Marilao, Bulacan – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office No. 3, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Bulacan and the Provincial Committee on Child Labor (PCCL), yesterday, held the Philippine celebration of the World Day Against Child Labor at the Event Center of the SM City Marilao in Marilao, Bulacan.
This year’s theme “Batang Malaya: Child Labor-Free Philippines,” was a day of fun-filled activities full of surprises, raffle games, and gift-giving for former child laborers and so-called “children at risk,” according to DOLE Regional Director Raymundo G. Agravante.
In Agravante’s report to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, 300 elementary students from ten (10) different primary schools from four (4) municipalities and two (2) cities in the province of Bulacan, each received educational packages which include bags, books, and school supplies for their schooling needs.
According to Leilani Reynoso, head of the DOLE-Bulacan Field Office, the areas covered in the distribution of educational packages include the cities of Meycauayan and San Jose Del Monte, and the municipalities of Guiguinto, Bocaue, Marilao, and Sta. Maria.
Of the educational packages distributed, the Provincial Government of Bulacan provided school bags and books, while SM City Marilao provided other school books and Teh Shin Company provided school supplies.
Lloyd Laboratories and Pharmatechnica on the other hand, provided vitamins and medicines that were used in the medical services offered during the event.
Aside from this, graduates of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), provided free hair cut services to the students, while medical services were provided by the nursing students of the Bulacan State University (BSU).
The Sining Bulakenyo (SIBUL) and the Samahan ng mga Kabataan para sa Magandang Kinabukasan (SKMK) on the other hand provided entertaining intermission numbers to crowd’s delight.
Other partner agencies present during the event are the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD).
Bulacan Governor, Hon. Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado, in his keynote message, expressed the Government of Bulacan’s support and desire to keep children away from the workplace and enjoy their youth and right to education.
“To break the cycle of poverty and foster health, prosperity, and progress for our children, families, communities, and nation, the Province of Bulacan, in its full support to the DOLE’s Anti-Child Labor Program, seeks to strive for public policies educational reforms, and conditions of economic growth and opportunity that help meet every child’s material needs,” said Sy-Alvarado.
Further, he also advised parents to keep their children at school and encouraged them to be instruments of success to their children.
“Ang mga magulang ay nararapat na huwag ibulig sa maagang pagtratrabaho ang mga anak na wala sa hustong gulang. Pangunahan ng mga magulang ang mga bata sa matuwid na landas ng pamumuhay sa pamamagitan ng tamang edukasyon at tamang paglalaki sa kanila upang makamit nila ang kanilang mga mithiin,” added Sy-Alvarado.
Meanwhile, for the children and parents who participated in the event, the celebration spelled enjoyment and delight.
Akira Joy P. Billiones, 8 years old and a 3rd grade pupil from Central Marilao Elementary School, expressed her warmest appreciation to the DOLE and its partners for making the event a success.
“Maraming salamat po sa mga bags, aklat, at iba pang kagamitan na ipinagkaloob sa amin para sa aming pag-aaral. Sobrang nag-enjoy po ako ngayong araw na ito, lalo na po sa mga kapwa kong mag-aaral,” said Akira.
Akira’s mother, Ofelia, 32 years old, and a wife of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Saudi Arabia, also lauded the DOLE and expressed her warmest thanks.
“Maraming salamat po sa DOLE at ang iba pang mga ahensiya na nangasiwa sa okasyong ito, sobrang ganda dahil nabibigyan ng oportunidad ang mga bata na magkaroon ng bag at school supplies. Bilang magulang, namulat din kami na dapat nagaaral ang mga bata at hindi nagtratrabaho,” said Ofelia.
Agravante, on his part, said that the DOLE will continuously work with its partners to fully implement the Anti-Child Labor Program, not only in the province, but at the whole region as well.
“As we celebrate the World Day Against Child Labor, the DOLE, under the leadership of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, along with its partner agencies like the Provincial Government of Bulacan and the PCCL, will continue to ensure that our children and our children’s children will enjoy their youth and their right to education through our Child Labor Program towards a child labor-free Philippines,” said Agavante.