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28 Smiles of Hope lighten Barangay Batasan of Makilala

As part of the nation-wide launch of the campaign for Child labor-free barangays, Department of Labor and Employment 12 North Cotabato Field Office (DOLE 12- NCFO), together with the officers of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC), North Cotabato Chapter, spearheaded the “Project Angel Tree” for the selected children of Barangay Batasan, Makilala, North Cotabato, last May 18, 2012.

As part of the nation-wide launch of the campaign for Child labor-free barangays, Department of Labor and Employment 12 North Cotabato Field Office (DOLE 12- NCFO), together with the officers of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC), North Cotabato Chapter, spearheaded the “Project Angel Tree” for the selected children of Barangay Batasan, Makilala, North Cotabato, last May 18, 2012.

With smiles and laughter, 28 kids received uniforms and school supplies from DOLE NCFO, together with the TIPC North Cotabato Chapter officers namely Mr. Carmilo Tenley L. Durano (BPI), Engr. Wilfredo Tajantajan (DBP) and Mr. Rolando M. Enerio (Dole-Stanfilco).

The initiative is in connection with the “Adopt-a-School” Program of TIPC North Cotabato chapter and Project Angel Tree of DOLE, where the department identifies a particular angel that could provide the wish of the children .

Children identified in Barangay Batasan, Makilala, North Cotabato, were identified due to their current experience as children who worked together with their parents in cleaning rubber plantation, banana plantation and also helped in time of harvesting. In addition, these identified beneficiaries are children of Indigenous People in the community and the usual victims of armed conflict.

Chief Edna P. Sales,Provincial Head of NCFO, was overwhelmed by the response of DOLE’s partner in helping these children in face a better life instead of being in hard labor. She emphasized on her message the role of parents, as well as the role of barangay officials, in protecting the children, and in eliminating child labor. For her , “children should be in school and enjoy their childhood, not doing manual labor.”

The Barangay Resolution on the protection of children or elimination of child labor was presented by Barangay Secretary Catherine B. Enoc followed by the signing of the officials of Barangay Batasan , committing to do a concerted efforts in maintaining the barangay as child labor free barangay.

Mr. Edwin Arellano, PESO Manager of Makilala, discussed the strategies to achieve a child labor-free barangay or indicators of a child labor-free barangay.

Other than the information inputs, the launching featured the symbolic turn-over of “work implement/s or tools of the trade” of the children in exchange for educational supplies and uniforms.

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Barangay Chairman Alejandro P. Lariosa is very thankful for this endeavor and for choosing Barangay Batasan as the first barangay in North Cotabato. As one of the signatory and co-equal advocate of anti- child labor, he pledged his support in maintaining Barangay Batasan as Child Labor Free Barangay.

According to Mr. Perpetuo Latoja, focal person of anti-child labor campaign of DOLE, the launching will not be the last act of the department but only the start of a massive campaign in eradicating child labor in the community. He said, he is much moved by the smiles of the children when they received their school uniforms and school supplies in exchange of their “bolo’s” .(from the reports of ms. Odyssa Mahanap/ncfo)

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