The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR), through its Manila Field Office (MFO) held the Project Angel Tree gift giving activity for the one hundred former child laborers on October 15, 2022 at the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden.

The former child laborers, who came with their parents, were identified through DOLE-NCR MFO’s profiling of vulnerable workers in coordination with the 10 barangays in the City of Manila.

The sponsors for said activity included the various offices under the Manila Local Government Unit (LGU), Manila Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (MTIPC), and PH Global Jet Express (J&T NCR).

In his opening message on behalf of DOLE-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol, Assistant Regional Director, Atty. Russel A. Jallorina thanked all the sponsors for their utmost support in the activity. He further assured the children that the DOLE will continue to uphold their rights through its Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP).

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa ating mga sponsors kasi kahit papaano ay natutulungan natin ang mga kabataan, kahit papaano nabibigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon na maging bata. Sana ay tuloy-tuloy ito at ma-sustain natin, at sana ay pagdating ng panahon ay tuluyan nang matigil ang child labor at child exploitations,” he said.

“…Mga bata, tandaan ninyo, kapag nalagay kayo sa kahit na anumang sitwasyon na kung saan nawawalan kayo ng karapatan mag-aral, maglaro, maging masaya, at maging bata o malagay kayo sa sitwasyon na maaari kayong maabuso ay pwede kayo magsumbong sa amin. Tutulungan namin kayo,” added the labor official who were also accompanied by Assistant Regional Director, Atty. Jude Thomas P. Trayvilla; DOLE-NCR MFO Director, Ma. Corazon M. Pepito; and Senior Labor and Employment Officer, Ms. Aurora E. Halcon.

During the turnover of gifts, the PH Global Jet Express gave personal hygiene kits (i.e. hair comb, alcohol, facemask, pouch bag, soap, conditioner, shampoo, face powder, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, bath towel, tissue, and toothbrush), grocery packs (i.e. coffee, sugar, rice, biscuits, canned goods, and water), and other accessories (i.e. lunch boxes and tumblers).

On behalf of the MTIPC, Mr. Dante Dimaunahan (Vice Chair for Management Sector) and Mr. Benedicto Marasigan III (Vice Chair for Labor Sector) also distributed school bags and supplies (i.e. notebook, crayon, ruler, art papers, ballpens, pencil eraser, pencils, and sharpeners). The DOLE-NCR government interns, for their part, volunteered to give 5 mini electric clip fans.

The children and their parents also took advantage of the services or assistance offered by the Manila LGU. Among those were free visit at the Manila Zoo (Manila Department of Recreation Bureau), free food (Manila Department of Social Welfare), free haircut (Manila Manpower Development Center), and awarding of cash assistance by Hon. Edward Michael Maceda of District 4 and the Manila Police District (MPD) Advisory Group representatives.

Key government officials from Manila LGU were also in attendance to extend their support, including Vice Mayor John Marvin Cruz “Yul Servo” Nieto; Mr. Fernan Bermejo (Public Employment Service Office), Ms. Rosemarie Orpilla (Manila Department of Social Welfare); Ms. Maria Josefa Encarnacion Ocampo (Manila Local Civil Registry Office); Atty. Antonio Casangkapan (Division of City Schools Manila); and Mr. Alipio Morabe, Jr. (Public Recreation Bureau).

The Project Angel Tree is a component of the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) that provides social services that range from food, clothing, educational assistance or school supplies, and even work and training opportunities made available by sponsors or benefactors (angels) to child laborers and their families. It aims to improve the economic and social conditions of child laborers and their families and increase the number of allies and advocates of child labor prevention and elimination.

END / Gladys Lopez and Aries Librando