Duterte Signs Executive Order No. 92 to Combat Child Labor
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 92 titled “Institutionalizing the National Council Against Child Labor to Upscale the Implementation of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor” on September 17, 2019 while the government’s official journal released an online copy of the measure last Friday (September 27, 2019).
The signed measure directed government agencies to create the National Council Against Child Labor to reinforce the government’s efforts in reducing the prevalence of child labor in the country and protecting the youth from illegal employment conducted by different industries and businesses in which, according to the International Labor Organization, deprives their childhood, potential, and dignity.
Council members will come from other government agencies such as but not limited to the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The signed measure also requires two (2) representatives from the workers sector, the employers sector, and non-government organizations with programs on child labor.
Functions and Directives of Executive Order No. 92
Through Executive Order No. 92, Duterte relegates the formulation of frameworks, national plans, and other policies and guidelines to effectively enforce Republic Act (RA) No. 7610, otherwise known as the “Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination.” The National Council against Child Labor must oversee the implementation of the “Philippine Program against Child Labor” (PPCL).
The President reorganized the NCLC (National Child Labor Committee) as the National Council Against Child Labor lead by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) while the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will act as the Council Co-Chairperson.
Other functions such as monitoring the status of cases involving the violation of the provisions of law on child labor and creating information dissemination and advocacy campaigns to shed light on the inhumane utilization of children in different industries and businesses.
Executive Order No. 92 also directed the Council to develop Technical Working Groups (TWGs) that utilizes the strategic directions of the PPACL framework or other frameworks formulated by the Council as a foundation. The President directs TWGs to assess the implementation of the PPCL’s plan of action and address gaps that may arise.
Labor Group Welcomes Creation of Anti-Child Labor Council
After Duterte signed Executive Order No. 92, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) lauded the establishment of an anti-child labor council. FFW Vice President Julius Cainglet said they sought for a definite guideline which strengthens the efforts to eradicate child labor. According to the Vice President, it took a long while to create such a measure.
“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,” Cainglet said.
“Ever since RA 9213 and our commitments under ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor were first reviewed, the anti-child labor movement has proposed the creation of the National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL) whether through law or through a President issuance,” he added.
Since the executive directed government agencies to “foster cooperation with international development agencies and other competent bodies”, Cainglet suggested they can coordinate with DOLE to act on the initiatives developed by the Council.
“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,” the FFW official said.