HELP ME Convergence Program Against Child Labor

BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE

The HELP ME Convergence Program to Address Child Labor is pursuant to and aligned with Republic Act No. 9231 (An Act Providing For The Elimination Of The Worst Forms Of Child Labor And Affording Stronger Protection For The Working Child, Amending For This Purpose Republic Act No. 7610, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The "Special Protection Of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation And Discrimination Act"), Republic Act No. 9208 ("Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003"), and other related laws which declare the policy of the State to provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to their development including child labor and its worst forms. Also, the Philippine Government, in ratifying ILO Convention No. 182, has committed to take immediate action to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

The 2011 Survey on Children conducted by the National Statistics Office (now Philippine Statistics Authority), in collaboration with the ILO, showed that 3.21 million children (ages 5-17) are engaged in child labor and 2.99 million of them are in hazardous work. Given the magnitude of the child labor situation, President Benigno S. Aquino III instructed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to address the child labor problem. The DOLE and the DSWD, in consultation with other agencies, worked closely with each other and developed the HELP ME Convergence Program to Address Child Labor.

The Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) Cabinet Cluster approved the HELP ME Convergence Program during its joint meeting with the NEDA Board – Social Development Committee on 8 November 2012.

The HELP ME Convergence Program aims to implement a sustainable and responsive convergence program to address child labor in the Philippines by providing focused, converged, and synchronized strategies to effectively address the child labor problem. It adopts the community-based approach to answer the child laborers’ call ‘HELP ME’. ‘HELP ME’ stands for the following: H – for health services and medical assistance; E – for education and training; L – for livelihood opportunities to parents of child laborers; P – for prevention, protection and prosecution; M – for monitoring; and E – for evaluation.

The HELP ME Convergence Program will engage several government agencies to deliver services to child laborers and their families to combat child labor. These government agencies include the DOLE, DSWD, DepEd, DOH, DILG, DA, DOJ, TESDA, NEDA, CWC, PIA and NCIP.

TARGET BENEFICIARIES

Target beneficiaries shall be culled from the following:
1. Profiled child laborers identified in the Profiling of Vulnerable Workers conducted by the DOLE;
2. Employed household members below 18 years old, included in the Pantawid Pamilya Program database, and data on child labor generated by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR);
3. Child laborers identified in the Community Based Monitoring System of the local government units;
4. Data on child laborers, not earlier listed or profiled but subsequently identified and provided assistance by partners.

COVERAGE

The HELP ME Convergence Program shall be implemented in all regions. Priority for program convergence will be the DOLE’s target Child Labor-Free Barangays, households covered by the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya Program and areas identified in the NHTS-PR and the updated Philippine Development Plan.

AGENCY COMMITMENTS

The DOLE shall provide overall coordination of activities of HELP ME Convergence Program in the areas of policy, program and strategy formulation and implementation as well as in program monitoring and evaluation. It shall promote expansion of the alliance towards extension of direct services such as, but not limited to, health, education, welfare and legal assistance to child labor victims and provision of viable economic opportunities to parents of child laborers.

The DSWD shall be the lead agency in the conduct of training of local social welfare and development officers for community organizing and the provision of special social services to ensure the well-being and protection of children, including the improvement of the living conditions of their families with focus on linking families of child laborers to the DSWD programs in partnership with local government units (LGUs). It shall likewise provide policy directions and standards for the delivery of institution-based welfare services and technical assistance for the improvement of LGU-based service delivery. Further, the DSWD shall foster partnership among its partner-welfare agencies towards the elimination of child labor.

The DepEd shall provide appropriate educational assistance to child laborers. It shall ensure proper and suitable delivery modes for them, as well as learning opportunities for their parents using various life skills approaches and strategies. It shall likewise ensure the integration of programs against child labor in the curriculum and in the goals of Education for All.

