The Philippine experience with government-initiated rescues and withdrawal of children in hazardous occupations shows how daunting the task of serious law enforcement can pose. While the experience has been limited largely to children in commercial entertainment, a specially problematic area, the evidence points to many overlapping and complex layers of difficulty that stand in the way of enforcement
Critical partnership and collaboration between the government and non-government agencies and host communities of the working children is essential to make any headway in finding solutions. This starts from the detection and reporting stage, the first contact with the child workers, and ending in the successful prosecution of offenders and care for the victims.
Joint Action on Child Domestic Workers: Visayan Forum, the Ateneo Human Rights Center and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
In July 1996, three IPEC NGO partners agreed to participate in a telephone hotline" to respond to cries of help of abused child workers. The first test case happened in August 1996, when Visayan Forum received a report on abusive employment for three young domestic helpers. Visayan Forum sent its social worker to the household cum office of the employer to meet with the affected children and dialogue with their employer. Unable to meet the children directly, the social worker met with the employers' other office workers who verified that two of the children were ill and had suffered the effects of insufficient food, poor sleeping quarters, verbal abuse, and non-payment of wages. With this information, Visayan Forum asked the assistance of lawyers from the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AKAP) to effect the pull-out of the child domestics. Together, the three organizations sought the intervention of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Work and Development.
The immediate difficulty faced by the group was the lack of the opportunity to have a thorough face-to-face interview with the affected children. All the interviews were done secretly by phone at night; the tone of the calls was getting increasingly urgent and desperate. As the rescue of the children had to be postponed at least three times because of the non-availability of government personnel, the three partners decided to effect the removal of the children themselves. They agreed on this course of action after successfully tracing the uncle of one of the child workers. He agreed to approach the employer for the custody of the children.
The initial confrontation with the children's employers was tense. The employer denied all the allegations and questioned the right of the partners to take action on behalf of the children, notwithstanding the presence of the uncle of one of the girls. The lawyers of TUCP and AKAP explained that since the employers had hired minors they could not continue to employ and detain them, especially since the children themselves wanted to leave their employment. Although the employer's family finally relented and agreed to release the children, they only wanted "let go" directly to the children's parents and or the recruiter who brought the children to them. They also demanded a refund of the cash advances to the children which was used as payment for the travel of children from the provinces to Manila. As the parents of the young workers were in Mindanao (several hours by plane and several thousands of pesos away), the partners were not able to bring the young workers to safety.
Two days later, the partners returned to the employer's household with the government social worker from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The barangay policemen were also notified in case of further employer resistance. After several hours of dialogue, the group was finally able to leave with the children. This case provided humbling lessons on the difficulties of removing child workers from abusive work conditions. It also highlighted the importance of close work relationships between and among the government and non-government organizations involved in the programme
Capability Building and Training
Underemphasized but one of the more important initiatives for a sustained campaign against child labour is capability building. Single-handedly, the capability building interventions of the IPEC programme have had the largest impact in sustaining active interest against child labour.
Capability building has been premised on the philosophy that these exercises must be pursued on a certain level of excellence, its outcomes deliberately designed and not left to chance. Central to the approach in learning is that participants learn on the levels of head, heart and hand, that is, their learning must result in a change in knowledge, attitudes and skills. Given the limited resources for training, priority groups have been identified on the basis of greatest reach or influence, the idea being to regard each trainee group as a core pool of advocates who will pursue the work in their own areas. Implicit in this consideration is the fact that priority groups must have national, regional and community basis: labour inspectors because it is they who have the unique authority to inspect the establishments where children work; program implementors because it is they who design, manage and evaluate child labour programmes; law enforcers, defenders and dispensers of justice because it is they who enact and enforce laws protective of children; child and youth leaders because it is they who can best mobilize their peers.
The Bureau of Working Conditions of the DOLE conducted an intensive specialized training program on child labour for the labour inspectorate. The program intended to equip inspectors with the tools they needed for applying a more developmental approach to child labour issues in the workplace, rather than the customary regulatory approach of law enforcement without consideration of the child laborers' situation after the termination of his/her services. Twenty five labour inspectors were originally trained; on their own, the trained labour inspectors "echoed" their seminars to co-labour inspectors. This has resulted in a reinvigoration of the inspectorate with labour inspectors now playing key roles in the child labour efforts in their respective regions. Programme implementors were likewise trained on designing, managing and evaluating action programmes on child labour with now at least 100 programme trained programme implementors.
