Philippine ILO
ILO-IPEC in Global ContextIndicative Framework for Philippine ILO ActionPhilippine Child Labour Laws and LegislationNational Survey on Working ChildrenPartnerships in ActionWorking Papers
  Philippine Child Labour Laws and Legislation Home page Information Audio-Visual Resources Photo Gallery Site Map


     The procedures for the protection of children's rights encompass different levels and categories of interventions. The procedures outlined in this book are divided into several major parts: 1) detection and reporting; 2) information verification; 3) rescue operation; 4) custody and rehabilitation; 5) recovery of wages and other monetary benefits; 6) administrative sanctions; and 7) criminal prosecution.


     Detection of child workers relies heavily on the participation of the community. Since most child workers are hidden, it is hard for the government, given its limited resources, to track down all of them for possible intervention. Many concerned citizens and non-governmental organizations conduct their own investigations or undercover operations to detect and monitor the presence of child workers.

     Anyone with sufficient knowledge of any violation committed against a child worker may report the same to any of the following agencies, organizations, or groups:

1. DOLE, Child Labor Program Committee
2. DSWD, Bureau of Child and Youth Welfare
3. Local/Barangay Council for the Protection of Children
4. Philippine National Police, Child and Youth Relations Unit/Officer
5. Philippine National Police, Task Force Zebra
6. National Bureau of Investigation
7. Commission on Human Rights, Child Rights Center
8. Department of Justice, Task Force on Child Protection
9. City/Provincial Fiscals/Prosecutors
10. Social Services Department of Hospitals or Clinics
11. School Authorities
12. Church Officials & Community Groups
13. Non-Governmental Organizations


     Presented below are some of the laws and executive/ administrative orders creating special agencies, committees, or units specifically mandated to respond to the needs of child workers.

     1. Local Council for the Protection of Children


     Art. 87. Council for the Protection of Children -- Every barangay council shall encourage the organization of a local Council for the Protection of Children and shall coordinate with the Council for the Welfare of Children and Youth in drawing and implementing plans for the promotion of child and youth welfare. Membership shall be taken from responsible members of the commu-nity including a representative of the youth, as well as representatives of government and private agencies concerned with the welfare of children and youth whose area of assignment includes the particular barangay and shall be on a purely voluntary basis.

     Said Council shall:

     (1) Foster the education of every child in the barangay;

     (2) Encourage the proper performance of the duties of parents and provide learning opportunities on the adequate rear-ing of children and on positive parent-child relationship;

     children and dependents;

     (4) Take steps to prevent juvenile delinquency and assist parents of children with behavioral problems so they can get expert advice;

     (5) Adopt measures for the health of children;

     (6) Promote the opening and maintenance of playgrounds and day-care centers and other services that are necessary for child and youth welfare;

     (7) Coordinate the activities of organizations devoted to the welfare of children and secure their cooperation;

     (8) Promote wholesome entertainment in the community, especially in movie houses; and

     (9) Assist parents, whenever necessary, in securing expert guidance counselling from the proper governmental or private wel-fare agency.

     In addition, it shall hold classes and seminars on the proper rearing of the children. It shall distribute to parents available literature and other information on child guidance. The Council shall assist parents, with behavioral problems whenever necessary, in securing expert guidance counselling from the proper governmental or private welfare agency.

Back to Index

     2. Committee for the Special Protection of Children




     WHEREAS, the Constitution provides that the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government;

     WHEREAS, the State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;

     WHEREAS, there is a need to consolidate in one body the assessment, monitoring and implementation of the aforecited policy on a continuing bases;

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:

     Section 1. There is hereby created a Special Committee for Children to be composed of:

      1. The Secretary of Justice - Chairman
      2. The Secretary of Social Welfare and Development - Co-Chairman
      3. The Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights - Member
      4. Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration - Member

     A representative with a rank not lower than undersecretary from the following:

     5. Department of Labor and Employment - Member
6. Department of Tourism - Member
7. Department of the Interior and Local Government - Member
8. Department of Foreign Affairs - Member
9. Three representatives of private organizations to be nominated by said groups and appointed by the President - Members

     Section 2. The Committee shall exercise the following func-tions and duties:

      a. To report to the President actions taken to address specific issues on child abuse and exploitation brought to the Committee's attention;
      b. To direct other agencies to immediately respond to the problems brought to their attention and to report to the Committee on action taken; and
      c. To perform such other functions and duties as may be necessary to meet the objectives of the Committee.

     Section 3. The Council for the Welfare of Children shall act as the Secretariat of the Committee.

     Section 4. The initial amount of P/10,000,000.00 is hereby authorized to be released from the Presidential Social Fund.

     Section 5. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

     DONE in the City of Manila, this 14th day of September, in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Five.

By the President:

Executive Secretary

Back to Index

     3. Child Labor Project Management Team

Republic of the Philippines

(Series of 1992)

     In line with the mandate of the Department of Labor and Employment on workers' protection and welfare and in order to facilitate implementation of the UNICEF-assisted project "Breaking Ground for Community Action on Child Labor," a Child Labor Project Management Team is hereby constituted to be responsible for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all child labor program activities falling within the area of responsibility of the Department under the project.

     The Child Labor Project Management Team (CLPMT) shall be under the direct supervision of the Undersecretary for Workers' Protection and Welfare, Chairman of the National Child Labor Program Committee (NCLPC).

     The CLPMT shall be composed of a Project Director, an Asst. Project Director and technical personnel who shall be selected from the bureaus and agencies of the Department as indicated in attached organizational and functional structure.

     Moreover, in line with the government's decentralization policy and to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of project activities in the pilot and expansion areas, all concerned Regional Offices shall assign full-time coordinators for the project.

     Funds for operational and other requirements of the CLPMT shall be drawn from the existing project funds including the government counterpart (GOP), subject to the project's approved Work and Financial Plan for 1992-1993.

     All bureaus, offices and attached agencies of the Department are enjoined to extend assistance to the NCLPC and the CLPMT whenever necessary.

For strict compliance.


02 January 1992

Back to Index

     4. Agencies to Investigate Sex Tours




     WHEREAS, the participants in the recent Conference on sexual exploitation that met in Quezon City had examined the alleged involvement of foreigners in sex trafficking and prostitution of Filipino women and children, particularly in Angeles City;

     WHEREAS, certain foreign nationals allegedly own and operate numerous bars and hotels which cater to foreigners on sex tours in the country;

     WHEREAS, it is imperative to strengthen the ethical, and spiritual values of victims to said sex tours and to devise viable economic alternative to wean them away from prostitution.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following government agencies, to wit:

     1. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) - to coordinate efforts with the foreign Governments concerned to curtail these nefarious activities of foreign nationals in the country.

     2. The Department of Social Welfare and Development - to extend all possible assistance to victims of sexual trafficking and prostitution and their eventual rehabilitation.

     3. All concerned Local Government Units (LGUs) - to exercise their authority/power to clamp down on prostitution within their jurisdiction and to close establishments being used in sex tours or as fronts of prostitution.

     4. The Philippine National Police (PNP) - to immediately investigate and apprehend any Filipino and/or foreign nationals involved in said sex tours.

     Done in the City of Manila, this 5th day of July, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and ninety-five.

By the President:

Executive Secretary

Back to Index

     5. Task Force Zebra



Camp Gen. Ricardo G. Papa, Sr., Bicutan, Tagig, Metro Manila


FOR: All Deputy District Director for Operations, NCRC

SUBJECT: Mission of Task Force "Zebra"

DATE: 22 August 1995

     1. References:

     a. VI of RD, NCRC;
      b. LOI #35 Hqs NCRC dtd 18 August 1995 (Campaign Plan Against Child Prostitution, Pedophile and other forms of Child Abuse); and
      c. RA 7610 (An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, etc.).

