Children from the different Child Labor Free Barangays in Davao Region received early gifts for Christmas as the Department of Labor and Employment XI marked the Children’s Month with the 1st Regional Anti-Child Labor Summit and Children’s Festival dubbed as Komunidad at Pamahalaan Magkaisa, Pang-aabuso sa Bata, Wakasan Na.

No less than the DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz graced the activity during her visit in Davao Region last November 23, 2015 at the SMX Convention Hall, SM Lanang Premiere, Lanang, Davao City.

In her keynote address, Sec. Baldoz emphasized the importance of convergence of services thru the HELP ME Convergence Program framework. “The elimination of child labor is a private-public engagement. We are glad to report that the Philippines has been regarded as one of the countries with significant advancement in combatting child labor based on the Global Child Report released by the US Department of Labor. The Department (DOLE) does not own solely the credit for the commendation of the foreign community. We are thankful for the support of the local government especially in the barangay and grassroots level. We commend the efforts of our partner government agencies, people’s organizations, non-government organizations, and parents for the cooperation you have shown in helping us combat the ill-effects of child labor in our communities.

Human resource is still the best asset of our country. Help us hone quality human resource by providing the new generation of Filipinos with equal opportunity to health, education, livelihood, and quality life. Let us prevent and protect our children from being subjected to all forms hazardous labor.”

Forging cooperation among regional partners, the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office XI heads the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular on the Implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program to Address Child Labor in Davao Region with the local HELP ME Convergence partners.

In the event, Sec. Baldoz also awarded the Child Labor Free Barangay Certificate to the following: Barangay Tanglaw, Braulio E. Dujali, Davao del Norte; Barangay Callawa, Davao City; and Barangay Tibanban, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental. A total of 1,789.945.00 livelihood grants were awarded to 398 beneficiaries. The grant assistance were given to parents of identified child laborers and children at risk of being child laborers. The intervention shall enable the parents to be economically empowered so that their children won’t have to participate in laboring for the family and focus on their education instead.

Certificates of Child Labor Free Establishment were awarded to UM Multitest, Mindanao Times Corporation, UM Broadcasting Network, Petron Davao Depot, Bachelor Express Inc., Ateneo de Davao University, Philippine Women’s College, Offsourcing Philippines, Inc., and Davao Wisdom Academy.

Makati Development Corporation (MDC) is the summit’s generous Project Angel Tree sponsor.
Secretary Baldoz was accompanied by Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin Satumba and Maribeth A. Casin of Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) who officially opened the regional summit and gave the overview of DOLE’s Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program respectively.

HELP ME Convergence partners present during the activity were: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Department of Health (DOH); National Council for Indigenous People (NCIP); Philippine Information Agency (PIA); Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); National Economic Development Agency (NEDA); Department of Justice (DOJ); Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office-Davao del Norte; City Social Services and Development Organization (CSSDO); and Kaugmaon Children’s Foundation.

Ending the summit was the children’s festival facilitated by the Kaugmaon Children’s Foundation.