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Paracale, Cam. Norte- Six (6) barangays here will be part of the Child Labor Free Barangays’ Program of DOLE-Bicol after its launching on 5 April at El Minero Restaurant, Paracale, Camarines Norte which was graced by newly appointed DOLE Hon. Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad, III

“This is a proof that we are serious in curbing child labor especially here in Paracale,” DOLE Bicol Regional Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra said during the event.

The six barangays added to the list were Barangays Gumaos, Tugos, Palanas, Tawig, Malaguit and Casalugan, all in the remote municipality of Paracale, Camarines Norte.  These barangays were chosen by the Camarines Norte Child Labor Committee (CNCLC) headed by DOLE-Bicol, after it was noted to have child laborers in the area.  In tally, DOLE listed some sixty (60) active child laborers residing on said barangays which will be the direct beneficiaries of the Child Lbaor Free Barangay program.

“This is the perfect area for the program. After this launching we will go back and see the effect of the intervention to the barangays,” Lacambra added.

DOLE Hon. Undersecretary Ciriaco “Akong” Lagunzad, III, in his message said that DOLE’s intervention will not only focus on the child laborers or their parents but also to the entire ‘community’ which includes the barangay and the elementary schools in the area. He urges barangay officials, being the head of the community, to actively participate in the program and monitor the status of the child laborers and school teachers will oversee the school performance and attendance of the listed child laborer.

“I know that these children have dreams. Let us help them attain their dreams. They could never do that if they will engage in child labor and child labor is the concern of everybody not just the DOLE. So everybody must help,” Hon. USEC Lagunzad stressed.

The launching of the Child Labor Free Barangay includes the signing of contract of Barangay Captains to actively monitor prevalence of child labor in the area, pledge of commitment of the child laborers and their parents to eventually stop and never to engage in child labor again and the signing of commitment of school principals to conduct regular check to the 60-students-child laborers as regards their class attendance and performance.

“There is alo a livelihood grant of more than half-million to the parents. However, we have to wait for the election ban to be lifted in order to award it. Rest assured, it will be released as promised.” USEC Lagunzad said.

It can be recalled that the municipality of Paracale was featured several times by several national TVs in connection to child laborers particularly in the mining industry. – fin.

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