GOOD NEWS | 25 October 2019 |
Some seven thousand three hundred one child labor victims were profiled and assessed by DOLE-National Capital Region (NCR) from July to September 2019.
“From the overall target of 6,645, we accomplished 7,301 or 109.9% profiled child laborers,” said in an initial report presented by DOLE-NCR community facilitator and registered Social Worker Edgar Movilla during the Mid-Semester Performance Assessment of Profiling of Child Laborers held at Hotel Jen, Pasay City, Manila. Movilla added that the data changes over time since the profiling is still in progress until December 2019.
Senior labor and employment officer (LEO) Aurora E. Halcon, DOLE-NCR program focal for the anti-child labor program said that the mid-year assessment was held in preparation for the year-end assessment to be held in the coming months of which the community facilitators, encoders, and enumerators will be requested again to present their accomplishments, strategies, issues and concerns.
Mid-year assessment findings
Based on the initial findings of DOLE-NCR’s six field district offices, it showed that QUEZON CITY have the highest number of profiled child laborers with 1,792 followed by CAMANAVA at 1,783; CITY OF MANILA at 1,538; MUNTAPARLAS at 1,210; MAKATI-PASAY at 331; and PAPAMAMARISAN at 277. The remaining 370 were profiled from CSO / NGO SHELTER.
The initial report also said that the profiled child laborers were between 4-17 years of age. Based on the results of their interviews with the child laborers and their parents or guardians, majority work as vendors or helpers (65.3%) while others were engaged in the waste management (24.3%), construction (3.7%), transportation and storage (3.2%), domestic work (2.0%), and manufacturing (1.5%).
In terms of school attendance, 75.0% of the profiled child laborers are attending school, which generally indicated that most of them are engaged in paid or self-employment to buy things for their school needs, help their family in attending to household chores, or help their family / employer operate their small business.
The report also showed that 24.0% of the child laborers were not attending school. Among the many reasons of those child laborers in the report said that they cannot afford to go to school, not interested in school, school is too far, due to bullying, due to early pregnancy, lack of financial support / death of parents, or teachers not supportive.
Needs assessment and referral system
DOLE-NCR also conducted a needs assessment for the child laborers and their families to identify the type of assistance or interventions to help withdraw the children from child labor. The regional office, in close collaboration with the local government units (LGU) and other agencies, created a referral system that will help facilitate and monitor referral activities between the labor department and other partners. The office also hold regular stakeholders consultation meeting with the 17 LGUs in NCR to give updates, share best practices, and address issues and concerns.
From the report of Senior LEO Aurora E. Halcon, a total of 5,251 child laborers and their families were referred for necessary services with 27 of those children (from said figure) withdrawn from child labor.
Others still requiring DOLE and Public Employment Service Office (PESO) intervention were referred for self-employment (livelihood assistance), practical skills training, Balik Probinsya Program, and Job Placement for the Family Members of the child laborers.
Other organizations that DOLE-NCR sought partnerships with, such as the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII), recently sponsored school supplies of those child labor victims in Manila and Quezon City. Those with further education-specific needs were referred to various educational programs of the local School Division Offices (SDO) of the Department of Education, such as the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT), Alternative Learning System (ALS), Formal Education, Special Education (SPED), and Vocational Courses.
Families of child labor victims were also referred to satellite offices of the Department of Social Welfare for the provision of financial support, solo parent assistance, and senior pension. Others in need of medical attention had been immediately referred to the nearest City Health Department were a medical personnel regularly conduct home visitation to the family of referred child laborers.
First DOLE region to hold mid-year assessment
DOLE-NCR director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol were grateful for the accomplishments of the regional office and stressed how such effort contribute in the elimination and reduction of child labor incidence in the country.
Other DOLE senior officials from the head office congratulated DOLE-NCR for being the first DOLE region to hold a mid-year assessment on the child profiling initiative of the labor department. They also lauded the efforts of the community facilitators as well as the GIP (government internship program) encoders and enumerators for doing the groundwork for the region.
“I’m glad that all the community facilitators of NCR are here as well as the GIP enumerators and encoders,” said Maribeth E. Casin, Division Chief of the Young Workers Development of DOLE-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC). She added: “You are the personnel—the people who are actually doing the groundwork for the profiling of child laborers and you have a big contribution in achieving the target of NCR for this year.”
Also in attendance to show support in the activity, DOLE OIC-Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay and concurrent Director of Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) called upon all the DOLE regional offices to also identify senior citizens or persons with disability during their conduct of profiling with the children and their families as they also need assistance from DOLE.
Tutay said: “I’d like to congratulate BWSC and DOLE-NCR for this. This is the first activity that I have attended with all the government interns within the Department so maraming maraming salamat po and congratulations!
She added: “Nakikiusap po kami na kung may mahahagip po kayo doon sa pino-profile ninyo na pamilya, na meron pong persons with disability, at mga senior citizens, there are appropriate forms na binigay namin. Bakit po? Kasi sila rin po ay nangangailan rin ng assistance natin. And we cannot provide assistance unless hindi natin nakikita yung mga mukha ng mga persons with disability at senior citizens.”
The activity was also a special event organized for the community facilitators, enumerators, and encoders.
The job is a challenging responsibility. From bracing all kinds of weather to keeping a professional, persistent, and a patient attitude when dealing with some hesitant barangay officials to help them identify and profile a child laborer.
Few of them were requested on stage to hear their side of story.
In addition to the said challenges, they said that other children avoid them because they perceive that they would be taken somewhere else—not knowing that they brave the vulnerable areas to help them withdraw the children from child labor.
Majority were open, having been able to exceed the regional target for profiling, and even allowed them to be interviewed with their families. Among the notable experiences shared during the mid-year assessment were from Jeffrey Esperon, a GIP enumerator and encoder from DOLE-PAPAMAMARISAN field office. He said that a mother of a child labor whom he spoke with had a renewed hope because of the DOLE assistance.
“Yung nakita namin yung mukha ng mga nanay ng ini-interview namin na mga bata. Masayang-masaya sila kasi mabibigyan sila ng pag-asa para makapagpatuloy pa sa buhay nila,” he said.
Employment coaching seminar
Director Mirasol also reminded the community facilitators and GIP encoders and enumerators to get the most out of the DOLE employment coaching seminar that were also held later that day since they are only engaged until December 2019.
“Let us also not forget, the importance of career guidance and counselling as it is aimed to provide assistance to youth or students in choosing their career path. Let’s make use of this opportunity to learn,” she said.
LEO Angelica Fresnoza of DOLE CAMANAVA field office facilitated the seminar, with topics on practical tips or strategies for jobseekers. She also helped the community facilitators, encoders, and enumerators in understanding the concept of entrepreneurship and wage employment to help them in making an informed career choice.
END / Hershey Aquino with reporting from Aurora Halcon and Edgar Movilla