To address an increasing demand for trainors with an understanding of the child labour issue, a National Training Resource Pool has been formed from the graduates of the program implementors course. This pool underwent further training, this time as trainors themselves, in order to prepare them for conducting effective programs of a wide variety of audiences. Now, the 16 pool members are being tapped for various training activities. The resource pool is a good model for collaborative effort since its members come from both government and non-government organizations, and it has to come to represent its members' respective leaderships to the child labour effort.
Selected youth leaders were trained by the Council for the Welfare of Children to become advocates for working children. These 80 youth leaders, who come from three pilot areas, have successfully pushed for the creation of Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPC) in several municipalities.
The Ateneo Human Rights Center (AKAP) of the Ateneo de Manila University has conducted para-legal education seminars, giving first priority to the IPEC partners and their target beneficiaries; child workers and their own organizations; and other child centered institutions and organizations. Using volunteer law students, AKAP has also run orientation seminars for child workers making use of popular education methods and child-friendly modules. In their training seminars, AKAP has included project site visits for private law practitioners and volunteer law students.
The International Catholic Child Bureau (ICCB)- Asia has worked with care-givers of abused and prostituted children in five child rehabilitation centers in developing their skills in creating a child-focused environment as part of a recovery and healing programme for children. This involves a shift from standard approaches like counseling to more innovative and indigenous techniques, such as expressive therapy, like role-playing, art work, photo language puppetry, story-telling. Such non-threatening techniques free children to express their own thoughts and feelings. These are a means to get into the inner world of the child and to facilitate critical thinking , thus increasing self-esteem and harnessing resilience in the process.
The National Trainors' Pool: Institute for Labour Studies
The Institute for Labour Studies has, since January 1996, conducted several training sessions for implementors on "The Design, Management, and Evaluation of Projects on Child Labour". These training programmes have been the more successful and well-received of ILO-IPEC capability building programmes, not only for the theoretical and intellectual content of the programmes but also in terms of the way these programmes have influenced the quality of work and the commitment of the participating organizations. A very important result of the DME training programmes has been the creation of a "National Trainors Pool on Child Labour". Sixteen of the 100 graduates of the DME courses, have undergone further training as trainors in order to prepare them for conducting courses for a wide variety of audiences. The national trainors have been prepared for team teaching and have worked together in various training activities on child labour. They have also worked together to further refine and improve the training manual on DME for application to Philippine programme implementors. The resource pool is a good model for collaborative effort since its members come form both government and non-government organizations. Three regional training programmes on the DME for 1997 will be carried on largely with the efforts of the national trainors.
Networking and progressive partnerships
Creating and nurturing partnerships is one of the more important strategies of IPEC. This is premised on the belief that the child labour problem requires collaborative action of a wide range of organizations. For so long the projects of the national child labour programme has been confined to government organizations. Employers and trade union activities were minimal; NGOs were heavily involved in work with streetchildren. The entry of many new partnerships in the national child labour programme has energized the activities and given new life to moribund organizational structures. Collaborative work is enhanced though regular partnership meetings and a sharing of technical resources and experiences that have made the whole effort much bigger than the sum of the individual action programs. Common training programmes and joint action for some initiatives have strengthened the partnerships.
The IPEC Philippine programme has had a large harvest of publications and research documents that have been produced as result of action programmes and various inter-regional research activities. The early papers, issued as IPEC supported publications, were produced as a result of the National Planning Workshop of 1994. These are:
A Comprehensive Situation Analysis of Child Labour in the Philippines, Institute for Labour Studies, 1994 (first printing), 1997 (second printing);
Attacking Child Labour, An Indicative Framework for Philippine-ILO Action, 1994 (first printing), 1997 (second printing)
In 1995, the Ateneo Human Rights Center published "Opening Doors: A Compilation of Laws Protecting the Filipino Child Workers, Ateneo Human Rights Center, Ateneo de Manila University 1996 (first printing); 1997 (second printing). The Occupational Safety and Health Center, in 1997, published "An Assessment of Occupational Safety and Health for Children in the Pyrotechnics Industry" . The Institute of Church and Social Issues, published the IPEC supported research study "Case Studies of Integrated Programmes for Street and Working Children" by Ruth Esquillo Ignacio in PULSO, their regular publication. The Philippine Association of Human Rights Advocates issued a special volume on child labour, entitled "Child Labour: Neglected Human Rights?"
The National Survey of Working Children 1995 is scheduled for publication in 1997. The Survey of Child Domestic Workers in Metro Manila by the Bureau of Women and Young Workers, Department of Labor and Employment, Manila, Philippines is also scheduled for publication.
Two training manuals, originally developed by ILO Geneva, have been modified, tested and adapted for Philippine use. The first, Training Guide for Specialized Training in Child Labour for the Philippine Labour Inspectors, will soon be released; the second, The Design, Management, and Evaluation of Child Labour Programmes is scheduled for publication the end of the year.
Several analytical studies, produced as a result of IPEC's action, mini-programmes or inter-regional research activities, have been released as part of the IPEC Working Papers Series (1997). Through publication and dissemination, the papers aim to provoke deeper academic interest on child labour in the Philippines. The IPEC Working Papers Series includes the following:
To Learn and To Earn: Child Labour and Education in the Philippines. Feny de los Angeles and Joanna Arriola, Community of Learners Foundation
Baseline Survey of Attitudes of Filipino Parents on Child Labour. Philippine Information Agency
A Case Study of Young Workers in the Furniture Industry of Cebu City. Professor Elizabeth Remedio, University of San Carlos
Focus on Selected Garments Enterprises in Rizal, Philippines. Prof. Rosario del Rosario, College of Social Work and Development, University of the Philippines
A Situation Analysis of Violence and Violence Related Working Conditions of Child Domestic Workers. Priya Gopalen, Asian Institute of Management
A Case Study on Experiences in Community Education to Prevent the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes.
The Inner World of Children in Prostitution. International Catholic Child Bureau Asia.
Defining Hazardous Occupations for Children and Young Workers. Dr. Ronald Subida, M.D. University of the Philippine Institute of Public Health
Management and Coordination
Child Labour Project Management Team at the DOLE
The recent extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between the ILO and the Philippine Government to year 2001 has provided the opportunity to review and evaluate the secretariat and support functions of the CLPMT in meeting the needs of the IPEC programme, in particular, to the planning, monitoring and evaluation of child labour programmes. This review and evaluation is important given the quantum growth in awareness in the child labour issues and the transfer of the secretariat from the Institute of Labour Studies to the Bureau of Women and Young Workers in October 1996. The review is also appropriate given the much wider experience that have been gained by the DOLE and the expanding alliance of child labour programme implementors in undertaking IPEC programmes.
Originally created in 1992 to facilitate the implementation of the UNICEF assisted project "Breaking Ground for Community Action on Child labour", the CLPMT is tasked to be the unit "responsible for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all child labour activities falling within the area of responsibility of the DOLE under the project". In the 1994 Memorandum of Understanding with the ILO, the DOLE designated the Child Labour Project Management Team, then with the Institute for Labour Studies, to serve as the secretariat of the programme.
The consolidation of operations and programmes covered by the ILO-IPEC and UNICEF assisted programmes is difficult, given the different planning, monitoring and evaluation requirements of both programmes. As a result, there are real gaps in the programme administration, including: (a) the absence of an integrated view of the child labour programmes, especially in incorporating IPEC initiatives in the country; (b) overlapping of national child labour programme activities; (c) continuing lack of guidelines on obtaining, screening and recommending IPEC assistance for varied regional initiatives on child labour.
The newly approved action programme for strengthening the child labour project management team of the Bureau of Women and Young Workers responds to these gaps through the following strategy for implementation: (a) development of the IPEC Programme Review Committee (or Technical Advisory Group) of the National Child Labour Committee as IPEC's oversight programme committee responsible for reviewing policy and programme directions; (b) design and development of operational guidelines and procedures for submission, approval, monitoring and evaluation of IPEC supported programmes; (c) technical training of CLPMT staff; (d) creation and maintenance of databases of child labour organizations, volunteers, advocates; (e) production of a regular newsletter, advisory and other resource materials; (f) establishment of a library of publications and a compilation of reference materials. The CLPMT will also organize and regularly host the progress review meetings of IPEC partners and agencies. It will provide secretariat support to all IPEC TAG and progress review meetings. These additional functions of the CLPMT will be reflected in a revised mandate of the CLPMT to replace Administrative Order No. 2 (Series of 1992).