     2. The PNP-NCR Command will launch a comprehensive campaign against child prostitution, pedophilia cases involving foreign-ers, pornography and other forms of child abuse as provided in RA 7610 in the Metro Manila to be implemented by Task Force "ZEBRA" of the NCRC to be headed by the Deputy Regional Director for Administration.

     3. In this connection, all units of TF "ZEBRA" are hereby directed to vigorously launch campaigns against child abuse and perform the following missions:

     a. Receive complaints on child abuse, pedophile and child pornography and Violation of RA 7610;
     b. File case in court after investigation; and
      c. Coordinate with BID and DOT.
      d. Submit intelligence reports involving child prosti-tution and child abuse;
      e. Coordinate with LGUs, DSWD-NCR, City Prosecutor Office, and Non-Government Organizations (NGO);
      f. Report on PNP personnel who are protectors of prostitution den of children as defined in RA 7610.

     4. This Memo Directive takes effect immediately.

     5. For strict compliance.

Police Senior Superintendent
Deputy Regional Director
for Administration/Commander

Camp Gen. Rilardo G. Papa St., Bicutan, Tagig, Metro Manila

March 21, 1996

SUBJECT: LOI Nr 21/96 TF "ZEBRA" (Campaign Plan Against Child Prostitution, Pedophilia and other forms of Child Abuse)


a. HWI of PFVR to Sec of Justice info SILG and C, PNP dtd 11 July 1995 on the report of Secretary DSWD.
b. Memo from USPO, DILG to C, PNP and RD, NCRC dtd 13 July 1995.
c. Report of Secretary Lina B. Laigo of DSWD on the Breakdown of cases of Child Prostitution (1994-1995)
d. Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act of 1992)


     To address the rising incidence of Child Prostitution, Pedophilia, and other forms of Child Abuse in NCR with the PNP NCRC as the lead agency supported by allied agencies such as the DSWD, Prosecutors of NCR, PNP NARCOM, Local Government Units, Department of Tourism and NGOs.


a. Because of the high returns it provides, Prostitution, drug addiction and other forms of Child Abuses remain to be indulged in by unscrupulous businessmen unmindful of the potent effect it poses to society.

b. Not spared from this malady are the reported cases of child prostitution and abuses of pedophiles both domestic and foreign, and drug addiction which are prevalent in key tourist spots in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

c. Studies conducted revealed that poverty is still the number one cause of prostitution coupled by problems of unemployment and other social causes leaving no choice to our young women and children but to succumb to the flesh.

d. Lately, reports reveal that there is a rise in the incidence of child prostitution, and other related child abuse cases which were publicized worldwide. This development has placed our country in a bad light internationally and hence it is imperative to address this social malady immediately and effectively.


     The PNP NCR Command will orchestrate integrate and unify effort in the launching of a comprehensive campaign against child prostitution and other forms of child abuse as provided in RA 7610 in the NCR drawing support and in close coordination with allied agencies such as the DSWD, Prosecutors of NCR PNP NARCOM DOH, DOT, LGUs, and NGOs.


a. Concepts of Operations:

     The PNP NCR Command thru TF "Zebra" will launch a comprehensive campaign against child prostitution, and other forms of child abuse in the NCR through Inter-Agency Committee to be headed by DRDO with the representatives from the DSWD, Prosecutors, DOT, LGUs, NGOs and other concerned agencies as members.

     The concerted efforts of the Committee will concentrate on the identification of prostitution dens and conduct of police operations to arrest and prosecute suspects, closure of the dens, and the rehabilitation of child prostitutes. Processing of arrested children will be conducted by the TF "Zebra" operating teams after which they will be turned over to the DSWD for after care program.

     Vigorous conduct of public information campaign geared towards awareness and support against child prostitution and other abuses on children will also be conducted to include the formulation of short and long term solution to the problem.


(sgd) JOB A. MAYO, JR.
Police Chief Superintendent
Regional Director

Back to Index

     6. Child and Youth Relations Unit/Officer




SUBJECT: Guidelines on the Establishment of a Children and Youth Relations Section (CYRS) in All NCR and Highly Urbanized City Police Stations and/or Designation of a Children and Youth Rela-tions Officer (CYRO) in Other Police Stations, and the Adoption of a Handbook for Police Officers on the Management of Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances (CEDC).

     Pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, and in accordance with NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No. 13 dated 27 December 1968, organizing the Juvenile Delinquency Units in Cities and Municipalities, and MPF-CAPCOM Memorandum No. 60 dated 26 October 1987, Establishing Guidelines for the Creation of Children and Youth Relations Section (CYRS) in All Police Sta-tions, all police stations in the NCR and highly urbanized cities are hereby directed to create a CYRS, and all other police sta-tions to designate a Children and Youth Relations Officer (CYRO) based on the following guidelines and rules:

I. Children and Youth Relations Section (CYRS)

A. Rationale:

     The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Adminis-tration of Juvenile Justice, otherwise known as the Beijing Rules, specifically stipulates that special police units shall be established to exclusively deal with juveniles. In line with these rules, former President Corazon C. Aquino issued on August 12, 1986 Proclamation No. 20 emphasizing the policy of the state to promote the well-being and total develop-ment of the Filipino youth and children and to protect them from exploitation, abuse, improper influences, hazards, and other conditions or circumstances prejudicial to their physical, men-tal, emotional, social and moral development.

     The proclamation created an inter-agency task force for the protection of children of which the defunct Philippine Constabu-lary-Integrated National Police (the present Philippine National Police (PNP) pursuant to Republic Act No. 6975) is a member.

     Specifically, the PNP Law delineates powers and functions of the police, among which are to:

     (1) Enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the protec-tion of lives and properties;

     (2) Maintain peace and order and take all necessary steps to ensure public safety; and

     (3) Investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution.

     Consonant with these powers and functions is the duty of the police, in coordination with the other components of the criminal justice system, to endeavor in bringing about a peaceful and orderly environment conducive to the promotion of a wholesome growth for children.

     The creation of the CYRS and/or designation of CYRO in every police station will ensure the efficiency and effectiveness in the application of appropriate techniques, approaches and proce-dures in the processing of cases of CEDC which are designed to aid in the protection and rehabilitation of the CEDC.

B. Structure and Composition:

     (1) The CYRS shall replace the erstwhile Juvenile Control Unit/Section or Youth Aid Section of the Patrol Division in the police districts and stations.

     (2) At the station level, the CYRS shall operate directly under the Chief, Operations Branch, who shall be the principal action officer-on-case involving children and youth offenders, their management and rehabilitation.

     The Station Commander, through his Operations and Policy Community Relations Officer, shall implement the CEDC programs/projects and oversee referrals and inter-agency coordi-nation relative to CEDC.

     (3) At the provincial level, CEDC and other related reports shall be submitted to the CYRS of the Provincial Headquarters. These shall be submitted to the Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO)/ARD for Police Relations, and then forwarded to DO/DPR, who shall in turn submit the same to the General Head-quarters of the PNP.

     (4) The Creation of the CYRS shall be compulsory in every police district/station in the National Capital Region and in highly urbanized areas in the country.

     (5) The standard organizational structure of the CYRS shall be outlined in the new PNP Manual. The number of personnel to be assigned in the Section shall vary depending upon the need/situa-tion in the area.

     (6) The officers, men and women who shall comprise the CYRS must preferably be those trained on the management of cases of CEDC, and those whose character is imbued with compassion, care and dedication to the cause and welfare of children and youth. The CYRO shall be selected from among the regular members of the police force.

     The selection of the CYRO shall be based on the criteria provided in Part II of this Memo Circular.

C. Functions:

     (1) The CYRS is a separate functional unit within the station which shall be responsible for all matters relating to CEDC. It shall be guided by the philosophy that children should be handled differently from adults.

