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Former Child Laborers Helped by DOLE, Now Enjoy Better Lives

Negros Oriental, Philippines. She came from the rural barangay of Tayak several kilometers away from the center of the Municipality of Siaton, Negros Oriental. Then she went to Dumaguete City in order to try her luck and find a job which she hoped would help feed her family.

16 year-old Jomarie R. Calumba was accepted as a dishwasher in one of the local restaurants in the city. Due to extreme poverty, she said she was ready to do anything if only to earn and stay employed.

She was paid P400.00 pesos monthly salary, which at the time she thought was normal and appropriate. She said the long hours of work she rendered even resulted to some lesions on her skin due to prolonged exposure to detergent and bleach.

Not knowing that what was happening to her was a form of child labor and abuse; Jomarie endured the harsh working conditions and remained loyal to her work.

But in July last year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-7) through its Negros Oriental Field Office (NOFO) helped rescue her from her predicament. Due to the DOLE’s interventions, she was also paid P30, 000.00 in back wages by her employer.

Gusto ko nga mutrabaho atong higayona kay lisod man kaayo akong kahimtang sa amoa ug wala man ko kahibalo nga child labor diay to ug  gidili sa balaod. Kung wala ko tabangi sa DOLE ug sa uban pang ahensya sa gobierno, unsa kaha ang akong gidangatan,” she shared.

She said she used the amount to start a mall “sari-sari” store business with her aunt in Tampocon, Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

Salamat kaau sa tanan nga nitabang nako nga mahaw-as ko sa child labor labi na gyud sa DOLE ug sa Visayan Forum kinsa padayon sa ilang pag tan-aw nga ako magpuyo nga malinawon ug halayo sa bisan unsang matang sa abuso,” added Jomarie.

Jomarie’s story was the same with the unfortunate turn of events in the life of the then-young fisherman, Reggie Dizon, a native of Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

With the goal of helping the family financially in mind, he went to Manila at an early age and became a Paaling or Deep Sea Fishing worker.

It was a dangerous work, he said, especially for the children. But for him who had nowhere else to go, he took the job and the big risk that went with it.

With the DOLE’s continued and consistent implementation of its advocacy against human trafficking; illegal recruitment; and child labor, Reggie was rescued from a hazardous job and was able to go home, safe.

The DOLE’s help he received did not stop there. He was also given livelihood assistance which he used to start a small “sari-sari” store business and buy a fishing banca.

During the DOLE-NOFO’s latest visit to Reggie, he was happy to say that aside from regularly fishing, he is now also selling rice and feeds. He said that the help afforded to him by the DOLE made a big change and impact into their lives.

Ako, kinasingkasing nga nagpasalamat sa DOLE sa pagtabang kanako nga makauli diri sa Ayungon human ko maapil sa Paaling didto sa kauluhan sa dihang ako menor de edad pa. Hilabihan ka delikado ang maong panginabuhian ilabina na sa mga bata. Ang pagluwas sa DOLE kanako sa talikala sa child labor usa ka daku kaayo nakung utang kabubut-on kanila,” he added.

 

End//LSenarlo-Taniza with reporting from Bless M. De Padua of NOFO

 

 

For more information on this report, you may contact Luchel Senarlo-Taniza, Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at dole_centralvisayas@yahoo.com

 

Article from DOLE Regional Office No. 7 Website

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