While programme development, financial supervision and report monitoring of IPEC programmes remains with the IPEC national programme coordinator of the ILO, the move to strengthen the child labour project team will greatly improve overall project management and coordination. For the Bureau of Women and Young Workers and the Department of Labour and Employment, this should result in greater project ownership, and with the involvement in the screening of action programmes, a greater sense of responsibility to provide administrative and logistical services to all programme partners.
Relations with Other U.N. and International Organizations
With the increasing amount of international attention on child labour, a number of U.N. and other international organizations have increased their activities and interest on issues of child labour. In the Philippines, the United Nation's Children' Fund (UNICEF) has been supporting child labour interventions since the 1988 Third Country Programme for Children (CPC 3). These interventions are separate from their other activities on streetchildren and child prostitution. Programme support for child labour interventions is substantial and seem to be well-established and unwavering. The International Save the Children Alliance consisting of Save the Children U.K., Save the Children U.S.A. and Save the Children Japan -have also, on their own supported child labour interventions. International trade union secretariats, such as the Asian American Free Labour Institute and the International Textile, Leather and Garments Workers Federation, have also started their own separate programmes. The relationships between and among the organizations are essentially cordial, still, there have been several problems related to the coordination and programming of activities and relations between and among partner organizations. While the technical personnel of the various organizations have discussed ways to avoid these problems, there remain many unresolved issues related to different organizational priorities and expectations. It is expected that with more collaborative activities in the future (the organization of the 1997 international conferences on child labour, for example), these difficulties will be reduced.
3. The Continuing Challenge
In the first three years of action programs of the IPEC in the Philippines there was an initial effort to start action in all fronts. The time has ripened for moving projects, if not individually to scale, but rather, to view them as part of a comprehensive plan of action. The seven point strategy for IPEC in the Philippines remains relevant and appropriate, but there will be shifts in emphases to account for changes in the current levels of understanding on child labour. For the 1998-99 biennium, the IPEC strategy of action will include the following components:
Integrate child labour issues into national development planning and programs
In 1996-97, the primary objective was to mainstream the elimination of child labour and the protection of working children as important policy issues across sectors at the national, regional and provincial levels. For the 1998-99 biennium, there will be a more conscious effort to influence the Philippine Plan of Action for Children and the proposed new Development Plan for Children.
The Philippine Plan of Action for Children: 1998-; National Development Plan for Children
The Philippine Plan for Action on Children, first formulated in 1992, is set for review and reassessment for the Year 2000. The Plan was formulated prior to the IPEC programme; its section on child labour consists of two or so paragraphs, incorporating ambitious targets with little practical basis. The reformulation for the PPAC is the avenue to mainstream the needs and requirements of working children and should be the subject of priority in the new biennium.
On June 12, 1997, the President issued a new executive order called for a National Development Plan for Children. How this new Development Plan overlaps with the Philippine Plan for Action remains to be seen, but it is important for IPEC to be an important part of the process. Efforts should also be directed towards influencing the priorities in the country's national development plan, also ready for reformulation in 1998. Long term economic development and the massive improvement of incomes is needed to fully eliminate child labour, but the form and mode of development matters. In the interim, the conscious targeting of child worker beneficiaries would ensure that fruits of economic development benefit the working children and their families.
The Philippine Social Reform Agenda
The country's largest poverty alleviation programme is the Social Reform Agenda, launched in May 1996. Focusing resources on 20 of the country's poorest provinces, government created "flagship" programmes, including women and children.
Philippine poverty alleviation programs center on "convergence" regions and localities where the poverty incidence is highest. These programs offer an array of basic social service education, health, nutrition, housing; access to land, livelihood and skills training; micro-credit and enterpreneurship programs. However, the areas of highest poverty are not necessarily the same areas where the incidence of child labour is at its most severe. Urban growth centers, for example, have served as magnets to many poor families. Children of migrant families often work as part of the family's survival mechanisms.
