ISP (Informal Sector Project; 1996-2000)
concentrates on advocacy and practical measures for the protection of women homeworkers and children against exploitation, discrimination and abuse, and promotion of economic opportunities
TUCP/ISP Anti-Child Labor Activities
The activities of the TUCP-led ISP (Informal Sector Coalition of the Philippines) were meant to lead to:
appreciation of child labor as a labor issue in workplaces and communities
passage of legislative measures and other alternative structures
to curb child labor practices
adoption/review of policies to improve enforcement of anti-child labor laws.
Progressive elimination of child labor
Child labor rescue
The series of awareness campaigns, complemented by the strategy of involving community players in addressing child labor problems, resulted in:
(1) discovery and eventual rescue of 8 minors employed in a piggery firm in Tarlac;
(2) identification and rescue of three minors and 28 other bonded workers in an Israeli-owned garment factory in Victoria, Tarlac, held captive inside the factory, with hazardous and very poor working conditions and not paid their salaries;
(3) discovery of 20 children below 18 years old who were made to do dangerous work and are exposed in hazardous conditions, in a handicraft factory in Rizal.
ISP coalition partners initiated the filing of cases with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) national and regional offices and other appropriate government agencies.
The coalition facilitated the resolution of the case involving the garment workers in Victoria, Tarlac. DOLE ordered the employer to pay the victims their salaries plus transportation expenses to facilitate the victims’ return to their home province/s in the Visayas.
Advocacy for Policy Changes
The Coalition’s experiences in monitoring/handling cases of child labor law violations were used as the basis in identifying gaps in DOLE’s policy and procedures in handling child labor-related cases.
The same information were used in formulating an ISP position paper/ policy recommendation to the Labor Secretary and other DOLE officials to improve the agency’s existing system and procedures.
To sustain the gains in its campaign against child labor, the coalition lobbied and succeeded in the inclusion of Child Labor as one of the components in the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s (NAPC’s) Review and Enhancement of its Minimum Basic Needs Approach and its indicator system. With this, all government agencies/instrumentalities, including LGUs, are compelled to adopt Child Labor as one of their priority concerns. As such, government institutions are required to allocate funds to support NAPC’s anti-child labor agenda.
ISP’s series of national and area-level advocacy campaigns for the establishment of BCPCs generated support from the local government officials, from the mayor down to the barangay officials.
These initiatives facilitated the establishment of some 200 BCPCs in the different pilot areas. BCPC is a village-level multi-sectoral body designed to formulate policies and programs to promote child welfare/child’s rights, including anti-child labor laws.
To sustain the operation of these BCPCs, ISP made representations with the LGUs to pass local ordinances to formalize the establishment of these BCPCs and to allocate funds to support BCPC programs and activities.
These resulted in the passage of municipal ordinances in at least four municipalities [one each, in Negros Occidental and Tarlac, and two in Cebu], which formalized the establishment of the Municipal Council for the Protection of Children at the municipal level and the BCPC counterparts in the barangay level. The ordinances provided funding to allow LGUs to set up the BCPCs, as well as provided for sanctions on barangay officials for non-compliance.
To influence the programs and activities of the BCPCs and ensure that anti-child labor activities are integrated in the BCPCs’ program of action, ISP developed a manual to encourage officials to adopt the ISP-concept of a model BCPC.
ISP hosted a national conference in July 2000 to create a venue for sharing of experiences and best practices among BCPC officials.
Ratification of ILO Convention 182
The Philippine Senate ratified ILO Convention 182 (Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Form of Child Labor). The concurred ILO Convention 182 was signed by President Estrada on October 26, 2000.
The successful ratification campaign was spearheaded by the Workers’ Task Force 182, composed of the IS Coalition in partnership with the Trade Union Coalition Against Child Labor (TUCACL), an anti-child labor coalition whose members include the TUCP, other trade union groups, including in the textile and garment industry or ITGWLF, and the PPSTA, a national association of public school teachers.
Workers Task Force 182 was initiated by ISP through its support for the very first sectoral consultations on ILO Convention 182 held in the Philippines and through training to enable lead advocates of the Task Force to undertake an effective ratification campaign. ISP also supported a dialogue with legislators to obtain the support of majority of Philippine Senators .
