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Whether or not these programs fully comply to the requirements of the said law.
Submitted By: Lim, Zarah Jane E. Reyes, Ednalyn D.
Submitted To: Atty. Reynaldo Lopez
FEBRUARY 10, 2006
TABLE OF CO TE TS
Acknowledgements ------------------------------------------------------------------------ i Introduction --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Chapter 1: Child and Child Labor ------------------------------------------------------- 2 Chapter 2: The Child Labor Law -------------------------------------------------------- 5 Chapter 3: Children in the Entertainment Industry ---------------------------------- 10 Chapter 4: Working Policies on Children in the Entertainment Industry ---------14 Summary and Conclusion --------------------------------------------------------------- 17 Bibliography ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 19
ACK OWLEDGME TS
The researchers would like to thank the following people for accommodating our requests in the course of our gathering of data: Mr. Ricardo S. Martinez – REGIONAL DIRECTOR, DOLE-NCR Mr. Boyet Miano – LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT OFFICER, DOLE-NCR Ms. Lety - LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT OFFICER, DOLE-NCR Mr. Wesley - LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT OFFICER, DOLE-NCR Ms. Beth Casin - BUREAU OF WOMEN AND YOUNG WORKERS, DOLE
The researchers would also like to thank Atty. Reynaldo Lopez – PROFESSOR, MASS MEDIA LAWS Mr. & Mrs. ____ Reyes Mr. & Mrs. Zaldy Lim And most especially, GOD ALMIGHTY
We live in an era where technology is constantly evolving. Television is one of our main sources of entertainment as it presents social realities and situations where the viewers can relate with the protagonist’s life. It is interesting to note that ownership of television sets in Mega Manila have already increased to an astounding number of 95%1, according to a survey conducted by Asia Research Organization, Inc. This just goes to show how powerful television is. Because of the need to show social realities and situations as realistically as possible, people in the entertainment industry would naturally have to employ children, as they are a part of the family (with family being one of the social groups).
Children, being the future workforce and leaders of our country, needs to be cared for and protected not only by their respective families, but also by the government. Therefore, an act was made which states that employment of children below 15 years of age are prohibited by the government, except when they work under the sole responsibility of his parents or legal guardian (as in family businesses), or when their presence is needed in the entertainment industry.2
These exceptions have their corresponding provisions that would ensure the child’s wellbeing.
Survey: Asia Research Organization, Inc. Year 2005, July 2005 Azucena, C.A.: Labor Laws Source Book: The Updated Labor Code & Other Laws, 4th Edition, 2003
This paper focuses on children working in the entertainment industry, aiming to find out the requirements of the Department of Labor and Employment which are needed to be able to legally employ a child. This paper also aims to find out if the Philippine entertainment industry is complying with the requirements of the law in employing child actors.
Chapter 1 CHILD A D CHILD LABOR
Before we can tackle child labor issues comprehensively, we must first be clear on the definition of child and child labor. For the definition of a child, the age range is very crucial for it determines when a child is still a child and when one becomes an adult. The Child and Youth Welfare Code, R.A. # 7610 and R.A. # 7658 & the Convention on the Rights of the Child define a child as “all persons below 18 years of age except those emancipated in accordance with the law.”3
Child labor, on the other hand, is defined by the Institute of Industrial Relations (IIR) as “any person below fifteen years of age who is engaged in economic activity whether inside or outside the home.”4 This means that any work done by a child which constitute wages is considered child labor. Legality of the matter is not tackled here. It merely defines what child labor is. Another definition, which is more specific than the former, comes from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary 1983, which states that “child labor constitutes services engaged in by a person not yet of age that realize the goals of an economy; the services rendered by a young worker for wages as distinguished from that rendered by an entrepreneur for profit.”5
R. del Rosario and M.A. Bonga: Child Labor in the Philippines: A Review of Selected Studies and Policy Papers 4 IIR 1985, Ibid. 5 Mish, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary 1983, Ibid.
Thus, for the succeeding parts of this paper, we will use the definitions given above as a basis for our concept of child and child labor.
Having cleared the definitions of the crucial terms of this paper, let us now look at the historical background of child labor in the Philippines.
History of Child Labor
Ever since the beginning of time, children are expected to help out in household chores. Girls are taught, even at an early age, how to cook, to sew, to care for babies, and other important things that they need to learn in order for them to become good mothers and housewives in the future. Similarly, boys are expected to help out their fathers at their farms, or wherever their workplace may be, so that they can be exposed to real life situations and thus be ready to be the man of the house in the future. It must be noted
though, that household chores are not to be considered a part of child labor. “Child labor does not refer to all types of children’s work. It excludes household chores for one’s own household or family.”6 This is because these chores are a part of every child’s training as a human being and it serves as a preparation for their future as they become adults and learn to live on their own.
