DAVAO CITY—The Child Labor Education Task Force in Davao was recently reorganized to continuously ensure and uphold the advocacy to combat child labor through education.
Heading the task force as chairperson is Marlito Ayala, regional child labor focal person of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), while the vice-chairperson is Loredana Serrano from the Department of Education.
The World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. and the Child Fund Philippines, members of the official secretariat of the task force, facilitated the election of officers of the task force on the first week of June during an assembly among representatives of government agencies, non-government organizations and program stakeholders.
Committee heads were also elected to form part of the task force. These include: Meeko Cercado for the networking committee; Leo Santer for research; Nena Laurente, principal of the Felipe Calderon Elementary School in Bunawan for direct service; and Rosa Teofilo of the Department of Interior and Local Governance for advocacy and policy.
The task force functions in partnership with World Vision’s project ABK 2 Initiative or the second phase of the Pag-aaral ng Bata para sa Kinabukasan (Education for the Children’s Future) that aims to contribute to the sustainable reduction of exploitive child labor in the Philippines in sectors that represent the worst forms of child labor.
Patrick Henry Asiñero, ABK 2 Initiative-World Vision provincial education officer for Davao and Compostela Valley, explained that the task force is composed of government and private stakeholders advocating for the protection of children against exploitation and abuse.
Asiñero said through this partnership and collaboration, the ABK2 Initiative hopes to achieve its goal by improving the quality, relevance and accessibility of educational services, by increasing awareness on the risks and losses of human potential caused by the worst forms of child labor.
Asiñero added that part of the aim is also to develop the capacities of families, community members and governments to identify and address child labor problems in their communities.
The World Vision, for its part, gives focus to some areas in Davao City and Compostela Valley found to have children in the worst forms of child labor.
Asiñero cited that in Toril in Davao City, children are exposed to scavenging and commercial sexual exploitation; in Bunawan, the project is helping children found in scavenging and mining/quarrying areas; in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, the project assists children who engaged in mining/quarrying and in banana plantations.
Asiñero said that ABK 2 Initiative targets the six priority sectors of the Philippine Time-Bound Program (PTBP) for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor, namely: children in deep-sea fishing, children in commercial sexual exploitation, children in domestic work, children in pyrotechnics, children in mining/quarrying and children in sugarcane plantations.
He said that the task force together with Dole, Decs, DILG, Department of Social Work and Development and other stakeholders are partners of ABK 2 Initiative to specifically implement its program on advocacy and awareness-raising activities, direct educational assistance, capacity-building for the children, livelihood skills training and seminars for the parents.
He added that the other implementing agencies are the Christian Children’s Fund Philippines and the Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation, Inc. which have their respective beneficiaries in other areas in the region.
Recently, in time for the celebration of the World’s Day Against Child-Labor on June 12, the task force together with teachers of the Felipe Calderon Elementary School in Bunawan, Davao City, provided a child labor awareness seminar to more than a hundred parents of working children in worst forms of child labor, those at risk and enrolled at the said school.
Distribution of school supplies for the World Vision’s beneficiaries in Davao City and Compostela Valley will be done last of week of June, Asiñero said. (PIA-XI)