ZAMBOANGA CITY – In a sweeping effort to combat child labor and uplift communities, a total of 105 child laborers in Dapitan City and municipalities of Sibutad and Manukan, Zamboanga del Norte, were profiled for needs assessment.

This, after the DOLE Zamboanga del Norte Field Office (ZDNFO) conducted a series of orientation seminars on Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) and the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) from May 18-22, 2023.

Regional Director Albert E. Gutib, in his recent visit to Zanorte, said that this was made possible through the collaborative efforts of DOLE-ZDNFO, the Office of the Mayor, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, and the Public Employment Service Office of the said LGUs.

“This activity seeks to raise awareness among parents regarding the detrimental impact of child labor, particularly the worst forms of child labor, and to assess the needs of the families involved,” he said.

ZDNFO Chief Aileen B. Mondejar said that since most of the profiled children are living in coastal towns, they were mostly involved in fishing activities.

However, she assures that DOLE for its part has allotted a certain budget to help aid these families.

“Successful and eligible parents will have the opportunity to receive livelihood assistance or Kabuhayan Starter Kits, designed to alleviate their financial burdens and enable them to secure sustainable livelihoods,” Mondejar shared.

In 2022, the field office profiled and referred a total of 2,189 child laborers to various government agencies in its efforts to withdraw them from child labor.

“Through the CLPEP, we are positive that we will be able to remove children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, and discrimination and other conditions prejudicial to their development, particularly child labor and its worst forms,” said Gutib. END/With reports from Alvin Arcete, ZDNFO