Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More



Cablegate: Corrected Copy: Information On Child and Forced


DE RUEHML #0404/01 0570846
O 260846Z FEB 10 ZDK




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 09 STATE 131997
B. 09 MANILA 0102
C. 08 MANILA 1383

CORRECTED COPY - This is a corrected copy of MANILA 212.
This version clarifies in para 2 that there was no new
information on adult forced labor; updates statistics in para
8, response 6; and offers an overall assessment of progress
in para 15.

1. (U) Summary: This cable provides input requested for the
Secretary of Labor's annual report to Congress on the
implementation of commitments to eliminate exploitative and
forced child labor (Ref A). It updates information provided
by Post in Reftels B and C on the use of child labor in the
production of goods, child labor laws and regulations, law
enforcement capabilities, social programs aimed at
prevention, statistics on child labor and child education,
and government policies and programs to combat child labor
and child trafficking in the Philippines. Sources of
information used during the preparation of this update
include the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE), the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), the Department of Justice (DOJ),
Philippine law enforcement agencies, the International Labor
Organization (ILO), and World Vision. End Summary.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.


2. (SBU) After surveying available data as well as
interviewing primary contacts on labor issues, Post found no
new information on the use of exploitative child labor or
forced labor, child or adult, in the production of goods to
add to what we reported in reftels B and C. There were
scattered anecdotal reports that child labor may sometimes be
used in the production of bananas. However Post continues to
find no reliable indicators of the use of exploitative or
forced child labor in this sector, particularly in the
commercial production of bananas.


2A: Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Exploitative
Child Labor

3. (U) Children, primarily girls, are engaged in domestic
service. Children are also involved in the commercial sex
industry as prostitutes, are used in the production of
pornography, and are exploited by sex tourists. Children
living on the streets in urban centers are particularly
vulnerable to prostitution and pornography. Children are
also involved in garbage scavenging operations and there was
some concern on the part of a nongovernmental organization
about the possible occurrence of forced child begging. The
government did not collect or publish data on exploitative
labor during the year.

2B: Laws and Regulations

4. (U) On November 17, 2009, President Gloria Arroyo signed
the Anti-Child Pornography Act, which carries penalties
ranging from one month imprisonment to a life sentence and
fines from 50,000 pesos to five million pesos (approximately
$1,050 to $105,000), depending on the gravity of the offense.
The law prohibits hiring, employing, using, persuading,
inducing or coercing a child to participate in the production
of any form of child pornography. It also specifies the
duties and responsibilities of Internet service providers,
mall owners and operators of business establishments, and
Internet content hosts to report any commission of any form
of child pornography in their respective areas. The DSWD is
conducting consultations with various government agencies and
NGOs to draft the law's implementing rules and regulations.

5. (U) On October 22, 2009, DOLE issued new regulations that
clarify procedures for the closure of businesses found to be
using child labor. Businesses found guilty of violating the
child labor law more than three times will be forced to cease
operation and have the business premises sealed; prior notice
and hearing is required before the issuance of a closure
order. Immediate closure, however, will be imposed on
establishments suspected of using children for commercial sex
acts, with court hearings to determine the validity of the

government's complaint to be held at a later time.

6. (U) The Philippines has a strong set of laws to protect
the rights and welfare of children, especially those working
in hazardous conditions or in the worst forms of child labor
(see reftel). Passage of the Anti-Child Pornography Act and
new DOLE regulations for closure orders served to further
improve legal safeguards for working children during the
year. Full implementation of this robust legal framework,
however, faces the same challenges as other social
legislation: limited awareness and training about the law
among the public, law enforcement, and civil servants; a lack
of dedicated budget allocations and insufficient numbers of
law enforcement, Department of Labor and Employment, and
Department of Justice (DOJ) personnel; impunity on the part
of complicit government officials; and a lengthy trial
process. The continuing challenge is to translate existing
laws into effective deterrents to violations of international
norms and Philippine law, as well as to alleviate the
underlying economic and social conditions that perpetuate
child labor.

2C: Institutions and Mechanisms for Enforcement

7. (SBU) Section I and Section II: Hazardous and Forced
Child Labor

COMMENT: Philippine institutions and mechanisms responsible
for enforcement of child and forced labor laws do not
differentiate between &hazardous child labor8 and &forced
child labor.8 The Philippine framework examines &children
in hazardous conditions,8 which encapsulates both forced and
hazardous child labor. The Philippine government uses the
same mechanisms to address both hazardous child labor and
forced child labor. Therefore, our responses in this cable
for the questions posed by Sections I and II are combined.

Response 1: DOLE is the lead government agency responsible
for the enforcement of child labor laws through the work of
its labor standards enforcement offices. In addition, DSWD
maintains 16 Crisis Intervention Units (CIU) and 30
residential facilities nationwide to address cases of child
abuse and support its victims, including trafficked and
exploited children. Each DSWD regional office also has a
Special Action Unit (SAU) composed of personnel from
different divisions within the region. SAUs are empowered to
conduct rescue operations within the regional jurisdiction.
At least one dedicated staff member is assigned per region to
participate in rescue operations, while an average of five
social workers manage case loads at residential facilities.

Response 2: To exchange information at the national level,
DOLE chairs the National Child Labor Committee, a
coordinating body for the child labor-related initiatives of
various government agencies and program partners, including
NGOs. This mechanism is replicated at the regional level
nationwide, but its effectiveness was hampered by a lack of
dedicated resources, personnel and training. During the year
a DOLE restructuring merged the Bureau of Women and Young
Workers with the Bureau of Rural Workers to form the Bureau
of Workers and Special Concerns, a move designed to
streamline operations and reduce bureaucracy.

Response 3: The DOLE-led "Sagip Batang Manggagawa" (Rescue
the Child Workers, or SBM) program is the interagency
quick-action mechanism that responds to reports of
exploitative and forced child labor. SBM employs a team
composed of the DOLE, Philippine National Police (PNP),
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and DSWD. Its
effectiveness was severely compromised by a lack of dedicated
resources, logistical supplies, personnel, and training.

Response 4: DOLE was not able to provide an accurate
statement of its funding for inspections of child labor
cases, as DOLE inspectors are tasked with inspecting all
aspects of the labor code, including child labor. There were
no inspectors or budget allocations specifically dedicated to
child labor cases.

Response 5: DOLE employs 208 labor and employment officers
nationwide to monitor and enforce all aspects of the national
Labor Code, but only 153 were duly authorized to inspect
establishments. There were no officers dedicated solely to
investigation; officers had numerous tasks and
responsibilities in addition to their investigatory
responsibilities. The limited number of inspectors and

inadequate logistical supplies made it difficult for DOLE to
effectively investigate child labor law violations.

Response 6: DOLE's Bureau of Working Conditions, which
inspects establishments for violations of all labor
standards, inspected 4,233 establishments; 2,549
establishments were found to have violations on minimum wage,
occupational safety and general labor standards. DOLE found
only three minor workers during these inspections. The
number of investigations fell markedly from 2008, in which
DOLE inspected 26,169 establishments. DOLE reports the
decrease was a result of their response to the global
financial crisis, during which they ordered inspectors to
focus on livelihood projects and job generation rather than
their usual inspection duties. The government acknowledged
the limited number of labor inspectors made it difficult to
enforce child labor laws. DOLE noted that data on child
labor inspections may be inaccurate due to incomplete
statistics from the provinces.

Response 7: From January to December 2009, SBM conducted 16
successful removal operations involving 79 child laborers in
various activities. Between 1993 and 2008, the SBM removed
2,443 child laborers from harmful situations. SBM referred
the minors to DSWD for rehabilitation and reintegration
efforts. During the year, DSWD assisted 136 victims of child

Response 8: There have been few prosecutions and convictions
for child labor under Philippine law. According to DOLE,
most children found to be engaging in forced or exploitative
child labor are in fact engaged in commercial sex activities,
and therefore fall under the legal framework of the
anti-trafficking law. DOJ states that cases involving child
labor are settled out of court, usually because of victims'
desires to receive an immediate financial settlement and
return to their families -- rather than participate as a
witness in a lengthy trial process and be housed in DSWD
centers. Child labor charges are more often raised in cases
severe enough to charge defendants under both the child labor
and anti-trafficking statutes, the latter of which is
preferred by judges due to its stiff penalties. While no
cases were filed in 2009 based on child labor law violations,
DOLE reported three new cases filed in the National Capital
Region against employers engaging minors in prostitution or
obscene/lewd shows.

