The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) participated in the two-day activity of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) on November 3-4, 2022 at the Makabata Center, Manila, to address and finalize actions plans concerning children in street situations (CISS).

Other key National Government Agencies (NGAs) also joined the activity such as the National Youth Commission (NYC), Department of Education (DepEd), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the Department of Social Welfare & Development’s (DSWD) Sub-Committee on the Protection and Welfare of Children in Street Situation and its partner civil society organizations that collaborate with CWC on CISS.

As the lead implementer of the Child Labor Protection and Elimination Program (CLPEP), DOLE-NCR was invited to take part in the discussion to tackle the plans under “Outcome II or the children in street situations are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, and exploitation and able to access justice when harmed or in conflict with the law.”

DOLE-NCR was represented by Mr. Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes, Senior Labor and Employment Officer and Regional Focal Person of CLPEP.

In said plan, DOLE was among government agencies mandated to provide interventions such as dialogue for children’s needs, legal spaces for vending, and safe sex education for works in the sex industry. Mr. Delos Reyes said that providing the latter two indicators are in direct contradiction of the DOLE’s mandate in addressing child labor concerns since vending or peddling goods and working in the streets are considered hazardous undertakings for children and constitute child labor. Likewise, he also said that DOLE is at the forefront of combating child prostitution through the “Sagip Batang Manggagawa” intervention, an inter-agency rescue operation. Hence, he stressed that providing sex education to children in sex industry is like condoning their involvement in one of the worst forms of child labor and as such, in contradiction to the mandates of DOLE in anti-child labor interventions.

As for the children’s dialogue, Mr. Delos Reyes lauded the recommendation and suggested coordination with other government agencies such as NYC and DSWD. He further clarified the definition of working children and said that children are allowed to work in the entertainment and public information as long as they have a working child permit. He added that children involved in family undertakings or their own business are allowed as long as it is not hazardous and detrimental to their health, education, and morals.

The DOLE-NCR representative also contributed to other indicators such as strengthening coordination and partnership with local government units for implementation of programs and services for CISS and their families, accreditation of members in the sub-committee, and role of educators and guidance counselors in the advocacy of child concerns.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes