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PIA Press Release
2007/09/07

DSWD warns owners of firecracker factories

Quezon City (7 September) -- Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral warns owners of firecracker factories employing children as firecracker makers to release them from their employ or face sanctions for violating Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and RA 7658, Prohibiting the Employment of Children below 15 Years of Age in public and private undertakings.

Secretary Cabral cited Section 3 of RA 7610 which explicitly says that "children below 18 years old should not work under conditions hazardous to life and safety which unduly interferes with the normal development of children."

"Working in a hazardous environment, such as firecracker factories gravely threatens or endangers the normal development of children," Secretary Cabral explained.

On the other hand, RA 7658, amending Section 12, Article VIII of RA 7610, specifies that children below 15 years of age shall not be employed except in the following circumstances: when a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his parents or legal guardian; the employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety, morals and normal development of the child; and the employer shall institute measures to prevent the child's exploitation or discrimination taking into the account the system and level of remuneration, and the duration and arrangement of working time; among other provisions.

The DSWD has been receiving reports that unscrupulous individuals have started hiring children and minors below 18 years old to work in pyrotechnic factories.

Secretary Cabral stated that with the Christmas season fast approaching, owners of firecracker factories are increasing their manufacturing activities in anticipation of the seasonal increase in the sale of firecrackers.

"It has been the illegal practice of factory owners to engage children to work in their factories putting them at great physical risk," Secretary Cabral added.

Meanwhile, Secretary Cabral has ordered all DSWD regional directors to look into the possible provision of scholarships, livelihood assistance and continuing counseling services for the children and their families to reduce their vulnerability to exploitation, child abuse and child labor.

She also instructed the directors to ensure community and family support by intensifying information dissemination on the role of parents and community members in protecting vulnerable children from being exploited by pyrotechnic factory owners. (DSWD) [top]

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