ZAMBOANGA CITY — In celebration of the 2021 World Day Against Child Labor anchored on the theme of “Makibahagi, Makialam, at Magkaisa para sa #BatangMalaya”, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 9 through Isabela City Field Office (ICFO) spearheaded the reactivation of the Isabela City Anti-Child Labor Council (ACLC) last June 25, 2021 at the Covered Court, Claret College of Isabela, Isabela City, Basilan.

Child Labor as stated in Republic Act No. 9231, is defined as 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.

Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe shared that the impact and length of the pandemic has caused the economy to collapse which resulted in financial fragility, business closures and disruption of services.

“When these and other factors result in the reduction of the household income, some families will resort to forcing their children into exploitative and hazardous jobs just to contribute financially.
As an agency, we are aware of the threats and potential dangers that child labor entails. With this, DOLE 9 through its field offices and partner agencies will continue to implement programs under the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) in Zamboanga Peninsula.” Atty. Buenafe said.

ICFO OIC-Head, Ms. Maria Elena T. Alabata presented the progress of Child Labor and Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) of the city.

Ms. Alabata highlighted that as of May 2021, 189 child laborers were profiled and referred to partner agencies. Out of 189, 12 were provided with cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under Expanded Assistance to Individual in Crisis Situation (E-AICS) Program, each receiving PHP 3,000.

“To move forward with the program, we will intensify our advocacy campaign and information dissemination on child labor and other existing laws through barangay assemblies and radio program guesting within the 2nd semester of 2021,” shared Ms. Alabata.

Also discussed in the event were Executive Order No. 92 Series of 2019 which stipulated Institutionalizing the National Council Against Child Labor (NCACL) to upscale the implementation of the PPACL and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2021-039 on Comprehensive Guidelines for the Establishment, Strengthening, and Monitoring of the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) at All Levels and for Other Purposes.

DOLE as a lead agency for the prevention and elimination of child labor in the Philippines stands firm in upholding the rights of children including the protection of children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to their development, particularly child labor at its worst forms