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In 2003, Republic Act (RA) 9231 or “An Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child” was passed to serve as legal framework for the work against child labor in the country.  It amended and enhanced Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”. In the past 14 years, concerns have been raised about the degree of effectiveness and adequacy of the law as an instrument in addressing child labor.  Both the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) in its comments for the Philippines in 2011 and the US Department of Labor (USDOL) in its Worst Forms of Child Labor Report for 2012, for example, have expressed concern about how this has been used to a very few convictions. On this issue, prosecutors have pointed to the lighter sanctions provided by RA 9231 which forces them to use RA 10364, the country’s anti-trafficking law, to process child labor cases instead.

Occupational safety and health (OSH), a multidimensional field concerned with safety, health, and welfare of people at work, aims to foster a safe and healthy working environment for everyone.  OSH has been widely regarded and accepted as a basic workers’ right as enshrined in the ILO Constitution, which sets forth the principle that workers should be protected from sickness, disease, and injury arising from their employment.

In 1998, the Philippines was the 5th country to ratify the Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176) which outlines the international framework on standards concerning the safety and health of workers in mines. To effectively enforce the said Convention, DAO No. 2000-98 or the Mine Safety and Health Standards was issued. Given that mining is one of the hazardous industries with distinct working conditions, the research results underscored that both employers and workers have duties and responsibilities to undertake to ensure safe and healthy workplaces.

Hazards in workplaces are common especially in sectors where informal arrangement exists such as in small-scale mining. Although there is a dearth of data in reported injuries, accidents, or casualties, it is of great consideration that the safety and working conditions in this sector are addressed given the risks that they are exposed to. With the mine sites from four provinces in the Philippines as study areas, this research examines the existing policies and regulations that govern mine safety and the working conditions of those engaged in the small-scale mining. This study uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative research tools for the data-gathering.

The transition of workers with permanent and temporary disability from absence to job retention or re-employment is affected by a number of factors. Several models indicate that return to work is usually associated with determinants other than physical and medical aspects of work contingencies. Hence, this study aimed to identify the factors associated with job retention and re-employment experiences of persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs) in selected regions in the Philippines. It is worth noting, however, that the study may not provide an exhaustive list of all factors related to return to work. The descriptive analysis of the study only provided a snapshot of the return to work experiences of the respondents.