There will be some effort in identifying within SRA's convergence areas the localities and municipalities with high numbers of working children, or those at risk for trafficking and illegal recruitment. As government resources are expected to flow into social services in these convergence SRA areas, there will be lobbying to obtain a greater share of these services for working children in the selected SRA communities.
A third indicator of progress in the extent to which the national and local government has committed to the national child labour programme is the provision of funding from the national and local governments for child labour programmes. Lobbying for a bigger share of financial and technical resources for the child labour programme will be part of the platform for community organizing and advocacy.
Consolidate and expand community services for working children, with emphasis on children in hazardous work
In the past two years, IPEC has funded advocacy and community organizing initiatives in several communities. Some interventions were partial and limited, such as perhaps the organization of young workers, or a para-legal education seminar for church and community volunteers, or extensive, where for example community organizations were formed to handle issues of child labour. In the 1998-99 biennium, IPEC will select 10-15 of these most promising communities and concentrate resources in building and sustaining momentum. This will be done through a programme of community enforcement, economic alternatives, scholarships and other social services for children. The programmes will be jointly planned and implemented as collaborative initiative of various IPEC partners. There will be built-in monitoring and evaluation system.
There has been substantial discussion regarding the gaps in the enforcement of law, arising from various weaknesses: a poor understanding of the law itself; the divergence of cultural beliefs and practices with legal requirements of the law itself; the concentration of implementation on the more formalized sector while child labour abounds in incidence; and the over-reliance on citizens' complaints.
A proactive stance for law enforcement is required -high priority emphases on child labour and the development of community based enforcement mechanisms in selected communities. The councils will be supported with the services of labour inspectors, social workers and where possible, community volunteers for the strict monitoring of the implementation of the laws on child labour.
Selected communities with will be reinforced with programs that provide alternatives to child workers and their families - whether these are income and livelihood interventions, vocational training opportunities, provision of sheltered and protected workplaces, and alternative income-earning arrangements.
Expansion of schooling and scholarship support
Through one of the participating NGOs with nationwide operations, scholarship support will be available for the selected communities. The scholarship and educational incentive programme will be available
under criteria to be developed by the community councils and will be administered jointly with the sponsoring NGO. There will also be efforts to augment the scholarship funds with local donations and community resources.
Family and child-centered activities for the communities
The selected communities will also be encouraged to undertake child focused and child-centered activities that directly address the immediate needs of working children for play and recreation. Such activities may include dialogues with parents, working children and volunteer organizations. Where possible, the use of community networks for rehabilitation and recovery of child workers will be explored.
Pursue the legislative agenda to support the campaign against child labour.
The Philippines has signified its intention to ratify ILO Convention 138 in 1997. Preparatory work should now begin in identifying and remedying the gaps in current legislation and enforcement of the law. The administrative guidelines on hazardous work for children and young workers should be completed. These guidelines will cover hazardous work for young workers between the ages of 15-17 and children in the exempt categories of national legislation: children in family undertakings and children in artistic and entertainment performances.
As the IPEC partner organizations are involved in the formulation of the new international convention on hazardous work, the lobbying for the approval of the new instrument and its eventual ratification will also intensify this coming biennium. Industry and sector specific legislation on mining and quarrying, pyrotechnics and domestic service are currently pending in the legislative branch. The proposed revisions to these laws open new opportunities for highlighting the conditions of children in these sectors.
Sustain and strengthen the social alliance
With the expanding social alliance, more is required to sustain the enthusiastic efforts of allied organizations. Sustaining activities will require joint action on various interventions, as well as in participatory planning and evaluation. Government and NGO collaboration on various projects will also be further encouraged.
The number of employer and trade union organizations participating in the child labour programme is expected to increase, although many organizations would want to pursue independent mobilization and awareness raising activities. Given the expansion of interest, new criteria for selection and approval have to be designed in the spirit of transparency and fairness.
