A Profile of Kamalayan Development Foundation

  • a workers’ NGO dedicated to the emancipation and development of the working children and the people in general.
  • a national network of organizations dedicated to the emancipation of all working children and the full realization of their rights and development. Such organizations include the KDF based in Metro Manila, the KDF chapters in Rizal, Bulacan, Mindoro Occidental, Negros Occidental, and Southern Mindanao and the Leyte-based Exodus from Child Labor to Integration, Play, Socialization and Education (ECLIPSE).
  • a member of the Mindanao Coalition for Children's Rights (MCCR) formerly known as the National Coalition Against Child Labor in Commercial Agriculture (NCACLCA), a Mindanao wide coalition of at least 10 GOs, NGOs, POs, and children’s associations throughout the island; serves as the General Secretariat of said coalition.

Historical Background

  • January 1992: began as a UNICEF-aided child labor research project in Las Pinas, Metro Manila.
  • 1993-1994: discovered bonded adult and child labor in Young’s Town sardine factory in Navotas, Metro Manila, Robina Cooking Oil in Cainta, Rizal, and Gold Tap Corporation in Kalookan City in 1993; formed rescue operations group with DOLE and NBI that invaded the factories and freed adult and child workers from virtual imprisonment, extreme exploitation and gross maltreatment. This experience became the basis for the establishment of the DOLE-led Sagip Batang Manggagawa Quick Action Program in 1994.
  • 1993: organized the first child rights-oriented youth and children’s association called Kaisahan ng mga Grupong Kabataan para sa Karapatan ng Bata or Coalition of Youth Groups for the Rights of the Child (KGKKB or CYGRC) and led the first children’s march to the Malacanang and Philippine Senate in November 20, 1993 in celebration of the 4th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
  • 1995-1997: extended discovery and rescue interventions with assistance provided by the Save the Children-UK (SCF-UK) to working children in such situations as a sweatshop, a water tank factory, oppressive households, prostitution dens, and livestock farms since 1994; clamped down on child trafficking, rescued several child recruits and put to jail three notorious recruiters of children from Leyte in 1996 to 1997.
  • 1995-1997: with the support of ILO-IPEC and UNICEF, established units in Ormoc City, Davao City and Cebu City which started as anti-child recruitment agencies and later focused on the problem of child labor in the plantations: KDF-Ormoc organized the child workers in the sugar plantations; KDF-Davao began integration among children in the rubber plantations in 1995; while KDF-Cebu started identifying groups of child workers in factories producing dried fruit products.
  • 1995: together with mass media organizations, DOLE and NBI, raided the Central Bleach Manufacturing Corporation in Lambakin, Marilao, rescued 8 children and 2 young workers, and filed the first pilot child labor case against the Chinese-owned company; together with the Swedish Federation of Labor, carried out advocacy activities in the 1997 International Child Labor Conference resulting in letters from various organizations pressing on the Philippine government and justice system to expedite the case and subsequent expediting of the case.
  • 1998: reinforced in September 1997 with the help of Terre des Hommes Netherlands (TDHN), Anti-Slavery International (ASI), and Children and Youth Foundation of the Philippines (CYFP); mobilized 2,300 children and some adults to participate actively in the kick-off march of the Global March against Child Labor in January 1998; facilitated the escape of two bonded workers from a slavery within Lucky Farm and the DOLE-KDF-media inspection and rescue of child workers from the same in March 1998.
  • 1998: with the support of ILO-IPEC, ERDA and private donors, launched its nationwide educational assistance program called the “Children’s Exodus from Child Labor to Education” in Quezon City, Mindoro Occidental, Negros Occidental, Leyte, and Southern Mindanao, facilitated the organization of the Exodus from Child Labor to Integration, Play, Socialization and Education (ECLIPSE) in Leyte which launched its educational assistance program for the reinstatement of 200 sugar plantation working children in elementary and high schools.
  • 2000-present: has continued rescuing children from most exploitative and hazardous operations in factories, sweatshops, livestock farms, prostitution dens and oppressive household employers up to the present without the support of any funding organizations. Throughout the years since the start of the Third Millenium, together with the NBI, it freed two young girls from prostitution in Laoag City and several working children from hazardous work in a Fada food factory, a chicken dressing factory, a Marilao Stock Farm, all in Bulacan, and a Conico Enterprises in Quezon City.
  • 2000-present: with the support of Terre Des Homme Netherlands and Canada Fund, has worked among the sugarcane child workers and others and organized 35 child workers associations, 8 youth associations, 4 women’s associations and 14 parents associations in Ormoc City and the neighboring municipalities of Kananga and Albuera; has launched children’s and people’s mobilizations consisting of 2,000 to 4,500 in celebration of the International Labor Day (May 1) and Universal Children’s Day (November 20); has been mainly responsible for the growth of government and civil society’s concern and responsibility with regards the children linked with the sugar production.
  • 2000-present: has worked among the children engaged in the farms or plantations of sugarcane, rubber trees, asparagus, fruits and others and organized 10 child workers associations, 2 youth associations, and 3 women’s/parents associations in Southern Mindanao particularly in the provinces of Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, Sarangani, and South Cotabato. Together with ECLIPSE and with the support of UNICEF and Consuelo Foundation, held a National Consultation on Child Labor in the Commercial Farms and Plantations in 2001.
  • 2000-present: has worked with national government agencies (DSWD, DOLE, DILG, DepEd), provincial, city and municipal governments, and barangays and actively participated in the organizing of functional Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPCs) and local campaigns against child abuse, child trafficking and worst forms of child labor in the provinces of Bulacan, Mindoro Occidental, Leyte, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani.
  • 2000-present: has actively participated in the advocacy activities and mobilizations that had their contributions to the government’s ratification of the ILO Convention 182 in 2000 and legislation of the recent laws protecting women and children including Republic Act 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003), RA 9231 (Anti-Worst Forms of Child Labor Act of 2004), and RA 9262 (Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act of 2004). KDF is a member of the ILOC 182 National Implementation Team which is at the forefront of the DOLE-led National Program Against Child Labor.
  • 1994-present: has actively participated in international conferences, organizations, and campaigns for the children’s cause: Child Workers in Asia (CWA) since 1994 up to the present; CWA’s Campaign against Bonded Child Labor at present; World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1996; Global March Against Child Labor since 1998; UN’s Worldwide ‘Say Yes to Children’ Campaign in 2000; International Conference on Globalization and Human Rights in Hawaii in 2001; Global Terre Des Homme Campaign Against the Worst Forms of Child Labor and the Use of Pesticides in Agriculture at present.


KDF, Kamalayan Development Foundation, was formerly KDC, Kamalayan Development Center.

It started in 1992 when a group of workers and a social worker agreed with the UNICEF’s Child Labor office and the government’s coordinating body of all child-related programs and services, the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), to do an innovative approach to investigating the problem of child labor.

We then thought that the slum communities, the bigger they are, the more child factory workers they have. And so we selected one of the most populous slum communities in Metro Manila, the CAA (Civil Aeronautic Aviation) community in Las Pinas.

Throughout a year of integration and organizing, we established linkages with various local GOs, NGOs, and POs, helped many leaders and active members raise their consciousness, and oriented them to work for children in general, but we did not find any factory worker aged 17 and below throughout the vast sea of urban poor. The child workers we met and talked to were small store vendors, peddlers, pedicab drivers, and others. The factory workers we met were 18 years old and above.

Frustration, however, failed to convince us to retreat. In 1993, our community and youth organizing branched out to certain communities in Quezon City, Manila, Navotas, Malabon, and Antipolo.

It was in Navotas where we found other groups of child workers, the child workers in commercial fishing and the stay-out child workers in a certain Island Sardine factory. In June, the stay-out child workers informed us about certain child workers who were not allowed to go out of the factory premises. In July, one of us, a woman worker, applied for a job and worked in the Island Sardine factory. Then, three women workers did the same in its sister factory, the Young’s Town Sardine factory. And they discovered bonded labor and bonded child labor.

