Central Luzon stakeholders establish Regional Council Against Child Labor

Various government agencies and institutions signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing the Regional Council Against Child Labor (RCACL) in Central Luzon.

It seeks to protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, cruelty and poverty. 

Labor and Employment Undersecretary and National Council Against Child Labor Alternate Chairperson Benjo Santos Benavidez said the government seeks to create an enabling environment for children to fulfill their dreams. 

“We want our children to be free– free to choose what they want and who they want to be. This MOA demonstrates our commitment not only to step up in the work that we are doing but also to scale up so that we will be able to eliminate child labor,” Benavidez pressed.

The official disclosed that based on statistics, about 2.6 percent or two to three in 100 child laborers are in Central Luzon. 

“While this is significantly low, the government targets to completely eliminate the incidence of child labor not only in the region but in the entire country. We aim to change the lives of child laborers, their families and their communities through the implementation of the Philippine Program Against Child Labor,” he furthered. 

Benavidez also cited the initiatives of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the campaign such as the profiling of child laborers, monitoring of companies’ compliance to Anti-Child Labor Law, carrying-out Sagip Batang Mangggawa program, and awarding of livelihood grants to child laborers and their families. 

Under the MOA, DOLE is the lead agency in amplifying the government efforts against child labor, and establishing further measures to prevent, reduce or end its all forms. 

RCACL members include the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Council for the Welfare of Children, National Economic and Development Authority, and Philippine Information Agency.

Also, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, National Youth Commission, End Child Prostitution and Trafficking Philippines, A Child’s Trust is Ours to Nurture, Inc., Asurion Philippines, and United Pulp and Papers Corp. Employees Union. 

The signing was among the highlights of Central Luzon’s observance of World Day Against Child Labor that was held in San Jose town, Tarlac.

Other activities include the distribution of livelihood packages worth P30,000 each to 74 parents of child laborers in Tarlac; and awarding of certificates of eligibility under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program to 36 parent-beneficiaries from Pampanga, Bataan and Bulacan.

This year’s World Day Against Child Labor observance carried the theme “Let’s act on our commitments: End Child Labor” while the country’s theme was “Bawat Bata, Malaya: Mithiin ng Nagkakaisang Bansa.” (CLJD/TJBM PIA Region 3, Tarlac)

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