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RCACL crafts communication plan to change ‘mindset’ on child labor

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA) -- The Regional Council Against Child Labor (RCACL)-10 agreed that there is a need to have a communication plan for social and behavioral change, particularly in changing the traditional mindsets of parents where it is okay to have children work long hours, especially on their farmlands.

“It is unacceptable that a child is working in the Philippines,” said Ahmma Charisma L. Satumba, director of DOLE-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns.

Based on the Philippine Program Against Child Labor, the strategic framework for 2023–2028 is to achieve a child-labor-free Philippines where there is a resilient, transformed, and empowered life for child laborers, children at risk of child labor, their families, and communities towards a sense of self-worth and holistic and sustainable development.

“Gusto natin ay ang mga bata malusog, nag-aaral, masaya, naglalaro [We want that children are healthy, going to school, happy, and playing],” Satumba added.

She said DOLE has allocated a total of P28.5 billion in budget under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program under the DOLE-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, where 20% of that budget is allocated to the parents of child laborers.

“Pag may trabaho, may negosyo ang magulang, ang mga bata ay pwedeng makabalik sa pag-aaral, maka-concentrate sa pag-aaral [When there is work, parents have businesses, the children can get back to studying in school, they can concentrate with their studies],” she said.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there was an estimate of 828,000 child laborers in 2022 in the country, compared to 935,000 in 2021.

In the region, profiled child laborers from 2018–2022 reached 68,241, with Bukidnon having the highest of 20, 417 (30%), followed by Misamis Oriental 15,061 (22%), and Cagayan de Oro 11,088 (16%).

In that similar year, from 2018 to 2022, DOLE-10 reported a total of 34,568 child laborers removed from the list, of whom 11,433 (33%) were provided with assistance from other partner agencies, 6,344 (18%) were provided with DOLE Livelihood Assistance, 14,000 (40%) were due to age, one was back to school, and 2,790 (8%) stopped working as child laborers (with a certificate of withdrawal from barangay captains).

Meanwhile, there is a need for strengthening, expansion, localization, and harmonization of efforts.

“Livelihood lang ba ang kailangan ng pamilya (Is it only livelihood that a family needs]?” asked Alvin Dumduma of the ChildFund Project Sustainable Program for Education, Knowledge, and Advocacy, a participant in the event.

Dumduma said there is also a need to raise awareness among the parents because most of these child laborer parents do not understand the risk of children working on farms or in areas not suitable for them. He added that 50% to 60% of profiled child laborers were under the 4Ps program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

DOLE Cagayan de Oro Provincial Head, Emmanuel G. Toledo, shared that there must be quality assistance offered and a call for action from all agencies involved.

Among the objectives of the communication plan is to develop a message that will sustain the efforts of the council through social and behavioral change. Children should be studying in schools, playing, happy, and healthy, not on farmlands or working in any industry. Meanwhile, among the strategies are to produce and disseminate IEC materials and organize awareness-raising events for different target audiences, especially in the barangays with parents and industries. (JMOR/PIA-10)

The Department of Labor and Employment-10, Regional Council Against Child Labor-10, and World Vision Project Ace organized a two-day conference and strategic planning in Mandaue City, Cebu, January 25–26, to harmonize efforts in transforming the lives of child laborers and prevent the escalation of child labor cases in the region. (Photo: JMOR/PIA-10)
DOLE Cagayan de Oro provincial head, Emmanuel G. Toledo shared his experience in deliver of services to child laborers in the city. (Photo: JMOR/PIA-10)
World Vision Project ACE Head Daphne Culanag shared her experience in their efforts to eliminate child labor in the country. (Photo: JMOR/PIA-10)
The Department of Labor and Employment-10 and World Vision Project ACE partipate in the a two-day conference and strategic planning in Mandaue City, Cebu, January 25–26, to harmonize efforts in transforming the lives of child laborers and prevent the escalation of child labor cases in the region. (Photo: JMOR/PIA-10)

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Jasper Marie Rucat

Regional Editor

Region 10

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