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DOLE teaches parents on child labor dangers

By Connie Calipay

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bicol is conducting seminars for parents and guardians to educate them on the dangers posed by child labor on their children’s welfare and education.

As part of DOLE’s initiatives, 13 parents of child laborers in Camarines Norte were educated late last month on Republic Act (RA) 9231 or “An Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child”. They were also oriented on the services provided by DOLE including the Kabuhayan Program and Project Angel, which the families may avail of.

In an interview recently, Johana Vi Gasga, DOLE-Bicol spokesperson, said another seminar will be held in Camarines Sur this July and possibly also in other provinces of the region.

A DOLE statement said community facilitator, Maria Theresa Rito taught the participants on the negative effects of child labor on the overall well-being of children.

The parents and guardians of the child laborers are set to benefit from livelihood projects to be implemented by the agency.

Rito said children who work at a young age are forced to forego their education and many other youthful activities to contribute to the needs of the family. Due to lack of awareness, these children are easy prey to the exploitative and hazardous type of work.

In the statement, DOLE-Bicol Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita, said that amid the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of Bicolano workers are challenged in the world of work, and while health and economy are the central and important issues, so is the social protection of children.

“This grim situation that our country is facing has brought much concern to us (the Labor Department) because it is not only the workforce who is greatly affected here, but also the children. We may not see its direct impact on them, but it has a toll on their safety, their well-being, and their future,” she said.

Campita noted that marginalized children are at risk of falling into exploitation as the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes.

“As we continue our battle to eliminate child laborers, we also strengthened our collaboration with other social sectors to help child laborers and their parents break the bondage of poverty that tied them to such dangerous work,” she added.

Meanwhile, the DOLE Masbate Provincial Field Office joined the Masbate City government through its Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) in celebrating the World Day Against Child Labor last June.

The activity which was themed “Covid-19 and Child Labor: A Time to Act” benefited around 50 identified child laborers who were given hygiene kits containing alcohol, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, face towel and nail cutter, and DOLE Batang Malaya mugs.

There was also an orientation entitled “Good personal hygiene, understanding Covid-19 and how to stay safe amidst pandemic”.

Recently, some 100 child laborers in Albay’s Pioduran and Tiwi towns who were profiled by DOLE from 2018 to the present, received various gift items including hygiene kits, educational materials, medicines and multi-vitamins, as well as food packs under the Project Angel Tree. (PNA)

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