The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) joined key agencies in laying foundation for the aftercare programs for the victims of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) on November 28, 2022.

Joining the meeting were the representatives of the Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD), International Justice Mission (IJM), Technical Education & Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – NCR, and Civil Society Organizations.

Atty. Reynaldo Bicol, Jr., IJM Program Director and Mr. Teodulo Romo, Jr., IJM Aftercare Head and former Assistant Secretary of DSWD conveyed their messages of support and have provided context for the activity.

During the plenary, representatives from the City Social Welfare and Development Offices in Taguig and Caloocan shared their experiences in handling local OSAEC cases, emphasizing the victims’ bravery amidst the difficulties they endured, which were mostly caused by family relatives as their perpetrators. They also experienced coordinating with relatives who are in denial of the OSAEC incidence and outright rejection of the people who should have provided support to the victims.

For its part, DOLE-NCR provided technical inputs through its representative, Mr. Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes, Senior Labor and Employment Officer and Regional Focal for the Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program.

Among the initiatives he highlighted were the training activities of DOLE-NCR to capacitate guidance counselors, guidance-teachers and career advocates through the DOLE Career Guidance and Employment Coaching (CGEC) program. During CGEC, Mr. Delos Reyes said that the Department would regularly cover topics on child labor since career guidance staff or teachers have direct access to students who usually seek advice on academic and personal decisions. Also shared in the plenary session was the DOLE livelihood assistance for the parents of identified child laborers to help improve their economic conditions. Other DOLE best practices he imparted were the Sagip Batang Mangagawa, Project Angel Tree, and various advocacies with the members of the academe and private sector.

To provide a holistic approach in responding to the aftercare of OSAEC victims, the DOLE-NCR representative also recommended to include the State Universities and Colleges as they provide health and education services that could be included in the aftercare programs. To encourage participation of the students and schools, he also said that equivalency on the service rendered should be provided as part of incentives and to partner with agencies such as the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) and National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) that could assist in promoting health services.

This initiative is in line with DOLE-NCR’s contributions in the celebration of national children’s month. Coordination among stakeholder agencies is the initial step to synchronize efforts in addressing the child labor concerns and its worst forms.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes