DIGOS City, Davao del Sur – In a bid to combat child labor in the supply chains, the Department of Labor and Employment XI- Davao del Sur Field Office (DOLE-DSFO) recently conducted the very first Sugar Cane Workers Congress in the locality.

The activity was held last June 14, 2016 at Arnaldo’s Hotel and Restaurant.

Gathering sugar cane workers from the different associations, the activity aimed to educate them on the prevalence of child labor in their industry and solicit their commitment in its elimination.

The District Tripartite Council (DTC) Davao Mill District officers chaired by DOLE XI Regional Director Joffrey M. Suyao and members were also present to witness and facilitate the election of another field worker representative from the sugar cane workers.

The elected field worker representative will ensure their participation in policy making and the delivery of their concerns to higher officials.

Director Suyao, in his message, said that the activity is important to strengthen the advocacy against child-labor especially in the sugar cane industry.

“Gusto nato ipakita sa tibuok kalibutan na seryoso kita nga giprotektahan nato atong mga kabataan ug atong produkto nga luwas sa child labor (We want to let the world see that we are serious in protecting our children and our product against child-labor),” he said.

Director Suyao also mentioned that the activity is timely as the World Day Against Child Labor is also being celebrated in the month of June.

The advocacy briefing was done by Regional Anti-Child Labor Focal Person Melanie R. Jadulang.

During the program, the workers also shared their stories and hardships in working at the sugar plantation. Both of the DTC members and the sugar cane workers pledged commitment in helping eliminate child labor in their district.

Also present in the activity were DOLE-DSFO Head Henry O. Montilla and DOLE-DSFO Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Officer Leo Pepino.

Kriztja Marae G. Labrador/LCO-DOLEXI