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Baldoz hails N. Samar for being the first province to enact local ordinance against child labor with P1-M funding

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday hailed the provincial government of Northern Samar headed by Gov. Paul Daza for being the first provincial government unit in the country to enact a local anti-child ordinance, complete with an initial P1 million funding to make the ordinance work.

“I salute the officials of Northern Samar for being the first province in the country that passed an ordinance against child labor and provided funding for its implementation. This shows how serious Gov. Daza is in eliminating child labor in his area of responsibility," Baldoz said after receiving a report on the matter from DOLE Region 8 Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga.

"I urge other local government units to emulate Gov. Daza's act of support to the campaign to rid our country of the menace of child labor," she added, noting that other provinces, such as Albay and Quezon, had used the ordinance as basis for crafting their own anti-child labor legislative proposals.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, chaired by Jose F. Layan as temporary presiding officer, had unanimously approved Provincial Ordinance No. 11 Series of 2012, entitled “An Ordinance Defining and Penalizing the Use of Child Labor and Providing for a Program for the Prevention and Progressive Elimination of Child Labor in Northern Samar and for other Purposes.” The ordinance was principally introduced by Hon. Alberto C. Mendador, a ranking member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

The anti-child labor ordinance defines and penalizes the use of child labor and provides for a program on the prevention and elimination of child labor in Northern Samar. To support the program, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved an initial budget of P1 million for its implementation.

"The initiative of Gov. Daza will contribute to the achievement of the government’s goal of a child labor-free Philippines," said Director Sarcauga.

The provincial ordinance provides for the establishment of the Northern Samar Child Labor Committee primarily responsible for the administration, implementation, and enforcement of the ordinance. No less than Governor Daza chairs the committee, with the DOLE provincial head as co-chair. National government agencies and private stakeholders with presence in Northern Samar are designated members of the committee.

The ordinance also mandates the creation of municipal child labor committees and child labor protection desks in all police stations in the province to be manned by police officers who will receive complaints and problems and assist victims of child labor.

Sarcauga said the Northern Samar Child Labor Committee has already planned its activities for 2013, which includes the conduct of strategic planning and a search for the best functioning Barangay Child Labor Protection Council to provide them incentives. For next year, the committee will also start establishing vertical links among child labor focal persons who, Sarcauga said, will be capacitated for their tasks. A provincial child labor congress is also in the works.

Sarcauga reported that 14 Northern Samar barangays have already passed barangay ordinances for the prevention and elimination of child labor and resolutions organizing or reactivating their BCPCs after the DOLE regional office conducted workshops on how to craft the said policies.

These are Barangays Baybay, Dalakit Cawayan, Narra, Ipil-Ipil, and Bangkerohan in Catarman; Barangays Eco, Imelda, Makiwalo, and Nenita in Mondragon; and Barangays Little Venice, Dapdap, and San Isidro in Laoang, Northern Samar.

Sarcauga explained that the child labor ordinances set the policies and guidelines at the provincial and barangay levels on how to curb child labor in their areas.

"An anti-child labor ordinance is one of the indicators of a barangay's child-labor-free status under the child labor-free campaign.

Northern Samar is one of the three provinces in Samar Island and is part of the Eastern Visayas Region. A second class province, it has 24 municipalities and 569 barangays. Its capital town is Catarman.

Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr., LCO

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