DAVAO DEL NORTE (PIA)- It was a happy day with fun games, surprises and prizes to bring home, but the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) intended to eventually take these children away from child labor by capacitating their parents.
A total of 126 identified child workers and their parents from Barangay Magugpo West, Tagum City became recipients of HELP ME Convergence Program caravan rolled out in tie up with various national government agencies Tuesday (June 18) at RDR Gym Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City.
With ages ranging from four to 17, these child workers were found working as vendors of fruits, vegetables, plastic bags, toys, lighters, delicacies and other food, snacks, spices, CDs and DVDs and even butane.
Data from DOLE 's field office in Davao del Norte said some of the child workers were house-helps, washers of clothes (labandera), poultry caretakers, construction workers and store-keepers.
In an interview, DOLE XI Assistant Regional Directo Jason P. Balais said DOLE is providing livelihood assistance, entrepreneurial opportunities and wage-based employment to their parents to capacitate them to provide for their families without obliging their children to work.
"We are enjoining you, we are asking you not to put your children in harm by asking them to work," he told PIA and the Provincial Information Office of Davao del Norte in an interview.
Meawhile, the DOLE Davao del Norte Field Office had already been working ways to uplift the economic conditions of the families of these child workers.
Labor and Employment Officer III Lalaine M. Apugan said DOLE Davao del Norte had extended livelihood and employment assistance to parents through the Tulong Panghanapbuhan sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged (TUPAD) workers programme of DOLE.
"We are meeting them into three groups; they will be given livelihood assistance of DOLE. We are identifying what assistance would fit them. Some parents would like to avail of scholarship grants for their children, and we have already coordinated this witth TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority)," she said in a separate interview.
On the other hand, among the NGAs that committed to extend services during the HELP ME Convergence Caravan were the Department of Health (DOH) for hygiene kits and vitamins; Department of Agriculture (DA), assorted vegetable seeds; Department of Justice Regional Police Office XI (DOJ RPO) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), prizes for games; TESDA, beauty care services; Philippine National Police Police Regional Office XI (PNP RPO), mascot and live band for entertainment.
The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI provided news and information coverage and set Information kiosk; the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI, hygiene kits; Provincial Health Office of Davao del Norte and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), medical and dental services; the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Offices (PSWDO) of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, food packs. Some individuals of HELP ME Convergence provided pairs of slippers while Davao City government extended school supplies.
Partner private sectors and organizations were Tagum Agriculture and Development Company, Inc. (TADECO); Cola Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc.; Occupational Safety and Health Network XI, Federation of Family Welfare Stakeholders (FFWS) XI, KAUGMAON; and ChildFund Philippines. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)