DAVAO CITY – The World Day against Child Labor was launched Wednesday at a mall here with the theme, “No to Child Labor, Yes to Quality Education”.

This year’s celebration focuses primarily on the importance of quality education as a key step in tackling child labor.

The worldwide campaign is an International Labour Organization-sanctioned holiday for the purpose of raising awareness to prevent child labor.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) hosted the 13th year of the campaign. DOLE, in partnership with other government and non-government organizations in the convergence program, dubbed as HELP ME, will assist local governments in creating child labor-free communities.

“Each one of us has a key role to play and has a responsibility. Among of these responsibilities is the task to further advocate the call to stop and eliminate child labor,” said Joffrey Suyao, DOLE regional director.

Suyao said that if there is a suspected case of child labor in the community, it is the responsibility of the people to report the case to the government.

“Child labor has to stop because the proliferation of child labor is a way of robbing our children the essence of their childhood,” he said.

The convergence team has profiled five barangays with cases of child labor. These barangays are Panacan, Callawa, Tibungco, Ilang and Pangi.

“We will prioritize these barangays we have profiled. First, we will remove these children from hazardous work,” Suyao said.

He also said that they will educate the parents of these children and will provide assistance through livelihood funding based on their needs.

Meanwhile, anti-child labor group Kaugmaon Foundation, Inc. said that child labor puts the life of the children at risk.

“Eventually, if they [start] earning, they will no longer be interested to go to school,” said Florie May Tacang, Kaugmaon executive director.

The foundation has recorded 383 cases of child labor from the four barangays they are monitoring. These barangays are Ilang, Panacan, Tibungco and Callawa.

Tacang said that although the number of cases is decreasing, the group continues its campaign against child labor.

“There is a lot of them who stopped because of the advocacy, but that doesn’t mean that the problem is already solved. So we are expanding and reaching out to other barangays,” she said.(davaotoday.com)

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