     (2) The CYRS shall perform the following tasks:

     a. Enforce laws and ordinances relating to the exploi-tation of CEDC.

     b. Investigate cases of CEDC and provide proper dispo-sition geared toward the best interest and welfare of children.

     c. Prepare a plan of action to assist the CEDC in direct support of, and in coordination with, the other agencies concerned.

     d. Implement programs designed to detect and prevent conditions that may result in the following: child neglect, abuse toward children, deviant behavior among children, or such circumstances that are detrimental to the total development of the youth.

     e. Operate a separate detention facility for youth offenders and determine and implement integrated programs for their welfare and rehabilitation.

     f. Keep a separate record of cases of CEDC and youth offenders handled, including those referred to the DSWD rehabili-tation centers and other institutions.

     g. Monitor detained youth offenders in jail who are made to share cells with adult offenders and recidivists, and report/refer their cases to the DSWD.

     h. Maintain close coordination and collaboration with the other pillars of the juvenile justice system.

D. Operationalization:

     (1) The CYRS shall be the focal point in liaison and coor-dination among the police stations, the regional/provincial offices of the DSWD, and other concerned government agencies and private institutions toward the protection and rehabilitation of CEDC and the youth.

     (2) Specifically, members of the Section shall form part of the Child Protection Team (CPT), a coordinating team composed of a CYRO, a Senior Social Work Specialist and a medical practition-er. The CPT shall facilitate the handling of cases of CEDC and youth offenders, particularly during interview and in the referral of minors to detention or rehabilitation center as the case may be.

     (3) All CYRS personnel shall necessarily be trained in children and youth management, control and rehabilitation to make them more responsive to the demands of the job. Toward this end, the PNP Regional and Provincial Directors shall initiate the training of their respective personnel in direct coordination with the Bureau of Child and Youth Welfare (BCYW) of the DSWD.

x x x

II. Children and Youth Relations Officer (CYRO)

     In cases where the police station is Type A, B or C and the situation in its area of jurisdiction does not require the crea-tion of a CYRS, the Station Commander/Chief of Police shall designate a Children and Youth Relations Officer (CYRO).

     Following are the criteria in the selection of the CYRO:

     (1) He must be a regular member of the police station.

     (2) He must have special training on the management of children in especially difficult circumstances.

     (3) He must possess the aptitude and temperament suited for handling problems of children.

     (4) He must have sufficient knowledge on the dynamics of CEDC and how to handle them.

     (5) He must be able to project an image which the youth can identify with.

     (6) His moral background must be above reproach, which will provide the means to cultivate an effective working relationship with the community.

     The police assigned in the CYRS shall automatically become a member of the Child Protection Team (CPT) existing in the area.

x x x

     This Memorandum Circular shall take effect immediately.

     Issued at Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, this 22nd day of October 1992.

Secretary, DILG
National Police Commission

Back to Index

     7. "Sagip Batang Manggagawa" - Inter-Agency Quick Action Team on The Handling of Exploitative/Hazardous Child Labor Cases

     The Department of Labor and Employment entered into an agreement with various government and non-government agencies in 1994, delineating the roles of each of the parties in responding to the most pressing situations of child laborers.

[Child Labor Project Management Team Files]

     "Sagip Batang Manggagawa", an Inter-Agency Quick Action Program, aims to respond to cases of child laborers in extremely abject conditions. An Inter-Agency Quick Action Team (QAT) shall be involved in detecting, monitoring and responding to the most hazardous forms of child labor. The program activities include monitoring and reporting cases to proper authorities who can either refer cases to appropriate institutions or provide assistance directly such as rescuing the child laborers from factories or other places of employment and, when necessary, imposing sanctions on the illegal employer/recruiter; provision of psycho-social services to child labor victims; and rendering assistance in the prosecution of civil and/or criminal cases against violators of child labor laws.

x x x

     "[S]agip Batang Manggagawa" shall pursue the following objectives:

     1. establishment of community-based mechanisms for detecting, monitoring and reporting most hazardous forms of child labor to proper authorities who can either refer cases to appropriate institutions or provide assistance directly;

     2. establishment of 24-hour Quick Action Team Centers and Network to respond to immediate/serious child labor cases;

     3. effectuation of immediate relief for child laborers in hazardous/exploitative conditions through conduct of search and rescue operations and other appropriate interventions;

     4. provision of appropriate physical, psycho-social, and other needed services for the rescued child labor victims;

     5. imposing administrative sanctions and filing criminal cases against violators of child labor laws;

     6. provision of technical assistance for the prosecution of civil and/or criminal cases filed against employers and employment agencies violating laws and standards relative to child labor;

     7. facilitation of the return of child laborers to parents/guardians or appropriate custodian; and

     8. upgrading of capabilities of implementors in coming up with child-friendly procedures in protecting children.

     The following are the general roles and responsibilities of the members of the implementation machinery:

     a. the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall lead the program implementation. It shall be the overall coordinator of activities under the QAT, like standards setting, particularly in the improvement of conditions of work of children; banning of child employment in hazardous occupations; and enforcement of laws, standards and policies under the mandate of the Department.

     b. the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall provide appropriate psycho-social services to child labor victims. When necessary, the child laborers shall be placed under the protective custody of the DSWD, which shall notify the parents or guardians of the children of their whereabouts. It shall also facilitate the return of the children to their parents/guardians or place of origin, unless such is against the best interests of the children. Its Crisis Intervention Centers shall serve as the 24-hour QAT network Center which will receive reports of exploitative/hazardous child labor and will refer reports to the operations team which will be led by the DOLE, for immediate/appropriate action/response.

     c. the Department of Health (DOH) shall provide appropriate medical and other related services for the child labor victims. If necessary, it shall also facilitate the admission and care of victims in state clinics/hospitals.

     The Child and Youth Health Unit shall be the focal point for the provision of necessary medical interventions. The National Center for Mental Health shall also provide services for the psychological/psychiatric needs of the child labor victims.

     d. the role of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) includes provision of special educational assistance to the rescued child laborers. It shall determine the educational needs of the victims and shall provide appropriate interventions such as specialized tutorial classes. Once the children are taken back to their parents/guardian, it shall extend assistance for the return of the children to school and shall monitor the progress of the children's education.

     e. the role of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) is the provision of technical assistance in the conduct of information, education and communication efforts focusing on activities aimed at strengthening the system for banning employment of children in working conditions that are hazardous/exploitative. It shall take the lead in the implementation of the QAT's advocacy and social mobilization activities.

     f. the role of the Department of Justice (DOJ) includes rendering of legal assistance to child laborers. It shall give priority to the preliminary investigation of complaints filed or inquest cases referred by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police relating to violations of the law, rules and regulations pertaining to child labor and, if warranted by the evidence, of their prosecution in the courts of competent jurisdiction. Whenever necessary and in extreme cases, it shall place informants/witnesses under the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program (WPSB) in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 6981.

     The Task Force on Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination of the National Prosecution Service shall be the focal point for the criminal prosecution of child labor cases to ensure immediate and appropriate response to such.

     g. the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall assist in the conduct of search and rescue operations and other appropriate interventions. Said agencies shall also render technical assistance in the prosecution of civil and/or criminal cases filed in relation to violation of laws and policies relative to child labor.

     h. the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall also develop and strengthen the capabilities of the Local Government Units (LGUs) for effective detection, monitoring and response to child labor cases. It shall also help the LGUs in the establishment of local "Sagip Batang Manggagawa" networks.

     i. the role of the Child Rights Center of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR-CRC) includes provision of assistance to the child labor victims in terms of the investigation of human rights violations against children. It shall initiate legal action for and in behalf of the child victims, and shall look into and report on violations of civil rights and freedoms (Articles 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16), as well as the special protection provisions (Articles 19, 38, 39 and 40) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

     j. the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the Labor and Advisory Consultative Council (LACC), the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), the National Council of Social Development Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (NCSD), the Kamalayan Development Center (KDC), and other NGOs/POs shall be the key cooperators for the implementation of the project. Said institutions shall develop among their ranks, mechanisms of surveillance and detection of child labor cases both in the formal and the informal work situations. Such institutions shall also participate in the establishment and manning of community-based 24-hour network centers in different localities.

x x x

Back to Index

     8. Department of Justice ---- Task Force on the Protection of Children



January 10, 1994


     In the interest of the public service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, the Task Force on Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination is hereby constituted composed of the following:

1. xxx
2. xxx
3. xxx
4. xxx
5. xxx
6. xxx

     The prosecutors herein designated shall constitute the secretariat which shall be tasked with the preparation of all necessary documents for the creation of a Presidential Committee for the Protection of Children. They shall also perform all other related functions thereto apart from the primary task of conducting preliminary investigation and the prosecution, if warranted by the evidence, of cases in violation of R.A. 7610 and other related laws in courts of competent jurisdiction.