As members in the social alliance expand, the tasks of coordination also expand. It would be important to explore the possibilities of having specialized sub-networks focusing on specific forms of intervention (for example, law and enforcement, education, etc,) or by target group of children (pyrotechnics, domestic services, or prostitution). This work will be expanded nationwide, with regional hubs in Cebu and Davao Cities, the emerging metropolitan centers in Visayas and Mindanao.
Maintain and nurture professional and technical capabilities at all levels
The training programmes for implementors and labour inspectors will accelerate with new emphasis on regularly scheduled training sessions outside of Manila involving local programme implementors and labour inspectors. The national trainors pool will be further increased to reach a critical mass of at least 40 trainors on child labour.
Research and development will center on three initiatives. The first will use the results of the national survey of working children for understanding child labour within the context of the dynamics of the labour market and household economics. This will be a major input for the preparation of the special chapters on working children in the National Development Plan for Children. The research can also contribute to the development of the new statistical modules on working children for a second survey round planned tentatively in 1999.
A special investigation of children in construction will be implemented this year as preparation of interventions for this group of children. This is being done given recent reports of the increased participation of young workers in various construction sites nationwide.
Refocus awareness-raising and advocacy initiatives
Social mobilization and awareness raising activities will emphasize new activities for teachers and students and educational organizations. Special modules for students in the elementary and high school levels will be prepared for the purpose of achieving more caring school environments for working children as well as motivate working students to remain in school. There is also a need to reassess the impact of the national tri-media campaigns to improve its reach and impact. New modules on family protection for working children will also be developed for use by programme implementors at the community levels.
Strengthen the management, planning, coordination, resource generation of the national child labour program at all levels
The expanding alliances on child labour and the diversity in approaches to child labour provides even greater responsibilities for the management and coordination of the child labour programme. In the past year, the management of the programme shifted from the Institute for Labour Studies to the Bureau of Women and Young Workers, the agency within the Department of Labour and Employment with the specific mandate to address the needs of working children. A new action programme has been approved in the second half of 1997 which seeks to strengthen the Child Labour Project Management Team of the Bureau of Women and Young Workers especially in the areas of management and coordination.
New modes and cooperation, especially among the government, trade union and employer partners, will need to be further strengthened and developed. A monitoring and evaluation system for the IPEC action programmes will need to be installed and developed as part of this action programme. Where possible, action programmes aiming at the Philippine priority groups of children will be consolidated to have a common agenda of action. At the end of the biennium, it should be possible to have sectoral and unified programmes of action for each of the IPEC's priority groups, for example, to children in trafficking, pyrotechnics, mining and quarrying, prostitution, domestic service. As employer and worker organizations are often organized on a sectoral basis, employer, worker and community organizations can be linked according to the target groups of children.
Inasmuch as the Child Labour project management team acts as the secretariat for both UNICEF-supported and ILO-IPEC funded activities, it is expected that the coordination and programming of both programme activities will be improved. There have been discussions on the necessity, in the long term, to consider the creation of an office that would specifically focus on the needs of working children. This would ensure that the policy, the programme, the budget and the infrastructure (human resources, organizations and the coordination between them) on child labour can be centralized for proper accountability.
4. Main Programme Areas 1998-99
Broad aims of the IPEC Philippines Seven point action plan
Strategies: Who will do what
Core support Mainstreaming issues of child labour and working children as priority concerns in Philippine Plan of Action for Children and national development planning
Undertake thematic evaluations of ILO-IPEC interventions Following the general evaluation of the national child labour programme, several lead organizations will undertake evaluations along the selected themes: community organizing and beneficiary identification, capacity building, education, research and training
. Support technical and secretariat services in including issues of working children in the Philippine Social Reform Agenda and the Plan of Action for Children
The inter-agency government council and the non-government member organizations will be provided a technical secretariat Pursue the legislative reform agenda in line with the recent ratification of ILO Convention 138
Complete the guidelines for hazardous work, light work and other items relevant to ILO C. 138 The government will finalize its guidelines on hazardous work, determination of areas for exclusion under ILO 138, and definitions of light work, and where necessary, initiate the legislative lobbying for better enforcement
Consolidate, integrate and expand services for working children in hazardous work at the community level (10-15 communities) Select 10-15 communities for providing intensive and integrated services for working children and their families
The Child Labour Project management Team will identify, using several criteria, the choice of communities where the integrated services will be made available
Promote the creation of local mechanisms responsible for governance and responsibility on child labour
Local governments working closely with the regional committees and child labour focal persons will set up community mechanisms for local legislation and provision of services on child labour.
