Department of Labor and Employment
Regional Office IVB
April 28, 2016
No child below 15 years of age works, no child below 18 years of age is engaged in the worst forms of child labor, all children of school age are attending formal school or alternative learning sessions, parents have economic activity to support the needs of their children, presence of functional Barangay Council for the Protection of Children, local ordinances/resolutions to address child labor concerns are implemented, and child labor concerns are included in the local development plan. These are the indicators of a Child Labor - Free Barangay (CLFB) attained by the three (3) barangays in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, namely: Campaasan, Cambunang and island barangay of Maasin.
The Child Labor Free Barangay is a component of a Child Labor-Free Philippines under the Philippine Program Against Child Labor with the primary aim of “Sugpuinang Child Labor”.
Dating back on July 24, 2014, the above-cited barangays represented by barangay officials, identified child laborers, and parents of child laborers were previously provided by DOLE IVB &Or. Mindoro Field Office staff with advocacyon Child Labor Protection & Elimination Program using as reference the Republic Act 9231, An Act for the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child, Amending for this Purpose Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”
Present during the said advocacy were other stakeholders such as LGU Bulalacao (Mayor Edna C. Villas and Vice Mayor Teresita Bantugan), PESO Manager (Dioner D. Escarez), the Municipal Social Welfare Devt Officer, and representatives from the PNP, DILG, Philippine Army, and NGO-SAMAKA. As a closing part of the advocacy, the signing of the Commitment To Action To Attain A Child Labor-Free Barangay took place.
Part of attaining a CLFB is the provision of livelihood assistance to parents of the child laborers for them to become economically active and be able to provide the needs of their children like healthy foods, good shelter, and education, thus on the same date shortly after the conduct of advocacy, parents and barangay officials were oriented and assisted on the development of a project proposal.
Parents of child laborers were then formed and registered as workers associations with DOLE and were awarded of livelihood grants for the following projects: Handicrafts Making for BrgyCampaasan, Peanut Butter Making for BrgyCambunang, and Bagoong Making for BrgyMaasin.
School heads in the said barangays expressed their commitment to monitor school attendance of identified child laborers, another vital requirement to attain CLFB certificate.
Finally, on April 13 & 14, 2016, the DOLE-Or. Mindoro Field Office headed by Engr. Juliana H. Ortega, awarded the Child Labor Free Barangay Certificates to the three (3) barangays of Bulalacao.
Engr. Ortega, in her short message, said that the DOLE Region IV-B through the OIC-Regional Director, Atty. Alvin M. Villamor, congratulates the barangay officials and parents of identified child laborers in all their efforts exerted towards meeting all the requirements of a CLFB. She also expressed hope for the sustainability and growth of their projects as it is a sure way of helping them keeping their children at schools where they really belong, and hopes also that with strong collaboration of the associations and the barangay officials and with the continuous support from LGU-Bulalacao, sustainability of their being Child Labor -Free Barangays is feasible.
Both barangay officials and parents are thankful to the DOLE for the assistance and guidance provided, and signified to strengthen more their partnership towards the growth and sustainability of their livelihood projectsand will closely work together in keeping and maintaining their tag as Child Labor-Free Barangays.
Relatively, PESO Manager JonerEscarezsaid that, in its strong support to the program, the Municipal Government ofBulalacao is currently providing monthly allowance to formerly identified child laborers who went back to school with P300.00 for high school students and P1, 200.00 for college students. He added that LGU – Bulalacao is actually waiting for these three (3) associations to submit livelihood project proposals as the LGU has allocated funds for them. These reflect the LGU’s thrust to ensure that children and parents will continuously be free from engaging to child labor acts.
Currently, DOLE Oriental Mindoro is assisting three (3) barangays in Mansalay and one (1) in Pinamalayan to be the next CLFE awardees in the province soon.
End/EMMANUEL ANTONIO P. PORTUGAL, JR.
Article from DOLE MIMAROPA website.