Negros Oriental, Philippines (30 May 2023). The Department of Labor and Employment Region 7 intensifies the monitoring of the profiled child laborers in the provinces of Negros Oriental and Siquijor as it vows to help eradicate the incidence of child labor in the country by 2028.
In Negros Oriental, where there’s a prevalence of child laborers, the Negros Oriental Field Office (NOFO) interviewed and monitored a total of 239 child labors and their parents in Bayawan City, Basay, La Libertad and Guihulngan on earlier this month.
Of the said number, 104 came from Bayawan. 66 child laborers were noted in La Libertad. While, Guihulngan and Basay tallied 49 and 20 child laborers, respectively.
DOLE-7 Regional Director, Lilia A. Estillore said, “The monitoring is necessary to track the status of the profiled children to ensure that the government interventions provided to them have yielded a positive impact in their lives.”
Director Estillore added that the Department has always endeavored to exert best effort so that the needs of those children are met through the implementation of the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP).
“In the end, it is our hope to remove children from child labor particularly from its worst forms, that deprive them of their childhood,” she continued.
NOFO Officer-In-Charge, Ma. Teresa D. Tanquiamco said that they have conducted various advocacy works and activities to raise awareness about child labor in Negros Oriental.
“We hope that more will support us in these advocacies since child labor is something so serious that it affects the children mentally, physically, socially, and morally,” she said.
Information drive; collaborative meetings with other agencies and organizations; livelihood orientations; workshops and releasing of Negosyo carts; skills trainings; giving of school supplies; hygiene kits and vitamins and food packs and clothes to the children were among the activities conducted as part of CLPEP.
“Dako ang akong pasalamat sa kinatibuk-an sa DOLE-7 ilabi na sa DOLE-NOFO sa ilang babuyan nga gihatag sa akoa isip tabang sa among anak para dili na kini mobalik pagpanarbaho. Tungod niini nadugangan ang among income sa among pamilya. Karon nakapagama na kami ug bag-ong balay ug ang akong anak wala na usab nanarbaho. Nakakalima na kami ug cycle sa among pagpamaligya (We are immensely grateful to the entire DOLE-7, especially to DOLE-NOFO, for the piggery they have given us so that our child will no longer work. This added income to our family. Because of this, we are able to build our new house and my children are no longer working. In fact, we are now in our 5th cycle of selling pigs),” said Luzminda Gaso, parent of one of the Child Labors in Sitio Cantalina, Barangay Silab, Amlan, Negros Oriental.
The livelihood granted to Luzminda Gaso was made possible through the Kabuhayan Para sa Magulang ng Batang Manggagawa (KASAMA) under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP). The program eyes to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child labor by providing the families of child laborers access to decent livelihood opportunities. Parents or guardian of child laborers and elder brothers or sisters of child laborers who are of employable age are the program’s target beneficiaries.
From 2018-2022, a total of 25,659 child laborers were profiled who have been given direct interventions of the Department or referred to appropriate agencies and organizations.
Of the said number, around 4,314 child laborers came from 40 barangays which are identified as under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Tanquiamco shared that farming is the most common work performed by 5,009 child labors. Further, 341 child laborers are doing quarrying jobs, while 314 are doing domestic household jobs.
According to the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority on Working Children Situation for 2019 to 2021 dated March 3, 2023, there were 1.37 Million working children in the country. Of which, 935,000 were considered engaged in child labor.
The report revealed that Central Visayas has the second highest incidence rate of child labor at 10% or around 93,500. It has also the third highest incidence rate of working children aged 5 to 17 years old at 8.7%.
In a recent article released by DOLE Central Office on April 13, 2023, Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma assured the public that the Department has doubled its efforts in monitoring profiled child labors as it is among the top priority of the Department and the present administration.
Under Republic Act No. 9231, child labor refers to any work performed by a child under 18 years old that subjects him/her to any form of exploitation or is harmful to his/her health and safety or physical, mental or psychological development. This deprives children of their childhood, potential and their dignity.
End//KAUgalde with reports from Inacher Abatayo of NOFO
For more information on this report, you may contact LuchelSenarloTaniza, Regional Labor Information Officer, by sending an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.