Provide educational scholarships for selected children under a community supervised scheme
A lead national support organization will provide at least 200 educational scholarships and will install a selection and monitoring scheme for programme partners
Provide livelihood and credit services to communities though a savings and credit programme
A lead national support organization will assist the community partners by installing a community savings and credit programmes; training programmes to access credit funds
Obtain skills training programme services
A lead organization will be tapped to provide custom made skills training programmes at the community level
Strengthen community watch programmes under community labour inspection schemes
The government inter-agency team will have joint inspection programmes in communities where children are most at risk to document problems and monitor progress and compliance
Initiate and develop community care and rehabilitation strategies A joint government and NGO team will initiate cooperative arrangements for community care and rehabilitation of children withdrawn from hazardous work
Maintain social mobilization on special target groups: child domestic service, trafficking Sustain and expand employers and workers initiatives in raising awareness and undertaking action on child labour
The employers and trade union organizations will be supported to further deepen their involvement in the communities on child labour work
Undertake joint collaborative action between and among the programme partners.
The Philippine Partners Against Child Labour and other coalitions will be assisted in undertaking joint collaborative action
Pursue concerted efforts against child trafficking and action for child domestic services
Two NGO partners will undertake action for child workers victimized into illegal recruitment, and exploitative work in households
Institutionalize and sustain capacity building Strengthen national trainors pool through the conduct of DME regional levels
The DME courses will be standardized as regional seminars, open for application by interested implementors
Provide additional training for social workers and other programme implementers dealing with children withdrawn from hazardous work
A joint GO-NGO team will train community implementors on community organizing, integrated community services for children
Implement a second, modified round on child labour module The National Statistics Office will implement a second round of the child labour survey in July 1999
Obtain a deeper analysis of the NSO survey on working children A lead research organization will obtain further analysis of the NSO Survey on Working Children
Initiate new methodological work on child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Develop and pilot-test a survey instrument on this target group of children. Management and coordination of the child labour programme Strengthen the Child Labour Project Management Team in becoming a national resource center and lead coordination mechanism for child labour programmes
The CLPMT will be assisted in taking in consolidating and integrating the national child labour programme.
Making a difference in the lives of working children
So many people feel so overwhelmed and disempowered by the stresses of modern life that they convince themselves they can't make a difference. So they don't even try. They bury their talents in the ground and let their spirits wither on the vine of life. I hope they will bestir themselves at lest to say every day as an anonymous old man did: "I don't have the answers, life is not easy, but my heart is in the right place."
It is so important not to let ourselves off the hook or to become apathetic or cynical by telling ourselves that nothing works or makes a difference. Every day, light your small candle. Tutor or mentor or speak to or smile at that one child - your own or one you teach or serve in some way. Every election, take the time to vote for leaders who put children first and against those who don't. Every month decide to write a letter to the editor or to your representatives about the need children have in your community.
The inaction and actions of many human beings over a long time contributed to the crises our children face, and it is the action and struggle of many human beings over time that will solve them - with God's help. So every day, light your small candle. It just might be the one that sparks the movement to save our children's and nation's future.
Marian Wright Edelman
Guide My Feet 1995
Annex 1: Highlights of the National Survey of Working Children 1995
Statistical monitoring and empirical assessment is a powerful tool for advocacy. By identifying the extent and magnitude of the child labour and defining particular problems of working children, statistical surveys can move and mobilize key government, business and community leaders in taking action on child labour.
A national survey can help countries set concrete development goals and targets for its young population. It also allows for better analysis, and hopefully, a greater understanding of the dynamics of child labour. Often, undertaking a professional statistical assessment of child labour in country is a clear demonstration of the government's political will to do something for working children.
