SIQUIJOR, Dec. 9 (PIA) -- Calling all "angels" out there! The Department of Labor and Employment, Siquijor Field Field Office (DOLE-SFO) is seeking more support as it launches in Siquijor this year the Project Angel Tree for the profiled child laborers in the province.
DOLE Siquijor Officer-In-Charge Nole Torres at the Pulong-Pulong with its stakeholders and the Siquijor Association of Information Disseminators (SAID), said the project hopes to gather support from private and government agencies and individuals who will serve as donors, benefactors, sponsors, patrons, or supporters of any form, whom they would call as "Angels."
DOLE Siquijor is targeting at least 300 child laborers, depending on extent of support they get, to benefit from this first year's implementation of the project, Torres said as he hopes to serve more, if not all of them in the following years.
The project hopes to heighten the interest of the child laborers in going (back) to school, and encourage parents to give value to education by giving them presents such as food/meals, snacks, bags, water bottles, umbrella, hygiene kits, school supplies, and other items which "angels" may wish to contribute.
This is also of our way of sharing and giving happines to disadvantaged children particularly this Christmas season, he added.
The province has a total of 439 profiled child laborers from at least 47 of the 134 barangays province-wide with the town of Lazi having the highest number at 134 and the lowest is Larena with 24 profiled child laborers this year.
San Juan town has 101; Maria, 27; Siquijor 62; and Enrique Villanueva, 51.
"It may seem unconceivable that we have child laborers in the province but the profiling was made based on the DOLE-issued guidelines and methodologies which aimed at providing more protection to children and effectively keep them away from the child labor situation," explained Inacher Abatayo, Child Labor Community Facilitator for the province.
The profiling was made earlier this year to serve as basis for the provision of appropriate services and necessary interventions to remove the children from child labor, she added.
Project Angel Tree is a component of the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program that provides social services such as food, clothing, educational assistance or school supplies, and even work and training opportunities made available by sponsors or benefactors ( called "angels") to child laborers and their families.
It aims to improve the economic and social conditions of child laborers and their families and increase the number of allies and advocates of child labor prevention and elimination.
It encourages children from identified barangays to continue their education and steer clear from doing laborious tasks that will endanger their lives and health.
This project is a manifestation of the efforts between the government and private sector in keeping children away from dangerous workplaces.
With the help of parents and community there will be an assurance that children are always protected and not exploited.
Project Angel Tree supports Repubic Act 9231 which defines child labor to be any work or economic activity performed by children under 18 years of age that subject them to any form of exploitation or is harmful to their health and safety or physical, mental or psychological development.
DOLE, as the lead agency in the implementation of the Philippine Program against Child Labor and as the chairman of the National Child Labor Committee, will be responsible for monitoring and reporting if a child has already been removed from child labor.
These initiatives are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, which targets to reduce the cases of child labor by 30 percent or 630,000 from the estimated 2.1 million child laborers nationwide.
Child labor refers to any work or economic activity performed by children under 18 years of age that subject them to any form of exploitation or is harmful to their health and safety or physical, mental or psychological development.
Child work, on the other hand, is simply helping in the household chores as a way of discipline or training for the child, and under supervision of the parents or guardians such as cleaning the house, dish washing, and other household tasks or family business where the child is not exposed to health hazards. (rac/PIA7-Siquijor)