Press Release
September 13, 2009


Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday blasted the government for failure to fully implement the Anti-Child Labor Law of 2003 as declared by the United States' Department of Labor 's Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

"I' m flabbergasted to know that many of our children are still being exploited and employed in many industries in our country, contrary to our national law and international labor standards," said Loren.

"These children should be going to the schools and allowed to enjoy their childhood at home instead of being made to labor under harsh conditions in the fields, shops or factories," Loren declared.

She made the comment after the US's department of labor publicly listed goods imported from the Philippines into the United States which were allegedly produced using child labor in violation of international standards. These goods include coconuts, bananas, corn, sugarcane, rice, rubber, tobacco, hogs, fashion accessories, gold, pyrotechnics and pornography.

The American public is being urged to boycott goods imported from other countries that use child or forced labor in their production. At the same time the US government was urged to stop the importation of such goods.

"I am shocked and distressed to know that Filipino children are being employed not only in the fields, shops and factories, but also in pornography, whose products are being exported," said Loren, who is one of the authors of the law punishing violence against women and children.

Loren appealed to the local Department of Labor and Employment to strengthen its enforcement of the "Anti-Child Labor Law" which was signed into law by the President in December 2003.

The law seeks to eliminate the worst forms of child labor such as those involving slavery: such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage, serfdom, including recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; prostitution and pornography; use of children for illegal activities, including drug trafficking; and any work that is hazardous and harmful to the health, safety and morals of children.

Among the salient features of the law is the stipulation that children below 15 years of age, if working in non-hazardous conditions, may work for not more that 20 hours a week, at most 4 hours a day. The law limits children 15 - 17 years old to work not more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. Night work from 8pm to 6am is prohibited.

The law was passed following ratification by the Philippines of the International Labor Organization Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. 143 governments or 80% of the international community have already ratified ILO Convention 182 in a span of three years.

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