The pandemic has affected the various sectors in the National Capital Region (NCR) that made most of the economic generators tighten its options on expansion and operations. Being the region with a Services Sector driven economy, most of the establishments maintain limited operations in order to keep its business afloat amidst the various community quarantines imposed in Metro Manila.

As many of the region’s workers are still reeling from the adverse economic effects of the health crisis, the concern on the welfare of children remains to be paramount. In the face of the rising economic concerns, it is the most vulnerable among the vulnerable sectors that has to be protected and looked-after to ascertain a brighter spot for them as the country progresses towards the new normal.

Prioritizing the interest of the children, the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region held a seminar advocacy relative to the protection and promotion of the children’s rights and well-being particularly on their engagement as “Kasambahay” (household help). The activity was held on July 28, 2021 via online platform and was attended by the representatives of the Schools Division Office of the Department of Education – NCR, City/Municipality Social Welfare Office, Non-Government Organizations, Higher Education Institutions and Kasambahay private agencies.

The DOLE-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) provided technical support as resource speakers as represented by Jerommel Gabriel, Supervising Labor and Employment Officer of the Young Workers Development Division and Brent Kenneth Calvo, Labor and Employment Officer II of the Women Workers Development Division.

Gabriel discussed the salient features of RA 9231 or the Anti-Child Labor Law, which includes the prohibited and hazardous work of children, hours of work, and the administrative sanctions of establishments for engaging child laborers. He likewise discussed the allowable engagement of children in relation to the issuance of the Department’s Working Child Permit and the management of earnings derived from the child’s income.

On the other hand, Calvo presented the provisions of RA 10361 or the Kasambahay Act, which includes age requirement, emoluments, unlawful acts and the penalties in relation to such.

A discussion on the administrative aspect of the Kasambahay hiring and placement including the privileges of the household service workers were raised by the Kasambahay providers to clarify several concerns of both the employers and the workers as regard existing practices.

Joining the seminar advocacy were the community facilitators who raised inquires on the undertakings of children that may fall within the aegis of child labor to gain better appreciation of their mandate and at the same time, enhance their capacities in differentiating child labor from child work.

Participants appreciated the efforts of the Department in conducting seminar advocacies in the midst of heightened health crisis, specifically those coming from the academe as it will enable them to help the students who might be involve in child labor activities.

The seminar advocacy is in line with the Department’s initiative to ensure the welfare of children especially during uncertain times brought by the pandemic and prevent their engagement in undertakings that may place them in unfavorable situations.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes