Beating the summer heat and closing the summer vacation was the conduct of the Child Labor Monitoring System (CLMS) orientation and consultation for the barangay officials from nine barangays in the municipalities of Nasugbu, Lian, Tuy, Balayan, and Calaca. Amidst the dehydrating heat especially in this part of Batangas, these officials met halfway marching for one advocacy: onwards to a Child Labor-Free Barangay (CLFB) of the Department of Labor and Employment.
On the 27th of May, 27 barangay officials from Brgy. Banilad and Cogunan in Nasugbu, Brgy. Balibago and Kapito in Lian, Brgy. Toong and Putol in Tuy, Brgy. Dao and Dalig in Balayan, and Brgy. Calantas in Calaca met at Casa Antonio, Tuy, Batangas for the said activity. In partnership with DOLE Batangas Provincial Office (DOLE-BPO), the Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI) along with the Municipal Social Work and Development Offices (MSWDO) and the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) shed light on Western Batangas’ journey towards the Anti-Child Labor campaign. Setting up of the CLMS was included as part of the action plan of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Elimination of Child Labor in the Sugar Industry in the Mill Districts of CADPI and BSCI which was launched last February 19, 2013.
Mr. John Cena from SIFI facilitated the start-up activities. Welcome remarks and rationale of the CLMS, coupled with the discussion on Republic Act No. 9231 or An Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child was given by DOLE Batangas Provincial Director Predelma M. Tan. Overview of the Child Labor-Free Barangay (CLFB) was then conveyed by Ms. Jessa Marie S. Mendoza of DOLE BPO. Mr. Danilo Braza, Program Coordinator from SIFI, lectured on the Child-Friendly Local Governance and the CLMS.
During the open forum, the participants clarified issues regarding the hiring of child laborers by contractors and subcontractors primarily not registered in Batangas, thus prevalence of migratory sugar workers. Another concern was the authority of the BCPC to ensure and demand the needed registrations and other legal documents of these establishments.
These issues were settled when PD Tan and Mr. Braza emphasized the power of the LGU over any establishment in its territory. Barangay councils could demand from the establishments the presentation of their registration documents to ensure compliance with labor laws and the Local Government Code. The resource persons also reiterated that the council should seek and tap the assistance of various government agencies concerned with the respective child labor undertakings in their areas.
Before the closing, Ms. Eunice Cama from ERDA made an invitation for interested barangay locals who would want to avail of an automotive scholarship. Details of the CLMS launching were discussed preliminarily.
Henceforth, these barangays having been oriented on and consulted with the monitoring system, Western Batangas is expected to be on target for the Child Labor Free Barangay of the Department.
Jessa Marie S. Mendoza
Labo Communication Officer
DOLE Batangas Provincial Office