Response 9: DOLE did not report the closure of any child
labor cases in 2009.

Response 10: In 2009, DOLE reported convictions in two cases
in which defendants were charged for violations of both the
child labor laws and anti-trafficking laws in the National
Capital region. Both cases involved employers engaging
minors in prostitution.

Response 11: It took approximately four years to resolve the
cases listed in question 10.

Response 12: In cases in which violations were found, the
jail sentences applied met the penalties established by law.

Response 13: The creation of strong laws and improvement of
the regulatory framework is an indicator of the Philippine
government's commitment to combat child labor and
trafficking. All the same, the combined forces of a large
poverty-driven supply of child laborers, severe government
budgetary constraints, inefficient law enforcement agencies,
corruption, and an overburdened, inefficient justice sector
serve to hinder successful implementation of the protections
established by law.

Response 14: The government continued to conduct
awareness-raising activities on child labor and child
trafficking laws. DOLE regularly conducted child labor
training programs for its labor inspectors. On October 22,
2009, in collaboration with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF),
DOLE conducted capability training for 62 of its labor
inspectors nationwide on the conduct of inspection, rescue
and enforcement proceedings on child labor cases. The
training yielded inputs for the development of a manual on
the conduct of inspection, rescue and enforcement proceedings
in child labor cases for DOLE personnel and labor inspectors.

2D: Institutions and Mechanisms for Effective Enforcement

8. (SBU) Sections I and II: Child Trafficking and Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Children

COMMENT: The majority of Philippine law enforcement agencies
responsible for enforcement of trafficking and CSEC laws do
not historically differentiate between &child trafficking8
and &commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC),8 as
CSEC is generally considered a trafficking offense under the
nation's anti-trafficking law, the Republic Act (RA) 9208 of
2003. Our responses for Sections I and II are therefore
combined. The passage of the Anti-Child Pornography Act, RA
0775, in November 2009 may facilitate separation of the two
categories in the future. END COMMENT

Response 1: The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in
Persons (IACAT) coordinated, monitored, and oversaw the
ongoing implementation of RA 9208 and served as an umbrella
organization to coordinate anti-TIP efforts. The DOJ and
DSWD Secretaries co-chaired the IACAT. Other member agencies
included Department of Foreign Affairs, DOLE, Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Philippine
Commission on Women (PCW), NBI, Bureau of Immigration, and
PNP. Three non-government organizations representing women,
children, and overseas workers were also part of the IACAT.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas, as mandated by an
executive order from the president, runs a separate body
known as the Task Force Against Human Trafficking. Against
Human Trafficking Filipinos Overseas

The PNP and the DSWD both maintained help desks to assist
children victims of trafficking and commercial exploitation.
The PNP's Women and Children's Protection Center (WCPC) is
responsible for the enforcement of child trafficking and CSEC
laws, among other tasks related to the protection of women
and children. Following a 2008 expansion, the WCPC was able
to create a WCPC desk in every police station nationwide.
The NBI's Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force is based in
Manila but carries out investigations nationwide; it
comprises seven agents, five special investigators, one
intelligence officer, and three staff members. It can also
draw on 17 other agents on an as-needed basis. Cebu's Region
7 Division of the Philippine National Police expanded its
Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force from eight to 12
personnel during the year. The limited number of personnel
in law enforcement agencies dedicated to women and children's
issues made it difficult for the various agencies involved
with child trafficking and CSEC issues to effectively
investigate and prosecute complaints and violations.

Response 2: The Philippine government did not allocate
funding to the IACAT in its FY 2009 or FY 2010 budget. It
continues to rely heavily on allocations of personnel and
resources from member agencies, funding from foreign
governments and donations from Philippine non-governmental
organizations and corporations. Law enforcement agencies do
not have budget allocations specifically for the issues of
trafficking or children in illicit activities, but do assign
personnel and allocate resources from their general budgets,
which are determined by local government units. The lack of
dedicated budget allocations and resources made it difficult
for the various agencies involved with child trafficking and
CSEC issues to effectively investigate and prosecute
complaints and violations.

