STO. TOMAS, Davao del Norte – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) XI and the Banana Industry Tripartite Council (BITC) XI inaugurated the construction of one unit classroom building in Maguintalunan Elementary School with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Said school was identified by the Council as the recipient since eighty-five percent of its students are children of indigenous people (IP) particularly the Ata-Manobo tribe, living simple in the uplands with no supply of electricity yet known for their strong solidarity.

This is the second project sponsored by the Council thru its proceeds from “Sagip Batang Manggagawa Run” – an annual campaign that intensifies effort on the awareness of various stakeholders to maintain a child labor free environment that should be enjoyed by every Filipino child.

DOLE Regional Director Raymundo G. Agravante in his message strongly valued the solid partnership of the labor sector, management sector, and government sector creating industrial peace within the workplace. As the lead agency, DOLE recognizes the strategic role of the industry in advancing the country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Deputy Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command Brigadier General Ernesto C. Torres, Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines also graced the event as one of the partner agencies in realizing the project thru its 52nd Engineer Brigade providing expertise of the skilled men of the 534th Engineer Battalion in building the classroom.

Personnel from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) led by Deputy Director General for Communities & Local Government Units Gaspar S. Gayona of the Central Office showed support to this cause seeing this milestone as an opportunity for the IPs to acquire skills in carpentry thus helping them in looking for additional income.

This is one of the results of the tireless efforts of other BITC officers Beatriz N. Francia of Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA); alternate vice-chair for management sector Richard Mark delos Reyes of Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association (MBFEA); vice-chair for Labor Sector Edgardo D. Jumawan of Federation of Integrated Labor Union (FILU); alternate vice-chair Samuel Y. Cardenio of Southern Mindanao Federation Of Labor (SMFL); and the rest of the officers who share their time and resources uniting in the success of every BITC-initiated-activity.

The Council will hold its fourth Sagip Batang Manggagawa Run later this year with the identification of its new recipient. /By Dyanarha P. Lavadia, J.O., DOLE DNFO