The key to a successful approach in response to a certain concern is the strength of coordination and commitment among its players—this was emphasized by Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes, Senior Labor and Employment Officer of the Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare Division of the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR), as he explained the need for a convergent approach in addressing the concerns of child labor during the Regional Council for the Welfare of Children – SHIELD and Child Labor Orientation and National Children’s Month virtual meeting on September 2021.

Delos Reyes presented the salient features of RA 9231 or “An Act for the Elimination of Child Labor” as he discussed the initiatives of DOLE-NCR under the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program. He likewise presented the initiatives of the Department in response to child labor such as the Sagip Batang Manggagawa and Child Labor Profiling.

Delos Reyes highlighted the profiling’s accomplishments for 2021 with about 64% of the targets being accomplished. He also mentioned the coordination with other government agencies in providing other interventions such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – NCR’s skills training to both the parents and the former child laborers so as to provide a more comprehensive approach in alleviating their conditions.

He also responded to queries from the representatives of the local government as regard mendicancy, interventions for the indigenous people, and education; among others. He stressed that the programs of the Department are all geared towards responding to the concerns of the identified child laborers for them to be removed from their current conditions and contribute to nation building by providing meaningful interventions.

In line with strengthening partnership with duty-bearers, Delos Reyes conducted an online session for the trainees undergoing the virtual job immersion program of the Quezon City Public Employment Service Office. The practicum students are from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines taking Political Science and Public Administration. The activity was held via online conference on September 7, 2021.

During the session, Delos Reyes gave a labor market view of the region including its key employment and economic drivers. He also discussed the unfavorable effects of the series of community quarantines that limited the economic engagement of the region’s workforce. He added that the series of community quarantines put the vibrant economic activities in the region at a halt; hence, it affected the workforce’s employment as well as their other undertakings.

Delos Reyes also discussed the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) so as to provide an appreciation to the current trend in the labor market. He said that given that people is progressing towards the new normal, it is important to develop relevant skills in order to see through this time and to be able to cope with the demands of the situation. He added that the adverse effects of the pandemic made people realize the need to embrace the technological advancement brought by the 4IR. It also made them appreciate things in different perspective and widen their horizons as they progress under a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) situation.

Jobs identified to be in-demand and resilient were also presented as well as tips to effectively ace employment in times of the lockdown. Delos Reyes said that the labor market in principle is still the same but the knowledge on the use of technology will be a game changer as activities will be conducted more and more using a virtual floor. He also stressed that jobseekers should also be more sensitive to the needs of the clients as they will continue to demand excellence from the service providers.

Even in uncertain times, the DOLE-NCR continue to strengthen its commitment to deliver its mandate and ensure the welfare and protection of its stakeholders. For 2021, DOLE-NCR has provided relevant information to other duty-bearers including the Public Employment Service Offices, child labor enumerators, and inter-agency personnel in relation to their respective services and mandates.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes