TACLOBAN CITY---The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 8 launched the regional campaign for child labor-free barangays on May 31, 2012 at the DOLE Training Center, in a bid to influence change in the lives of child laborers, and solicit commitments from stakeholders, particularly government agencies, NGOs, private sector, and parents of child laborers.
The launching was attended by the inter-agency members of the Eastern Visayas Regional Child Labor Committee, the Municipal Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte, the chairpersons of the two target barangays in Babatngon, Brgy. District I, and Brgy. Victory, and the child laborers themselves.
DOLE Regional Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga said that the theme for the campaign is “Pagtutulungan. Pagpapalaya sa mga Batang Manggagawa”.
“DOLE Region 8 has targeted 14 barangays to be declared as child labor-free zones, more than the five barangays set by the DOLE Central Office,” he added.
“We are so much committed and determined to put a stop to child labor practice in the region; that is why we have increased our target to cover more barangays with high incidence of child labor and/or children at risk of becoming child laborers, thus, contributing to the vision of the government for a child labor-free Philippines,” Sarcauga explained.
He also mentioned some indicators of a child labor-free barangay, namely: no child below 15 years old works, unless in the two (2) circumstances under RA 9231; no child 15-17 years old is engaged in the worst forms of child labor; all children of school-age are attending formal school or alternative learning session; parents have economic activity to support the needs of their children; presence of functional Barangay Council for the Protection of Children; and local ordinances or resolutions to address child labor concerns are implemented.
During the campaign, a symbolic handing of work implements or tools that are being used by the children in the economic activity were turned over to the DOLE, in exchange for educational packages that they can use in school. An awarding of livelihood assistance in the form of one (1) unit pedicab was also given to a parent of child laborer.
Sarcauga said that the assistance given to child laborers and parents symbolizes the resolve and commitment of the DOLE to provide the children and their families, with a total package of services.
Meanwhile, the agency members of the RCLC have expressed strong support to the campaign, and vowed to make their respective programs and services available to the child laborers and their families.
The commitment of stakeholders was solidified through the signing of the covenant that they are indeed committed to action to attain a child labor-free barangay. (Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr., LCO RO-8)
Source: Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns