The MOA will be signed in simple ceremonies on May 31, 2012 at the DOLE Executive Office in Intramuros, Manila by DOLE Secretary, Hon. Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and key officers of the implementing agencies representing ABK3 LEAP. The partnership is in support of DOLE’s lead role to reduce child labor in the country through the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL). This is also aligned with the Philippines’ commitment to eliminate child labor through the country’s ratification of ILO Conventions 138 and 182 along with the implementation of Republic Act No. 9231 and other legislations to combat the worst forms of child labor in the country.
“The signing of the MOA is very timely considering that DOLE is going full-swing with its nationwide Child Labor – Free Barangays and the upcoming Philippines’ celebration of World Day Against Child Labor,” shared Daphne G. Culanag, ABK3 LEAP Project Director.
ABK3 LEAP was formally launched last February 2012. It aims to assist 52,000 children and 25,000 households over a period of four years with education opportunities for children, sustainable livelihood for parents and families as well as youth employment services among others. The project covers 11 provinces, namely: Batangas, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Leyte, Bukidnon, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur. These provinces were selected on the basis of sugarcane production, poverty incidence, size of rural population and education averages in terms of enrolment rate, retention/dropouts and classroom size.
ABK3 LEAP is being implemented by World Vision in partnership with ChildFund Philippines, Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation, Inc. (ERDA), the Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI), the Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI), and the University of the Philippines Social Action and Research for Development Foundation, Inc. (UPSARD) with funding from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). The project also works with the sugar industry stakeholders, who serve as key allies and local champions to ensure a child labor - free sugar industry and sugar products from the Philippines. In support of the PPACL, World Vision and partners has assisted more than 61,000 children engaged or at risk of the worst forms of child labor in 9 provinces in the country from 2003 to 2011 through the first two phases of ABK Initiative.
To determine where child laborers are in sugarcane, ABK3 LEAP conducted a preliminary baseline survey of 27,691 households out of 28,271 target sample, garnering a 98% response rate from March to April 2012. The survey covered 252 barangays from 63 cities/municipalities in the 11 selected provinces. Preliminary results showed 8,767 households have children 5-17 years old working in sugarcane. Out of these households, there are 20,514 working children in sugarcane, with more than 50% of these children in Negros Occidental alone. This preliminary baseline result represents only 15% of the total household population in the surveyed barangays and based on this, ABK3 LEAP will prioritize 100 barangays in 36 cities/municipalities within the selected provinces in the first year of its implementation.
ABK3 LEAP’s partnership with DOLE directly supports the PPACL’s three main goals, preventing children from entering into child labor, protecting child workers by providing direct educational services and livelihood support to their families, and reintegrating former child laborers into their families and communities through life skills education. ABK3 LEAP aims to make an impact to reduce the number of child laborers in sugarcane, one of the identified worst forms of child labor. Meanwhile, there is word from the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) of the PPACL that the National Statistics Office (NSO) will update the 2001 data on child labor by announcing an official estimate of children engaged in child labor during the Philippines celebration of World Day Against Child Labor this June 2012.