The City

Ciudad de Zamboanga is a 1st Class Highly Urbanized City in Region 9 with a population of 862,000 according to the 2015 Census of Population and Housing. This commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines.

The Community

Based on the 2015 Census of Population and Housing, of the 1,904 barangays in Region 9, Tugbungan ranked 10th in the list of the most populous barangays with 23,837*. This once upon a time ‘sleeping barangay’ is now home to a number of commercial businesses comprising furniture and appliance center, fast food and restaurants, pharmacies, wet markets & supermarket, hardware, warehouses, and ‘bularan sa isda’, among others.

At Home With The Family

Born to a pedicab driver father (deceased) and a masseuse mother, Wenmart B. Alvarez is the fourth child in a brood of five. Barely able to meet the family’s daily needs, at the gentle age of fourteen (14), he already bore the responsibility of providing for the family and for his school needs, alongside his mother.

Wenmart experienced the harsh realities of hard labor.This grade 9 boy endured and struggled trying to balance school life and the pains of loading/unloading cargoes (fish) from ships and cargo trucks when the world was in deep slumber until the break of dawn.

While bringing home some money for the family brings him joy, at times, he skips classes and gets sick – the brunt of carrying heavy loads on his shoulder. Indeed poverty has taken its toll on this teenager’s little body.

Little Giant’s Big Dream

Despite the challenges in life, he remained optimistic and never forgot his father’s wish, that is, for him to finish schooling to make sure that he can hurdle upcoming life’s challenges – for a bright future.

In like manner, with the encouragement that he gets from his teachers, this pushes him more to persevere amidst scarcity.

DOLE’s Intervention

In line with the target in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 to reduce cases of child labor by 30% or about 630,000 children withdrawn from child labor, this Department hired and deployed enumerators (in the barangays), and initiated a nationwide profiling wherein names,addresses and specific needs of the CL and their families where identified, among others.

Profiled in 2019, the enumerator (a registered social worker) was able to hear out and counsel not only the CL but also the mother, Chona B. Alvarez.

Moving forward, Chona was awarded with a NegoKart and an initial start-up street food package.

“Nagpasalamat kaayo ko ug dako sa DOLE sa ilang gihatag na NegoKart para makaluwag-luwag ang among kinabuhi. Maka-support nako sa pag-eskwela sa akong mga anak. Kada adlaw makabaligya ko ug ten packs ug maka-ginansiya ko ug one hundred pesos kada pack.Diri na nako ginakuha ang gastos namo sa pang-adlaw-adlaw ug sa kinahanglan sa eskwela sa akong mga anak. Ang akong pangandoy para sa akong mga anak na unta maka-graduate gud sila kay mao ra na ang akong maipamana nila.”

While Wenmart still lends a hand with the NegoKart alongside his mother, he is now a full-time student attending online classes.

His Story

“Ako po ay si Wenmart B. Alvarez, 17 years old nag-aaral sa Zamboanga City High School-Main at kasalukuyan nasa Grade 9. Kami po’y nakatira saTugbungan. Ang trabaho ko po dati ay tagabuhat ng isda sa isang fishing company. Ang schedule ng trabaho ko ay 4 times a week, tuwing 8 sa gabi hanggang 3 sa umaga. Mahirap po ang sitwasyon kasi kailangan ko pang pumasok ng alas 7 ng umaga sa eskwela, ngunit masaya narin kasi pag-uwi ko may dala na akong three hundred pesos at kung minsan mas malaki pa..dependeposadami ng karga.”

“Karon mabuhat na nako ang akong gustong buhaton. Maka-focus nako sa akong pag-eskwela. Naka-eskwela pod ko for 3 months ng libre sa computer (NC1) kay naa koy time. Sa una di ko makadula kay mag huna-huna ko na kinahanglan nako magtrabaho para sa akong pag-eskwela kay wala man ko nagsalig sa akong mama. Karon miskan ginagmay pero kanunay dako na tabang sa akong pag-eskwela ang gihatag na NegoKart. Ang akong pangandoy mahimong usa ka seaman aron makatabang ko sa akong inahan ug kaigsuunan.” END/DOLE-ZCFO