"The DOLE Regional Office No. 8 has launched its regional campaign for child labor-free barangays by soliciting and enlisting commitments from stakeholders, particularly government agencies, NGOs, private sector, and parents of child laborers. It has also identified the indicators of a child labor-free barangay," said Baldoz.
DOLE Regional Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga reported to Baldoz that the indicators for a barangay to be declared child labor-free include the following: (1) no child below 15 years old works, unless in two (2) circumstances provided under RA 9231 or the Child Labor Law; (2) no child 15-17 years old is engaged in the worst forms of child labor; (3) all children of school-age are attending formal school or alternative learning session; (4) parents have economic activity to support the needs of their children; (5) presence of a functional Barangay Council for the Protection of Children; and (6) implementation of local ordinances or resolutions to address child labor concerns.
The signing of a covenant containing the commitment of stakeholders in achieving the goals of the campaign highlighted the launching of the campaign in Region 8, Regional Director Sarcauga reported. Signing the covenant were all members of the Eastern Visayas Regional Child Labor Committee, the municipal mayor of Babatngon, Leyte and the barangay captains of Brgys. District I and Victory, two of the identified barangays that the DOLE regional office targets to get rid of child labor.
“In Region 8, we are targeting 14 barangays to be declared as child labor-free by 31 December 2012. This is nine more that the five barangays that the DOLE, through the BWSC, has set for us," Sarcauga said.
“We are so committed and determined to put a stop to child labor 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," he added.
During the launching, which has for a theme, “Pagtutulungan. Pagpapalaya sa mga Batang Manggagawa”, child laborers in the two barangays surrendered to the DOLE their work implements or tools used as child laborers and pledged to go back to school. In return, the regional office awarded them school supplies. It also awarded one pedicab to a parent of a child laborer.
Sarcauga said that all assistance given to child laborers and their parents symbolize the resolve and commitment of the DOLE to pursue the fight against child labor.
--Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr.