These 21 barangays awarded with Child Labor- Free certificates included Crossing Magallon, Magallon Cadre, 6-Poblacion and Guipana-an in Moises Padilla; Sag-ang, Camandag and Nato in La Castellana; Dian-ay and Mabini in Escalante City; San Pablo, Tortosa, Purisima and Punta Mesa in Manapla; Barangays 8, 10, 12 and 13 in Victorias City; Katilingban, Palampas and Punao in Talisay City; and Vista Alegre in Bacolod City.
They were certified as such after having complied with the necessary requirements and after passing the evaluation conducted by the Office based on the criteria set.
The awarding rites held at the DOLE Sugar Workers Development Centre (SWDC), Bacolod City last March 31, 2016 was attended by 39 partner-government agencies, stakeholders, barangay officials and DOLE 6 officials.
In his message, DOLE-6 Regional Director Ponciano M. Ligutom said that the commendation is equally challenging as it is honourable. He stated that the award should not just be in paper but should be supported by acts to prove and sustain the same.
“The true challenge now is how we will work towards maintaining such status. How and what we want to improve in order to minimize, if not eliminate, child labor lies in how and what we do to make it happen. Somehow, something has to be done in order to continue addressing the problem on child labor. Whatever it is, it depends on all of us, on our convergence,” he said.
Ligutom also added that the approach towards minimizing and eliminating child labor should be integrated, holistic and developmental because it cannot be solved if only one and not all of the aspects on development is addressed.
The representatives from the 21 barangays were delighted to receive such award. According to them, they were not expecting such commendation for their barangays.
“We are glad that World Vision and DOLE came to our barangay. Their efforts encourage us to embrace the problem on child labor and do something about it. This partnership opened the door for another opportunity as we were able to avail of funding assistance from DOLE for livestock production project which benefitted 107 of our constituents. We are very thankful for it,” said Ms. Rebecca Abelarde, Secretary of Baranagay Nato, La Castellana.
Ms. Maribel S. Talavera, one of the Provincial Engagement Officers (PEO) of Child Fund Philippines, thanked the DOLE for the partnership. She said they were very glad to witness how the barangays have improved since the intervention from both government and non-government offices.
“We are happy that all our efforts and that of the barangays have been recognized through the awarding of the Child Labor-Free Certificate from DOLE. We hope that these barangays will continue what they have started so that we can altogether solve the problem of child labor,” she said.
A barangay can be certified as child labor-free if it meets the following requirements: Children’s profile in the barangay, including child laborers, regularly maintained and updated; Commitment of parents of child laborers not to engage their children in child labor; Commitment of school heads to monitor school attendance of identified child laborer; Commitment of barangay officials to support campaign against child labor; Barangay ordinances or resolutions against child labor enacted and implemented.
One hundred per cent of identified child laborers needing health assistance have access to health and medical services; 100 per cent of identified child laborers have access to education services; 100 per cent of parents of identified child laborers have access to livelihood and employment services; 100 per cent of reported child labor incidence are immediately acted upon by barangay officials; Functional Council for the Protection of Children; and, Inclusion of child labor and/or child protection agenda in the Barangay Development Plan with budget allocation.
The DOLE Region 6, in collaboration with various partners, has already certified a total of 53 barangays free of child labor since 2015: nine in Iloilo, two in Capiz and 42 in Negros Occidental which resulted in the removal or withdrawal of a total of 20,096 children from this menace.
Article from DOLE Regional Office No. 6 Website