Issue of March 26, 2017
Mt. Province

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Child labor–free barangays and establishments

For three consecutive years, the Department of Labor and Employment has led in helping the country achieve significant advancement in its efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

The United States Department of Labor, in its 2016 report on “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor” cited the Philippines as having achieved significant advancement in its efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The report of the U.S. Department of Labor highlights the assessment of government action to advance efforts in eliminating the worst forms of child labor. This year, DOLE continues to make significant strides in the national anti-child labor campaign, especially in poor communities. The campaign is unique that it is being waged alongside the delivery of projects to combat poverty.

The campaign for child labor-free barangays – a campaign that aims to contribute to the vision of a child labor-free Philippines through influencing change and obtaining commitment and support from various stakeholders to make barangays free from child labor.

The DOLE has always been steadfast in addressing child labor and its worst forms. Through a convergence strategy, the campaign brings the government’s child labor programs and services to the barangay level and to the household level.

In the Cordillera, there are 18 barangays free from child labor as certified by the DOLE and its partner agencies. Still a long road to go towards the eradication of child labor.

In industries and establishments, the demand for products is huge and there is an overwhelming emphasis on quick supply. This growing culture of new products and fast consumerism is pushing companies and establishments to find cheaper sources of labor in an effort to keep costs down and profits up.

The reality is that children are good sour-ces of cheap labor because they slip under the radar. They are seen as low-skilled workers without a voice, and so they are easy targets. Employers of children get away with it because supply chains have become incredibly complex and it is hard for companies to control every stage of production. Even if big brands appear to condemn acts of exploitation on the surface, it is hard for them and their consumers to know what is happening further down the line.

That is why the focus of the International Labor Organization 2016 World Day against Child Labor is on supply chains. Its aim is to encourage enterprises to be vigilant in ensuring that their supply chains are free from child labor, and to encourage consumers to hold companies accountable for their actions.

One of the programs of DOLE for companies and businesses is the Child Labor-Free Establishment Certificate (CLFE) conferred to a company or establishment that is not employing children and not using products or materials produced through the use of child labor. The grant of a CLFE certificate aims to promote compliant and socially-responsible business practices. The certification is given to a business establishment that maintains a company policy expressly prohibiting child labor which is displayed publicly and does not have a pending case with. An establishment should also have a policy prohibiting child labor for its locators, suppliers and contractors of its locators to qualify for the certificate.

The CLFE certificate is one of the recognition awards under the Incentivizing Compliance Program (ICP) of the DOLE pursuant to Department Order 115, s. 2011. The ICP promotes voluntary compliance by giving due recognition and incentives to a company’s initiative to comply with labor laws or having implemented higher standard; assisting non-compliant company through training and technical assistance to comply with requirements set by law. A Child Labor-Free Zone (CLFZ) marker may also be awarded to a special economic zone where all establishments within the zone have been bestowed with CLFE certificate. The Baguio City Economic Zone Authority was awarded with a CLFZ marker back in 2015.

DOLE-CAR is inviting companies and business establishments to aim for a CLFE and they can be enrolled through: nomination by the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) or the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (RTIPC); or direct application.

An establishment enrolled or nominated for the CLFE certificate must meet the following criteria: Holder of a bestowed Tripartite Certificate of Compliance on Labor Standards; maintains a company policy expressly prohibiting child labor which is displayed publicly. For those employing young workers (15 to 17 years of age), a policy on non-assignment in hazardous work and worst forms of child labor; contracts or terms of engagement with its suppliers and contractors, if any, contain stipulations prohibiting child labor; has no pending case with the DOLE on the use of child labor; and its suppliers and contractors, if any, have no pending case with the DOLE of any verified report on the use of child labor. The DOLE-CAR shall conduct documentary review, ocular visit and random interview of employees of the establishment/zone.

For applicant establishments with suppliers and/or contractors located in another region, the DOLE-CAR shall request the concerned DOLE regional office for a certification that the suppliers and/or contractors have no pending case or any verified report on the use of child labor. If the establishment is found to be compliant, the DOLE regional director shall issue the CLFE certificate.

The incentives and benefits of establishments awarded include a certificate/marker of recognition as child labor-free establishment/zone; priority endorsement to DOLE programs and services; use of the child labor-free establishment/zone logo in promotional materials and activities; and promotion in the DOLE website as partner-implementer of the child labor-free Philippines campaign.

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