IN LINE with its grassroots advocacy on protecting the rights and welfare of children, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) continuously strengthens its monitoring of various business establishments nationwide to prevent cases of child labor and exploitation.
In a meeting with Dole provincial and field office heads, Dole-CAR officer-in-charge regional director Exequiel Ronie Guzman said close coordination with various government agencies, as well as with local government units, down to the barangay level, is being undertaken to strictly monitor and implement general labor standards, particularly the law against child labor.
“The Dole, together with its partner government agencies, law enforcement agencies and the private sector are serious in the commitment to end child labor by the year 2025. Dole aims for one million children all over the country to be free from child labor, particularly those working in hazardous conditions such as in agriculture and mining sector,” Guzman said.
Guzman said inspection teams from the Dole regional office prioritize the assessment of various establishments to ensure their compliance with general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards. The team also checks whether the company employs workers below the mandated working age.
He also cited difficulties encountered by Dole inspection teams in reaching establishments region-wide because of the informal sectors in agriculture and mining industry which do not have legitimate and proper registration documents from Dole.
“We seek the assistance of our barangay, municipalities, and provincial governments in encouraging informal management sectors to enlist their establishments with Dole for us to reach them and properly conduct inspections. This may lessen and soon eradicate child labor practices and exploitation in the rural areas,” Guzman added.
In a related development, anti-child labor advocate Giovanni Soledad of the International Labour Organization cited numerous instances where children below the legal age of 15 were forced to work under hazardous conditions after calamities to provide income and food for their families.
“There is clearly an increase in the vulnerability of children to work during major calamities because they feel the need to help their families. Some of the male children were also forced to drop out of school to do agricultural work. These child laborers were among those who are exposed to chemicals and other hazardous conditions.
Actions has to be done to address these issues, and we, in partnership with the Philippine government, are here to help,” Soledad added. (PR)