Trade union welcomes creation of anti-child labor council
MANILA, Philippines – The Federation for Free Workers (FFW) welcomed the creation of the National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL) after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 92 on September 17.
The law turned the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), which was institutionalized in 2011, into NCACL, an inter-agency and multipartite body that would lead, coordinate, and monitor anti-child labor efforts in the country.
The NCACL would be headed by the labor secretary as chairperson and the social welfare secretary as co-chairperson.
The secretaries of the education, health, interior and local government, justice, agriculture, and environment and natural resources departments will act as members of the NCACL, among others.
“This is long overdue. We have been seeking a clearer mandate and a more concrete set of guidelines to coordinate all efforts to eliminate child labor in the Philippines,” said Julius H. Cainglet, vice president for research, advocacy, and partnerships of the FFW.
Cainglet said that at present, the NCLC is limited in mandate, resources, and coordination because it was only established through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between its member government agencies, trade unions, employers and non-governmental organizations. A MOA is “but a suggestion, at best, to government agencies to create and fund projects on child labor.”
Meanwhile, an EO directs government agencies to integrate initiatives against child labor in their regular programs and budget, Cainglet said.
“We can engage the Department of Labor and Employment in labor inspection, child labor reporting, and monitoring and direct services for victims of child labor, among others. We can also continue advocacy efforts to remove one million Filipino children from child labor under the #1MBatangMalaya campaign, which the FFW spearheads with the DOLE,” Cainglet added.
The national statistician from the Philippine Statistics Authority would also be part of the NCACL, which the FFW also appreciated.
“The inclusion of the Philippine Statistics Authority in the NCACL and the mandate to gather more data about the social malaise may be the opening child rights advocates need to regularly be updated on and monitor the general state of Filipino children and the child labor situation in particular,” Cainglet said. – Rappler.com