Unfortunately, some children are not given the chance to a better life, and are forced to work for other people. During the Spanish and American era, children were
employed by priests to pound grains of palay and to clean the church or the convent. Some children were also used as payment for their parents’ debts. They were sold at certain amounts to become slaves of the rich people. Others were even sent to work for factories.7 This practice of employing children became rampant because of the rise of the problem of poverty in the Philippines. According to the article released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (The Philippines Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997), “Family poverty apparently forces many school dropouts… poor families are unable to meet the numerous peripheral costs for uniforms, school supplies, shoes and transportation… widespread poverty forces many young children to work.”8 Parents did not have any choice but to let their children work, so that they could help in the family’s finances. This unfair situation that faces every child who is a victim of child labor hampers his right to education. Most children forced to work and earn a living in order to help support their family have no choice but to stop their schooling.
Because of this intrusion on the right of the child to a good life (and to his right to education), the government has come up with laws that serves as a protection for children who are victims of child labor. These laws and the conditions provided will be dealt with in the next chapter.
Bureau of Women and Young Workers – DOLE 1990:13-16, Ibid. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (The Philippines Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997).
Chapter 2 THE CHILD LABOR LAW
Along the course of Philippine history, the child labor law has been replaced, revised and amended a number of times in order to suit the changing conditions of the society and to make it capable of meeting the child’s needs, especially in the promotion of his welfare.
The famous saying goes like this: ecessity is the mother of all inventions. It is quite the same in passing laws / making laws. Our lawmakers observe the society, pay close attention to our needs, and are elected to look after our welfare and represent our sentiments to the government. For example, during the early times, there were no such laws regarding the use and abuse of the internet, for the obvious reason that the internet does not exist back then. But with the arrival of the technological age, the laws of such kind must adjust and keep up with the changing times, and so laws are made.
Similarly, child employment was already rampant in the early days. And with the invention of television and radio, more and more parents saw the opportunity these types of media could offer to the child. As such, new sets of laws were made to protect these working children. But then again, in this modern age, we could hardly count the number of child talents we see everyday on TV. That is the reason why our law-makers
implemented stricter laws -- to protect the welfare of these children.
In 1923, Act No. 3071 was approved. This law covers the regulation of the employment of women and children. But with the changing times, it came to a point where this law needed to be replaced so as to be more effective in protecting the working women and children against exploitation. Therefore, in 1952, Republic Act No. 679 was approved, with its amendatory act approved in 1954, duly called R.A. #1131.9
In R.A. 679 (along with its amendatory act R.A. 1131), the minimum age for working children is fourteen years old. It has different provisions for children in different age ranges. For children below fourteen years old, it states that they could only be allowed to work if the job is not that hard. The law gives importance to the children’s capacity to do certain tasks, and it emphasizes the need for the children to be able to develop normally and still be healthy inspite of their job. Their education is also of importance because one of the provisions is that their jobs should “not prejudice their attendance in school.”10 For children below sixteen years old, specifications were given on where these working children were not allowed to work. These include mines,
manufacturing companies, building and civil engineering works, undertakings engaged in transport of passengers or goods by road or rail, factories, billiard rooms, cockpits, bars, night clubs, etc.11 Similarly, for children below eighteen years old, specifications were also laid out so that the children’s welfare are protected.
These painstaking reiterations of the conditions for employment of children only shows that the law cares for the Filipino child and it will do its best just to protect the
Philippine Labor and Social Legislation Sec. 1(a), R.A. 679, as amended by R.A. 1131, Ibid 11 Sec. 2, subsection a, pars. 1-3, R.A. 679, Ibid.
children’s rights. Another evidence of the government’s care for the Filipino working child is that it is constantly coming up with laws (be it amendments, new enactments or provisions, or revisions) that will ensure the child’s safety and development inspite of his work.
