OCCIDENTAL MINDORO – Every year, the Department of Labor and Employment MIMAROPA Region thru the Occidental Mindoro Field Office celebrates the World Day Against Child Labor to unceasingly raise awareness about the plight of child laborers in the region and to focus on the actions and efforts needed to eliminate them.

With this year’s theme “Children should not work in fields but on dreams’ or when locally adopted Hayaan ang mga batang mangarap, nang huwag malugmok sa trabahong mahirap”, DOLE OccMin FO holds the celebration at Barangays Manoot, Rizal and Caminawit, San Jose on August 22 and 24, 2019, respectively.

Social Partner from Local Government Units (LGUs), Public Employment Service Office (PESO), Philippine National Police (PNP), Municipal Health Office (MHO), and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) also graced the said event. Aside from discussing the rights of the child, each also shared their programs, services and contributions in eliminating child labor. They further emphasized that above all, parents has still the biggest role in shaping the futures of their child’s life.

More so, consequences of child labor for children were also discussed. Because children differ from adults, they are more susceptible and more adversely affected by specific work hazards than adults. The effects of hazardous working conditions on children’s health and development can be demoralizing. The impact of physically strenuous work, such as carrying heavy loads or being forced to adopt unnatural positions at work, can permanently distort or disable growing bodies.

On the other hand, Mr. Carlo B. Villaflores (DOLE OccMin Field Office Head), in his inspirational message, emphasized that “education, regardless of age and time, must be the top priority of the children in order for them to reach their dreams. All children, regardless of race or social and economic status, are entitled to enjoy their childhood years and to grow up fully and naturally. They have the right to love, education, and protection. Understanding these rights is the first step in preventing child labor. And by supporting these children in their education, they can always look forward to a better future.”

Another highlights of the activity was the distribution of school supplies from pad papers, pens, sharpeners, erasers, notebooks, pencil case, umbrellas and bags to 60 children from the two barangays. With these simple acts, children would be encouraged more to pursue their studies.

While these 60 children are just a fraction of the population of child laborers and or children at risks, a much more thorough action must be done to continuously address this situation.

For DOLE, Profiling of the child laborers is one of its strategic way of withdrawing children from child labor. Then, will assess their needs and refer these children and their families to appropriate agencies and organizations for the provision of necessary assistance to remove them from child labor.

The profiling of child laborers in Occidental Mindoro has already begun on July, 2019 and shall continue for six months. The profiling was undertaken by interns under DOLE Government Internship Program.

End/Gener L. Francisco