DOLE-12 assists families of child laborers

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 July)– The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 released various livelihood packages on Thursday to families of identified child laborers in an urban village here.

Ofelia Domingo, DOLE Region 12 director, said the livelihood assistance is part of the interventions that they have set to eventually help transform Barangay City Heights here into a “child labor-free area.”

She said they initially signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with officials of Barangay City Heights for the implementation of the flagship Philippine Program Against Child Labor in the area.

The MOU was signed by Domingo for DOLE-12, chair Lourdes Casabuena for Barangay City Heights and Sister Socorro Del Monte for the Ma. Goretti Home for Girls.

Witnessing the signing of the agreement were representatives from the city government, Philippine National Police, Department of Education, Barangay Social Welfare and Development Office, Barangay Council for the Protection of Children and the Occupational Safety and Health Network in Region 12.

Under the MOU, Domingo said the agency will mainly provide a package of assistance to families of identified child laborers in the area and capacitate barangay stakeholders in addressing cases of child labor.

Citing an assessment conducted by the agency, Barangay City Heights has a total of 43 validated child laborers and 17 others who are considered at risk of becoming victims of child labor.

The official said they released an initial P243,000 for the provision of starter kits for various livelihood ventures to 41 beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries, who were mainly families of identified working children, will receive materials or inputs for their chosen livelihood ventures worth P5,000, she said.

Domingo said the beneficiaries will also undergo basic training on entrepreneurship to ensure that their projects will prosper and eventually sustained.

She expressed optimism that the beneficiaries will not waste the opportunity given to them by the government.

“I’m hoping that their chosen ventures will prosper and even expand in the future,” she said. (MindaNews)