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Vientiane, Lao PDR – The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) attends the 2nd Regional Consultation Workshop on the Development of the ASEAN Declaration on the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour held from November 29 to 30 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The two-day workshop was hosted by the Children’s Rights Representatives of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children of Lao PDR and Thailand, with support from the ASEAN Secretariat and the Addressing Labour Exploitation in Fishing in ASEAN Project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Philippine delegation was composed of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, namely Ahmma Charisma Lobrin Satumba, Director of the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC); Miraluna S. Tacadao, Chief Labor and Employment Officer of ILS; and Leonides P. Castillon, Jr., Director of MUNTAPARLAS Field Office, DOLE-National Capital Region.

The Workshop was intended to be the final consultative meeting to enhance and complete the draft Declaration establishing a unified vision among ASEAN Member States (AMS) to eliminate child labor for adoption in the Declaration on the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour at the 44th ASEAN Summit in 2024.

As the chair of the ASEAN Senior Labour Officials Meeting, the Philippines, represented by BWSC Director Lobrin-Saturmba, shared the country’s strategies for preventing child labor. The country also underscored the need for a “holistic, integrated, and multi-stakeholder approach” in implementing the country’s programs and mechanisms on the prevention, reduction, and elimination of all forms of child labor through established institutions such as the National Council Against Child Labor and the Philippine Program Against Child Labor, as well as the provision of technical assistance such as “education, livelihood, financial assistance, counseling, emergency employment, and skills training.”

DOLE highlighted the issuance of the Department Order No. 149 series of 2016, providing the “Guidelines on Assessing and Determining Hazardous Work in the Employment of Persons below the Age of 18 years Old,” which declared some sectors hazardous to persons below 18 years of age based on industrial and occupational classifications.

The workshop was organized in a hybrid format with in-person attendees from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, and representatives from Indonesia and Singapore attending online. Also present in the workshop were partners from the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, International Labour Organization, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Plan International, ASEAN Secretariat, and ASEAN Sectoral Bodies.