The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) participated in activities that aims to foster cooperation and strengthen the provision of assistance to children.

The initiatives are in line with the Department’s mandate to address the child labor incidence in the region.

DOLE-NCR Senior Labor and Employment Officer Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes, Child Labor Regional Focal Person, represented the Office together with his team from the Child Labor Unit of the Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare Division, such as Labor and Employment Officers Mary Chelsea A. Espinosa and Ma. Allen Rose T. Carreon, and Robert Bagadiong, Regional Child Labor Community Facilitator.

During the “Leaders and Stakeholders Conference: Addressing the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Online Sexual Exploitation of Children in Quezon City” on March 24-25, 2022 at the Hive Hotel, Quezon City led by the World Vision, the group was tasked to provide technical assistance in the break-out sessions for different groups composed of duty-bearers from the local government and non-government organizations. In his synthesis and analysis, Delos Reyes reminded participants on the importance of coordination at the grassroots level. He stressed the need to include the teachers and guidance counselors since NCR has a different situation as regard child labor due to its economic activities. He also told participants that the region’s economy is being driven by the growing services sector and compared to other regions with strong agricultural sector, he added that most of the child laborers in NCR are attending school. As such, he further said that the school personnel should be among the first to detect if their students are engaged in hazardous work. He also mentioned that frequent absences as well as low grades are possible indicators of the children’s engagement in child labor activities.

Delos Reyes also shared the importance of skills development or enhancement and its provision to the parents of identified child laborers. He said that building the capacities of the parents increase their employability that may lead to employment. This, he continued, will enable the parents to provide for their family and avoid their children’s engagement in prohibited undertakings.

Another activity followed on March 29, 2022 at the Bayview Park Hotel, Manila for a “Consultation Meeting on the Strengthening of Reporting, Referral and Response Mechanism of Child Related Cases in Manila” led by the Association Soeur Emmanuelle (ASMAE). Said group is a French, non-religious, non-political organization, created in 1980 by Sister Emmanuelle whose main mission is the development of underprivileged children including the Children in Street Situation or CiSS (formerly street children). During break-out sessions, the representatives of DOLE-NCR were engaged in the increase of membership of duty-bearers relative to the provision of the needed assistance to the beneficiaries and their monitoring. Emphasis on strengthening coordination with the education sector, including skills development for both parents and children were added to present a comprehensive approach to address said concern.

Meanwhile, a parallel virtual meeting on March 29, 2022 with the Department of Social Welfare and Development – NCR also took place for an update on the implementation of “Strategic Helpdesk for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD).” In said activity, DOLE-NCR presented their accomplishments as regard profiling of child laborers followed by sharing of measures to address related concerns at the local level. DOLE-NCR also emphasized their monitoring and evaluation of the interventions to strengthen the coordination among duty-bearers, ensure a healthy flow of information, and effective provision of programs and services to the stakeholders.

Under RA 9231 or the Anti-Child Labor Law, the DOLE is the lead agency in addressing the concerns of child labor. Other related laws such as RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Law likewise provided the Department with mandate that caters to interventions to victims and their families to alleviate the children from child labor concerns.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes