ZAMBOANGA CITY — Committed to its vision of a “Child Labor Free Philippines”, the Department of Labor and Employment continues to profile child laborers in Zamboanga Peninsula and to provide their families assistance. To date, a total of 11,914 child laborers were already profiled from 2018 to 2021.

As stated in Republic Act No. 9231, Child Labor refers to any work or economic activity performed by a child that subjects him/her to any form of exploitation or is harmful to his/her health and safety or physical, mental or psychosocial development.

“We are aware of the potential dangers of child labor that is why DOLE 9 is serious in helping eliminate any form of Child Labor in the region in order to protect the welfare of the children against any type of abuse, exploitation or discrimination especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where assistance is badly needed.

DOLE’s profiling activity is a vital step towards achieving this goal. Once profiled, partner agencies may now step in to provide assistance needed by families of these children,” Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe said.

DOLE Community Facilitators are deployed to conduct needs assessment. We had to temporarily halt the profiling in March 2020 due to the ECQ but it continued in May 2020. At present, 8,722 child laborers were provided with various assistance with the help of partner agencies. Assistance given includes counseling, enrollment to the Alternative Learning System and provision of scholarship grants.

For DOLE’s part, a total of 555 parents of child laborers were provided with Kabuhayan Starter Kits (KSK) under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP). Parents were given tools and jigs as well as training to help them start their chosen livelihood venture. This forms part of DOLE 9’s strategy to provide opportunities for families of child laborers to earn additional income, uplifting their socio-economic status and become Entrepreneurs.

DOLE 9’s annual initiative dubbed “Project Angel Tree” is also a component of DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program which provides social services such as food, clothing, school supplies, and work and training opportunities made available by sponsors or benefactors called as “Angels”.

DOLE 9 through its field offices will continue to fast track the profiling of Child Laborers and provide them with the necessary assistance to eliminate the Child Labor in Zamboanga Peninsula.

In support, advocacy campaigns will be strengthened in line with annual observance of the World Day Against Child Labor this June and the National Children’s Month this coming November in order to achieve 0 child laborers in the region. END