DOLE XI hopeful to replicate convergence program in other barangays

Quarry industry flourishes in Barangay Matina Pangi’s. Boulders of its hills are drilled by heavy equipments while the sands from its riverbanks are being hauled truck load after truck load. Neighboring the barangay is the expansion of the development of subdivisions as the rural areas to keep up with the pace of city life.

Despite its potential for progress and development, children are still left vulnerable to the risks of being employed in hazardous labor.

Building a Child Labor Free Community

DOLE XI’s barangay based HELP ME Convergence Program encourages the participation of the community in protecting children from resulting to being child laborers as part of the greater vision of a Child Labor Free Philippines.

This vision is shared by the barangay local government of Matina Pangi in the leadership of Barangay Captain Benjamin Badon. Last July 25, 2013 Barangay Resolution 034, Series of 2013, entitled, Resolution Strengthening the Barangay Based HELP ME Convergence Program to Remove Child Laborers in Hazardous Work and Afford Stronger Protection for Children at Barangay Matina Pangi, Davao City, Attaining the Desire of the Barangay to become a Child-Labor Free Barangay.

The identified list of child laborers and children-at-risk was provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. They are the parent-beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program who are vulnerable and whose children are most likely to engage in child labor to support the needs of their families.

Last August 2, the DOLE Davao City Field Office in cooperation of the City Social Services Development Office (CSSDO) organized the 19 identified heads of household as Matina Pangi Parents Livelihood Association (MAPALA). The parents were oriented on Child Labor, Values Reorientation, and the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program as an alternative source of income to stop the dependence of the child’s income. The parent association identified pig butchering as their livelihood project and last September 27 selected parent-beneficiaries have completed the training.

The Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) is also included in strengthening activities to ensure their involvement in child protection. The BCPC shall also be DOLE’s partner in monitoring the progress of the association and the child laborers.

HELP ME Convergence Strategy to Ensure Sufficiency

By 2016, the Philippine government aims to free at least 75 percent of the 2.9 million child laborers in the country thru the vigorous implementation of the HELP ME Convergence Program as part of the strategy of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster in the realization of the country’s Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty thru decent work.

Thru the convergence strategy, the government trickles down child labor programs and services down the barangay level. One of the employed strategies is to include the prohibition of children to engage in hazardous labor as a conditionality of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, commonly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of 4Ps, of DSWD. For 2013, DOLE support is part of the Transition Strategy of the Set 1 Graduate beneficiaries of the CCT.

HELP ME stands for H-Health, E-Education, L-Livelihood, P-Protection, Prevention, Prosecution, and ME-Monitoring and Evaluation.

DOLE XI sees this opportunity to implement the same convergence program in other barangays. Other priority areas in Davao City are the garbage collectors and scavengers of Barangay New Carmen and market porters and vendors of Toril Proper.

It takes a community to raise a child and we, together with the community, shall ensure that no child is employed in hazardous work.