In 1974, for example, the Labor Code of the Philippines set the minimum age for working children at fifteen years old (as opposed to the past minimum age requirement of fourteen years). It also prohibited children under eighteen years old to be a part of hazardous workplaces. Also in 1974, the Philippine Child and Youth Welfare Code, or Presidential Decree No. 603, was enacted. This decree gave importance to the welfare of the working children, meaning they insisted on the children’s right to education, safe working conditions in their respective workplaces, and their overall development as a human being.12
R.A. No. 7610, enacted in 1992, focuses on the protection of children against trafficking, exploitation, abuse, and discrimination. In 1993, R.A. No. 7658 was
approved, as an amendatory act for R.A. No. 7610. Here, the minimum age requirement of fifteen years old for working children given by the Labor Code of the Philippines was reaffirmed. Also, strict provisions were given as to the conditions of employing a child. An employer must secure a working permit from the Department of Labor and Employment before he can make a child work for him. It is also in this act where the
R. del Rosario and M.A. Bonga: Child Labor in the Philippines: A Review of Selected Studies and Policy Papers: Institute of Labor Studies, Comprehensive Study on Child Labor Law, 1994
limitations of hiring children either for family businesses or for public entertainment are given. 13
R.A. 7610 generally focuses on working children. It hardly tackles the children in the entertainment industry, as it has no specifications regarding child actor’s wages, working hours, etc. What if, unfortunately, something happens to them while working? Parents and the children have no call on the accident because the laws don’t cover them. There are laws, but they are insufficient.
Fortunately, in the year 2003, the amended act on child labor was passed. This new act amended RA 7610. This time, it has specifications regarding the working children, and this law is up-to-date and more focused. Republic Act No. 9231, otherwise known as “The Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act,” is an act which includes provisions for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and also for stronger protection for the working child.14
The children of today is said to be the hope of tomorrow. As the popular song goes, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…” But we believe that this is only possible if we take care of our children now. The Philippine government is now active in giving protection to these children. As stated in Section 2 of R.A. 9231, “The State shall intervene on behalf of the child when the parent, guardian, teacher, or person having care or custody of the child fails or is unable to protect the child against abuse, exploitation, and discrimination or when such acts are committed by the said parent, guardian, teacher, or person having care and custody of the child.”15
R.A. 9231 Bureau of Women and Young Workers, Department of Labor and Employment R.A. 9231, Sec. 2: Declaration of State Policy and Principles, Ibid.
Basically, the contents of the different child-labor related laws focus on the child’s development as a person without forgetting his need to be educated, to be in a safe workplace, and to be justly compensated for his work.
Chapter 3 CHILDRE I THE E TERTAI ME T I DUSTRY
The Philippine Entertainment Industry constantly innovate their shows so that it would suit the preferences of their targeted viewers. The industry realizes that part of their viewers is comprised of children, therefore they come up with shows which feature young actors or child stars. Now, we have reality shows for aspiring child talents such as Star Circle Quest, Star Struck Kids and various singing contests. Parents usually sign up their children for auditions upon seeing the potential of their kids. Oftentimes, these children don’t even realize that they are actually working, given that they are compensated with money. In an interview with the famous (former) child star Aiza Seguerra by Cinema One, she said that during the time she was making all those movies and tapings, she actually thought that she was just playing and she also thought that what she was doing is what every other child is also experiencing. This is one of the many reasons why working children in the entertainment industry must be protected by laws. Some parents tend to abuse their children in order to enjoy special status and to acquire fast money. It is undeniable that there is big money in show business. That is why, as stated in the previous chapter, R.A. 9231 provides specifications regarding working policies for children, especially those working in the entertainment industry.
Nowadays, we often see children in drama series that airs five times a week. An example is “Anghel na Walang Langit” by ABS-CBN Channel 2. The talents of these kids are admirable, from the way that they can cry easily in front of the cameras to the
way they can portray their assigned characters despite their limited real-life experiences due to their young age.
Some child actors are given good opportunities at a very young age. They have drama series that airs five times a week, a sitcom on a weekend and another children’s program on a Sunday. In short he/she is visible in television for one whole week! What an exposure right? We haven’t even counted special projects such as movies, TV guestings, mall tours, etc. But the question is, does he enjoy what he is doing? Is he having the proper education he is entitled to? Is the workplace safe for him? These things are known only by the child’s parents, guardian, agent and other people surrounding him. The pressing issue is whether or not they are really protected.
