The Quezon City government has beefed up its fight against child labor after Mayor Joy Belmonte approved two Ordinances that aim to reduce, if not eradicate, the practice.
Mayor Belmonte signed Ordinance No. SP-3201, S-2023 and Ordinance No. SP-3214, 2-2023, which were both introduced by Councilor Edgar “Egay” Yap.
“Sa tulong ng dalawang Ordinansang ito, mapapaigting pa natin ang laban kontra child labor na matagal na nating nais tuldukan dito sa Quezon City,” said Belmonte, a staunch advocate against the exploitation of children.
Based on Belmonte’s fourth State of the City’s Children Report, some 5,449 male and 4,773 female children in Quezon City are victims of child labor, as of last quarter of 2022.
Ordinance No. SP-3214, S-2023 aims to prevent and eliminate all forms of child labor and provide social protection for the victims and their families.
This policy is aligned with the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL), a nationwide program for the prevention and elimination of child labor in the country.
Under this Ordinance, children below 15 years old should not be employed, except in cases where the child works under the sole responsibility of his or her parents or legal guardians and where only members of his or her family are employed.
This will also be permissible if the child’s employment or participation in public entertainment or information through cinema, theater, radio, television, media and other platforms is essential.
Before engaging a child, the employer must first secure a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment, which will ensure that all requirements are followed.
The Ordinance mandates the QC-Public Employment Services Office (QC-PESO), in coordination with the DOLE-QC Field Office and the Social Services Development Department, to formulate local action plans, policies, and programs in order to provide livelihood assistance and employment opportunities for parents and family members of child laborers.
Violators will be punished with suspension or revocation of permits, fines, and jail terms, depending on the gravity of the violation.
Ordinance No. SP-3201, S-2023, for its part, creates a Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) under the QC-PESO that will coordinate and oversee the implementation of the PPACL by concerned agencies, departments, and organizations, barangays and relevant stakeholders.
It is also tasked with coordinating and conducting advocacy campaigns and information dissemination on child labor, developing and maintaining a knowledge and data management system on child labor, and ensuring the conduct of research, studies, surveys, and assessments on child labor for policy and program development and enhancement, among others.