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DOLE 12 seeks active engagement of stakeholders to fight child labor

DOLE 12 Regional Director Joel Gonzales calls on partner national line agencies, local government units, and NGOs to work really hard to bring down child labor cases in Sockssargen to zero.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- “The prevalence of child labor in Region 12 is a grave concern that demands immediate attention and action."

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 12 Regional Director Joel M. Gonzales stressed this concern as he sought the active engagement and collaboration of various partners and stakeholders to fight child labor.

He echoed this in a recent meeting with partners in an attempt to reactivate the Regional Council Against Child Labor (RCACL) on September 7, 2023, in Koronadal City after it has been on hiatus since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child labor is a profound issue that persists in many regions around the country, including Region 12, also known as the SOCCSKSARGEN Region,which is the seventh region monitored with higher cases of child laborers all over the country with a total of 160,288 cases.

DOLE XII stressed that one of the priorities under the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) for FY 2023 is the monitoring of child laborers profiled by the DOLE in 2022 to facilitate their removal from the roster of child labor. In a report, DOLE 12 has profiled around 11,045 child laborers in its 2022 monitoring. 

Noting that child labor is a complex issue rooted in poverty, lack of education, cultural norms, and weak enforcement of labor laws, the agency said that efforts to address this problem must be comprehensive, involving government agencies, civil society organizations, and the community.

“Only through collaborative and sustained efforts can we hope to eradicate child labor and ensure that every child in our region has the opportunity to enjoy their childhood and reach their full potential,” Director Gonzalez pointed out.

An official from LGU Sultan Kudarat vows to step up the fight against child labor in the province.

The report also cited that child labor in Region 12 encompasses a wide range of activities, from hazardous work in agriculture and mining to domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Children involved in such labor are often forced to work long hours in grueling conditions, robbing them of their childhood and exposing them to physical, emotional, and psychological harm.

In the discussions, the council members identified that one of the primary driving forces behind child labor is poverty. Families struggle to make ends meet, and children are often pushed into labor to supplement family income.

The issue of enforcement of labor laws and regulations also surfaced, which they identified as contributing to the prevalence of child labor, as employers often exploit children due to lax monitoring and enforcement. 

Members also believed that the consequences of child labor are far-reaching and have a lasting impact on both the children involved and society as a whole. This includes education deprivation, physical and psychological harm, long-term economic impact, and violations of rights.

During the meeting, they enumerated multi-faceted approaches that could address the issues of child labor, which included strengthening education, poverty alleviation programs, awareness and advocacy, community engagement, and support for child labor victims.

DOLE XII convenes the Regional Council Against Child Labor (RCACL) in SOCCSKSARGEN in an effort to address the protection of children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and discrimination, including child labor.

As a synthesis, the members substantiated the approaches as follows:

Strengthening Education. 

Increasing access to quality education is crucial. This involves building more schools, hiring more teachers, and providing scholarships and incentives to keep children in school.

Poverty Alleviation Programs

Implementing poverty alleviation programs that target vulnerable families can help reduce the economic necessity of child labor.

Awareness and Advocacy

Raising awareness about the consequences of child labor and advocating for strict enforcement of labor laws are essential steps in combating this issue.

Community Engagement

Engaging with communities to change cultural norms and attitudes towards child labor is vital for long-term change.

Support for Child Labor Victims

Providing support and rehabilitation services for child labor victims is necessary to help them recover from their experiences. (With reports from DOLE XII)

About the Author

Aida Agad


Region 12

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