     This Order takes effect immediately and shall remain in force unless sooner revoked.


Back to Index


     The birth of the Task Force on the Protection of Children against abuse. Exploitation and Discrimination was the result of the passage of Republic Act 7610 wherein Department Order No. 19 dated January 10, 1994 was issued. Said Department Order designated six (6) prosecutors, chaired by Senior State Prosecutor Aurora S. Lagman, with the primary function of conducting preliminary investigation and the prosecution of cases in violation of RA 7610 and other related laws. Moreover, they shall constitute a Secretariat with the task of preparing all necessary documents for the creation of Presidential Committee for the Protection of Children.

     Presently, there are thirteen (13) prosecutors under the task force who are handling more than sixty (60) cases all over the country.

     9. National Bureau of Investigation -- ACADED

Back to Index

     10. Commission on Human Rights -- Child Rights Center

Back to Index

     11. Department of Social Welfare and Development -- Child Help Intervention and Protective Services (CHIPS)

Back to Index



     Art. 166. Report of Maltreated or Abused Child. -- All hospitals, clinics and other institutions as well as private physicians providing treatment shall, within forty-eight hours from knowledge of the case, report in writing to the city or provincial fiscal or to the Local Council for the Protection of Children or to the nearest unit of the Department of Social Welfare, any case of a maltreated or abused child, or exploita-tion of an employed child contrary to the provisions of labor laws. It shall be the duty of the Council for the Protection of Children or the unit of the Department of Social Welfare to whom such a report is made to forward the same to the provincial or city fiscal.

     In cases of sexual abuse, the records pertaining to the case shall be kept strictly confidential and no information relating thereto shall be disclosed except in connection with any court official proceeding based on such report.

     Any person disclosing confidential information in violation of this provision shall be punished by a fine of not less than two thousand pesos or by imprisonment of not more than one year or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

     Art. 167. Freedom from Liability of Reporting Person or Institution. -- Persons, organizations, physicians, nurses, hospitals, clinics and other entities which shall in good faith report cases of child abuse, neglect, maltreatment or abandon-ment or exposure to moral danger, shall be free from any civil or criminal liability arising therefrom.

Back to Index


Back to Index


     Reports of child labor cases reaching the different agencies are eventually reported to two key government agencies which take the lead role in responding to cases of child labor and in coordinating the efforts of all concerned agencies and organizations. These are the:

     1) DOLE, Child Labor Program Committee - for children work-ing in the formal sector; and

     2) DSWD, Bureau of Child and Youth Welfare - for children working in the informal sector such as the street children and prostituted children.

     Upon receipt of reports, the DOLE and/or the DSWD shall proceed to validate the report in order to identify the appropriate intervention that should be made. Specific interventions are effected depending on the assessment of the case. The DOLE and the DSWD may seek the assistance of the PNP or the NBI in conducting inspection and surveillance.

Back to Index


     In formal work establishments, the DOLE may make use of its visitorial and inspection powers to confirm reports received regarding employer violations. This power is contained in the Labor Code which provides that:

Art. 128. Visitorial and Enforcement Power. -- a. The Secretary of Labor or his duly authorized representa-tives, including labor regulation officers, shall have access to employers records and premises at any time of the day or night whenever work is being undertaken therein, and the right to copy therefrom, to question any employee and investigate any fact, condition or matter which may be necessary to determine viola-tions or which may aid in the enforcement of this Code and of any labor law, wage order or rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.

Back to Index


     Since 1993, establishments suspected of employing child workers have been among the top of the list of priorities for inspection of the Department of Labor and Employment. In 1997, child labor was again made a priority for inspection by Adminis-trative Order No. 47.

Republic of the Philippines
Intramuros, Manila


     In the interest of the service and, to ensure the effective enforcement of and compliance with labor standard laws, the following guidelines are hereby prescribed:

     Section 1. Inspection priorities - The following shall be the priorities for inspection in 1997:

1.1 Establishments employing
1.2.1 child labor
1.2.2 women workers
1.2 Security agencies
1.3 The construction industry
1.4 The shipping industry
1.5 Other establishments classified as hazardous or high risk

x x x

     Section 2 Strategies to improve compliance with labor standards

2.4 Monitoring of labor standards enforcement
2.4.1 Labor Standards Enforcement and Monitoring System (LSEMS)
The regional offices shall fully operationalize the LSEMS to facilitate periodic checking on the performance of the labor inspectorate and for the purposes of a more responsive, accurate and timely monitoring of the enforcement and technical services programs.
2.4.2 Spot Checking of inspection activities
The officials and senior officers of the regional offices shall continue to conduct spot-checking on labor inspectors' activities pursuant to Administrative Order No. 127, series of 1989.
2.4.3 Networking with trade unions and other organizations
Agreements shall be actively forged with trade unions and other organizations to improve compliance with labor standards in all workplaces.

x x x

For strict compliance

10 February 1997


Back to Index


     For children working in the informal sector (e.g., street children and prostituted children) the DSWD is mandated by law to investigate reports on child abuse. Under Section 8 of the Rules and Regulations in the Reporting and Investigation of Child Abuse Cases, presented earlier, the DSWD shall, not later than 48 hours, immediately proceed to the place where the alleged child victim is found and interview said child to determine whether an abuse was committed, the identity of the perpetrator and whether or not there is a need to remove the child from his home or the establishment where he/she may be found. Whenever practicable, the DSWD shall conduct the interview jointly with the police and/or barangay official.

Back to Index


     Once enough evidence is gathered confirming reports of child abuse and exploitation, there is a need to determine whether or not it is for the child's best interest to be removed from the home or establishment where the child is found. Negotiations with the child's employer must necessarily follow for the smooth, safe and non-traumatic removal of the child. Nevertheless, if the negotiation is deemed futile from the start because of the hostile atmosphere between the parties, a rescue operation is then undertaken with the objectives of rescuing the child worker, arresting the violator, and seizing objects or documents which may be used as evidence against the latter.

Back to Index


     Before the actual rescue, a search warrant and/or warrant of arrest must first be secured from the courts in compliance with legal processes. Otherwise, any articles or documents obtained from such illegal search and seizure may not be used as evidence in prosecuting the offender. At the same time, the persons conducting the illegal search and seizure and/or arrest may be held criminally liable under the Revised Penal Code.

Back to Index

     1. Who Issues the Warrant

     Although the Secretary of Labor possesses visitorial and enforcement powers over work establishments, and although the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development possesses powers of investigation over cases of child abuse and exploitation, both do not have the power to issue warrants of arrest, search and seizure. This is because under Art. 3, Sec. 2 of the Philippine Constitution, only judges and no other, may issue warrants of arrest and search. This does not mean, however, that the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, or their duly authorized representatives, cannot cause the search of suspected establishments, the seizure of documents therein, or the arrest of offenders. They may still cause the same to be made by virtue of a warrant issued by a judge.

     A search warrant may be issued at any time by a judge of any trial court with jurisdiction over the property to be searched. A warrant of arrest, on the other hand, may only be issued by the judge of the Municipal Trial Court or Regional Trial Court which has proper jurisdiction over the offense charged, upon the filing of a criminal information with the said courts by the investigating fiscal who conducted the preliminary investigation. However, where the Municipal Trial Court judge is the one conducting the preliminary investigation, in the instances allowed by law, such investigating judge may already issue a warrant of arrest even before it files an information with the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the offense charged.

