Hannah, Jhon Carl, Veronica, Mharyz, are barkadas of Barangay Concepion, Pila Laguna. They play together, go to class together and they got dreams. Hannah wants to be a teacher, Jhon Carl dreams to be a policeman, Veronica also likes teaching while Mharyz aspires to be a nurse. They also have a common stumbling block to their dreams, with the meager income of their families, they have to help out their parents in earning a living which is usually farming. At such tender age, they are forced to work while trying to finish their education.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), child labor denies boys and girls their rights – to be safe from harm, to quality education and vocational training and to play and rest. The ILO asserts that freedom for child labor is a fundamental human right and alongside the other fundamental principles and rights at work, in particular freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, it is indispensable for the achievement of decent work for all.
This has not been lost on PD Milagros Mata of DOLE Laguna. A steadfast advocate of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor, it has been the yearlong advocacy of her Office in campaigning for Child Labor Free Barangays by way of orientations on R.A. 9231, “Eradicating the Worst Forms of Child Labor,” profiling children at risk to child labor and granting livelihood assistance to their parents.
This advocacy is highlighted every 12th day of June which is declared as “World Day Against Child Labor.” For 2016, the ILO adopted the theme “End Child Labor in Supply Chains, It’s Everyone’s Business!” Explaining the theme further, the ILO notes that child labor can be difficult to see. Multinational enterprises may be linked to it in international supply chains directly – through their own facilities, suppliers or subcontractors – or simply by having operations in areas where child labor is common. The organization added that child labor is driven in many cases by family and community poverty, caused by lack of decent work for adults and youth of legal working age – by inadequate wages, income security and social protection – often linked to insufficient sourcing prices paid to supplier companies and by lack of access to health care, free quality education and vocational training.
To celebrate World Day Against Child Labor on June 12, 2016, the DOLE Laguna in partnership with the Laguna Labor Management Council Inc. and with the generous support of local industries and enterprises distributed bags, school supplies and hygiene packs to 100 students of Brgy. Concepcion, Pila, Laguna.
With the groundwork of Child Labor Focal Sr. LEO Raymond Ramos, one hundred schoolchildren of the barangay were identified as children at risk or exposed to child labor. Aside from the orientation on R.A. 9231, the DOLE Laguna granted livelihood assistance to unemployed members of the families and parents of child laborers and children vulnerable to child labor in the form of DILP Financial Assistance amounting to P660,276.00.
Activities for the day included an Advocacy Run in the morning and issuance of Pledges of Support from regional government units, private sector and parents of child laborers.
DOLE Regional Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita together with DOLE Laguna Director Milagros R. Mata led the celebration at the Multipurpose Gym of Pila, Laguna. Also present were Atty. Delia Uy, Vice-Chair for Management of LLMC Inc. and local government officials. Representatives from donor companies were also present to bring cheers to the schoolchildren. A Pleasant surprise was the awarding of ten scholarship grants by EMS Components Assembly, Inc. and another three by Belton Totoku Philippines, Inc.
The highlight of the activity was the distribution of bags and school supplies which delighted the kids no end. Happy innocent faces lined up to receive the goodies from kind hearts. It was all over by lunchtime but for Hannah, Jhon Carl, Veronica and Mharyz, it will be forever remembered for it is the day that they were inspired to dream big and be happy.
RUDYBOY R. SINAY
Senior LEO/LCO LPO
Article from DOLE CALABARZON website.