In the Joint Assessment (JA) conducted by the DOLE’s Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs), 3 laborers, all 17 year olds, were found working at the site. “Two of them were employed by Pamcore Steel Corporation. The other one was assigned as a checker/spotter by Top Glass and Aluminum Construction,” said DOLE 7 OIC Regional Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga.
The DOLE called for a mandatory conference right after the issuance of the work stoppage which likewise implicated Monolith Construction and Development Corporation, the project’s general contractor. “The law clearly prohibits the employment of children especially in the industries considered hazardous like one in the construction,” said Sarcauga, adding that the DOLE does not tolerate such a misdemeanor and will make sure that erring establishments will be made accountable.
Upon the directive of Director Sarcauga, the DOLE facilitated the whole child labor rescue operation through Ms. Rebecca Densing, the Regional Child Labor Protection and Elimination Program (CLPEP) focal and Supervising Labor and Employment Officer Efren Vito together with Engineer Rustico Levi Custorio and Engineer Kenneth James Burbos, the assigned LLCOs.
On June 19, 2015, Densing recalled, 2 of the 3 child laborers were taken to their respective boarding houses in Tabada, Mambaling, Cebu City. “At around 8:00 P.M. on the same day, we took the one who hailed from Negros Occidental to the New Cebu South Bus Terminal where he was turned-over and personally received by the driver of the Ceres Bus which took him to the area of his destination,” said Densing
The following day, 20 June 2015, the other minor was taken by the same DOLE personnel to Pier One Terminal Building and was turned-over to the captain of Ocean Jet, the fast craft which ferried said minor to Ormoc City.
Prior to this, Director Sarcaga coordinated with Director Elias A. Cayanong of DOLE Regional Office No. 8 and Director Ponciano M. Ligutom of DOLE Regional Office No. 6 for the safe transport of the minors.
“We asked for the assistance of our counterparts in Regions 8 and 6 where 2 of the child laborers we’ve rescued came from. We requested them to help facilitate the children’s safe return to their hometown,” said Sarcauga. As for the minor who hailed from Balangiga, Eastern Samar, he added, the office requested DOLE Region 8 to fetch him in Ormoc City and arrange his safe return to his place. DOLE Region 6 was also requested to fetch the other minor who travelled with an adult and arrange for his transport back to his family in Matacay, Camingawan, Kabangkalan City, Negros Occidental.
The third minor who was employed by Top Glass and Aluminum Construction is now with his relatives in Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City.
Sarcauga disclosed that concerned subcontractors shouldered for the transportation expenses of the children, saying further that Pamcore Steel Corporation is likewise accountable for paying for the back wages to the minors they employed.
The work stoppage issued to both subcontractors on 18 June 2015 was the 15threleased and served by DOLE VII since January 2015. “We issued a conditional lifting of the stoppage order on 22 June 2015 after the removal of the child laborers from the project site. We are giving them until June 29, 2015 to rectify the remaining deficiencies,” Director Sarcauga explained.
Top Glass and Aluminum Construction and Pamcore Steel Corporation are yet to submit their Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) license and provide for the social protection benefits (SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig) of the children.
For more information on this report, you may contact Luchel S. Taniza- Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org