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DOLE intensifies program to save child laborers

WITH children always suffering the most in times of strife and crisis, the Department of Labor and Employment has never let up in its program to eliminate child labor in the country.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said this is especially in the current economic crisis set off by the pandemic, which have pushed the International Labour Organization to warn governments that the “economic shock from the pandemic will push millions of children all over the world into child labor.”

Bello said that anticipating such an impact in the Philippines, the labor department has intensified its “Project Angel Tree” program which profiles and rescues children from poor rural families from the clutches of child labor.

Recently, the department kicked off the program in Bacolod City where DOLE Region 6 identified 50 child laborers and reached out to them and their families so that they could be given both guidance and aid.

With assistance from Christian Advocates for Justice and Development in Negros (CADJEN), DOLE Region 6 gathered the 50 children and their families and provided them with food assistance and life guidance.

CADJEN Executive Director Lina Ganaba expressed gratitude to the DOLE for “extending help to the children of the poor especially in this trying times.”

In a related development, DOLE Iloilo and the Iloilo City Inter-agency on Child Labor and Trafficking recently launched an awareness campaign to address the plight of child laborers in the city.

The collaboration resulted in the production of a short video ad on the plight of Iloilo’s child laborers, and a virtual advocacy campaign to mark the recent celebration of World Day Against Child Labor.

Titled “COVID-19 Sugpuin, Batang Manggagawa Sagipin,” the video features a call on all Ilonggos to protect their children from all forms of abuse.

“Being tagged as the Wakanda of the Philippines, our children should be in schools not in factories,” the message said.