The DOH shall formulate and monitor the implementation of standards, policies and guidelines related to children’s health, nutrition and development as well as the promotion of healthy and safe environment. It shall likewise develop and maintain health information system for planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of program relative to the same; establish a network or linkage for medical, nutrition and health services and response; develop or assist in the development, and facilitate the implementation of innovative or alternative relevant and appropriate strategies for health intervention as well as the provision of basic health and nutrition services under the context of primary health care; and facilitate the conduct of research on protecting and promoting children’s health, nutrition and welfare from hazardous work/environment. It shall also be responsible for providing access to health and nutrition services for victims of child labor through direct service delivery of such service or the establishment of a working referral system.

The DILG shall advocate and disseminate child labor-related national policies to the LGUs as well as guidelines that may be promulgated by other government agencies pertaining to the handling of child labor victims. It shall also assist the DSWD in organizing and facilitating capability building activities for LGUs in the handling and treatment of child labor victims, whenever necessary. Further, the DILG shall reiterate to LGUs the need to upgrade or sustain the functionality of their Local Councils for the Protection of Children for the prevention of child labor and protection of children victims; and encourage LGUs to include and maintain anti-child labor initiatives in their local development plans.

The DA shall mainstream child labor issues into its existing programs, projects and activities; further intensify the implementation of its income-enhancing interventions for farmers and fisher folks and contribute to the reduction of their families’ dependence on child labor; and increase awareness on child labor issues and concerns among its regional offices and extension workers, and among families of farmers and fisher folks.

The DOJ shall undertake monitoring, investigation and prosecution of child abuse, child labor and exploitation cases. It shall provide legal assistance through the DOJ Action Center or the Public Attorneys’ Office and facilitate access of the child victims to the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program as well as Victims’ Compensation Program. The Committee for the Special Protection of Children, chaired by the DOJ, shall function as the body principally responsible for coordinating and monitoring the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violations of R.A. 7610 and other child-related criminal laws.

The TESDA shall provide programs and services relating to technical vocational education and training (TVET); formulate plans and policies; and generate, through researches and studies, and disseminate relevant labor market information to guide the youth in choosing the appropriate TVET courses/programs.

The NEDA shall take the lead in efforts to coordinate the integration of child labor agenda in national/regional development planning and investment programming; advocate for the integration of child labor concerns in programs of cooperation with relevant bilateral and multilateral institutions; assist in the formulation and advocacy of policies and other measures in pursuit of the objectives of the child labor agenda; and provide technical assistance in the conduct of related activities such as in plan/policy formulation, project development and researches.

The CWC shall ensure the integration of child labor concerns in all frameworks and plans on children such as the Second National Plan of Action for Children 2011 – 2016. It shall also include the same concerns in all of its advocacy efforts on the matter to LGUs. The CWC shall lead in monitoring the implementation of laws, plans and programs on children, including child labor.

The PIA shall assist in the conduct of information, education and communication campaign activities through the multi-media and inter-personal communication activities for the HELP ME Convergence Program.

The NCIP shall assist in providing pertinent and appropriate policies, programs and services for the protection and promotion of the interest and well being of children from indigenous cultural communities who are also child laborers or IP children at-risk of becoming child laborers.

All member-agencies shall commit, in accordance with or subject to the concerned agencies’ respective work/financial plans and applicable laws, rules and regulations, to:
• update and share their respective data or information on child labor or other related concerns to the HELP ME Data Management System;
• provide budgetary allocation for child welfare and protection in their respective agency general appropriations to ensure program continuity;
• actively participate in inter-agency committees at the national, regional and local government unit (LGU) levels for effective coordination and convergence; and
• undertake capacity building of program implementers especially at the LGUs including the barangay councils for the protection of children (BCPC).

PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

The implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program shall have three (3) major components: 1) Knowledge Management, 2) Delivery of Services, and 3) Institutional Partnership and Collaboration.

Knowledge Management

The DOLE Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) shall establish and maintain a central data management system containing the profiles of target beneficiaries, and type and status of intervention given by service providers to the children and their families, among others.

The DOLE shall share relevant data with concerned national government agencies who will likewise share it with their respective counterparts in the regions, provinces, cities and municipalities as well as the barangays for proper intervention. Tracking of the status of beneficiaries shall be done through the data management system. Data sharing shall also be done through the Child Labor Knowledge Sharing System (CLKSS) portal.

Awareness raising and advocacy activities on mainstreaming policies and programs on child labor into the development plans of national government agencies and local government units shall be undertaken. Collaborative efforts shall likewise be conducted with the Provincial, City and Municipal Inter-Agency Committees (P/C/MIACs), the Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs) including the Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPCs), and other concerned stakeholders, for program convergence.

Delivery of Services

From the baseline data on the profile of child laborers shared through the data management system, needs of profiled child laborers shall be identified, assessed and referred to relevant agencies for the provision of appropriate interventions or services.

Social preparation and capacity building activities for target communities/barangays and beneficiaries shall be undertaken by the community links through the social workers, and/or other community development workers, as well as resource persons from government agencies and civil society organizations.

For enterprise development and other community-driven projects, the community shall undertake resource mobilization activities, in coordination with the community-based development workers. National and local government units, as well as civil society organizations, shall assist the communities/barangays in providing technical and financial resources.

In exchange for the continued availment of services, program beneficiaries specifically parents of child laborers shall commit to prevent or remove their children from child labor, send their children to school to promote their welfare and enhance their opportunities.

The menu of programs and services to be provided by HELP ME Convergence Program member- agencies and other stakeholders to the child laborers and their families shall include, but not limited to:

Health, nutrition and medical services :

  • Department of Health
  • Immunization
  • Environmental health (exposure to hazardous chemicals)
  • Adolescent and Youth Health
  • Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)
  • Breastfeeding, Infant and Young Child Feeding and Nutrition
  • Oral Health
  • Advocacy on Child Injury Prevention
  • Provision of micronutrient supplementation
  • Provision of other health services

Education and training:

  • DepEd
    • Abot Alam
      • Modified In-School Off-School Approach (MISOSA)
      • Alternative Learning System (ALS)
      • Instructional Management by Parents, Community and Teachers (E-IMPACT)
      • Open High School Program (OHSP)
      • Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT)
      • Other catch up and reintegration programs
    • Formal education
  • TESDA
    • Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP)
    • Special Training for Employment Program (STEP)
    • Skills Training Programs
    • Career Profiling
    • Competency Assessment and Certification

Livelihood and employment:

  • DOLE
    • DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program
      • Livelihood or Kabuhayan Program (formation, enhancement, restoration of livelihood undertakings; community/group enterprise development
        • Livelihood assistance to parents of child laborers
      • Emergency employment or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD)
    • Social Amelioration Program – socio-economic projects
    • Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES)
  • DSWD
    • Sustainable Livelihood Program
    • Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan - Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services - National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI-CIDSS-NCDDP)
    • Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families and IPs
    • Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program
  • DA
    • Commodity Programs
    • National Organic Agriculture Program
    • Other regular programs

Promotion, Protection and Prosecution:

  • PIA
    • Publicity assistance for the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program
    • Assistance in the dissemination of IEC materials
  • DOLE
    • Coordination for the rescue of child laborers in abject condition (Sagip Batang Manggagawa)
  • NBI, PNP
    • Surveillance and rescue
  • DSWD
    • Community Based Programs and Services
      • Preventive Programs
        • Child Protective Services
        • Parent Effectiveness Service Program
        • Supplementary Feeding Program
      • Treatment and Recovery
        • Quick Response Team
        • Sustainable Livelihood
    • Center Based Programs and Services
      • Treatment and Rehabilitation Program
        • Group Life and Home Care Program
        • Health and Nutrition Program
        • Productivity Skills Training Program
        • Social Services
        • Home Life Services
        • Health Services
        • Skills Training/Vocational Counseling
        • Legal Service
        • Recreational and Other Cultural Activities
        • Faith and Spiritual Enrichment
        • Community Participation
    • Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program
    • Alternative parental care
  • DOJ
    • Legal assistance
    • Witness Protection Program

Institutional Partnership and Collaboration

The National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) shall be the central policy and coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program at the national level. It shall have the power and authority to issue guidelines, enter into supplementary agreements and make modifications to the Program. The NCLC, through the Social Development Committee, shall collaborate with relevant inter-agency councils and committees; e.g., Committee for the Special Protection of Children, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography, Council for the Welfare of Children, Social Development Council. The NCLC, through the DOLE, shall report to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster.

The NCLC shall take the necessary measures to implement the HELP ME Convergence Program in all the geographic regions in the country through the Regional Child Labor Committees, the Provincial Child Labor Committees and at the City and Municipal Inter-Agency Committees, as well as the Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children, and/or other related structures that will ensure that child labor concerns are responded to and mainstreamed into the regional and local development plans and programs, and that budget and resources are allocated for local level implementation of the Program.

The DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) shall provide Secretariat services to the NCLC.

The HELP ME Program Management Team (PMT) shall act as the coordinating and monitoring body in the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program activities and shall be composed of technical staff from the member-agencies. It shall perform the following functions:

  • Assess and evaluate the attainment of the HELP ME objectives
  • Prepare, coordinate and monitor the implementation of the HELP ME work plans
  • Ensure that the activities of the HELP ME Program stakeholders are synchronized and well-timed
  • Discuss issues and concerns of members of the PMT before elevating to the NCLC; and
  • Provide NCLC with recommendations relating to the overall directions of the HELP ME Program.

The HELP ME PMT shall hold at least one (1) regular meeting per quarter. Special meetings may be called as may be necessary.

The DOLE shall be responsible in carrying out the functions of the PMT, while the BWSC Director shall act as its Chairperson. The BWSC Young Workers Development Division shall serve as Secretariat.

The Regional Child Labor Committee (RCLC) shall be the overall structure and mechanism for the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program at the regional level, in collaboration with the Regional Inter-Agency Committee (RIAC). The RCLC shall also coordinate with the Regional Committees/Sub-Committees) for the Welfare of Children (RC/SCWC). RCLC collaboration with the RIAC and the RC/SCWC shall ensure that child labor is mainstreamed and discussed in these inter-agency bodies.

The Provincial Child Labor Committee (PCLC) shall be the overall structure and mechanism for the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program at the provincial level, in collaboration with the Provincial Inter-Agency Committee (PIAC). The PCLC shall also coordinate with the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children.

The City/Municipal Inter-Agency Committee (C/MIAC) shall be the overall structure and mechanism for the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program at the city/municipal level. The C/MIAC shall also coordinate with the City/Municipal Council for the Protection of Children.

The Barangay Council for the Protection of Children shall be the overall structure and mechanism for the implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program at the barangay level.

The RCLC, PCLC, C/MIAC and BCPC shall perform the following functions at their respective levels:

  1. Localize framework and guidelines of the HELP ME Convergence Program pursuant to and aligned with the national plan of action for the effective enforcement of Republic Act No. 9231 and related laws;
  2. Coordinate and oversee the implementation by all concerned agencies of the Program;
  3. Establish and maintain effective follow-up mechanisms to review and monitor progress to end child labor, especially in its worst forms, taking into account their respective action plans;
  4. Maintain a localized data management system on child labor that ensures the sharing of relevant data, fosters communication, improves program monitoring, and automates the child labor case referrals;
  5. Coordinate in the conduct of massive information dissemination and campaign on the existence of Republic Act No. 9231 and related laws, and the various issues and problems attendant to child labor;
  6. Initiate training programs in identifying and providing the necessary intervention or assistance to child laborers;
  7. Monitor the filing of cases against individuals, agencies, institutions, or establishments that violate the provisions of Republic Act No. 9231 and related laws;
  8. Report and share in a timely manner relevant data and information, including documentation of good practices and success stories, using the Child Labor Knowledge Sharing System and other reporting mechanisms as may be required by the NCLC;
  9. Ensure that the proper agencies conduct a continuing research and study on all forms of child labor in the region/LGU, which shall be the basis for policy formulation and program direction;
  10. Secure from any department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the government or from civil society organizations and other civic organizations such assistance as may be needed to effectively implement the convergence program;
  11. Establish child-appropriate mechanisms to ensure child participation in the formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs on child labor;
  12. Foster cooperation with international development agencies and other competent bodies as it may consider appropriate to provide expert advice on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Convention 138, ILO Convention 182, Republic Act No 9231, and related laws, in areas falling within the scope of their respective mandates;
  13. Accept donations, contributions, grants, bequests, or gifts from domestic or foreign sources, for purposes relevant to their respective mandate and functions, in accordance with applicable laws and rules and subject to government accounting and auditing rules and regulations;
  14. Conduct appropriate capacity building activities for duty bearers and claim holders; and
  15. Exercise all the powers and perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes and objectives of Republic Act No. 9231 and related laws and of the HELP ME Convergence Program.

Capacity building of BCPCs as well as DILG Regional Offices and local government units shall be undertaken to ensure functionality of BCPCs

Private Sector Participation

The active participation of civil society organizations, workers groups, employers’ organizations, professional groups, faith-based organizations, academe, media and other stakeholders from the private sector shall be enjoined. These private sector organizations could provide direct and support services, e.g., advocacy, capacity building, monitoring, technical and financial support/assistance. Terms of engagement shall be spelled out in Memoranda of Understanding or Agreement to be forged by the HELP ME Convergence Program partners with the concerned organizations/private sector at the regional/local levels, provided that the engagement of said concerned organizations/private sector shall be subject to the provisions/requirements of applicable laws, rules and regulations.

REPORTING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The HELP ME Convergence Program shall contribute to the Philippine Program Against Child Labor’s (PPACL) vision of a Child Labor-Free Philippines through:

  • Reduction in the number of children in worst forms of child labor
  •  Increase in number of certified Child Labor-Free Barangays

Milestones for 2014-2016 shall be as follows:

  1. 300,000 child laborers prevented and/or removed from worst forms of child labor through provision of services on health and nutrition, education and training, livelihood and employment, and social protection and legal assistance
  2. 550 barangays certified as child labor-free
  3. Data management system established and maintained
  4. Good practices and success stories documented
  5.  Collaboration and partnership between and among national and local government agencies and other stakeholders strengthened
  6. Capacities of duty bearers and claim holders enhanced

Unified Monitoring Templates

  1. Child Labor Beneficiary Report. The Program beneficiaries (parents of child laborers) shall submit monthly report to the concerned agency and/or the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) or the concerned inter-agency committee/group on the type and status of the assistance or services extended by various agencies within a month upon receipt of the assistance or services. The report shall also include satisfaction rating for the agency or agencies giving such assistance or services.
  2. Barangay Council for the Protection of Children Report on Child Labor. The BCPC shall consolidate the reports of the program beneficiaries and submit a monthly consolidated report to the City or Municipal Inter-Agency Committee (C/MIAC). Community-based agencies extending direct service assistance to program beneficiaries could likewise submit reports to the C/MIAC.
  3. City/Municipal Inter-Agency Committee Report on Child Labor. The C/MIAC shall consolidate the reports of the BCPC, and/or beneficiaries and submit a quarterly consolidated report to the Provincial Child Labor Committee through the Provincial Inter-Agency Committee (PIAC). City or municipality-based agencies rendering direct services to beneficiaries could likewise submit reports to the PCLC and/or the PIAC.
  4. Provincial Child Labor Committee. The PCLC shall consolidate the reports of the C/MIAC and submit a quarterly consolidated report to the Regional Child Labor Committee (RCLC) and the Regional Inter-Agency Committee (RIAC). Province-based agencies rendering direct services to beneficiaries could likewise submit reports to the RCLC.
  5. Regional Child Labor Committee Report. The RCLC shall consolidate the reports of the PIAC and submit a quarterly consolidated report to the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) through the HELP ME Program Management Team c/o Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC).
  6. National Child Labor Committee Report. The NCLC shall consolidate the reports of the Regional Child Labor Committees, as well as the member-agencies of the HELP ME Convergence Program. The NCLC shall the submit a semestral and annual report to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster, copy furnished the National Economic and Development Authority, the Council for the Welfare of Children and other relevant inter-agency councils/committees.

The HELP ME Program Management Team, Regional/Provincial/City/Municipal Child Labor Committees and/or Regional/Provincial/City/Municipal Inter-Agency Committees and the Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children shall conduct work and financial planning at their respective levels. Impact, outcome, and output indicators and targets shall be identified. Annual program assessment and an impact evaluation shall likewise be conducted.

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