Licab, Nueva Ecija – With government’s goal in moving out thousands of working minors in Central Luzon away from hazardous work, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office No. 3, along with other national and local partner agencies, recently launched the Convergence Program to Address Child Labor (CPACL) at Licab, Nueva Ecija.
The CPACL is the DOLE regional office’s kick-off activity here in the region relative to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapils-Baldoz’ announcement, early this year, on the implementation of the government’s four-year P9-B convergence program on child labor dubbed “H.E.L.P. M.E,” says DOLE Regional Director Raymundo G. Agravante
“For its pilot launch in the province of Nueva Ecija, the DOLE regional office’s Technical Support and Services Division for Employment and Welfare (TSSD2) and DOLE Nueva Ecija Field Office, in coordination with the DSWD and the Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs), identified 318 target beneficiaries from the municipalities of Licab, Caranglan, Talugtug, and Gabaldon.H.E.L.P., which spells out Health, Education, Livelihood, and Prevention, Protection and Prosecution, whileM.E. stands for Monitoring and Evaluation, is a community-based program conceived by the Cabinet’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC), with the DOLE and Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) as lead agencies, under President Benigno S. Aquino III’s directive for a comprehensive approach in addressing child labor,” Agravante said.
According to Angelita Fernando, head of the DOLE Nueva Ecija Field Office, the DOLE’s target beneficiaries are also recent recipients of the DWSD’s “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” otherwise known as 4P’s.
“Through our transition strategy with the DSWD, we will be able to continue to providing more developmental programs to parents of child laborers by engaging them to venture into small businesses in order for them to sustain their basic needs, likewise keep their children away from working in hazardous environment, through the DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP),” Fernando said.
For its initial offering, the DOLE provided livelihood assistance amounting to P586,000, under the DILP, benefiting 263 parents of child laborers, as well as their children, from three (3) municipalities in the province.
Of the total livelihood assistance provided, P150,000 will be used for cosmetology and foot spa training with DOLE Kabuhayan (DK) Starter KITS to benefit 75 parents of child laborers from the municipality of Licab, while P186,000 for street food vending to benefit 93 parents of child laborers in Carangalan, and P250,000 for street food vending to benefit 75 parents of child laborers and cut and sew training with DK Starter KITS to benefit 20 Out of School Youths (OSYs).
Recipients from the municipality of Gabaldon, on the hand, will receive their livelihood package on a later date after all necessary documents have already been completed, said Fernando.
The beneficiaries, for their part, lauded and thanked the DOLE, for providing them the very timely livelihood opportunities, just like mother and son, Yolanda and Jayvie Espiritu from San Cristobal, Licab, Nueva Ecija, both ambulant vendors selling various “kakanin” in the local market.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa DOLE at sa iba pang sangay ng gobyerno, dahil sa ipinagkaloob niyo pong tulong pangkabuhayan sa amin. Umasa po kayo na ito po ay pagyayamanin namin,” said Mommy Yolanda.
Her son, Jayvie, on the other hand said that he is hopeful that through the DOLE’s help, he would be able to pursue his college degree in the coming semester.
Aside from the livelihood assistance, the DOLE, together with officials/representatives of its partner agencies namely the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Education, Health, Interior and Local Government and its local government units, Justice, Trade and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Economic Development Authority, National Statistics Office, Commission on Higher Education, Philippine Information Agency, unions and workers organization, non-government organizations, health organizations, Regional and Provincial Child Labor Committees and other concerned groups, were in full force to affirm by affixing their signatures on a Commitment of Support to ensure that the government’s programs and services on child labor be effectively delivered.
Nely Punzalan, head of the DOLE TSSD2, lauded and thanked all partner agencies, for their full cooperation and support in the CPACL.
“We are all together in this endeavor. We at the DOLE cannot do it alone, we are very thankful for your 100 percent support to this program. Our collaborative efforts play a significant role in the effective delivery of our programs and services which will ensure that our fight against child labor will succeed, thus, helping more families improve their lives and more importantly give children the right to enjoy their youth and be empowered,” Punzalan said.
The launching of the CPACL is one of the major activities set by the DOLE Regional Office No. 3 in observance of the country’s month-long celebration of World Day Against Child Labor with its theme “No to Child Labor in Domestic Work.”
END/Sting with reporting from Maylene Evangelista