PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an order creating a council that will prevent, reduce and eliminate child labor.
Mr. Duterte signed Executive Order 92 on Sept. 17 creating the National Council Against Child Labor. Copies of the order, which reorganizes the National Child Labor Committee, were released to media on Friday.
The agency will be headed by the Labor secretary, with the Social Welfare department acting as a co-chairman.
The secretaries of the Education, Health, Interior and Local Government, Justice and Agriculture departments will act as members.
The council will formulate a national action plan and programs to protect children against abuse, exploitation and discrimination, and set up appropriate mechanisms for child laborers, their families and communities.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said Mr. Duterte “wants to increase and tighten the penalties for offenses related to child trafficking.”
“He wants these classes of crimes to be elevated to non-bailable offenses,” he said in a statement.
Under the law, violators face 15 years in jail plus a fine of P500,000 to P 1 million.
“The palace sees the urgent need to increase the penalties, both jail time and fines to be paid,” Mr. Nograles said.
“Legal safeguards to protect our children must be strengthened,” he said, adding that lawmakers should prioritize these measures. — Arjay L. Balinbin