Hotels in CamNorte to hire child laborers to wean them from working in mining sites
By Connie B. Destura LEGAZPI CITY --- At least six hotels and restaurants in Camarines Norte have committed to employ the first batch of beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment’s program that seeks to eliminate child labor in small-scale mining sites in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte. Raymond Escalante, public information officer of DOLE-Bicol, said the program’s beneficiaries are currently completing a three-month course in housekeeping provided by the Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA). He said after completing certification requirements from TESDA, the children will be deployed by March in six hotels and resorts in Camarines Norte that have committed to support the program. These establishments are Mila Garden Resort and Conference Center, Bagasbas Lighthouse, Arsen’s Farmville Resort, Wiltan Hotel, Dolor Hotel, and Pineapple Resort. Escalante said DOLE’s “Skills Training to Children Engaged in Mining for Employment” program poses a viable solution in preventing, if not totally eliminating, child labor in Camarines Norte. He said the project is a continuing collaborative work between DOLE, TESDA and the local government of Jose Panganiban, a gold-rich town in Bicol, where big miners come and go for centuries now, just like its neighboring town of Paracale. Escalante said by ensuring that children have adequate skills to be employed by various service sectors in the province, the children could be weaned away from engaging in dangerous mining activities to earn a living for their families. Escalante said hotels and similar enterprises in Camarines Norte have committed to employ at least one child laborer from Jose Panganiban’s mining site every year for as long as they pass the training and certification requirements of TESDA. “TESDA will train the next batch of beneficiaries on food and beverage, which is more needed in their establishments,” said Escalante. He said the hotels and resorts owners will continue to look for other available job opportunities in their establishments for the beneficiaries.