Response 3: The country does not maintain a single hotline
for reporting trafficking cases. However, several government
agencies, including DSWD's Crisis Intervention Unit, the
PNP's WCPC desks nationwide, and an Immigration hotline, are
used as channels for reporting human trafficking incidents.
Several NGOs also accept reports of trafficking incidents.

Response 4: According to individual law enforcement agencies
and NGOs that document cases of trafficking, in 2009 the PNP
investigated 154 cases of child trafficking and the NBI
investigated 189 cases of alleged trafficking received from
various sources, including victim complaints and NGO
referrals. At year's end, 118 cases remained under
investigation. NBI's reporting mechanisms do not distinguish
between child and adult trafficking cases, so it is unclear
how many of those trafficking cases involve minors. In
cooperation with UNICEF, the IACAT launched the National
Recovery and Reintegration Database in December 2009. The
database is gradually being rolled out nationwide, and will
be the nation's first effort to create a comprehensive,
multi-agency database to standardize reporting on and track
cases of trafficking, to include victim information, social
service delivery to victims, and data from law enforcement on

the status of case investigation and prosecution. The
limited number of dedicated personnel and budget resources
made it difficult for the various agencies involved with
child trafficking and CSEC issues to effectively investigate
complaints and violations.

Response 5: The DSWD provided services to 221 victims or
potential victims of child trafficking and 63 child victims
of prostitution, 3 victims of child pornography, 44 child
victims of cyber pornography, and 11 victims of pedophilia.
In October 2009, the newly-expanded Regional Anti-Human
Trafficking Task Force in Cebu carried out three operations
that rescued 17 minors trafficked into prostitution. There
were reports that DSWD centers were overburdened by
large-scale police operations or raids, requiring law
enforcement to coordinate the timing of raids to ensure DSWD
has the capacity to provide services to victims, or refer
victims to privately operated shelters.

Response 6: The NBI reported that, of the 189 trafficking
cases under investigation in 2009, 84 were recommended for
prosecution and 2 were under inquest proceedings. In 2009,
the DOJ received 228 new trafficking cases for review and
filed 206 for prosecution, an over 100% increase over the
number of cases filed in 2008. However, the DOJ's reporting
mechanisms do not differentiate between child and adult
trafficking cases, so it is unclear how many of those
trafficking cases involve minors. Most lower-level courts do
not effectively use computers to track cases, hindering
effective and accurate data collection.

Response 7: The DOJ and PNP did not report the number of
child trafficking/CSEC cases closed in 2009. The NBI
reported the closure of eight cases in 2009.

Response 8. During the year, the government convicted eight
individuals in five cases of sex trafficking involving
minors. A court convicted a police officer and his
accomplice for the sex trafficking of children in the first
known conviction of a public official for a
trafficking-related office in the Philippines.

Response 9: Sentences imposed in trafficking convictions
meet standards established in the legal framework. Five
convicted traffickers were sentenced to life imprisonment;
one was sentenced to over 30 years' imprisonment for three
violations of anti-trafficking law; one entered into a plea
bargain agreement and was sentenced to 15 years'
imprisonment; and one was sentenced to 8-10 years'
imprisonment, in addition to fines and damages.

Response 10: Imposed sentences are being served.

Response 11: According to DOJ estimates, it takes an average
of four years to resolve child trafficking or CSEC cases.