According to a legislative status report prepared by Mr. Paul Petersen (a representative of the United Nations and member of some of the active organizations such as Young Performers’ Committee and Screen Actors’ Guild), as of year 2000, only California has Work Rules for kids in entertainment.16 He also brought up the negative aspect of not having such laws. For example, as in the case of former child star Drew Barrymore, because she didn’t have anybody to look after her, she works until 5 or 6 in the morning night after night and due to this she got into drugs and alcohol. All these happened while filming “Firestarter”.17 This unfortunate incident would have never happened if somebody were there to supervise her.
http://www.minorcon.org/legisstatus.html, retrieved: January 30, 2006 http://www.tribute.ca/bio.asp?id=1303, retrieved: February 4, 2006
Another classic example would be the silent-movie child star Jackie Coogan (1914-1984). He was the child behind the successful movie “The Kid” together with Charles Chaplin and in 1964 behind the character Uncle Fester of Addams Family. As a child, he had movie offers left and right so that at a very young age his total earnings were four million dollars. But when his parents got divorced, his mother and stepfather took over in managing his financial records. At the age of 20, he began asking his mother about the money he earned as a kid but she refused to tell him where it was or whether it was still with them. Because of this, he filed a case against his mother and stepfather, and though he won the case, he was awarded with only $126,000. This particular incident was not hidden from the public and they were so outraged with the decision of the court and so it was the beginning of the rise of the Coogan Act. This was passed to assist child entertainers. Their parents/agents were required to set up a trust fund for child actors to protect their earnings18.
The revised Coogan Law (applicable only in California) assured to supervise all court-approved minors’ contract, it also requires the parents to make the earnings a separate property of the child rather than community property of parents and it requires producers to make timely deposits which will allow the interest to build the principal right away and not wait for ten months. Also, under this law, studio teachers must
accompany a child at all times during a taping.19
http://www.goldensilents.com, retrieved: February 4, 2006 http://www.minorcon.org/newcoogan.html, retrieved: January 30, 2006
This issue was able to catch the attention of some of the people working in the entertainment industry so they made a website called ‘A Minor Consideration” (www.minorcon.org). This is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization. Mostly child entertainers that are now adults founded this organization and their goal is to assist the present and future child entertainers. As much as possible, they don’t want other children to experience what they have gone through as child performers. This website is based in Canada and its objective is to give aid and support to young performers. They have a strong stand on giving emphasis on a child’s education and helping to preserve the earnings these children make. 20
We should not wait until a child is seriously hurt while working in the entertainment industry before we come up with legislations which aim to protect them. As stated by a popular producer in Canada, “… the entertainment industry is a business; your child is an investment, an asset you must protect”21 With this statement in mind, let us probe into the Philippine Entertainment Industry’s policies for child stars.
www.minorcon.org, retrieved: January 30, 2006 http://www.minorcon.org/outsidethelaw.html, retrieved: January 30, 2006
Chapter 4 WORKI G POLICIES O CHILDRE I THE E TERTAI ME T I DUSTRY
After ten years, the lawmakers finally revised RA 7610 and added limitations and other forms of regulations to better suit the increasing number of children working in the entertainment industry. RA 9231, otherwise known as the “act eliminating the worst forms of child labor in the country and affording stronger protection for the working child,” was introduced in 2003 but was implemented only recently in 2004 (according to Mr. Boyet Miano, Labor Employment Officer, DOLE-NCR). Upon introduction of the said new law, DOLE-NCR was tasked by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, Ms. Patricia Sto. Tomas, to strengthen their monitoring of compliance on RA 9231, specifically on the film and television industries. They did this by conducting regular spot checks (visiting the location of the shoot), as well as conducting advocacies about the newly amended act to all network/TV stations. We can see these 30-second infomercials at the end of programs such as “Mahiwagang Baul” (of GMA, every Sunday) and “Mga Anghel na Walang Langit” (of ABS-CBN, aired from Mondays to Fridays).22 DOLE-NCR also conducted an orientation regarding this new law to
representatives of the networks and advertising agencies. All these efforts are done to make the people aware of this Act.
The Department of Labor and Employment are strict on their “No permit, No shoot” policy for children in the entertainment industry. According to RA 9231, children
http://www.bwyw.dole.gov.ph/New%20TV%20plug%20on%20Child%20Labor%20launched.htm, retrieved: February 9, 2006 Information and Publication Service / DOLE- CR Bureau of Women and Young Workers
who are 15 years old and below must have a permit approved by DOLE. But before this permit can be approved, the parents are asked to submit requirements such as birth certificate, notarized employment contract, medical certificate, proof of schooling, 2 passport-sized photographs, and an application fee of 100 pesos, all these for first time applicants.23 For further evaluation, there are times that parents are interviewed by officials of the department. The following conditions are given: (1) children in this age bracket should be accompanied by their parents at all times while the child is working. (2) They are only allowed to work for a maximum of 4 hours a day, only between 6 am – 8 pm. (3) The child’s income must be set aside, primarily for his needs, and only 20% of the said income can be used for the collective needs of the family. (4) A trust fund should also be set up for 30% of the earnings of the child, having a salary of at least P200,000 annually. When he reaches the age of majority, he can have full control of the trust fund. For children above 15 but below 18 years old, certification is given to them as proof that they are permitted to work, with the conditions that they can only work 8 hours a day, from 6 am to 10 pm.24
An interview with Mr. Miano helped us understand the process of issuing working permits better. He said that the application of permit must be done three working days before the shoot. One cannot apply for permit if the child has no definite project. DOLE-NCR coordinates with the TV networks to make sure that the children applying for permit actually has a contract with the network. He also said that the duration of the said permit ranges from 15 days (for children shooting for commercials)
R.A. 9231 Bureau of Women and Young Workers, Department of Labor and Employment Ibid.
