ISABELA CITY, BASILAN — In connection with the implementation of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL), the Department of Labor and Employment Region 9 (DOLE9) – Isabela City Field Office (ICFO) in partnership with the City Government of Isabela’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO) conducted a Partners’ Forum on Child Labor Program last August 1, 2019 at ISAWAD Conference Hall, Isabela City.

Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo said that DOLE, being the the focal agency for the prevention and elimination of child laborers in the Philippines, would like to engage partners and stakeholders to raise awareness on Child Labor Program and to solicit their support, share resources and formulate plan of action.

“We recognize partners’ convergence as vital factor in upholding children’s rights and protection particularly in the elimination of child labor incidence in Isabela City,” she added.

Various participants from the different local agencies and NGOs in Isabela City have attended the forum. Among the partner’s present were from PNP- Isabela City Police Station represented by PCPT Arnold Espares, PSSG Zarma Abuharis and PSSG Wellington Ator; City Health Office represented by Ms. Bernardita Hontucan and Ms. Imelda Caňete; DepED-Isabela City Schools Division represented by Ms. Ruby Anne Yu; PESO Manager Rosella T. Luna and Ms. Faye Barandino – Administrative Officer IV; Ms. Jesielyn Puno of City Population Commission Office; Ma. Gina M. Alberto of City Agriculturist Office; City Social Welfare Officer Ms. Emma Gurrea; Engr. Ma. Carmen La Guardia of Department of Trade and Industry; Nagdilaab Foundation, Incorporated Executive Director Miriam Suacito and Project Officer Engr. Angelina Fernandez; and Isabela Foundation, Incorporated Area Manager Margarita Auxtero.

Each partner agency shared its particular programs and services which will be made available to the Child Laborers and their families as part of the interventions that eventually will withdraw them from child labor.

City Agriculturist Maria Gina Alberto shared her agency’s banner programs. “Our office could provide skills trainings on food and meat processing and floral arrangement to the

families with child laborers. Moreover, they could also avail of our whole year-round provision of vegetable and palay seeds which they could also avail as part of our assistance.” – Ms Alberto stressed.

On the other hand, the City Population Management Officer Jesielyn Puno recalled “the importance of Information Service Delivery Network (ISDN), an established referral mechanism for concerned agencies to address issues on Adolescent Health and Development by which the same will be made available for child laborers and their family, she said.” Other

agencies who have expressed their optimism also shared possible assistance their offices could offer.

DOLE – Isabela City Field Office Head Designate Elsa B. Tan in her message expressed her gratitude to all participants who have made their presence available and have diligently took part in the planning work-shop.

“Through this forum, we have realized that there are several interventions that we could provide and specific agencies where we can refer child labor cases… Forum like this is a great way for us to learn what our programs are and to solidify our partnerships. We now know who we can approach, who can give assistance to our child laborers and their families. We hope this is not the end; that this is just an initial step to take as a group, as partners in solving the child labor issue in Isabela City. We are grateful and thankful indeed that you have responded positively to our invitation,” she said.

An act of symbolic commitment signing was undertaken by participating agencies represented by their heads and representatives strengthening their commitment to support the Child Labor Program in Isabela City.

-With reports from Alex Molas, Community Facilitator & Marlyn J. Anoos, LEO III, ICFO