DADS push higher penalty for establishments not requiring night workers to submit Birth Certificate

BAGUIO CITY – The city council has proposed the increase of penalties of business establishments with night workers and entertainers that do not comply with Ordinance Numbered 102, Series of 2008.

Under Ordinance 102-2008, night workers and entertainers are required to present their Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-authenticated birth certificates or certified true copy of their birth certificates to the Reproductive Health and Wellness of the City Health Services Office to ensure that they are above 17 years of age and for inclusion in the database of the local government.

As part of their corporate social responsibility and in compliance with the ordinance, the business establishments should see to it that no applicant is employed as a night worker or entertainer if the latter did not comply with the necessary procedure.

The city council has proposed an amendment to the said ordinance to increase the penalties of erring business establishments.

Under the proposed ordinance, non-compliant establishments shall be fined P5,000.00 and issued revocation/forfeiture of business permit without prejudice to possible criminal and civil liability, a significant increase compared to the existing penalty ranging from P1,000.00 to P3,000.00.

Further, applicants who submit falsified birth certificates in their application for employment shall be prosecuted and be made liable under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code and other pertinent laws upon the endorsement of the City Legal Office to the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Moreover, applicants who fail to submit their duly authenticated birth certificates shall not be issued working permits.

The proposed measure seeks to eradicate the worst form of child exploitation in the city, provide stronger protection to working children, monitor the possible employment of minors in business establishments, and prevent the same from being exposed to hazardous environments.

According to the proposed ordinance, authorized agencies and offices can exercise visitorial powers and conduct interviews with employees in establishments to determine the latter’s true ages and identities and require them to present their health records. The PSA-authenticated birth certificate of an employee or a certified true copy of their birth certificate from the Office of the Civil Registry must be available and must be presented to the inspection team.

Authorized agencies and offices are the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the Department of Social Welfare and Development- CAR, and the Baguio City Police Office.

In the exercise of their visitorial powers, the authorized agencies and offices shall consult the National Privacy Commission at all times in order to protect the personal information of employees in all business establishments with night workers and entertainers as provided under the Republic Act No. 10173 [An Act Protecting Individual Personal Information in Information and Communications Systems in the Government and the Private Sector, Creating for this Purpose a National Privacy Commission, and for other Purposes].

The proposed ordinance was approved on the first reading and was referred to the Committee on Laws, Human Rights, and Justice. -Jordan G. habbiling