Response 12: The government continued its efforts to train
police, prosecutors, and social workers on child trafficking
and CSEC laws. During the year, the PNP's WCPC conducted
training on anti-trafficking investigative techniques for 151
of its personnel and included anti-trafficking elements in
other courses that trained 352 personnel. The PNP also
included training on RA 9208 (the anti-trafficking law) in
its course on gender-based law enforcement issues. The IACAT
conducted training on RA 9208 for 109 prosecutors in three
regions. With the government's own resources severely
limited, it also looked for partnerships with foreign donors
and internationally funded NGOs for assistance in training
law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

Response 13: The New People's Army and Abu Sayyaf Group,
U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations, reportedly
used child soldiers in combat or auxiliary roles. The
government continued its efforts to combat these groups. A
2007 study commissioned by the UNICEF found that children as
young as 10 years were used as soldiers or recruited by the
southern Philippines insurgent group Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF). Most of the children were volunteers who
served in noncombat roles, often with the support of their
families. During the December 2008 visit of the Special
Representative of the UN Secretary General, the MILF agreed
to stop the recruitment and use of children in its ranks. On
July 31, 2009, UNICEF and the MILF signed an action plan to
prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers and to
release children from all MILF units; the government
supported UNICEF's intervention and partnership with the MILF
on this issue. As of early 2010, UNICEF continued to

investigate possible use of child soldiers in the
Philippines, but the Embassy was not aware of current
evidence of the use of child soldiers. As of 2009, some NGOs
working specifically on this issue were unable to provide
recent examples of child soldier use in the Philippines.

9. (SBU) 2D, Section III: Children in Illicit Activities

Response 1: The Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) is the national
policy-making and strategy-formulating body on all matters
pertaining to drug abuse prevention and control. The
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is the implementing
arm of DDB and the lead agency responsible for the
enforcement of the RA 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs
Act of 2002, which contains provisions on the use of children
in the production and trafficking of drugs. Its mandate
includes the arrest and apprehension of violators; seizure or
confiscation of all dangerous drugs and/or controlled
precursors and essential chemicals; preparation for
prosecution or causing the filing of appropriate criminal and
civil cases for violation of all laws on dangerous drugs and
controlled precursors and essential chemicals and other
substances. PDEA has 1,089 employees; approximately 500 are
drug enforcement officers involved in its anti-illegal drug
operations. There were no officers dedicated solely to
investigation of cases involving children in illicit
activities. The limited number of drug enforcement officers
hampered the agency's ability to effectively investigate
complaints and violations to the anti-drug law. The PNP's
Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force (PNP-AIDSOTF),
NBI's Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force and the Custom Task Force
in Dangerous Drugs and Controlled Chemicals (CTGDDCC) also
conducts anti-illegal drug operations, in coordination with
PDEA. Minors involved in the production and trafficking of
drugs are turned over to the DSWD for rehabilitation.

Response 2: PDEA was not able to provide an accurate
assessment of its funding for inspections on the use of
children in illicit activities, as PDEA drug enforcers are
tasked with investigating all aspects of the anti-drug law.
The 2009 PDEA budget was 623.67 million pesos ($13.1
million); approximately 45 percent of its budget was used for
intelligence and investigation services and anti-drug

Response 3: PDEA maintains a 24-hour hotline which can be
used to report the use of children in illicit activities.
PDEA was not able to provide accurate information on the
number of complaints received involving children in illicit
activities. But PDA estimates it received more than 4,000
complaints about the use of illegal drugs in 2009.

Responses 4: PDEA was not able to provide accurate
information on investigations opened with regard to the use
of children in illicit activities, but confirmed that there
were 8,452 anti-illegal drug operations conducted in 2009.

Response 5: DSWD provided assistance to 399 children in
conflict with the law in 2009, but does not statistically
separate children in illicit activities from the broader
category of children in conflict with the law.

Response 6: During the year, approximately 8,468 persons
were apprehended for the use of illegal drugs, 377 of whom
were minors who acted as runners, couriers, and messengers.
A total of 7,253 cases were filed involving illegal drugs;
PDEA was not able to confirm that the figure of 377
apprehensions for use represented the total number of
drug-related cases involving children.

Response 7: There were 3,520 resolved cases involving
illegal drugs in 2009. PDEA was not able to specify the
number of resolved cases involving children.

Response 8: There were 760 convictions in drug-related cases
in 2009. DOJ and PDEA were not able to specify the number of
convictions that involved children. Under Philippine law,
children aged nine and younger at the time of the offense are
exempt from criminal liability.

Response 9: PDEA confirmed that sentences imposed meet
standards established within the anti-drug laws.

