Press Releases
DOLE, CIDG, DSWD rescue child laborers in ‘Meke’ factory

 

The minors, ages 16 and 17 years old, are from the Municipality of Ilog, Negros Occidental.

 

They were brought to Iloilo City on January 17, 2017 by a relative of one of the workers to work as laborers in the said factory and they started working that same day. Allegedly, they are underpaid as they received only P300 per week, and they are punished by a certain ‘EC’ when they come home late during their day off.

 

These children coordinated with their parents who immediately sought the assistance of the CIDG. The latter coordinated with their counterpart in the DOLE and the DSWD to rescue the minors.

The representatives of these agencies did not waste time and proceeded to the area, along with the DOLE-Labor Laws Compliance Officer (LLCO) who has the authority to conduct an assessment of establishment.

The LLCO interviewed the wife of the factory owner who was out during the team’s visit. She found out that, aside from their violation of Republic Act 9231 or an Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child, the management also committed violations on general labor standards such as underpayment of workers’ wages, and non-payment of their overtime pay, regular holiday pay and 13th month pay.

They also failed to present the factory’s registration under Rule 1020 of OSHS and to implement good housekeeping, materials handling and storage, proper ventilation and fire protection equipment, among others.

In her findings, the LLCO also took notice of the unsanitary work area where the noodles (pancit and meke) are being prepared.

She discussed her findings with the management and they expressed willingness to comply with their deficiencies. Thus, before sending the affected workers back to their places in Ilog, Negros Occidental, they were paid of their monetary benefits including fare and meal expenses in going back to their residences. The payment was witnessed by the LLCO, the children’s parents, and the barangay chairman.

The DSWD referred the minors to Ilog Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office for counseling and reintegration while the DOLE’s Child Labor Focal Person informed the management of their violation of RA 9231 and reminded them that in recruiting and hiring of workers they must make sure that the workers they hire are of legal age.

On OSHS violations, specifically on the unsanitary work area, the DOLE OIC-Regional Director Salome O. Siaton already coordinated with the Office of the Iloilo City Mayor through the Iloilo City Health Office and reported the findings of the LLCO for appropriate action. The LGU has the authority to impose sanctions to establishment which has violations on health standards, especially those involved in food manufacturing.

In another development, three child laborers working in a dressing plant in Leganes, Iloilo were also rescued last January 23, 2017 by a team consisted of personnel from DOLE, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) and the Philippine National Police of Leganes, Iloilo.

The minors, ages 16 years old, are from the municipalities of Carles and Estancia, Iloilo.

They were turned over to their parents and to the MSWDO of their respective municipalities for counseling and reintegration.

 

After the latest incident, the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Child Labor, Illegal Recruitment and Trafficking held a meeting to strengthen inter-agency collaboration in responding to reported violations such as this.

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2017-02-20
Dir. Caňete
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