Baguio City – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has broadened the scope of the ban on the employment of minors in agriculture and livestock farming to prevent young people from exposure to hazardous work conditions.
Department Order No. 149-A by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, now classifies farm rearing and related farming activities as hazardous and among the worst forms of child labor including plant propagation activities that involve grafting, budding and marcotting, and tending activities that involve weeding of soil.
OIC Regional Director ExequielRonia A. Guzman said the new order also reinforced the existing ban on the employment of minors in farm activities as clearing of land, plowing, harrowing, irrigating, constructing paddy dike and cutting. Also declared as hazardous are handling, spraying and application of harmful fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals; and loading and carrying of heavy loads.
Guzman added that minors are also not allowed in harvesting activities that involve cutting and picking, spreading for drying, hauling, topping, tumbling, tuxying, stripping, burning of field, sticking and classifying, threshing, loading and carting of produce.
“In post-harvest, minors may not be employed in de-husking, scooping, sacking of products, charcoal making, hauling of products as led by animal guide, loading and unloading of packed farm products, coconut kilning and de-meating from shell or core, sealing and carting of produce for warehousing and transport to market and all ancillary work such as clearing, cleaning, and recycling of farm waste in its preparation as animal food and other related processes” the Director explained.
In livestock farming, work and related activities that are declared hazardous to minors are rearing activities that involve collecting, loading, unloading and transporting of feeds, maintenance and care of large and/or dangerous animals, collecting and disposal of dead animals, animal manure and other waste materials, administering of vaccines and vitamins, and handling of disinfectants used for cleaning animal pens/enclosures or for disinfecting animals.
In harvesting activities, work and activities that involve catching or collecting, ranching, and milking in preparation for warehousing or transport to market, and post-harvest activities including the packaging and processing of dairy and other animal by-products in preparation for warehousing and transport to market; and working in slaughterhouses or abattoirs.
In a statement issued by Secretary Bello, he reiterated that child workers are compelled to help augment their families’ meager income by engaging in hazardous work and that is the reason the Labor Department will strictly monitor and assess occupational safety and health standards related to child labor.
The Labor Secretary also said the best interest of children is the paramount consideration to ensure that their employment does not endanger their life, safety, health and morals, nor impair their normal development.
DO 149-A, series of 2017 was issued last January 16, 2017 is an amendment to Department Order no. 149, series of 2016 on “Guidelines in Assessing and Determining Hazardous Work in the Employment of Persons below 18 years of age” particularly Section 6 – B “on Hazardous Work and Activities”, subsection (i) Farmers and Other Plant Growers and (ii) Animal Producers. /Patrick T.Rillorta#