Gov’t urged to ensure protection of apprentices from harassment, abuse
MANILA, Philippines — The government should ensure that apprentices, especially minors, would be protected against harassment and abuse.
Joseph Noel Estrada, the chief legal officer of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (Edcom II), made the statement on Wednesday during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.
Estrada sought the inclusion of mechanisms to protect apprentices in the National Apprenticeship Program, pointing out that the measure includes minor trainees as young as 15 years old.
An apprentice is a person undergoing training for an approved apprenticeable occupation during an established period assured by a contract.
In the same hearing, the Department of Labor and Employment clarified that apprenticeship is different from on-the-job training (OJT), which can be “short term.”
“We wanted [to urge the inclusion of] mechanisms [at] enterprise level to put the rights of minor[s] against all forms of abuses and ensure that [the] workplace is a safe environment for them,” Estrada said
He said this proposal was prompted by an initial consultation with Edcom stakeholders which showed that many trainees had experienced harassment and abuse.
“There are apprentices, even those who have been absorbed by companies, who have experienced once or more than twice being harassed, or they feel they were subjected to some form of abuse,” Estrada said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who presided over the hearing as the committee chair, stressed the National Apprenticeship Program embodied in the Labor Code would have to be strengthened.
“The revised apprenticeship bill is a crucial instrument to make both our people and our enterprises competitive and productive in the continuously evolving economic landscape,” the senator said.