Back to Index

     2. Requisites For A Valid Search Warrant And/Or Warrant Of Arrest

     Before a warrant may be issued by a judge, the following requisites must first be met:

1. It must be issued based on probable cause or such circumstances which would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe that:
a. an offense has been committed; and
b. the offense has been committed by the person(s) sought to be arrested (in the case of a warrant of arrest); or the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place to be searched (in the case of a search warrant).

2. Probable cause must be determined personally by the judge.

3. The determination must be made after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he/she may produce.

4. The complainant or witnesses must have personal knowledge of said probable cause.

5. The warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched and/or the persons or things to be seized.

6. The warrant must be issued only for one specific offense.

Back to Index

     3. When Warrant Is Not Needed

     Despite the above legal requisites, an arrest, search and seizure may nevertheless be made even without a warrant in the instances presented below.

Back to Index

     3.1 Lawful Arrest Without Warrant

     A person accused of committing a crime may be arrested even without a warrant, by a peace officer or even by a private person, in the following instances:

     a. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
      b. When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
      c. When the person to be arrested is an escaped prisoner.

Back to Index

     3.2. Lawful Search and Seizure Without Warrant

     Searches and seizures may be made even without a warrant under any of the following conditions:

     a. When the individual concerned knowingly consents to the search or when there is a valid waiver of the right.

     b. When the search is incidental to a lawful arrest. The search should be made simultaneous to the arrest and should be limited to the person of the suspect and the immediate area of arrest where accused may reach for arms or destroy evidence. The "officer making the arrest may take from the person arrested any money or property found upon his person which was used in the commission of the crime or was the fruit of the crime, or which might furnish the prisoner with the means of committing violence or escaping, or which may be used in evidence in the trial of the case..."

     c. When the articles to be seized are in plain view of the officer, meaning, its discovery was inadvertent or merely stumbled upon.

Back to Index


     A rescue team is assembled by the DOLE, composed of labor inspectors of the DOLE, social workers of the DSWD, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and/or National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), a lawyer, and representatives of NGOs if possible to brief them regarding the facts of the case and the strategies to be taken in the rescue operation.

Back to Index


     After a series of briefings and armed with the requisite warrants, the rescue team proceeds to conduct the actual rescue operation. Once inside the premises, the team first looks for the child workers who are at once turned-over to the social workers present during the rescue. Together, the labor inspectors and other law enforcers within the team proceed to search the premises for evidence which may be used against the employer/offender and to seize the same. If the offender is present, then an arrest is simultaneously made. The conduct of the arrest and search is again subject to certain legal procedures as follows:


RULE 113

     Sec. 7. Method of arrest by officer by virtue of warrant. -- When making an arrest by virtue of a warrant the officer shall inform the person to be arrested of the cause of the arrest and of the fact that a warrant has been issued for his arrest, except when he flees or forcibly resists before the officer has opportunity so to inform him or when the giving of such information will imperil the arrest. The officer need not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest but after the arrest, if the person arrested so requires, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as practicable.

RULE 126

x x x

     Sec. 6. Right to break door or window to effect search. -- The officer, if refused admittance to the place of directed search after giving notice of his purpose and authority, may break open any outer or inner door or window of a house or any part of a house or anything therein to execute the warrant or liberate himself or any person lawfully aiding him when unlawfully detained therein.

     Sec. 7. Search of a house, room, or premise, to be made in presence of two witnesses. -- No search of a house, room, or any other premise shall be made except in the presence of the lawful occupant thereof, or any member of his family or in the absence of the latter, in the presence of two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality.

x x x

     Sec. 10. Receipt for the property seized. -- The officer seizing property under the warrant must give a detailed receipt for the same to the lawful occupant of the premises in whose presence the search and seizure were made, or in the absence of such occupant, must, in the presence of at least two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality, leave a receipt in the place in which he found the seized property.

     Sec. 11. Delivery of property and inventory thereof to court. -- The officer must forthwith deliver the property seized to the judge who issued the warrant, together with a true inventory therof duly verified under oath.


     Since rescue operations often lead to dislocation of the child workers, protective custody is immediately given to the children by the DSWD, through its centers for children such as the Marillac Hills for girls and the Nayon ng Kabataan for boys, or through other licensed institutions which have facilities for temporary shelter.

     The DSWD shall give the children intake and medical evaluations, counselling, psychological serv-ices and other rehabilitative services to help them deal with probable trauma and emotional disturbance. Child laborers needing more specialized medical or psychological services are referred to the Department of Health.

     The parents, relatives or guardians of the children are then contacted for the eventual return of the children to their families, except if it is found out that the parents or guardians themselves are responsible for the abuse and exploitation of their children. In the latter case, petitions for commitment of the children to the DSWD or any licensed child placement agency, and also petitions for the suspension or termination of parental authority, are filed in court by the DSWD in order to secure prolonged custody over the children.

     View the pertinent laws regarding the custody and rehabilitation of children.

Back to Index


     After the child workers are rescued and given protective custody, cases for the enforcement of their rights or for the redress of their grievances necessarily follow. For children working in the formal sector where an employer-employee relationship is present, cases for the recovery of wages and other monetary benefits may be brought against the employer. The children need not be physically present in the hearing of their claims in case they wish to go back to their homes. Instead, they may execute "powers of attorney" to ensure that the complaints are pursued and that due compensation are given them.

     Claims for work-related injury and welfare benefits are filed with the Social Security System. On the other hand, recovery of wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment are filed either with the Regional Director or the Labor Arbiter in accordance with the following guidelines.

Back to Index



     Art. 291. All money claims arising from employer-employee relations accruing during the effectivity of this Code shall be filed within three (3) years from the time the cause of action accrued; otherwise they shall be forever barred. [Art. 291, Labor Code]

Back to Index


     1. DOLE Regional Director

Jurisdiction: Complaints for recovery of wages and other monetary claims and benefits, including legal interest, not exceeding P5,000.00 and provided the complaint does not include a claim for reinstatement.

     2. Labor Arbiters/ National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)


     1. Complaints for recovery of wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment, if total amount exceeds Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00), OR if accompanied with a claim for reinstatement (even if below P5,000).

     2. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations.

Back to Index


     1. Filing of Complaint

     2. Hearing

     3. Decision: The Regional Director or hearing officer shall decide the complaint within 30 calendar days from the date of filing.

     4. Appeal to NLRC: The decision may be appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) within 5 calendar days from receipt of a copy of the decision.

     5. Resolution of NLRC: The NLRC shall resolve the appeal within 10 calendar days from the submission of the last pleading allowed under its rules.

     6. Payment: The Secretary of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives may supervise the payment of unpaid wages and other monetary claims and benefits, including legal interest, found owing to any employee or househelper. Any sum thus recovered on behalf of any employee or househelper shall be held in a special deposit account by, and shall be paid on order of, the Secretary of Labor and Employment or the regional director directly to the employee or househelper concerned. Any such sum not paid to the employee or househelper, because he cannot be located after diligent and reasonable effort within a period of 3 years, shall be held as a special fund of the DOLE to be used exclusively for the amelioration and benefit of workers.

Back to Index


1. Filing of Complaint

2. Hearing

3. Decision of Labor Arbiter: The Labor Arbiter shall decide within 30 calendar days from submission of the case by the parties for decision.

4. Appeal: Appeal to NLRC within 10 calendar days from receipt of decision. In case of a judgment granting a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash bond or surety bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary award.

5. Decision of NLRC: The NLRC shall decide within 20 calendar days from receipt of answer of the appellee. The decision of NLRC shall be final and executory after 10 calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties.