The intense advocacy work undertaken by the Workers’ Task Force 182 and other like-minded groups persuaded then President Joseph Estrada to sign as urgent the instrument urging the Senate to initiate the ratification process and facilitated the concurrence of 18 of the 22 Senators in the Senate Bill ratifying ILO Convention 182.
Monitoring of the Anti-Child Labor Provision of the RAPP MOA/
Corporate Codes of Conduct in ISP
ISP pioneered efforts to monitor compliance with RAPP or Codes of Conduct by Philippine-Garment Exporters to the US
ISP support enabled selected code verifiers to participate effectively in ISP’s RAPP/Codes verification activities:
(1) awareness raising on Core Labor Standards/Codes of Conduct;
(2) capacity building for identified code verifiers
(mostly youth leaders of the coalition);
(3) awareness-raising and gender-sensitivity training for members of the five pillars of justice/government enforcers;
(4) setting up of mechanisms tapping institutions and community-based groups in monitoring implementation of/compliance with child labor laws and the commitments under the RAPP MOA or Codes of Conduct among garment exporting firms to US;
(5) direct representations with government institutions/agencies for policies that would support the ISP campaign;
(6) networking with employers’ group and the designated RAPP/Code of Conduct monitors.
ISP-trained YES verifiers found evidence of child labor in four of the six factories covered by the monitoring and surveillance activities. These four produced garments for Polo, Nike, GAP, Tommy Hilfiger.
ISP code verifiers gathered testimonies and other evidence (i.e., pay slips of identified child laborers), reported cases to BCPC officials or the workers’ union organization.
Women and youth advocates monitored and master listed an additional 121 cases of child labor in the following categories: street children; agriculture and farm workers; ambulant vendors; construction workers; factory workers.
These documented cases were referred for action to the various Local Councils for the Protection of Children and community partners operating in the ISP pilot areas.
ISP established nine barangay-based Homeworkers’ Task Force: five in Cebu City ; one in Taytay, Rizal; and three in NCR.
These Task Forces composed of coalition members are ISP’s watch groups that monitor compliance with the provision of DOLE Department Order No. 5 on homeworkers, advocate time-and-motion studies for work segments, and assist in surveys of homeworkers and their contractors. These complement ISP’s campaign to monitor compliance among contractors/sub-contractors with the anti-child labor provision of the RAPP/ Codes of Conduct.
Towards elimination of child labor/improved conditions of work and life of children employed in non-hazardous occupation:
ISP consolidated some 205 youth organizations into a national coalition known as the Youth for Empowerment and Solidarity or YES, with chapters in NCR, Rizal, Tarlac, Cebu and Negros Occidental. YES is the youth arm of the Informal Sector Coalition of the Philippines, and serves as the lead partner in ISP’s anti-child labor advocacy.
Building on the linkages with LGUs, ISP chapters pushed for local ordinances that would strengthen local policies against child labor. Cebu City passed an ordinance which required business establishments to submit verified certification that they do not employ minors before business permits could be issued or renewed. The Cebu City government also passed an ordinance that created the Commission for Children;
ISP initiated the process that is unifying the GOs and NGOs in provincial, municipal and barangay (village) levels toward efforts to address child labor in their communities.
For example: IS coalition activities served as the catalyst for the Tarlac Provincial Government to set up the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children (PCWC) and to allocate funds to fully operationalize the Council. PCWC is the provincial government’s policy-making/implementing arm, tasked to formulate policies and programs to carry out the intent of Presidential Decree No. 603. PCWC assisted 18 municipalities in Tarlac in integrating child labor and BCPCs in their respective municipal action plans;
To further consolidate community action against child labor, ISP promoted its Community Partnering Scheme (CPS).
The CPS concept aims to bring together and mobilize various key players in the community and government agencies/ institutions — to work together with women and youth organizations and other support groups – to jointly address the problem of child labor.
ISP facilitated a one-year plan of action patterned after the CPS concept which was funded by the municipality of Anao, Tarlac. Two additional CPS were set up in Rizal and Cebu.
This joint work also took place at the national level
ISP obtained support from Court of Appeals Justices, Family Court judges and other justice officials to sign ISP-developed resolutions for transmittal to the Supreme Court: (a) urging full implementation of the Family Courts Act and for the speedy disposition of child labor cases; and (b) urging the Department of Social Welfare & Development) (DSWD) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to recommend to Congress the allocation of budget for shelters for child laborers.