On July 19, the first rescue operation was launched by a team composed of DOLE officials, NBI agents and KDC workers. This joint action led to the exposure of the reality of bonded labor and bonded child labor in the country.

Contacts with various local organizations and unions brought KDC to other similar cases of child exploitation. Thus, the Young’s Town rescue operation was followed by other rescue operations. Teams of DOLE officials, NBI agents and KDC workers delivered from extreme exploitation and illegal detention bonded workers and child workers from a Robina Cooking Oil warehouse in Cainta, Rizal and a Gold Top Plastic Corporation in Kalookan City.

In November, some rescued adult and child workers under the guidance of KDC organized the Koalisyon ng mga Grupong Kabataan Para sa mga Karapatan ng Bata (KGKKB) or Coalition of Youth Groups for the Rights of the Child (CYGRC). On November 20, in celebration of the third anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, KDC and KGKKB led a children’s march to Malacanang and a children’s rally in front of the Philippine Senate. They handed to the Office of the Executive Secretary an open letter for the President which later the President passed on to the DOLE Secretary for “appropriate action”.

The media exposure of the three rescue operations resulted in more public awareness and initiatives. In 1994, reports from escapees and concerned citizens reached the NBI and DOLE and more rescues were conducted, freeing many victims from bondage in a Lucky Farm in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and an Achievers Farm in Valenzuela, Metro Manila. Other escapees were able to mobilize the Criminal Investigation Service of the PNP to the rescue of their companions in an Ocean World Cooking Oil Corporation in Valenzuela.

1994 was such a lean year for KDC. Support from UNICEF stopped its flow. SCF-UK posed to save us but its way of dealing with KDC reduced to naught its financial support. Only AAFLI did really come to help us.

In May, we participated in the launching of the Sagip Batang Manggagawa Quick Action Programme. And, in August, we also participated in the ILO-sponsored National Planning Workshop on Child Labor.

But we also did our rescue work despite financial limitations. In June, we coordinated with the DSWD and NBI for the rescue of prostitution victims including at least 13 children from three beer gardens in Kalookan City. In September, we were with DOLE-NCR and NBI in rescuing three child workers from the Richwell Textile factory in Quezon City. And, in December, we joined forces with the DOLE, PNP and Action 9 in the rescue of a domestic child worker.

The year ended quite well with the invitation and our subsequent participation in the exposure programme sponsored by the Child Workers in Asia in Thailand.

1995 ushered in with a lot of promise. A general assembly decided to transform KDC into a KDF with its plan for a nationwide expansion and programme specialization.

In February, its Iligtas ang Batang Manggagawa Project was launched with AAFLI support. This project immediate bore fruits in the form of rescue operations and deliverance of child victims from the Everest Farm in Pandi, Bulacan in February, from a notorious Leyte-based recruiter connected with the Reliance employment agency in March, and  from the Dulox factory in Marilao, Bulacan in April.

In March, we opened KDF office in Ormoc City which provided the tip that led to the rescue of seven recruits from Leyte and the arrest of the recruiter in Manila.

Also in March, we were invited to witness the launching of the ILO-IPEC-supported “National Intensified Drive Against Child Labor” and in April, its Metro Manila and Ormoc operations started to receive support from ILO-IPEC.

Now, we look forward to the possibility of national expansion such as the establishment of KDF organization and operation in the cities of Cebu and Davao and to more rescue operations meant to deal effective blow upon employers, recruiters and others who have their hands in child labor. We also seek for the establishment of a rehabilitation center for rescued child workers.

With ILO-IPEC support, we began our anti-child trafficking work in Ormoc City which led to the freedom of several child recruits from Leyte-based illegal recruiters and the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of at least three notorious recruiters.

But a more important thing that happened in 1996 was that our work among the children in Ormoc City and Davao City brought us into the midst of the more numerous working children in the sugarcane plantations in Ormoc City, Kananga and Albuera in Eastern Visayas and to the working children in the rubber plantations in Davao del Sur and North Cotabato in Southern Mindanao.