6. Execution of decisions or awards: A writ of execution on a judgment may be issued by the Secretary, the Regional Director, the Labor Arbiter or the Commission, within 5 years from the date it becomes final and executory, requiring a sheriff or a duly deputized officer to execute or enforce the final decision.

Back to Index


     The technical rules of evidence used in courts of law are not binding in labor cases where prior resort to amicable settlement or compromises between the employ-ers and employees is encouraged to arrive at a speedy resolution of disputes.


     Art. 221. Technical rules not binding and prior resort to amicable settlement. -- In any proceeding before the Commission or any of the Labor Arbiters, the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling and it is the spirit and intention of this Code that the Commission and its members and the Labor Arbiters shall use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process.

x x x

     Art. 227. Compromise agreements. -- Any compromise settlement, including those involving labor standards laws, voluntarily agreed upon by the parties with the assistance of the [National Conciliation and Mediation Board] or the regional office of the Department of Labor, shall be final and binding upon the parties. The National Labor Relations Commission or any court shall not assume jurisdiction over issues involved therein except in case of non-compliance thereof or if there is prima facie evidence that the settlement was obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, or coercion.

Back to Index



     After appropriate inspection and investigation, the Department of Labor and Employment shall evaluate the degree of exploitation and other violations committed by a work establishment or recruitment agency. Based on its findings, after appropriate hearing, it may order the stoppage of work or the suspension of the operations of the work establishment, and the cancellation of the license of the recruitment agency. [See the enforcement powers of the Secretary of Labor on page 119.] Moreover, under the implementing rules of R.A. 7658 or the Child Labor Law, in case of repeated violations by the employer of the provisions of such law, the offender's license to operate shall be revoked. [See page 75.]

Back to Index


     In cases where the establishment or workplace is engaged in hospitality service, child trafficking, obscene publications and/or indecent shows, the DSWD may cause the immediate closure of the said establishments, and the cancellation of their authority or license to operate, by virtue of Section 11 of R.A. 7610 and Section 18 of its implementing rules and regulations. The assistance of local government units and other law enforcement agencies may be sought by the DSWD for this purpose. [See pages 146 and 224.]

Back to Index


     Local government units, by virtue of their "general welfare" powers over their respective territorial jurisdictions may also cause the closure of establishments which exploit children therein or the cancellation of their licenses to operate. This power is contained in the Local Government Code which grants to local government units all powers essential to the promotion of the general welfare of their inhabitants including the preservation and enrichment of culture, the promotion of health and safety, the improvement of public morals, and the preservation of the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants, among others. Moreover, the regulatory powers of local government units over business enterprises within their respective jurisdictions, necessarily give them the power to revoke licenses which they themselves have issued. Under the Local Government Code, cities and municipalities, through their mayors and "sanggunian" members, have the following specific powers among others.


     1. "to issue licenses and permits [to business enterprises within] and to suspend or revoke the same for any violation of the conditions upon which said licenses or permits had been issued, pursuant to law or ordinance";

     2. "to regulate any business...within the city/municipality and the conditions under which the license for said business...may be issued or revoked"; and 3. "to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of cafes, restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar establishments..." and of "entertainment or amusement facilities, including...sauna baths, massage parlors and other places of entertainment or amusement;...particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants; or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or prohibit certain forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of the community.

Back to Index


     If the offending establishment is a hotel, motel, resort, tourist inn, apartel, pension house, or other accommodation establishment, the establishment's accreditation with the Department of Tourism may also be cancelled pursuant to Administrative Order No. 95-17. [See page 178.]

Back to Index


     Protection of the rights of child workers will not be complete without the attainment of justice. For the attainment of justice, conviction of the offenders must be ensured through the cooperation of the different members of the criminal justice system beginning with the law enforcement pillar. Thus, immediately after a rescue operation, or upon receipt of reports, the law enforcement agencies should secure the individual sworn statements of the child workers and gather other vital evidence for the filing of appropriate criminal charges. They shall then coordinate with concerned agencies such as the Child Rights Center of the Commission on Human Rights and the Task Force on Child Protection of the Department of Justice regarding the extension of legal assistance. Such agencies, together with the social workers of DSWD, shall properly orient the children regarding the prosecution of their cases and adequately prepare them as witnesses. Illustrated hereunder are the step-by-step procedures in the prosecution of criminal cases.

Back to Index


     1. Katarungang Pambarangay

     Offenses punishable by imprisonment of one year or less, and a fine of P5,000.00 or less, shall be brought be brought for amicable settlement before the Katarungang Pambarangay (Barangay Justice System) if the parties actually reside in the same city or municipality.

     However, even if the parties reside in different cities or municipalities, if their respective barangays adjoin each other, the parties may still opt to bring the dispute before the Katarungang Pambarangay provided that the penalty for the offense is still within its jurisdiction as stated above.

Back to Index

     2. Municipal/ Metropolitan/ Municipal Circuit Trial Courts

     The Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction.

     The foregoing courts also have exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not more than 6 years, irrespective of the fine and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties and the civil liability arising therefrom.

Back to Index

     3. Regional Trial Courts

     The Regional Trial Courts now have exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of more than 6 years irrespective of the fine and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties and the civil liability arising therefrom, except violation of municipal or city ordinances which fall under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts.

Back to Index

     4. Family Courts

     On October 28, 1997, Republic Act No. 8364 otherwise known as "Family Courts Act of 1997" was signed into law. Under the new law, the Family Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases:

     Sec. 5. Jurisdiction of Family Courts. - The Family Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases:

     a) Criminal cases where one or more of the accused is below eighteen (18) years of age but not less than nine (9) years of age, or where one or more of the victims is a minor at the time of the commission of the offense. Provided, that if the minor is found guilty, the court shall promulgate the sentence and ascertain any civil liability which the accused may have incurred . The sentence, however, shall be suspended without need of application pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the "Child and Youth Welfare Code";

     b) Petitions for guardianship, custody of children, habeas corpus, in relation to the latter;

     c) Petitions for adoption of children and the revocation thereof;

     d) Petitions for annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage and those relating to marital status and property relations of husband and wife or those living together under different status and agreements, and petitions for dissolution of conjugal partnership of gains;

     e) Petitions for support and/or acknowledgement

     f) Summary judicial proceedings brought under the provisions of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the "Family Code of the Philippines",

     g) Petitions for declarations of status of children as abandoned, dependent or neglected children, petitions for voluntary or involuntary commitment of children; the suspension, termination, or restoration of parental authority and other cases under Presidential Decree No. 603, Executive Order No. 56 (series of 1986), and other related laws;

     h) Petitions for the constitution of the family home;

     i) Cases against minors cognizable under the Dangerous Drugs Act as amended;

     j) Violations of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act" as amended by Republic Act No. 7658; and

     k) Cases of domestic violence against;

1) Women - which are acts of gender based violence that result, or are likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, and other forms of physical abuse such as battering or threats and coercion which violate a woman's personhood, integrity and freedom of movement; and

2) Children - which include the commission of all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, violence and discrimination and all other conditions prejudicial to their development

     If an act constitutes a criminal offense, the accused or batterer will be subject to criminal proceedings and the corresponding penalties.

     If any question involving the above matters should arise as an incident in any case pending in the regular courts, said incident shall be determined in that court.

     Sec. 7. Provisional Remedies - In cases of violence among immediate family members living in the same domicile or household, the Family Court may issue a restraining order against the accused or defendant upon a verified application by the complainant or the victim for relief from abuse.

     The Court may order the temporary custody of children in all civil actions for their custody. The court may also order support pendente lite, including deduction from the salary and use of conjugal home and other properties in all civil actions for support.

     Sec. 17. Transitory Provisions. - Pending the establishment of such Family Courts, the Supreme Court shall designate from among the branches of the Regional Trial Court at least one Family Court in each of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan, Makati, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Laoag, Baguio, Santiago, Dagupan, Olongapo, Cabanatuan, San Jose, Angeles, Cavite, Batangas, Lucena, Naga, Iriga, Legazpi, Roxas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos, Oroquieta, Ozamis, Dipolog, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Iligan, and in such other places as the Supreme Court may deem necessary.

