THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued a stop work order on the construction of the SM Seaside City project in Cebu City for hiring child laborers.
In a report to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Regional Director Exequiel Sarcauga on Tuesday said the three child laborers, all 17 years old, were hired by Monolith Construction Development Corp., the project’s general contractor.
“We have rescued the three child laborers in the course of a joint assessment conducted at the site by our labor laws compliance officers. The three child laborers were all 17 years old. Two of them were employed by Pamcore Steel Corporation and one was working as a checker/spotter at Top Glass and Aluminum Construction. These two companies were sub-contractors at the SM Seaside Project,” said Sarcauga in his report.
Pamcore Steel and Top Glass were project subcontractors.
Sarcauga explained that the law prohibits the employment of children especially in hazardous industries, which include construction.
“The DOLE does not tolerate such a violation of child labor laws and will make sure that erring establishments will be made accountable,” he added.
Sarcauga said the agency coordinated with their counterparts in Regions 8 and 6 to ensure the children’s safe return to their respective families and that concerned subcontractors shouldered the transportation expenses and paid for their salaries and wages.
One minor was sent to Kabangkalan City, Negros Occidental while the other was brought to Balangiga, Eastern Samar. The third minor was turned over to his relatives in Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City.
The work stoppage issued to both subcontractors was the 15th work stoppage order issued by the DOLE regional office since January 2015.
“We issued a conditional lifting of the stoppage order after the removal of the child laborers from the project site. We gave them until 29 June to correct the remaining deficiencies discovered during the joint assessment,” Sarcauga explained.
Both companies were ordered to submit their Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board license and provide for the social protection benefits, such as the SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig contributions for the child laborers.