Are you reporting on child labor? Then, it would help if you first familiarize yourself with the definition of child labor-related terminologies.

This was the advice of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday during the Philippine celebration of World Day Against Child Labor at the Fun Ranch at the Frontera Verde in Pasig City.

In a morning program organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in cooperation with the DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns and with the government’s private sector partners at the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), Baldoz said the DOLE, through the BWSC, is offering help to the media wanting to do reporting on child labor or to advocate for its elimination.

“Our fight against child labor can be easily grasped if we have a common understanding of the issue, and that understanding begins with a set of useful definitions on child labor,” she said, urging the media to help in disseminating correct and relevant information on child labor and its related terms.

Some of the definitions, culled from Republic Act Nos. 9231 and 7610 and ILO Convention 182 or the Worst Forms of Child Labor Conventions, are as follows:

“Children”, applies “to all persons under eighteen years of age”, as provided under R.A. 9231. This is a modified definition of children under the Child Protection Law or R.A. 7610, which defines children to mean “persons below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.”

“Child labor” refers to any work or economic activity performed by a child that subjects him/her to any form of exploitation or is harmful to his/her health and safety or physical, mental or psychosocial development.

According to the ILO, the term “child labor” is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

In its most extreme forms, child labor involves children being enslaved; separated from their families; exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities–often at a very early age.

“Worst forms of child labor” as enumerated in Sec. 3 of R.A. 9231 have four broad categories: (1) all forms of slavery, as defined under the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, or practices similar to slavery, such as sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; (2) use, procuring, offering or exposing of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography, or for pornographic performances; (3) use, procuring, or offering of a child for illegal or illicit activities, including the production and trafficking of dangerous drugs and volatile substances prohibited under existing laws; and (4) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is hazardous or likely to be harmful to the health, safety or morals of children.

“Hazardous work” is work that debases, degrades, or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being; exposes the child to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or is found to be highly stressful psychologically or may prejudice morals; is performed underground, underwater or at dangerous heights; and involves the use of dangerous machinery, equipment, and tools such as power-driven or explosive power-actuated tools; exposes the child to physical danger such as, but not limited to the dangerous feats of balancing, physical strength or contortion, or which requires the manual transport of heavy loads.

It is also work performed under particularly difficult conditions; exposes the child to biological agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans, nematodes and other parasites; or involves the manufacture or handling of explosives and other pyrotechnic products.

“Child work” is work allowed or permitted to be performed by a child under certain conditions. A child below 15 years old can be permitted to work if he/she is under supervision by family senior/ parents provided that the child works directly under the sole responsibility of his/her parents or legal guardian and where only members of his/her family are employed; the child’s employment does not endangers his/her life, safety, health, and morals, or impairs his/her normal development; the parent or legal guardian shall provide the said child with the prescribed primary and/or secondary education; the employer first secures a work permit for the child from the DOLE.

Children aged 15 to below 18 years of age are permitted to work in any economic activity not considered child labor, but not more than eight (8) hours a day and in no case beyond forty (40) hours a week. They shall not be allowed to work between 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. of the following day, and employer should provide the child with access to at least elementary and secondary education.

“Working children” are children allowed to work, but not in child labor or in hazardous economic activity.

“Incidence of working children” is the proportion of working children to the total children population. It is also called economic activity rate.

“Incidence of child labor” or child labor rate is referred to as the proportion of children in child labor to the total children population.

“Hazardous child labor rate” is the proportion of children in hazardous child labor to the total children population.


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