     Additional cases other than those provided in section 5 may be assigned to the Family Courts when their dockets permit Provided, That such additional cases shall not be heard on the same day family cases are heard.

     In areas where there are no Family Courts, the cases referred to in Section 5 of this Act shall be adjudicated by the Regional Trial Court.

     Sec. 13. Special Rules of Procedure. - The Supreme Court shall promulgate special rules of procedure for the transfer of cases tot he new courts during the transition period and for the disposition of family cases with the best interests of the child and the protection of the family as primary consideration taking into account the United nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Back to Index

     4.1 Social Service and Counselling Division

     Concomitant with the creation of the Family Courts, the Social Services and Counselling Division (SSCD) shall be established in each region as the Supreme Court shall deem necessary based on the number of juvenile and family cases existing in each jurisdiction. It shall provide appropriate social services to all juvenile and family cases filed with the court and recommend the proper social action. it shall also develop programs, formulate uniform policies and procedures, and provide technical supervision and monitoring of all SSCD in coordination with the Judge.

     Sec. 11. Alternative Social Services. - In accordance with Section 17 of this Act, in areas where no Family Court has been established or no Regional trial Court was designated by the Supreme Court due to the limited number of cases, the DSWD shall designate and assign qualified, trained, and DSWD accredited social workers of the local government units to handle juvenile and family cases filed in the designated Regional Trial Court of the place.

Back to Index


     A complaint is a "sworn written statement charging a person with an offense, subscribed by the offended party, any peace officer or other public officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated."

     1. Crimes Under R.A. 7610

     The following may file a complaint for crimes under R.A. 7610:
a. offended party;
b. parent or legal guardian;
c. ascendant or collateral relative of the child within the third degree of consanguinity;
d. duly organized officer or social worker of the Department;
e. officer, social worker or representative of a licensed child caring institution;
f. Barangay Chairman; or
g. at least (3) concerned, responsible citizens where the violation occurred

Back to Index

     2. Crimes Under the RPC and Other Criminal Laws

     The following may file a complaint for crimes under the RPC and other criminal laws, unless otherwise stated in such laws:

     2.1. Any peace officer or other public officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated.

     2.2. The crimes of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of lasciviousness shall be filed by the following persons [unless the crime also falls under R.A. 7610 in which case the latter law shall apply]:

      a. offended minor;
      b. parents;
      c. grandparents; or
      d. legal guardian.

     In case the minor fails to file the complaint, the right to file the action granted to parents, grandparents or guardian shall be exclusive of all other persons and shall be exercised successively in the order provided.

Back to Index


     1. Offenses Subject to the Katarungang Pambarangay

     a. Disputes between persons residing in the same barangay shall be brought for amicable settlement before the lupon of said barangay.

     b. Those involving actual residents of different barangays within the same city or municipality shall be brought in the barangay where the respondent(s) actually reside.

Back to Index

     2. Offenses Under the Jurisdiction of the Municipal/ Municipal Circuit Trial Courts

     For offenses committed in Metropolitan Manila and other chartered cities, the complaint should be filed with the office of the fiscal of the city where the crime was committed. The fiscal shall thereafter file an information in court if his findings so warrant.

     For offenses committed in other cities or municipalities, the complaint may be filed either with the fiscal's office, in accordance with the previous paragraph, or directly with the Municipal Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the offense.

Back to Index

     3. Offenses Under the Jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts

     For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts, the complaint shall be filed for preliminary investigation before the office of the provincial or city fiscal or the national or regional state prosecutor. The preliminary investigation may also be conducted by the judges of the Municipal Trial Courts or the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. The foregoing persons shall, thereafter, file the corresponding information in the Regional Trial Courts, if their findings so warrant.

Back to Index


1. Complaint - Upon payment of the appropriate filing fee, the complainant shall complain orally or in writing to the Lupon Chairman (Barangay Captain) of the barangay.

2. Summons - The Lupon Chairman shall within the next working day summon the respondent with notice to the complainant and their witnesses, to appear before him for a mediation.

3. Mediation - The Lupon Chairman has 15 days, from the first meeting of the parties before him, to settle the conflict. If he fails to settle within 15 days, he shall constitute the Pangkat Tagapagkasundo which must convene within 3 days.

4. Hearing - A hearing shall be conducted by the Pangkat in order to simplify issues, and explore all possibilities for amicable settlement. The Pangkat shall arrive at a settlement/resolution within 15 days from the day it convenes, extendible for another 15 days in meritorious cases.
      Proceedings shall be public and informal. Parties must appear in person without the assistance of lawyers or representatives, except for minors or incompetents who may be assisted by their next-of-kin who are not lawyers.

5. Agreement to Submit to Arbitration - The parties may, at any stage of the proceedings, agree in writing to submit the dispute for arbitration by the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat, and that they shall abide by the arbitration award.

6. Amicable Settlement/Arbitration Award - An amicable settlement reached by the parties, or an arbitration award given by the Lupon Chairman or Pangkat Chairman shall be in writing, in a language or dialect known to the parties, and signed by them and the Lupon Chairman or Pangkat Chairman, as the case may be.

7. Repudiation of Settlement or Agreement to Arbitrate - In the case of settlement, any party may, within 10 days from the date of the settlement, repudiate the same on the ground of fraud, violence or intimidation, by filing with the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat Chairman a sworn statement to such effect.

     In the case of an agreement to arbitrate, such agreement may be repudiated within 5 days from the date of such agreement, on the same grounds stated above. If no repudiation of the agreement is made within the said 5 days, the Lupon Chairman or Pangkat shall issue an arbitration award within 10 days thereafter.

8. Finality of Settlement or Arbitration Award - The amicable settlement and arbitration award shall have the force and effect of a final judgment of a court upon the expiration of 10 days from the date thereof, unless repudiation of the settlement has been made as described above, or a "petition to nullify" the arbitration award has been filed before the proper city or municipal court.

9. Certification for Filing a Complaint in Court - In case no settlement is reached, or in case the settlement is repudiated on time, the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman shall issue a certificate to such effect, which entitles the parties to file their case with the regular courts.

Back to Index


     Violations of municipal or city ordinances, as well as, all other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed for the offense is imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or a fine not exceeding P1,000.00, or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties or civil liability arising therefrom shall be subject to summary procedure before the Municipal Trial Courts, Municipal Circuit Trial Courts or Metropolitan Trial Courts.

1. Complaint or Information - A complaint or information shall be filed with the Municipal Trial judge together with the affidavits of the complainant and of his/her witnesses. The court may already dismiss the complaint outright for being patently without basis or merit and order the release of the accused if in custody.

2. Counter-Affidavits - If the case is commenced by an information filed by the fiscal/prosecutor, the accused may submit counter-affidavits and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as any evidence in his behalf within 10 days from receipt of such order.

3. Reply Affidavits - The prosecution may file reply affidavits within 10 days from receipt of the counter-affidavits of the defense.

4. Dismissal or Setting for Arraignment - The court upon consideration of the complaint or information and affidavits may either dismiss the case or set the case for arraignment and trial.

5. Arraignment - If the accused is in custody for the crime charged, he shall be immediately arraigned and if he enters a plea of guilty, the court shall forthwith pronounce its sentence.

6. Preliminary Conference - Before actual trial, the court shall call the parties to a preliminary conference for a stipulation of facts, plea bargaining or for clarification of issues to ensure a speedy disposition of the case.

7. Trial - The affidavits of witnesses shall already constitute their direct testimonies. However, they may be subjected to cross-examination, redirect or re-cross examination. No witnesses shall be allowed to testify unless their affidavits were previously submitted to the court.

8. Arrest of Accused - The court shall not order the arrest of the accused except for failure to appear whenever required. Release of the person arrested shall either be on bail or on recognizance by a responsible citizen acceptable to the court.

