ORIENTATIONS, information dissemination, social media and tri-media presence are among the strategies included in the communication plan created by the Region XI HELP ME Convergence Program members in order to address the low level of awareness in child labor and encourage support and involvement among stakeholders.

This communication plan which will run throughout the year will focus on with community members, barangay council down to the parents of child laborers as its audience. Some of the messages that the convergence wants to communicate are updates on child labor related laws, best practices of child labor free barangays and the HELP ME Convergence Program itself.

The group, headed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) XI, came up with the said plan during their recent communication and strategic planning workshop held last April 6 to 7.

DOLE XI Regional Director Joffrey M. Suyao in a short message said that he is hopeful that the communication plan will be able to raise awareness to everyone about child labor.

Melanie R. Jadulang, DOLE XI Child-labor Prevention and Elimination Program focal person, said that this workshop will really help in addressing child labor in the region.

“This communication plan on child labor prevention and elimination is really a big step for us to strengthen our advocacy,” she added.

The communication planning lecture was given by Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Assistant Secretary and Region XI Director Efren Elbanbuena.

HELP ME convergence program was created pursuant to Republic Act No. 9231 (An Act Providing For The Elimination Of The Worst Forms Of Child Labor And Affording Stronger Protection For The Working Child, Amending For This Purpose Republic Act No. 7610, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The “Special Protection Of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation And Discrimination Act”), Republic Act No. 9208 (“Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”), and other related laws.

‘HELP ME’ stands for the following: H – for health services and medical assistance; E – for education and training; L – for livelihood opportunities to parents of child laborers; P – for prevention, protection and prosecution; M – for monitoring; and E – for evaluation.

Members of the convergence other than the DOLE as its head and the PIA include: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Local Government Units and Non-Government Organizations.

As of the 1st quarter of 2016, there are a total of 10 child-labor free establishment and 3 child labor free barangays recorded in Davao Region.

Kriztja Marae G. Labrador/LCO-DOLEXI