Response 10: PDEA confirmed that sentences imposed are
generally served, but RA 9165 (the drugs act) does allow for
suspended sentences and/or placement in social welfare
facilities for youthful offenders who meet certain

guidelines. If the minor offender complies with the
requirements of the Dangerous Drug Board, the court may
discharge the accused and dismiss all proceedings. The
option of suspended sentence is only available to first-time

Response 11: It takes from 3 to 10 years to resolve
drug-related cases.

Response 12: With 400 million pesos ($8.39 million) in funds
from the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC), the PDEA
was able to train a total of 570 drug enforcement officers.

Response 13: See Response 13 in 2D, Sections I and II.

2E: Government Policies on Child Labor

10. (U) The Philippine National Strategic Framework for Plan
Development for Children, 2000-2025, also known as "Child
21," and the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL),
are the primary government policy instruments for the
development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of
programs designed to prevent and eliminate child labor in the
Philippines. The Medium Term Philippine Development Plan
2004-2010 also includes measures for reducing the incidence
of child labor, especially in hazardous occupations. In the
plan, the Philippine Government pledges to strengthen
mechanisms to monitor the implementation of child protection
laws; develop "social technologies" to respond to child
trafficking and pornography; and implement an enhanced
program for children in armed conflict.

11. (U) A plan of action for the PPACL Strategic Framework
for the period 2008-2010 is currently being implemented by
PPACL's network of partners and monitored by DOLE. All
concerned government agencies utilize their regular funds in
the implementation of the plans and frameworks but are
supplemented by funds from international organizations such
as the ILO and UNICEF.

2F: Social Programs to Eliminate or Prevent Child Labor

12. (U) Under the Philippine Program Against Child Labor
(PPACL), DOLE implemented several projects that aimed to
reduce the incidence of child labor. These projects are
being implemented by DOLE, in collaboration with various
social partners. The amount provided for the projects varies
depending on the activity and the approved budget per
activity. Budgetary constraints are addressed through
cost-sharing and resource mobilization. These programs

-- Eliminating Child Labor in the Tobacco Industry (ECLTI)
Project: In collaboration with a Swiss foundation, this
project provides scholarship grants to 286 children and
entrepreneurship training for their parents to reduce the
incidence of child labor in the tobacco fields of the Ilocos

-- Kabuhayan para sa Magulang ng Batang Manggagawa
(Livelihood for the Parents of Child Laborers): This project
contributes to the prevention and elimination of child labor
by providing families of child laborers access to livelihood
opportunities. In 2009, a total of 310 parents of child
laborers in seven regions were provided livelihood assistance
amounting to 4.26 million pesos ($89,420).

-- Project Angel Tree: A key part of DOLE's campaign against
child labor, this project provides an array of services that
range from food, clothing, and educational assistance
including work and training opportunities for child laborers
and their families. The project assisted 4,104 child
laborers from 2006 to June 2009.

-- Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT): The CCT is a social
assistance and development program that aims to break the
intergenerational cycle of poverty by providing families with
means to develop their human capital. Impoverished
households with children up to 14 years old are eligible for
a healthcare benefit of 500 pesos ($11) per household per
month and education benefits of 300 pesos per month for up to
a maximum of three children. Children between 6-14 years of
age must maintain at least an 85 percent school attendance
rate to qualify for the education benefit. Beneficiaries are
eligible to receive CCT benefits for a maximum of five years.
During the year, 692,798 household beneficiaries received
health and education grants valued at 5.96 billion pesos

($125 million). For this program, the DSWD specifically
targeted child laborers and their families and children at
risk of falling into child labor.

