ABA ROLI and World Vision Labor Inspectors on Philippines Laws and Policy Guidelines on Child Work

Training for Labor Inspectors held via Zoom on September 17, 2021. Pictured are the Labor Inspectors from NCR and Region X during the knowledge sharing and Q&A sessions.

As part of its Project Against Child Exploitation with World Vision Development Foundation, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) gathered accredited labor inspectors and major stakeholders from Quezon City in the National Capital Region and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao to take part in a one-day training course on laws, policy guidelines, and processes pertinent to their mandate to examine working conditions on 17 September 2021.

World Vision was represented by Ms. Xenia Legaspi, Director for Operations and Ms. Daphne Culanag, Director for Project ACE, while Assistant Secretary Hon. Teresita Cucueco represented the Department of Labor and Employment.

ABA ROLI, through its pro bono support program, invited Ms. Sharon Jordan to present during the morning session on the topic, “International Mechanisms for Promotion and Protection for Children’s Rights and Best Practices Noted in International Settings.” Ms. Jordan and Atty. Kristine Borja, who also participated as presenter in the training for labor inspectors, were ABA ROLI’s consultants in the development of the policy report on the worst forms of child labor published earlier this year. ABA ROLI invited the Atty. Jeanne Ivy Abrina, Director of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to discuss their programs and services that may benefit labor inspectors in situations where there are findings of children’s rights violations in work settings. CHR is the national human rights institution of the Philippines with delegated authority to exercise powers as Gender Ombud for Women’s Rights and as an institution committed to act as ombudsman for children through its Child Rights Center.

Completing the line-up of presenter-discussants was Mr. Eric Tumpang, World Vision Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. Mr. Tumpang provided the overview of the Training Needs Assessment conducted to collect the specific issues ad challenges from labor inspectors' as well as gauge their level of familiarity with the most recent domestic legislation and government policies on child labor. Ms. Sharon Jordan presented key points on the UN (United Nations) Child Rights Convention, the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Child Prostitution and Pornography, the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in persons Especially Women and Children, or the Palermo Protocol. This session was designed to help the participants appreciate the legal standards that shape or influence national guidelines on children.

From the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), speakers included Senior Labor and Employment Officer Ms. Diane Alavado who presented on the Philippine Program Against Child Labor, its guiding values and strategic framework for 2020 to 2022. Ms. Alavado also explained the functions of the National Council Against Child Labor, established in 2019 through a presidential fiat. Ms. Alavado shared the 2011 survey on working children with data including top reasons why they work and their exposure to hazardous work environments. Supervising Labor and Employment Officer Mr. Jerome Gabriel of BWSC and Head of Program Management-Technical Services and Support Division Engr. Kristine Carol Ramos from the Bureau of Working Conditions, jointly presented on the step-by-step process of conducting workplace inspections, examining legal compliance indicators, evidence gathering where there are violations, and identifying the applicable interventions. For problem areas, including situations where trafficking in persons is committed in work establishments, Atty. Cesar Petate discussed illustrative cases of responses undertaken by the legal services unit of the DOLE. Completing the morning discussions, Ms. Daphne Culanag talked about the salient features of the Republic Act No. 9231 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and other Philippine anti-child labor laws, policies, and protection structures, such as the Inter-agency council against violence against women and their children, inter-agency council against child pornography and Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

Part II of the training was devoted to presentations that provided information focused on processes, responses, and interventions in cases where there are findings of worst forms of child labor. Atty. Kristine Borja commenced the second part of the training through the discussion of domestic laws that encompass worst forms of child labor including those that criminalize online sexual exploitation. CHR Atty. Jeanne Ivy Abrina included in her presentation, data and labor issues specific to Cagayan de Oro City and areas of collaboration for CHR and the Department of Labor. Atty. Abrina extensively discussed the functions of CHR and how their services can be availed of including how complaints can be submitted by interested parties with personal knowledge of violations qualifying as worst forms of child labor. Atty. Abrina also cited examples of CHR investigation of cases where children were recruited by local armed groups. Similar to CHR experience, Ms. Aurora Halcon, NCR Focal Person for Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program, share illustrative cases based on “Sagip Batang Manggagawa – Quick Action Team” successes in their operations. In Ms. Halcon’s presentation, she demonstrated the importance of being familiar with or understanding the elements of child labor cases, including worst forms of child labor, as it would ascertain provision of appropriate responses and collaboration with either law enforcement or civil society organizations which can help victims’ recovery after rescue.

Along with the lectures and presentations, the 86 participants were asked to respond to pre-test and post-test questions to 4 topics, with the following results:

The pre- test results showed that more than half of the respondents (73%) were able to identify the correct answers (Figure 1), indicating the group’s level of knowledge of the topics to be discussed. Notably, the post-test result indicated a significant 14% increase in the passing rate among the participants. The post-test results showed that 87% of the respondents were able to identify the correct answers.

Participants’ Feedback

The online training received positive feedback as indicated by the high satisfaction rating of 94% from the respondents in terms of training contents/topics as well as in terms of speakers' knowledge and ability to explain their topics (93%). The schedule and duration of the entire event also obtained a significantly higher rating of 71%.

Majority of the respondents likewise affirm the relevance and usefulness of the training with the participants giving a high rating score of 93% and 96%, respectively.

Labor Inspector’s Training Batch 2

These two screenshots were taking during the Batch 2 Training for Labor Inspectors held via Zoom on October 15, 2021. Pictured are Labor Inspectors from NCR and Region X with DOLE ASec. Ma Teresita Cucueco, M.D.

To further increase the number of Labor Inspectors with greater understanding of the laws, policy guidelines, and processes relevant to their functions of examining working conditions, anchored on knowledge sharing, a Batch 2 Training for Labor Inspectors and Major Stakeholders was held 15 October 2021.

Attended by almost a hundred accredited Labor Inspectors from Regions III, V, X and NCR, the one-day event adopted the training program design collaboratively developed by ABA ROLI and World Vision.

These Labor Inspectors’ and Major Stakeholders’ Training was through the Funding provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-34007-19-75K. 100% of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of $1,500,000

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Asia & the Pacific.