MARIVELES, Bataan – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional office in Central Luzon lauded the Sangguniang Barangay of Sisiman here for its continuous efforts in its campaign against any form of child labor in their community.
DOLE Regional Director Atty. Ana C. Dione said that Brgy. Sisiman, one of the 18 pilot barangays during the simultaneous nationwide launching of the Campaign for Child Labor-Free Barangays in 2012 has undertaken notable measures in supporting the country’s Child Labor Program (CLP).
Punong Barangay Maximo Barcena said that the Sangguniang Barangay (SB), through the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) of Mariveles, has already established its own Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) which focuses on the implementation of various programs for the benefit of the youth.
To prevent “children at risk” from working at a very young age, Barcena noted that the SB has partnered with the local government, through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), for the employment facilitation of some 1,000 residents to various locators of the Free Area of Bataan (FAB).
“Kami po ay nakipag-ugnayan sa ating lokal na pamahalaan, sa pamamagitan ng PESO, gayun din sa Authority of the Freeport Are of Bataan (AFAB), para tulungan pong mabigyan ng trabaho ang mga kabarangay namin. Sa kasalukuyan, marami sa kanila ay nagtatrabaho bilang factory workers sa iba’t ibang pagawaan dito sa FAB,” Barcena told newsmen.
Barangay Kagawad Alfredo Gabiola who chairs the Committee on Health and Social Welfare, added that, before, children were compelled to work with their parents as fishermen at the Sisiman Bay because of the barangay’s economic condition. “Meron pong tuna processing industry dito. Dati, yung mga menor de edad namin, sumasama sa mga magulang nila sa pangingisda. Pero ngayon, mahigpit na po kami sa pagbibigay ng pahintulot nito kaya naman kami po ay nagagalak na ang mga kabarangay namin ay nabigyan ng pagkakataon upang makapagtrabaho sa mga kumpanya dito sa FAB,” Gabiola said.
Gabiola also shared that the SB has already passed several resolutions/ordinances geared to boost youth empowerment. To further boost Sisiman’s fight against child labor, Sisiman was recently awarded by the municipal government led by Mayor Jesse Concepcion, the 2nd Place during the 2014 “Search for Best Child-Friendly Barangay” with monetary cash-award amounting to P15,000.
Aside from this, the DOLE Bataan Field Office, under the supervision of Chief Labor and Employment Officer Leilani Reynoso, recently provided an update on the Child Labor-Free Barangay Advocacy and Orientation on Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in Sisiman attended by SB members, parents and residents.
Bannering on the theme “Pagtutulungan, Pagpapalaya sa mga Batang Manggagawa,” Reynoso, who served as keynote speaker, stressed the importance of the existence of the Council, its officials, and what they can do to effectively implement the program.
Together with all stakeholders, the parents pledged to sustain the education of their children by keeping them away from hazardous work activities through the signing of a “Pledge of Commitment.” The DOLE Bataan Field Office also spearheaded a gift-giving activity for the children present during the event and handed over educational packages to selected 33 “children at risk.”
The Child Labor Free Barangay Campaign aims to free identified barangays from child labor, and also to influence change, identify allies and solicit commitments of support from stakeholders, specifically government and nongovernment agencies, private sector establishments and the parents of child laborers themselves, harboring on the principle that the first step towards self-transformation and empowerment is through education and other interventions.