Opening address at the workshop on adopting a roadmap to eliminate child labour in domestic work in the Philippines

By Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the workshop on adopting a roadmap to eliminate child labour in domestic work in the Philippines, Makati City, Philippines, 19 January 2015

Statement | Makati City, Philippines | 18 January 2015
  • Officials from the Department of Labor and Employment and government agencies,
  • Representatives from workers’ and employers’ organizations,
  • Members of the National Child Labor Committee and the Domestic Work Technical Working Group,
  • Colleagues from ILO Geneva,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat (goodmorning to all of you)!
First of all, let me greet you a Happy New Year!

Let me welcome you to this workshop, which aims to develop a Roadmap to Eliminate Child Labour in Domestic Work in the Philippines.

The Philippines was one of the first countries to ratify the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and pass the Batas Kasambahay (Domestic Workers Law).

Despite this fact, the issue of ensuring that there is no child labour in domestic remains a challenge.

Both Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and the Batas Kasambahay prohibits children below 15 years old from domestic work. While, the law allowed employment of 15 to 17 year olds, there are specific conditions set.

Promoting decent working conditions and monitoring are challenges for the National Child Labor Committee and the Decent Work Technical Working Group.

There are an estimated 16 million children engaged in domestic work globally. Of which, nearly 8 million are in hazardous forms of work.

Eleven million of child domestic workers are below the age of 15 while 5 million are between the ages of 15-17 within permissible work but need to be protected from abuse and provided decent work.

In many parts of the world, culturally, there is still tolerance and acceptance of the use of children as domestic workers.

Some even see the practice as being a form of assistance to the child.

Then, there is the fact that domestic work conditions are hidden in the private spaces of homes, far from the reach of government monitoring and regulation.

The invisibility of working in isolation and private confines of the home, if left unchecked, leaves the possibility of child domestic workers at risk of physical and other forms of abuse. Not to mention the hazardous working conditions they might be subjected to.

We know for example that poverty, vulnerable employment and the absence of decent work among parents and families are major push factors for child labour.

We also know that this is worsened by the lack of educational access and the frequent occurrence of natural disasters. This awareness enables us to develop measures to prevent the problem from worsening.

This workshop will discuss issues on recruitment and employment, including policies that govern these processes, in order to map out strategies to ensure protection.

Over the next three days, the Roadmap which you will work on, will help guide stakeholders in protecting our children from child labour in domestic work. Your active participation is crucial and will contribute to the success of this workshop.

Dealing with child labour in domestic work is a complex issue and it will take concerted and coordinated action to effectively address the challenge.

I am glad to see the convergence and diversity in this room today, the fact that different sectors have come together workers and employers groups, government agencies, non-government and advocates on decent work for domesctic workers and against child labour.

Congratulations to the National Child Labor Committee, the technical working group on domestic workers for helping organize this workshop and for your active partnership. I would also like to thank my colleagues from ILO Geneva for supporting this workshop.

I wish you a productive and meaningful workshop.

Thank you and Mabuhay!