9. Judgment. - The judge must promulgate the judgment not later than 30 days after the termination of the trial.

10. Appeal - Only the accused may appeal to the Regional Trial Court within 15 days from receipt of decision. The decision of the Regional Trial Court may again be appealed by the accused to the Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court within 15 days from receipt of such.

Back to Index


     A preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof. It is conducted by a fiscal or state prosecutor, or by a Municipal Trial judge, before an information is filed in court.

     However, if the accused is lawfully arrested without a warrant, for an offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court, the complaint or information may be filed by the offended party, peace officer or fiscal without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted, on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or arresting officer. The accused may still ask for a preliminary investigation later, if he signs a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code governing the release of detained persons.

1. Complaint - The complainant shall file a complaint and submit the affidavits of his/her witnesses, which shall be sworn to before the fiscals/state prosecutors.

2. Dismissal or Subpoena - Within 10 days from filing of complaint, the investigating officer shall either dismiss the same if he finds no ground to continue with the inquiry, or issue a subpoena to the respondent, together with a copy of the complaint and affidavits.

3. Counter-affidavits - Respondent is given 10 days from receipt of subpoena, to submit counter-affidavits.

4. Hearing - If the investigating officer believes that there are matters to be clarified he may set a hearing to propound clarificatory questions to the parties or their witnesses.

5. Resolution - The investigating officer shall resolve the case within 10 days from the last clarificatory hearing or the date the case has been submitted by both parties for resolution.

6. Forward Records to Provincial/City Fiscal or Chief State Prosecutor - Within 5 days from resolution, the investigating fiscal shall forward the records of the case to the provincial/city fiscal or chief state prosecutor.

7. Approval or Reversal of Findings - The provincial or city fiscal or chief state prosecutor shall take appropriate action within 10 days from receipt of records.

8. Appeal to Secretary of Justice - Upon petition by any party, the Secretary of Justice may reverse the resolution of the provincial or city fiscal or chief state prosecutor.

9. Dismissal of Case or Filing of Information in Court - The case may either be dismissed or filed in court for trial. In the latter case, an information is prepared and subscribed by the fiscal/prosecutor, charging the accused with an offense, and filed in court.

Back to Index

NOTE: Compromise Agreements/Affidavits of Desistance/Plea Bargaining. - Criminal cases cognizable by the trial courts, as a policy, cannot be the subject of compromise agreements or amicable settlements, unlike in cases brought before the Katarungang Pambarangay or in labor cases filed with the DOLE wherein such settlements are even encouraged.

     Accordingly, if the accused enters into an agreement with the minor victim or the latter's parents for the payment of money in exchange for the withdrawal of the complaint, such agreement is not binding or conclusive upon the prosecutors or the courts which may continue with the hearing or trial of the case as long as there are still other witnesses willing to testify against the accused. Nevertheless, if the child and/or his/her witnesses refuse to testify in the course of the proceedings, and very little evidence is left at hand, the case may eventually be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

     Compromise agreements with respect to criminal cases, however, should be distinguished from plea bargaining and from execution of affidavits of desistance which are permitted by law. Plea bargaining or a plea of guilty to a lesser offense, if accepted by the complainant, is allowed by law, in which case the accused may be convicted only for the lesser offense. An affidavit of desistance executed by the complainant is also admissible in court as evidence in favor of the accused. Although such does not necessarily result to the outright dismissal of the case, an affidavit of desistance usually weakens the case against the complainant/offended party and may eventually lead to the same result.

Back to Index


     1. Arrest of Accused

     Upon the filing of an information by the fiscal (or of a complaint in the case of Municipal Trial Courts in non-chartered cities), the trial court shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused unless the latter is already under detention. [See requirements for the issuance of warrants and the procedures on arrest on pages 218, 219 and 220.]

Back to Index

     2. Bail

     After the arrest of the accused, he may apply for bail unless charged with a capital offense or heinous crime and the evidence against him is strong.

     Bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, conditioned upon his appearance before any court as required. Under the Philippine Constitution, all persons are entitled to bail by sufficient sureties or to be released on recognizance by a responsible citizen, except those charged with offenses punishable by "reclusion perpetua" or death when the evidence of guilt is strong. Thus, even if the accused is charged with a heinous crime punishable by "reclusion perpetua" or death, he may still be granted bail if no strong evidence of guilt is presented before the judge in a hearing called for the purpose.

Back to Index

     3. Arraignment and Plea

     Arraignment consists of reading the information to the accused and asking him, in open court whether or not he is guilty of the crime charged.

     A plea of guilty to a lesser offense may be allowed by the trial court if the offended party and the fiscal consents to such. A conviction under this lesser plea will constitute a bar to another prosecution for the higher offense.

Back to Index

     4. Trial

     At the trial, the prosecution shall present all its evidence to prove the charge against the accused and also his civil liability. After the prosecution rests its case, the defense is then given the chance to present its own evidence to dispute the charges. The parties may, thereafter, present rebutting evidence.

     After all evidence have been presented the court may order the parties to submit their respective briefs or memoranda proving their respective claims. The case shall be deemed submitted for decision upon the filing of the last pleading or memorandum.

     The following are the laws which specifically govern the trial of cases of child abuse and exploitation:

Back to Index

     4.1 R.A. 7610

     Under R.A. 7610 and its implementing rules, the trial of child abuse cases shall take precedence over all other cases before the courts, except election and habeas corpus cases. The said law also mandates that the trial of child abuse cases shall commence within 3 days from arraignment of the accused. Furthermore, the law permits the exclusion of the public during the giving of the testimony of the child victim and mandates that proceedings be held in the chambers of the judge. [See pages 158 and 214.]

Back to Index

     4.2 Administrative Circular No. 23-95

     In October 1995, the Supreme Court issued Administrative Circular No. 23-95 governing the speedy trial of child labor and other child abuse cases. The provisions of the circular are presented in the next page.





     All trial judges are enjoined to act with dispatch on all cases involving children, including but not limited to child labor cases under Rep. Act No. 7610, cases of child abuses and pedophilia.

     It is directed that arraignments should be scheduled within a week after the accused is placed in the court's custody or upon filing of the bailbond and pre-trial/trial shall commence within three (3) days from arraignment.

     Attention is called to Section 30 of Rep. Act. 7610 which provides that violations of this Act should be heard in the chambers of the RTC duly designated as Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts.

     October 11, 1995.

Chief Justice

Back to Index

     5. Judgment

     Judgment is the adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or not guilty of the offense charged, and the imposition of the proper penalty and civil liability provided for by law on the accused.

     Under the Philippine Constitution, all cases must be decided or resolved by all trial courts within 3 months from the date of submission. However, despite the expiration of this period, the court, without prejudice to such responsibilities as it may have incurred thereof, shall decide the case without further delay.

Back to Index

     6. Motion for Reconsideration/ New Trial/ Appeal

     If the trial court acquits the accused or dismisses the case against him, the prosecution cannot appeal anymore. The right to appeal in criminal cases decided by the courts is only available to the accused, save in exceptional cases where there is failure of trial or gross ignorance of the law by the trial judge.

     If the accused is convicted, he has 15 days to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration, or to file an appeal with the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. Otherwise, the judgment becomes final and executory, after which he shall begin to serve his sentence.

     Once a judgment becomes final, the complainant may not file another case against the accused for the same offense earlier charged or for any attempt to commit the same offense or frustration thereof. Nor may the complainant file another case for an offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense earlier charged. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall also constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act. To allow the foregoing would constitute "double jeopardy" which is prohibited under the Philippine Constitution. Under the rule on "double jeopardy," when an accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed without his express consent, by a court of competent jurisdiction, his conviction or acquittal or the dismissal of the case shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged.

Back to Index


Copyright © 1998 Philippine ILO. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Philippine ILO is prohibited.