-- Food for School Program (FSP): Part of the government's
Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Plan (AHMP), this program is
implemented in priority areas identified by the National
Nutrition Council as having high hunger and poverty incidence
statistics. The program provides one kilo of iron-fortified
rice per day of school attendance at Department of Education
(DOE)-supervised primary schools, pre-schools and DSWD day
care centers. During the year, rice valued at 765 million
pesos ($16.06 million) was provided to 502,163 children
beneficiaries in 13,788 day care centers in 495 cities and
municipalities. To more effectively target children at-risk
for child labor, DSWD and DOE worked during the year to more
closely integrate beneficiaries of this program with CCT

13. (U) The Philippine Government, with support from the U.S.
and other foreign governments, participated in several
initiatives to combat child labor in the country. The key
programs, implemented in cooperation with the ILO and World
Vision were:

-- Combating Child Labor in Small-Scale Mining: ILO Manila's
partnership with the Technical Education and Skills
Development Authority (TESDA) in working to combat child
labor in small-scale mining in Camarines Norte province ended
in July 2009. The project provided skills training to 53
child laborers, to remove them from hazardous working
conditions. Twenty parents of child laborers received
entrepreneurial training under the program. A pool of
trainers from the provincial offices of the Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI), DOLE, CoopBank of Camarines Norte
and other TESDA-supervised schools in the Bicol Region were
also trained to be able to provide future training on

-- ABK Education Initiative Phase 2: World Vision, which has
entered into separate Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) with
DOLE and the DOE to work with local government units (LGUs)
and other NGO partners, has begun implementation of Phase 2
of the ABK Education Initiative. This four-year, USG-funded
project aims to withdraw and prevent an estimated 30,000
children from working in seven hazardous occupations: work on
sugarcane plantations and in other commercial agricultural
enterprises, domestic work, commercial sex, mining and
quarrying, pyrotechnics production, scavenging, and
commercial fishing. The ABK Initiative provides transitional
or vocational education programs for working children as well
as those identified as "at-risk." Phase 1 of the program,
which ended in 2008, provided elementary, high school,
vocational technical training and alternative learning
systems education to 31,320 children, 14,323 of whom were
"at-risk." Phase 2, which began in October 2008, has already
assisted 22,366 child laborers age 5-17 years old and
provided them with direct educational assistance.
Forty-three school teachers also received training on the
needs of child laborers. These teachers formed a core group
of trainers who then helped provide training to 95 other
teachers and Alternative Learning System (ALS) coordinators
in three provinces.

14. (U) The government devoted a significant portion of its
limited budget resources to the education of children. DOE
had the largest budget of any cabinet-level department - 12
percent of the national budget. Elementary and secondary
education is free and compulsory through age 11, but the
quality of the education remains poor due in part to
insufficient resources. Government support for the education
of poor children is provided indirectly through the public
school system rather than through targeted subsidies. The
elementary public school enrollment rate for the 2008-2009
school year was 76 percent. The enrollment rate for
secondary students was 46 percent.

15. (U) To educate youth on the risk of trafficking in
persons and exploitative labor practices, the DOE partnered
with the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and
the Commission on Filipinos Overseas to incorporate lessons
on employment and international migration, including illegal
recruitment and mail order brides, into social studies and
values education classes in public elementary and secondary
schools throughout the country. DOE's Bureau of Non-Formal
Education develops and encourages the use of learning modules
for parents of working children in the various regions with

high incidences of the worst forms of child labor.
Translated into local dialects, the modules educate parents
about their children's health needs and basic rights and
opportunities for non-exploitative livelihood and
income-generating projects. DOE also operates a home-study
program designed to prevent students from dropping out of
school and into the labor force due to poverty, illness, or
early marriage.

2G: Continual Progress

16. (SBU) The Philippine government continued to advance its
efforts to combat exploitative child labor during the
reporting period. The expansion of the Conditional Cash
Transfer program (see section 2F) during the year provided

support for one million households, and is a cornerstone of
the government's efforts to incentivize impoverished parents
to remove children from the labor force and to prevent
at-risk populations from being subject to exploitative child
labor. DOLE's early implementation of new regulations that
facilitate immediate closure of businesses using child labor
is a demonstration of the government's will to address the
issue. Philippine law enforcement agencies also cooperated
with a number of other countries to investigate cases of
child sex tourism during the year, including one case that
led to the conviction of an American citizen in Florida.
More than 29 percent of the Philippines, population lives
below the Asian Development Bank's poverty benchmark of $1.35
a day, and geographic barriers, a large number of remote
rural communities, and poor infrastructure continue to impede
economic development and the provision of government
services. While this economic reality persists, the
Philippine government will need to consistently reaffirm its
commitment to combating all forms of exploitative child labor.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.