Blog Lecture No. 74: Campaigning Children

Watching the news this morning, I was appalled when the minor children of a senatorial candidate was being “employed” to campaign for their father. This is the reason for this blog lecture. Call it my Labor Day lecture if you want…

Give a law protecting children against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination?

It is Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”

What does this law provide as regards putting children to work?

Under Section 3 (c) (2) of that law, putting children to work under conditions hazardous to life, safety and normal which unduly interfere with their normal development, qualifies as a circumstance which gravely threaten or endanger the survival and normal development of children, which, in turn, is punishable under this act.

Putting a minor child on the campaign trail is arguably putting a child to work under illegal conditions, since the campaign trail is hazardous to the child’s life and safety. A campaign activity is no place for a child, even if temporary.

What else?

Under Section 12 of the same law:

Section 12. Employment of Children. – Children below fifteen (15) years of age may be employed except:

(1) When a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his parents or legal guardian and where only members of the employer’s family are employed: Provided, however, That his employment neither endangers his life, safety and health and morals, nor impairs his normal development: Provided, further, That the parent or legal guardian shall provide the said minor child with the prescribed primary and/or secondary education; or

(2) When a child’s employment or participation in public & entertainment or information through cinema, theater, radio or television is essential: Provided, The employment contract concluded by the child’s parent or guardian, with the express agreement of the child concerned, if possible, and the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment: Provided, That the following requirements in all instances are strictly complied with:

(a) The employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety and morals of the child;

(b) the employer shall institute measures to prevent the child’s exploitation or discrimination taking into account the system and level of remuneration, and the duration and arrangement of working time; and;

(c) The employer shall formulate and implement, subject to the approval and supervision of competent authorities, a continuing program for training and skill acquisition of the child.

In the above exceptional cases where any such child may be employed, the employer shall first secure, before engaging such child, a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment which shall ensure observance of the above requirement.

The Department of Labor Employment shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of this Section.

So even if the candidate/parent can argue that their children qualifies under the first exemption, he should have secured prior clearance (or a work permit) from the Department of Labor and Employment, before putting his children to work for his campaign.

So what does all of these mean?

Somebody should be calling Bantay Bata (Child Watch) 163

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