up to a maximum of one year (for children in drama series), and they could apply for renewal if needed.
In the case of the children in reality programs such as SCQ Kids, Starstruck, or other singing contests, they are not required to acquire a permit, not until they are included in the finals of that particular reality show.
In the recent evaluation of DOLE on the number of processed working child’s permit, Mr. Miano said that in 2004, they had a total number of 1, 797 processed permits. In 2005, it increased to 3, 537. This increase was due to the fact that even extra roles were required to secure a work permit. In 2005, only 4 applicants were denied for the following reasons: (1) the child will be working in a theater production “Beauty and the Beast”, and the said production will run beyond 8 o’clock in the evening; (2) the child applying is not studying / enrolled in any educational institution; (3) there is a misrepresentation. The person who applied for the permit is not the real parent of the said child; and (4) the child will be performing in a bar. Only 4 cases were denied of the working permit, the rest were approved.
In making sure that the rules and regulations set by DOLE are being strictly followed, representatives for the department stays in the location of the shoot to supervise. If they found out that parents are not abiding by the said rules, they can be fined with not less than P10, 000 but not more than P100, 000, or they will be required to render community service for not less than 30 days but not more than one year, or both,
whichever the court decides. For the producers/directors found not abiding by the rules, they will be punished by imprisonment of 6 months and 1 day up to 6 years, or fined of not less than P50, 000 but not more than P300, 000, or both, at the discretion of the court.25
SUMMARY A D CO CLUSIO
With the rise of number of working children nowadays, it was necessary for the Philippine government to come up with laws that would protect the rights of the working child. Specifically, RA 9231 focuses on protecting the children against abuse,
exploitation, and discrimination, by specifying provisions which would help the government regulate children’s employment.
At the start of this paper, we stated our objective, which is to find out whether the Philippine Entertainment Industry complies with the law regarding employment of children. After conducting extensive research, as well as conducting interviews with a DOLE-NCR official, we can conclude that the Entertainment Industry is doing its part in helping protect the children’s rights. With the statistics given to us by Mr. Boyet Miano, a Labor and Employment Officer, it clearly shows that the showbiz industry is really complying with the law.
To further illustrate the cooperation between DOLE and the Philippine Entertainment Industry, Mr. Miano confided to us that just last week, the director / executive producer of the hit show Pinoy Big Brother came to them to ask permission to air a new show, Pinoy Big Brother Teens, this summer. Because teenagers still belong to the category of ages 18 and below, and because this show needs to be aired 24/7, they are in conflict with the provisions of RA 9231 regarding working hours. Because of this, the
officers of DOLE-NCR are still deliberating whether they will grant the request to air the show or not. We commend the action of the DOLE officials. This matter should not be
hastened. Rather, it should be deliberated with much care and analysis.
Children are important in the society. They need to be protected in order for us to have a hope in the future. Without giving them the proper care and guidance, or by abusing, exploiting, or discriminating them, we ruin our chances in the future for a progressive country.
Azucena, C.A. 2003. Labor Laws Source Book: The Updated Labor Code & Other Laws, 4th Edition Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. 1997. The Philippines Country Report on Human Rights Practices Bureau of Women and Young Workers, Department of Labor and Employment. R.A. 9231 booklet Institute of Labor Studies. 1994. Comprehensive Study on Child Labor Law Philippine Labor and Social Legislation
R. del Rosario and M.A. Bonga. Child Labor in the Philippines: A Review of Selected Studies and Policy Papers
Internet Sources: January 30, 2006
www.minorcon.org http://www.minorcon.org/legisstatus.html http://www.minorcon.org/newcoogan.html http://www.minorcon.org/outsidethelaw.html http://www.goldensilents.com http://www.tribute.ca/bio.asp?id=1303
February 4, 2006 February 9, 2006
Other Sources: Survey: Asia Research Organization, Inc. Year 2005, July 2005
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