DOLE and IACAT rescue 15 suspected child laborers in Quezon City gay bar Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the DOLE-NCR for its swift rescue of 15 child laborers from a Quezon City gay bar and immediately directed officer-in-charge Regional Director Nelson Hornilla to fast track the filing of administrative cases against the bar owner and his cohorts. “You must also coordinate with the Department of Justice in the filing of criminal cases against the perpetrators of this very serious offense,” said Baldoz, after she received the report on the rescue. Director Hornilla said the rescue was a joint operation of the DOLE, National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Department of Justice, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and Quezon City’s Social Services Department. “The composite team conducted the rescue operation on 3-4 June, when it raided Matikas Bar and Restaurant, owned by a certain Nild Arieta, on 59 Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City. Fifteen suspected minors had been interviewed and were brought to the NBI for profiling, age verification, and investigation. The bar owner was also taken in for investigation,” Hornilla said in his report. Based on an NBI surveillance report, Matikas Bar and Restaurant operates as a gay bar where about 20 male dancers perform nude every night. Hornilla said the DOLE had established that the suspected minors were working at the gay bar but whose wages were underpaid; were not paid for overtime work; and were not paid for legal and special holidays. They were also underpayments in night shift differential. Aside from the administrative case, the owner also faces criminal charges for violation of R.A. 9208 (Anti-Human Trafficking Law); R.A. 9231 (Anti-Child Labor Law); and R.A. 7610 (Child Protection Law). Baldoz directed Director Hornilla to monitor the progress of the administrative and criminal cases and to notify the Quezon City Business Permit and Licensing Office that Matikas Bar and Restaurant has been employing minors. “Initiate closure proceedings against this establishment that victimizes children,” Baldoz ordered Hornilla. END

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