Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/12/05MANILA5861.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA5861
2005-12-16 06:22
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 005861

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/PD, R, DRL/IL, DRL/SEA
DEPT OF LABOR/ILAB – C. CASTRO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV ELAB KDEM KPAO RP
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS/LABOR: USG-FUNDED ANTI-CHILD LABOR PROJECT; SHELTER, PRISON VISITS; OUTREACH TO STUDENTS

REF: A. MANILA 5794
¶B. MANILA 3830
¶C. MANILA 2555
¶D. MANILA 1897

¶1. (U) Summary: Focusing on key human rights and labor
items, poloff and pol LES visited Dumaguete City in Negros
Oriental Province in the Central Philippines, December 13-14.
A USDOL-funded anti-child labor project in the area is
proceeding well. Conditions at a local shelter run by the
GRP for women and children were adequate. The municipal jail
was overcrowded and there was one child being held in the
facility (the team expressed concern about this). As part of
Mission’s outreach activities for Human Rights Week, poloff
spoke with students on U.S. support for human rights and
democracy. End Summary.

DOL-Funded Anti-Child Labor Project Launched
——————————————–

¶2. (U) Poloff and pol LES visited Dumaguete City in Negros
Oriental Province in the Visayan region of the Central
Philippines, December 13-14. The visit focused on human
rights and labor issues. In Dumaguete, the team met with the
Goretti Foundation, a local non-governmental organization.
The Foundation has recently launched a one-year project
entitled “Implementing and Sustaining the Elimination of
Child Labor” under the ILO-managed Philippine Time Bound
Program (PTBP) to combat child labor. (Note: The USDOL
funds several initiatives through the ILO to combat child
labor in the Philippines — see refs B and D for background,
including the Goretti Foundation project. End Note.)

¶3. (U) The project targets 1186 sugarcane plantation child
laborers working in six municipalities (as well as 1488
children at risk of becoming child laborers) with the aim of
removing them from the workplace and enrolling them in formal
or vocational education. The project also provides skills
training and resources to assist the children’s families in
setting up livelihood activities. According to the
Foundation, the project’s greatest challenge is resistance
from parents who fear the loss of income from their
children’s labor. To counter this, the Foundation is
conducting activities to educate parents on the hazards of
child labor. (Note: Another USDOL-funded project under the
PTBP is scheduled to end in February 2006. This project,
which is run by the Association for the Welfare of Filipino
Children, has returned approximately 1700 working and at-risk
children to public schools in four municipalities in Negros
Oriental, according to the ILO. End Note.)

¶4. (U) The local government has been very supportive of
anti-child labor programs, according to the Foundation. The
local government has agreed to finance regular meetings of
NGOs working on the issue, for example, and was active in
urging sugar plantation owners to set aside plots of land
that families could use as income-generating vegetable
gardens under the Foundation project. The local government
had also pledged to provide seedlings and microfinance for
livelihood activities. Contacts noted, however, that both
the local government and the GRP suffered from serious
resource constraints, which makes a comprehensive anti-child
labor effort in the region problematic.

Shelter, Prison Visits
———————-

¶5. (U) The team also visited a municipal shelter for women
and children. Eleven of the 16 women and children currently
at the shelter come from areas outside Dumaguete City. The
majority of women there, according to a social worker, were
victims of rape. The shelter can comfortably hold 40
occupants. Shelter staff, however, explained that the
shelter does not take in older children — teenage street
children, for example — and that there were no facilities
for these children in the province. Overall, facility
conditions appeared to be adequate.

¶6. (U) The Dumaguete municipal jail, however, was another
story. The dilapidated jail was overcrowded. According to
the warden, there were 274 inmates, though the facility was
originally built to hold 96. The warden said the facility
was currently holding one child. The child (a male; the age
was not given) had not been charged with any crime, but was
awaiting psychiatric evaluation. He was being kept in a
separate cell, the warden said. The warden noted that the
province does not have any separate detention facilities for
children. The team expressed concern about the situation
this minor was in. The warden indicated that the jail often
has child prisoners who pass through either because a parent
was incarcerated or because the child had been accused of
crimes. (Note: See ref C which reviews the status of child
prisoners in the Philippines. End Note.)
Talk at Local University
————————

¶7. (U) Poloff also spoke to a group of approximately 100
students and professors at Silliman University on the topic
of “Promoting Human Rights and Democracy: A Cornerstone of
U.S. Foreign Policy.” The event was part of Silliman
University’s ongoing lecture series in commemoration of
International Human Rights Week (ref A). During the
hour-long session, students and professors asked
well-informed and probing questions about the U.S. position
on the International Criminal Court, the U.S. relationship
with Saudi Arabia, U.S. advocacy of trade liberalization, the
Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and situation at the Abu
Ghraib facility in Iraq. In response to questions in the
latter area, poloff reiterated recent remarks that Secretary
Rice had made on this matter during her recent trip to
Europe. Attendees told poloff and pol FSN that they had
enjoyed the session and looked forward to additional Mission
visits.

Jones

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.