A national survey is only one, though an obviously important one, of the instruments that governments and organizations can use in obtaining a realistic picture of the child labour situation in a country. Complementing national surveys are community based assessment and investigation efforts that identifies within localities specific groups of children with special needs and concerns. For these groups of children, especially those most difficult to reach and access, or those who live in isolated work sites and establishments, community probes may be the only appropriate method. This is true, for example, for children trapped in prostitution, child domestic workers, and child victims of trafficking. IPEC in the Philippines has supported community-based situation analysis, often as one component of a multi-dimensional approach to child labour.
The National Statistics Office of the Philippines implemented, in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment and the ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, a national survey on working children. Forming part of the July 1995 labour force survey round, the national survey used two questionnaire modules, one for household heads or their spouses and the other for all working children. The survey results provide the first comprehensive national view of Filipino working children between the ages of 5-17. This overall picture includes all working children, even those who perform occasional work, or who work for their own parents, or those who work during school vacations and week-ends.
Where do we draw the line between child work and child labour? What constitutes exploitative or abusive child work? While the survey does not draw the precise boundaries of child labour, the comprehensive view provides several areas of hazard and risk. For these working children work has become detrimental to their health, education and normal development.
Magnitude and Extent
A. Filipino Children, ages 5-17
The Philippines is literally a young nation with a high percentage of young people in its overall population. Children between the ages 5-17 number 22.4 million, comprising a third of the overall Philippine population.
Working children form 16% of the overall population of children between ages 5-7. That means, that one out of six children of ages 5-17, works.
B. Working children, ages 5-17.
In the last twelve months, 3.7 million children of the ages 5-17 worked. These children are predominantly from rural households (67.1%). Almost half (49%) are between the ages 5-14.
In the last week, 2.85 million children between the ages 5-17 worked. Of this number, half are between the ages 5-14, consisting of approximately 1.4 million children.
Working children consist largely of boys (65%) rather than girls.
The highest numbers of working children are found in Regions 4, 6, and 11. These regions are the country's high economic growth areas and attract large populations. As a proportion of their populations however, Regions 2, 12, 11 have the highest share of working children.
In terms of economic sector, 64% of the working children are in agriculture; 16.4 % are in sales; 9.2% are in production work; 8.8% are in service trades.
In terms of occupational group, 56% are in farming, 16% in trade, 7% in services, and 4% in non-food manufacturing.
60% are in unpaid family work in their own households and establishments.
17.2% work in their own homes; 53% work in family farms.
C. Working Children Faced with Hazard and Risk
Child labour are the subsets of the overall population of working children who are engaged in hazardous and dangerous work, or are found in hazardous workplaces or are involved in economic activities which impair their natural growth, health and access to schooling.
Working children who are most at risk include those who:
Work at a young age. 1.8 million working children are between the ages 5-14. Of this, 217,561 are between 5-9 years old.
Do not attend school. 30% or 600,000 working children are not attending school. Of children who do attend school, half experience problems of high costs of education (28.7%), distance (23.8%) and difficulty in catching up with lessons (22.1%). Working students complain of low grades (41.4%), absenteeism (25.3%) and tardiness (26%). Working students tend to be chronic drop-outs.
Work long hours. 19.5% work more than 5 hours a day; 5% work more than 10 hours per day.
Work regularly. 30% are in permanent work.
Work at night. While not prevalent, 4% of those between the ages 10-14 and 7% of those between the ages 15-17 worked at night. Affected children are mainly those in retail trade, personal services, and fishing.
Have no days off. 309,000 working children, or 8% of the total have no day off nor free time to engage in recreation and leisure.
Work without adult supervision. 17% of working children do not have adult supervision; of the children below 15 years of age, 20% have no adult supervision.
Are exposed to hazardous environments. 60% (2.2 million children) are exposed to hazardous work environments, consisting of physical difficulties and chemical exposures.
Experience work related problems of exhaustion, stress, risk and danger. 80% of working children have work related problems. The most significant problems involve exhaustion (63.3%), stress (55%), physical burden (47%) and boredom (52%). 17% find work, or aspects of it, risky and dangerous.
Suffer injuries and illnesses from work. 24% or 869, 199, working children at least one work related injury or illness.
Work and live away from home and parental supervision. 409,849 children are living away from home. Only 25% are studying only. Most (72.2%) are girls (64%), come from rural households work in urban centers; a great majority work in households. The largest numbers come from Regions 5,6,7 10 and 11.