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02/10/2013: US RECOGNIZES THE PHILIPPINES FOR SIGNIFICANT STRIDES IN FIGHT VS WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-092-2013
2 October 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines is one of only 10 countries from around the world recognized by the United States for making significant strides in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

The Philippines and nine other countries received the highest assessment rating in the fight against the worst forms of child labor in the annual Child Labor Report (Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor) released this week by US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, the Philippine Embassy said.

“The Philippines’s 2012 rating of ‘Significant Advancement’ is an improvement from last year’s rating of ‘Moderate Advancement’,” said Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. who welcomed the release of this year’s report by the US Department of Labor (DOL).

Aside from the Philippines, the other countries that were recognized for their accomplishments are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gibraltar, Indonesia, Peru and Thailand. A total of 143 countries and territories were covered in the annual assessment conducted by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs of the US DOL.

Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippines was cited for the measures and programs it undertook in the fight against the worst forms of child labor. These include the ratification of the International Labor Organization’s Convention 189 on Domestic Workers and the passage of Domestic Workers Act (Batas Kasambahay) and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

The Philippines was also recognized for its implementation of the Child Labor-Free Philippines Campaign and the Child Labor-Free Barangays Program and the new National Action Convergence Plan of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development as well as the expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) to cover the households of child laborers and DOLE’s National Tripartite Council in the Sugar Industry’s Social Amelioration Program.

The aforementioned measures are in addition to other programs and initiatives already identified and cited in previous child labor reports, according to Labor Attaché Luzviminda Padilla of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

Padilla said the Child Labor Report is a regular report issued by the US DOL in compliance with the mandate of the Trade Development Act.  She explained that governments of countries that are beneficiaries of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and other trade preferences are assessed based on actions to advance efforts in eliminating the worst forms of child labor.

Padilla said the Philippines has been a beneficiary of a number of US DOL-funded programs aimed at eliminating the worst forms of child labor. Among these programs are the $15-million project to reduce child labor in sugar producing areas to be implemented from 2011 to 2015 and the ILO-International Program to End Child Labor $4.75-million project for withdrawing and preventing 9,350 children from the worst forms of child labor through education and non-education services.

Another project, according to Padilla, is the four-year Global Action Program on Child Labor issues to build the capacity of the national government to address the elimination of child labor, improve data collection and research, and strengthen legal protection and social service delivery focusing specifically on child domestic labor.

Aside from Secretary Perez, those present in the launching of the report were Sen. Tom Harkin, former Labor Secretary Alexis Hermann, other officials of the US government, representatives of foreign governments and media.###