The BWSC discussed the salient features of the Republic Act (RA) No. 9231 (An Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child, Amending for this Purpose Republic Act No. 7610, as amended, Otherwise Known as the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) and the Department Circular No. 2, Series of 2017 or the Guidelines on the Issuance of Work Permit for Children Below 15 Years of Age Engaged in Public Entertainment or Information.
According to RA No. 9231, children under the age of 15 are not allowed to be employed in any public or private establishment. However, they can be exempted if they work directly under the sole responsibility and supervision of their parents/legal guardian or when their participation in public entertainment or public information is necessary. There is only a need to secure a Working Child Permit from the DOLE in order to safeguard the rights and welfare of the children.
However, upon assessment of the Department, it was found out that there have been differences among the different DOLE offices when issuing WCPs for children working on the entertainment and public information industry. Hence, the Department Circular No. 2, Series of 2017 was issued.
“This Guidelines intends to standardize the issuance of working child permit among the DOLE Regional, Provincial and Field Offices because it was observed that even among Field Offices in one Regional Office, the procedure varies”, BWSC Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said.
Looking back to the previous Capacity Building for Child Labor Program Focal Persons in December 2016, it can be recalled that the same participants provided updates and discussed the efforts on how to achieve the target in the Philippine Development Plan of removing 630,000 children from child labor. The group agreed that to reach the target, thus, standard implementation of policies and guidelines in the issuance of WCPs is necessary.
To make it happen, the focal persons and program implementers in the regions must be well-oriented on the latest guidelines. “We are in one Department so we should not have different procedures otherwise our clients will be confused. We hope that through this orientation, the processing and issuance of working child permit will be smooth and in accordance with the new guidelines.” said Assistant Secretary Ma. Gloria A. Tango remarked.
“Gusto natin na nauunawaan ng mga DOLE Regional Offices ang bagong guidelines sa pagproseso ng working child permit. Nais rin natin na maging maganda ang pakikitungo ng DOLE sa mga kliyente nito upang maging katuwang natin sila sa mahusay na pagpapatupad ng mga batas para sa mga bata.”, Undersecretary Maglunsod further mentioned.
Aside from the lecture on the said guidelines, the orientation also served as a venue for the participants to discuss their experiences on the issuance of WCP and validate the data on WCPs issued by the DOLE. The Procedures Manual and the proposed Audio-Visual Material on the Issuance of Working Child Permit were also presented for the reference of the regions and clients.
As the activity concluded, Assistant Secretary Tango challenged all the participants to go beyond their duty of issuing the WCP. “Our duty in the Department does not end after we have issued the working child permit. We must ensure the safety and well-being of these children after they have been engaged to work and while they are in their respective workplaces”, Assistant Secretary Tango said.